Good afternoon gamblers, it's Chris Bengel arriving back in your inbox.
Well, the NBA and NHL postseason certainly didn't disappoint on Monday night. We saw the Kings take down the Warriors for the second consecutive game and now hold a 2-0 series lead. It'll certainly be interesting to see if Draymond Green receives a suspension with Domantas Sabonis in the fourth quarter of Game 2.
Meanwhile, the NHL produced a pair of overtime contests on the first night of the Stanley Cup playoffs. If you chose to sleep, the Wild shocked the Stars 3-2 in double overtime thanks to a Ryan Hartman game-winning goal while the Kings came from behind to top the Oilers. Both teams were able to steal home ice as they were the clear underdog in their respective series.
We've got more NBA and NHL action that should be quite entertaining on Tuesday. Without further adieu, let's get to the picks.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
- The Pick: Knicks +5.5 (-110)
- Key Trend: The Knicks are 6-2 ATS in their last eight meetings in Cleveland
The Knicks have been one of the more impressive stories of the 2022-23 season. For so many years, New York failed to make a ton of noise in the postseason. However, the tide has turned starting with a Game 1 victory and that's why I'm more than happy to side with the Knicks on the road in this spot.
The Knicks controlled the majority of Game 1 against the Cavaliers. Despite not shooting just 42% from the floor, New York still looked like the better team. The Knicks out-rebounded the Cavaliers 51-38, including securing 17 offensive boards. That's not surprising considering that the Knicks averaged 46.6 rebounds-per-game during the regular season, which was third in the league. With that in mind, Julius Randle should be able to impose his will in the paint. It also doesn't hurt that the Knicks were one of the league's higher-scoring teams during the regular season as they averaged 116.0 points per contest.
Jonathan Coachman is joined by Mike McClure, Matt Snyder, Mike Barner, Zack Cimini and Sia Nejad to dish out Tuesday's best bets!
Obviously, if the Cavaliers were to fall in Game 2, then they'd be in a very concerning 0-2 hole in the series. I would expect Donovan Mitchell to have a huge game much like Game 1, and it's quite possible that the Cavaliers even the series at home. Still, I like the Knicks to be able to keep it close down the stretch.
💰 More picks
Lightning at Maple Leafs, 7:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Maple Leafs (-160) -- It's so tough to bet against the Lightning. After all, this is a team that has been to three consecutive Stanley Cup Finals and continues to win with veteran talent. However, I just think that the talent gap is bigger than some want to admit.
Sure, the postseason narrative is a valid one for the Maple Leafs as they haven't won a playoff series since 2004. Most will be skeptical of them until they prove that they're worth trusting. I'm willing to plant my flag on the Maple Leafs coming out strong in Game 1. This is a team that tallied 3.39 goals-per-game and were led by forward Mitch Marner's career-best 99-point campaign. Toronto has an abundance of depth up-and-down their forward group, which includes Auston Matthews, John Tavares, William Nylander, and Ryan O'Reilly, whom they acquired at the trade deadline. That makes them a deep and tough matchup for Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, who posted a 3.14 goals-against-average when he faced the Maple Leafs in the 2022 postseason.
Meanwhile, one of the big reasons that I don't like the Lightning as much this year is that this is a very different roster. Tampa Bay is going to miss guys like Ondrej Palat that really rose to the occasion in the playoffs in previous years. Palat registered 21 points (11 goals and 10 assists) for the Lightning throughout their run to the Stanley Cup Final last season. I just don't see Tampa Bay being able to keep up with this high-octane Toronto squad.
Key Trend: The home team is 5-2 in the last seven meetings
The Pick: Al Horford Over 6.5 Rebounds (-103) -- The Celtics held a 58-45 advantage in the rebounding department against the Hawks in Game 1 of their opening round series. One of the biggest reasons for that success was the play of veteran big man Al Horford. Horford grabbed nine rebounds in 38 minutes against the Hawks in Game 1.
However, success against the Hawks isn't anything new for the Celtics big man. Horford is averaging eight rebounds per contest in three games against the Hawks this season. He also secured at least six rebounds in three of the final six regular season games while also pulling in five rebounds on two occasions. Horford should be right around the seven rebounds that we need.
Key Trend: Horford has grabbed at least nine rebounds in two of his three games against the Hawks this season