NBA: Series Shift Favors the Celtics

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Boston Celtics

Game 3 of the NBA Finals tips off tonight just after 9 PM ET with making the Celtics 2.5 point favorites. The series is now evened up at one game a piece after Boston's impressive win Sunday night.

Boston is in the same predicament as Doc Rivers noted. "We lose and we're old, we win and we have veteran experience."

Face the facts; Boston has too much leadership and experience to go down like a Cleveland. They have players that will find a way to contribute, even if a part of their game is not working 100 percent.

The Celtics return home where they are 31-19 and 19-30-1 ATS this season (7-2 SU & ATS in the playoffs). While Boston fans and backers are psyched that they can end the series at home, it's extremely unlikely to happen. As noted, the Celtics are far from a sure thing or bet at home and the Bryant surly attitude after Sunday's loss would suggest he will come with a vengeance.

The ‘over' covered in both of the games so far; however, not based on level of skill shown, rather by constant calls by the referees. As compared to the Stanley Cup Finals where penalties are down compared to the rest of the playoffs, the basketball fouls come at a rapid pace.

Though playoff basketball tends to be slower and more physical and a few more fouls would be expected to be called since teams will not concede layups as often. Nonetheless, the fouls for a four quarter Finals confrontation are up over 20 percent compared to the rest of the postseason.

In spite of the defeat, Phil Jackson and company can't be totally depressed. It took the best deep shooting performance ever by Allen and a triple-double by Rondo to knock off the Lakers with Bryant and Lamar Odom glued to the bench with fouls for lengthy periods. Though it is earlier than a couple of the other series they've played, L.A. is 18-6 ATS when tied in a playoff series since 1996. has Rivers club as 2.5-point favorites with total of 192.5. It will be worth watching how both teams react in the first half traveling across the country and playing a game of this magnitude less than 48 hours after completing the prior conflict and losing additional three hours for time zone shift.

The rest aspect could be important for sports betting purposes with Boston 7-2 ATS with one day between contests and the Lakers 5-14 ATS.

The Lakers covered the ‘under' 13 out of 16 times in road games avenging a straight up loss as a home favorite, while the home team for Game 3 is 7-3 UNDER as playoff favorite.

The starting time moves back to 9:00 Eastern, with the Celtics 4-2 and 4-1-1 ATS when the Lake Show makes an appearance in Bean-Town the last three years.

MLB: Stephen Strasburg era begins in Washington

The most anticipated debut of a pitching prospect occurs tonight as the number one pick in the 2009 MLB Draft takes the mound. Bettors are expecting good things from Washington's Steven Strasburg as the Nationals money line has moved from -165 to -210 at

Standing room only tickets went on sale Monday, all part of a rare Nationals Park sellout. The Internet is humming with offers for good seats. More than 200 requests for media credentials have been submitted, forcing officials to turn a dining area into a work space to accommodate all those reporters with laptops.

For the Nationals (27-31, +6.7 units), Strasburg's major league debut is best summed up in one word: Finally.

No one's seen anything like it. A No. 1 overall pick who gets sellout, rock-star, hire-extra-security treatment in minor league cities such as Harrisburg and Rochester. It's the type of overexposure usually reserved for top picks in the NFL or NBA.

The Nationals are actually having a decent year following back-to-back 100-losses seasons but are coming off a pair of losses to Cincinnati. They are 18-11 after a loss this season. However, everything they've done has been overshadowed by talk about a player who didn't have a locker in the clubhouse, whose debut against the Pittsburgh Pirates (23-34, +2) has been given its own baseball holiday nickname: "Strasmas."

 "I feel like I've been ready," Strasburg said after his last minor league outing, five scoreless innings for Triple-A Syracuse at Buffalo last week. There's not much argument there. It was almost cruel to watch Strasburg overwhelm hitters in Double-A and Triple-A. His combined stats: 7-2 with a 1.30 ERA with 65 strikeouts and only 13 walks in 55 1-3 innings.

But money trumped wins, at least this year. Having already invested heavily in the right-hander from San Diego State with a record $15.1 million contract over four years, the Nationals wanted to save some dough down the road by calling Strasburg up after June 1, thus delaying by one year the eventual date when he will be eligible for arbitration.

Strasburg is also looking forward to normalcy because he's not a limelight guy. Still, the toned-down persona hasn't stopped the hype machine. Want to bet on how Strasburg's going to do Tuesday? There are odds on whether his first pitch will be a ball or strike, how many innings he'll last and nearly everything else in between. Sports bettors have this as one-sided affair, as Washington opened as -165 money line favorites and they have been bet all the way up to -215.

Nationals Park has been sold out only once so far this season-on opening day-but the thought that Strasburg might pitch drew the season's second biggest crowd Friday against Cincinnati.

Strasburg's thoughts about it all? Pretty straightforward:

"It's my major league debut. What more can you say?" he said. "It's something I've dreamed about my entire life, and now it's starting to become a reality."

At least Strasburg won't have to wait long for the next phenom to come along. Baseball's draft was held Monday, and the Nationals again held the No. 1 overall pick. As expected, Washington selected Bryce Harper, a junior college slugger who's had about as much hype as Strasburg.

The Nationals have a great deal of baggage to overcome, with a 15-25 record as a home favorite of -110 or higher and though the anticipation had one more day to build, Washington is 4-22 playing with a day off over the last two seasons. has the total at Un8.5 and that's a hard prediction given the circumstances, nevertheless the Nats are is 13-3 UNDER after two straight games with one or less extra base hits, while Pittsburgh is 36-21 OVER in road games after a loss by four runs or more. The Pirates offense continues to struggle and they are 12-42 away from home after batting .250 or worse over a 20-game span over the last two years.

The buzz in the ballyard will be fun in Washington for a change and Bucs starter Jeff Karstens (1-1, 4.50) has to keep his emotions in check to give his club a chance to win.

Head over to now to bet on Strasburg's debut versus Pittsburgh. Also be sure to the Betting Trends page to see who the public is betting on; currently 71% of the money line bettors pounding the Nationals.

Plenty of ways to bet on Strasburg's debut

Less than a year than being selected #1 overall by the Washington Nationals, Stephen Strasburg will be making his major league baseball debut at home tonight against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Recognizing the importance of tonight's debut, has released plenty of props on the 21 year old phenom.

Strasburg is one of the more talked about young  baseball players in recent memory.  As a result, will be offering a handful of propositions on Stephen Strasburg's first ever MLB start.  Among these are  "Total Strikeouts by Stephen Strasburg"  which has been set at 5.5 under -125 by the linesmakers. 

According to spokesperson Dave Staley, "There are only two other pirtchers that I can remember that have come with the hype that Stephen Strasburg is receiving.  In 1989, there was Ben McDonald, who after being selected #1 overall by Baltimore, made the progression to the big leagues in less than a year.  In 2001, Mark Prior was taken #2 overall by the Cubs, after a stellar college career at USC." 

With so many ways to bet on tonight's game, there is no reason not to put some money down at on Strasburg's debut.

Stephen Strasburg - Total Strikeouts: Over 5.5 (-130); Under 5.5 (even)

Stephen Strasburg - Will He Allow a HR? Yes +135; No -170

Stephen Strasburg - Total Pitches thrown: Over 90.5 (-130); Under 90.5 (even)

Stephen Strasburg - Will he be the winning pitcher? Yes -155; No +125


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