Hockey, Baseball Betting Preview From Sportsbook.com

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NHL: Is Philadelphia finished?

The Flyers will look to get back in the series when they host Chicago in Game 3 on Wednesday night as -130 favorites, according to Sportsbook.com.

The Flyers outshot Chicago 15-4 in the last period and against 80 percent of the teams in the NHL they would have won the last stanza 3-0 or more, however not every team has a goalie like Antti Niemi between the pipes, as he made a handful of incredible saves to keep Philly shooters out of the net but once.

Philadelphia has remorse for not playing with the same passion the entire contest.

"I thought we were way too conservative in the first two periods," Philadelphia forward Danny Briere said. "We didn't give them much, I understand that. But it's not really our type of hockey. We didn't forecheck. We didn't create much offensively. We didn't spend much time in their zone." This left the Flyers 6-18 against good passing teams averaging five or more assists per game this season.

What was particularly painful was letting down at the exact wrong moment. Ben Eager, a former Flyer, is a high energy enforcer who was moved from fourth line duty to the first line by coach Joel Quenneville with Jonathan Toews and Dustin Byfuglien, just seconds after Marian Hossa had broken scoreless tie.

Philadelphia had done exceptional work in keeping the Blackhawks top unit down and Quenneville wanted an individual to mix it up, especially after he had flatten a couple of Philly players earlier in the game.

Chicago wouldn't be 44-21 off a home win, had it not been for netminder Niemi. The 26-year rookie has exceptional flexibility and he needed it throughout the third period with the Philly barrage. "We call him the octopus because he's got arms and legs going everywhere," Chicago forward Adam Burish said. "He was special tonight. Niemi was unbelievable in that third period. Some of the pucks, I don't know how he saw them."

Philadelphia might be in dire straits (teams that sweep the first two games of the Stanley Cup finals are 31-2); however, they are in familiar territory (think Boston series) and have leaders like Chris Pronger upon returning home where they are 22-7 the second half of the season.

"Yeah, I think we need to play with more desperation than we did, like the third period," Pronger said. "We need to play with that passion, energy, drive, determination, like we did in the third through the whole game. It needs to be 60 minutes."

The Flyers are 7-1 in the tournament at the Wachovia Center and 9-1 in last 10 since April 4. Sportsbook.com has Philadelphia as -130 money line play with total lowered to Ov5.5.

With the unbalanced schedule in place, this will be just Chicago's 10th visit to the City of Brotherly Love in 14 years and they have one win in the time span. The Blackhawks are 20-5 after playing exactly two consecutive home games this season and 8-1 UNDER in road tilts riding a six-game or more win streak.

The Flyers have lived dangerously almost all season, with their margin for error thinner than a skate blade and are 6-14 revenging consecutive losses to opponent as a favorite. The Flyers are 8-1 UNDER off a road failure by one goal this season.

The first game in Philly has an 8:00 Eastern start on NBC, with Chicago having won seven straight on the playoff road.

MLB: A Little MLB Trendy Talk

Because the sport of baseball is played on daily basis, all teams have streaks, some are good and others are not. For this Hump Day, we'll focus on four teams that couldn't knockout their own shadow, let alone defeat the team in the other dugout the way they are playing. Is today the day these derided derelicts of the diamond stand up and fight over adversity? Probably not. 

Arizona at L.A. Dodgers 3:10 E

Anytime you are 0 for anything, chances are life isn't going so well. The Arizona Diamondbacks (20-33, -12.9 units) left the unfriendly borders of home on May 24 and haven't won a game since, losing the first eight encounters of the road trip and a total of nine overall. The D-Backs offense tends to run like a microwave, on off, unfortunately manager A.J. Hench just can't press a button for start. The Snakes have averaged 2.1 runs per game in this stretch which places them in tough spots and they have lost last three contests in opponents final at bat.

