It’s another big sports weekend, and we’ve got your guide to all the essential action, from the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs and the Eastern and Western Conference finals in the NBA, to horse racing and UFC Fight Night and plenty of golf to be played at the PGA Championship.
For international flavor, there’s a high-stakes final weekend of the English Premier League with a title on the line, and the first round of the French Open at Roland Garros.
And what’s Sunday night without some baseball? With so many games to watch, there’s plenty of opportunity to make some bets along the way, so we’ve got you covered with the best of our best bets all weekend long.
All lines are from Caesars Sportsbook unless noted
Friday night’s schedule
Line: Hurricanes (-175), Rangers (+150)
Puck line: Hurricanes -1.5 (+150), Rangers +1.5 (-175)
Over/Under: 5.5 (-105/-115)
Greg Wyshynski: It took just over 40 minutes in Game 1 for the Carolina Hurricanes to play to their identity: Carrying play, forechecking hard and dominating in shot attempts. Once they did, the game was tilted: 29-10 shot attempt advantage, 17-6 scoring chances advantage and, most important, a 2-0 goals-scored advantage in the third period and overtime for the win. As good as the finish was, they had a bad start. Game 1 marked the first time in the playoffs that Carolina lost the first period. I can’t see it happening twice in a row at home, as the Hurricanes scored in the first period in 5 of 7 games against the Boston Bruins in Round 1. We’re playing it safe with a money line bet, but you wouldn’t be out of line pushing it to a first-period puck line wager for a little more profitability.
Pick: Carolina 1st period money line (-150)
Line: Warriors (-6.0)
Moneyline: Warriors (-260), Mavericks (+210)
Anita Marks: Dallas had one of their worst shooting nights of the postseason (36%) and an uncharacteristic night from Luka Doncic. While the Splash Brothers had a strong third quarter, Andrew Wiggins was the X factor. Wiggins had 19 points, five rebounds, three assists and was just as important on the defensive side of the court containing Doncic. Seven Warriors scored double digits, which shows their depth advantage. I see much of the same in Game 2. With home-court advantage, better depth and Wiggins’ value, I will lay the points, play the under, and expect another big night from Wiggins on both ends of the court.
Picks: Warriors (-6.0), Under 214 points, Wiggins over 22.5 points + assists + rebounds
Line: Flames (-175), Oilers (+150)
Puck line: Flames -1.5 (+145), Oilers +1.5 (-170)
Over/Under: 6.5 (-125/+105)
Greg Wyshynski: I’m not sure the books really know how to handle this series after what we saw in Game 1. Maybe there’s a sense that both Mike Smith and Jacob Markstrom will bounce back and Game 2 turns into a defensive struggle. I think there’s a better chance that the Battle of Alberta remains a cuckoo bananas 1980s-style goals fest with the team posting Canadian Football League scores. The Flames have gone over their expected total in three of the past four games.
Pick: Calgary over 3.5 goals team total (-120)
PGA Championship 3rd Round
Southern Hills Country Club, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m., Tulsa, Oklahoma, ESPN/ESPN+
Leader after Round 1: Rory McIlroy (-5)
David Bearman: I am playing both Thomas and Rory McIlroy, but I am giving the edge to Thomas to win based on his overall body of work this season. McIlroy had an incredible Sunday at Augusta last month, but Thomas has better approach stats and has been more consistent all season.
Pick: Justin Thomas to win (+400)
Line: Aces (-10.5)
Moneyline: Aces (-600), Lynx (+425)
Trend: Home teams favored by more than 7 points are 4-3 against the spread entering Friday night’s action. –Kyle Soppe
147th Preakness Stakes
7:01 p.m., Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore, Maryland, NBC
Favorites: Epicenter (6-5), Early Voting (7-2), Secret Oath (9-2), rest of odds
Chris Fallica: Epicenter was the horse to beat in Louisville and is the horse to beat here. Only a complete space meltdown and a lot of racing luck got him beat by a hopeless long shot. It’s really about how well he came out of the race. But I don’t think he would be here if he didn’t come out of the race well. Feels like a race with a little bit of vindication for the best 3-year-old in the game. He can go to the front if he wants it, or just sit off Early Voting or Armagnac if he wants a target to run at. And being drawn outside helps that strategy. He’ll be a key in every spot in my trifecta, weighted more heavily to the win and place spots. And if we press it a bunch of times and get something other than the second or third choice in the other exacta spot, it should be a nice payoff.
