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NBA And NHL Playoff Preview And Picks For April 26

The second round of the NHL playoffs gets underway tonight and the Pittsburgh Penguins are looking to make history. 

The Pens could become just the fourth team ever in the NHL to win 10 straight playoff series and the first since the Islanders won 19 in a row in the early 1980s. 

It’s a little weird that the Pens are faves to win the series but dogs in Game 1 and we get into that more in the video above. 

Another betting factor for Round 2 is the number of goals per game. It’s at 5.93 in the playoffs so far, which would make it the second-highest scoring playoffs in the last 11 seasons if the playoffs ended today. The O/U went 18-19-6 in Round 1 and a logical betting thought would be to wonder if scoring will drop in Round 2.  

Historically, it hasn’t. Round 2 averaged 5.37 goals per game over the last 10 seasons vs 5.34 goals per game in Round 1. OVERs also hold a slight edge at 104-98-36 during that span in Round 2 so I’d caution you in blindly taking the UNDER. 

Before we get into the games, here are my playoff records on our Periscope shows (Mon-Fri noon ET on @OddsShark): 

13-7 in the NHL after a 1-0 Wednesday. Up $487 (based on $100/gm bets)

11-13 ATS in the NBA after a 2-2 Wednesday

NBA: 

Celtics at Bucks -4.5, 201 

  • Total opened at 200 – same as Games 1 and 2, which both went OVER.
  • Game 5 went UNDER. First time in seven meetings a Celtics-Bucks game went UNDER. First time in nine games overall a Celtics game went UNDER. 
  • Celtics have covered seven of the last eight meetings against the Bucks and eight of the last 10 in Milwaukee. I said at the start of the series I think this is a good matchup for Boston because of its advantage on the perimeter on offense and defense.
  • I feel like Boston’s Brad Stevens has the matchups figured out. Bucks shot over 50 percent on FGs in three straight games and shot 37 percent in Game 5. 
  • Bucks shooting 68 percent from the foul line. 

Pick: Boston +4.5 

NHL: 

Penguins at Capitals -120, 6 

  • The series price usually matches up a little with Game 1 in hockey. Not in this case where the Pens are -120 faves to win the series but dogs in the first game. 
  • No Evgeni Malkin for the Pens in Game 1. 
  • Pittsburgh aims to become the fourth team in NHL history to win 10 straight playoff series. No team has done it since the Islanders won 19 in a row from 1980 to 1984. 
  • Pens are 9-1 all-time in series against the Caps. Beat them in three of the last four years. 
  • I think this is the year the Caps pull through. Third straight Cup run has to be wearing a little on the Pens. Caps had the best power play in Round 1 (9-for-27, and 6-for-17 at home). 

Pick: Capitals -120

Sharks at Golden Knights -140, 5 

  • I think these odds are inflated with all the love from bettors for the Golden Knights. 
  • Knights are the best bet in the NHL this season by far. $2,164 if you bet $100/gm.
  • UNDER went a combined 1-5-2 in the eight games these teams played in the first round. 
  • Teams combined to allow seven goals in eight games in the first round. 
  • Teams scored 25 goals in four meetings this year. OVER went 2-1-1. Knights won three. 
  • Since acquiring Evander Kane, Sharks had third-most goals at even strength in the league. 

Pick: Sharks +125 

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