Arizona is 3-12 after three or more consecutive losses this season and 8-22 with an on-base percentage of .285 or worse over their last five games and today's get-away game in Los Angeles (30-22, +2.2) has added meaning for D-Backs players. Arizona is a +134 underdog at Sportsbook.com against the Dodgers, who have taken the first two games of the series and are 13-32 in road tilts with double revenge. It will be Edwin Jackson (3-6, 6.03 ERA) for the Snakes against rookie Carlos Monasterios (2-0, 2.20) and L.A. is only 15-1 off three straight wins vs. division rivals over the last two seasons.

Chic. Cubs at Pittsburgh 7:05 E

In Chicago there has been a lot of talk about how lifeless the Cubs (24-29, -13 units) have played all season. This is a stunning development to Cubs fans who figured that Lou Piniella would throwing players out of the clubhouse and turning over tables and chewing on umpires' ears on a daily basis with his team's nonchalant attitude on the field. Instead, Piniella has acted like an older employee taken over by new ownership and just wants to keep quiet until his full pension kicks in.

It doesn't help the middle of the Cubs lineup resembles the recent Guatemalan sinkhole, with Derek Lee batting .232 and Aramis Ramirez (.167) needs a three week hitting streak just to climb to Mendoza Line.

Forget all that and somebody explain why the Cubs 1-7 against Pittsburgh (22-31, +4.0) in 2010 and have lost 10 of 11 to the Pirates. With Pittsburgh a National League worst -128 in run differential, it would seem logical the Bucs are going to win a few one run games and get clobbered the rest of the time, however for the Cubs, it seems the worse a team is, the more awful they play. Chicago has these dubious angles riding, they are 2-11 vs. NL teams scoring 3.8 or less runs a game on the season and 2-8 in road contests if teams in their own league allows 5.3 or more runs per outing.

The Cubs turn to Carlos Zambrano of all people for the start and they are -135 favorites and oh by the way, are 1-7 revenging a loss vs. opponent as a road favorite this season. One other note, Pittsburgh is 10-2 at home after a one run victory.

Baltimore at N.Y. Yankees 7:05 E

It cannot be very fun to go to work every day as a Baltimore Orioles player. Your teams stinks with 15-37 record (-17.4) and the division you play in has four of the five teams with the best record in the American League as June starts moving forward.

Baltimore actually held the New York Yankees (32-20, +2.8) to three runs last night, but tallied just one themselves. The O's are 3-19 after scoring two runs or less this year and alarming 1-17 in road games after scoring one or fewer runs in a loss to an AL East rival since 2008. Even when the Birds get a good pitched game, they are 6-27 as visitors after scoring and allowing three runs or less.

It's little wonder why Baltimore is a +260 underdog in the Bronx having to face Phil Hughes (6-1, 2.70), whose been New York's best and most consistent pitcher this season. The Yankees are scoring 6.6 runs per game in the pinstripes and are 16-1 in home conflicts after allowing one run or less.

Cleveland at Detroit 7:05 E

The Tigers (26-25, +0.4) have lost eight of 10 with a balky offense not firing regularly. In Detroit's previous defeats, they have scored 2.3 runs per game, compared to 4.4 in the season. Manager Jim Leyland has considered having the public address system at Comerica Park play Motley Crue's "Kick start my heart" every time his team comes to bat since all aspects of the pitching have been solid and fielding on good ground, yet they are only 12-19 after four straight games where they committed no errors.

Detroit managed only two runs against Jake Westbrook and Cleveland in 3-2 loss on Tuesday and gives the ball to Armando Galarraga (1-1, 4.50), who makes his third start of the season and first since May 22.

Though it's nice to see Galarraga has worked hard to return to the big leagues after beginning the season in the minors, he still has a poor track record with 4-14 record in night games since last year. (Tigers Record) With Cleveland in the throes of a terrible season at 19-31, Detroit at -142 money line wager at online sports betting outlets sounds like a descent wager, yet they are 8-15 vs. teams outscored by one or more runs a contest on the season.

Will the Tigers be able to overcome 4-12 record with Galarraga as starting pitcher against losing team and instead move to 13-1 at Comerica off a loss to a division rival as a home favorite? Stay tuned.

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