Line: Avalanche (-170), Blues (+145)
Puck Line: Avalanche -1.5 (+150), Blues +1.5 (-175)
Over/Under: 6.5 (-115/-105)
Trend: Overs are 21-8-1 when the Blues are underdogs this season. The Blues are 15-12-3 as underdogs this season (+4.05 units). (Data current as of the beginning of the series). More Round 2 betting trends >>
Line: Celtics (-6.5)
Moneyline: Celtics (-270), Heat (+220)
Fortenbaugh: After back-to-back overs in Games 1 & 2, now’s the time to think outside the box, go against the grain and jump on the under train. Miami’s offense has taken a nosedive when it’s traveled this postseason. At home, the Heat are averaging a healthy 111.5 points per game with an offensive rating of 114.5 (4th of 16 playoff teams). On the road, however, the Heat are averaging just 101.2 points per game with an offensive rating of 110.2 (8th of 16 playoff teams). Second, after Boston shot an out-of-this-world 50 percent from 3-point range in Game 2 (best of 13 playoff games thus far) and 51.2 percent from the field (second-best of 13 playoff games), some shooting regression is on the horizon as Miami makes the necessary defensive adjustments.
Pick: UNDER 207.5 points
Line: Holm (-240), Vieira (+200)
Reed Kuhn: Vieira matches up reasonably well on paper in terms of pure striking metrics, and she is more accurate than Holm with comparable defense. But the metrics might be a little misleading, considering Holm’s standup includes a rich mix of kicks. Those kicks have lower accuracy when aimed at the head but are more dangerous than punches. Holm’s kicks could also be the opening Vieira needs. She has become more of a headhunting boxer from range, closing the distance for takedowns when she chooses. Getting the fight to the ground would be wise, and Vieira averages over two minutes of control time per takedown. She needs three rounds, where she can tip the scores with her wrestling.
Pick: Vieira to win (+200)
French Open: First Round
5:00 a.m., Stade Roland Garros, Paris, France, NBC
Brad Gilbert: The first thing that jumps out at me after the draw is out unbalanced the top and bottom halves are. The top three favorites (Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal) are all on the top half of the draw. If I am looking for value, I’d head to the bottom half, where Stefanos Tsitsipas (+400) has a much more favorable draw. Tsitsipas made the final last year and led two sets to none before the Djokovic comeback. Daniil Medvedev (+2000) is down there as well, but he hasn’t played the big clay-court tourneys, so I’d go Tsitsipas.
To win championship: Man City (-750), Liverpool (+475)
Top four finish: Tottenham (-4000), Arsenal (+1200)
Game lines: Liverpool (-570) v. Wolves (+1800), Man City (-600) v. Aston Villa (+1600)
Arsenal (-190) v. Everton (+550), Norwich (+1000) vs. Tottenham (-420)
Paul Carr: Man City has a full week’s rest and has been crushing opponents at home lately, winning three straight home games by a combined score of 13-1. It’s difficult to see City losing this game, or even to imagine magic will be necessary, like Sergio Aguero‘s title-winning goal a decade ago.
Pick: Man City -2.5 goals (+130)
Series Betting: Hurricanes (-360), Rangers (+280)
Trend: Prior to Game 1’s low-scoring affair (Carolina won 2-1 in overtime), all seven Rangers games this postseason had gone over the total. During the regular season, Rangers games were 46-32-4 to the under, the highest under percentage in the NHL, including 33-18-1 in Shesterkin starts. More Round 2 betting trends >>
Check back for odds and picks later this weekend.
Series betting (before Game 2): Flames (-380), Oilers (+300)
Trend: The home team won all four meetings in the regular season, and Calgary outscored the visiting Oilers 9-6 in Game 1. More Round 2 betting trends >>
Series betting (prior to Game 2): Warriors (-450), Mavericks (+350)
Check back later for odds and best bets for this game.