Category Archives: Sports

Montreal Canadiens at New Jersey Devils

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The Canadiens head into New Jersey on Friday night looking to get a victory without Carey Price who is sidelined again with a lower body injury.

The Montreal Canadiens were dealt another blow this week just two games after Carey Price made his return to action after being out for two weeks as he suffered a similar injury and will be out for another week. Mike Condon has played well in relief but losing the best goalie in the league and the reigning Hart Trophy winner is a frustrating and detrimental loss and going up against a surprising Devils team might make for a tough outing. Condon will go up against Cory Schneider who continues to be a work horse for the Devils.

The Devils head into Friday night’s match up with Montreal sitting in fifth place in the Metro division but they are only three points back of the Penguins for the third automatic entry into the playoffs and have plenty of hockey left to be played. New Jersey has a decent roster in the offensive zone led by a handful of role playing veterans but the key to their success has been the play of Schneider who in my opinion is one of the best five goaltenders in the NHL. New Jersey is in a good place here as they are at home against a short handed Habs team and goaltending makes the difference here.

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LINEUPS

Cammalleri – Henrique – Stempniak
Kalinin – Zajac – Palmieri
Elias – Josefson – Tootoo
Farnham – Gionta – Kennedy/Matteau

Greene – Larsson
Moore – Severson
Gelinas – Merrill

Schneider

Pacioretty – Plekanec – Smith-Pelly
Eller – Galchenyuk – Andrighetto
Fleischmann – Desharnais – Weise
Byron – Flynn – Holloway

Markov – Subban
Emelin – Petry
Gilbert – Beaulieu

Condon

WHAT TO WATCH
1) After a ridiculously hot start to the season Mike Condon has really cooled off of late having allowed three goals or more in four consecutive starts. He’s not on his game right now so the Devils need to put as much rubber on net as they can.

2) Montreal’s power play is generally very good and that’s the case once again this season as they’re clicking at a 24.4% rate. The Devils can’t afford to parade to the box like they have been of late or they’ll pay for it.

3) The Cammalleri – Henrique – Stempniak line has been New Jersey’s best all season long. It’ll be fun to see how they stack up against the Markov – Subban pairing as they’ll presumably see a lot of them.

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Missouri Tigers at Arkansas Razorbacks

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The Arkansas Razorbacks and the Missouri Tigers face off on Friday in SEC college football action. The Hogs are a favorite in the game, but between the weather and the Tiger’s bowl eligibility hanging in the balance, I am worried about this game. The Razorbacks have had a much better offense, but Mizzou’s defense is statistically one of the best in the SEC.

Missouri would not be in prime position to get a bowl invitation. The Tigers are 5-6, needing another win to lock up bowl eligibility, and are 14-point underdogs against Arkansas. Because essentially every SEC team with a .500 or better record is guaranteed to play in the postseason, a win Friday would normally be a win-and-in game for Missouri, but a must-win to get a bowl berth.

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The Arkansas Razorbacks appeared to be headed for their seventh win of the season last Saturday against Mississippi State but then some of the worst coaching strategy anyone will ever see took a win and made it a loss. Arkansas head Coach Brett Bielema decided it was more important to have MSU burn timeouts than score a touchdown with a first down from the 12-yard line and it eventually led to a blocked field goal that sealed the Hogs fate. The Arkansas offense is averaging 35.8 points and 470.2 yards per game and they have turned the ball over nine times. Razorbacks QB Brandon Allen has completed 65.1 percent of his passes with 29 touchdowns and six interceptions. Alex Collins is Arkansas’ leading rusher with 1,262 yards and 14 touchdowns and Drew Morgan leads in receptions with 52 10 touchdowns and Hunter Henry has 44 catches. The Arkansas defense is allowing 30 points and 425.3 yards per game with nine interceptions, seven fumble recoveries, and 15 sacks. Brooks Ellis leads Arkansas with 95 tackles, Dre Greenlaw has 88 tackles, and Deatrich Wise has 6.0 sacks. Arkansas is already bowl eligible but this has been a disappointing season delivered by one of the highest paid Head Coaches in the nation.
The Missouri Tigers are 5-6 this season and need a win here to extend Gary Pinkel’s career into bowl season. Missouri is averaging 14.5 points and 290.9 yards per game with 16 turnovers. Mizzou QB Drew Lock has completed 50.8 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and seven interceptions. Ish Witter leads the Tigers in rushing with 517 yards and Nate Brown and J’Mon Moore each have 27 receptions. The Missouri defense is allowing 15.1 points and 301.3 yards per game with eight interceptions, seven fumble recoveries, and 27 sacks. Kentrell Brother leads Missouri in tackles with 140, Michael Scherer has 85 tackles, and Charles Harris has 7.0 sacks. Missouri’s offense has let down their defense this season.

Arkansas is 5-1 against the spread in their last six SEC games, 8-3 against the spread following a loss, and 5-2 against the spread in their last seven games. Missouri is 7-0 against the spread following a double-digit home loss, 15-5 against the spread in their last 20 road games, and 2-5 against the spread against a team with a winning record.

 

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Australian Open 2016

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Defending champion Jordan Spieth was blown off course as he struggled in the opening round of the Australian Open.

The world number one laboured in Sydney to a level-par 71, and was five shots off the pace set by 26-year-old Australian Lincoln Tighe.

Spieth found conditions challenging, and said: “We played a lot of those holes in side winds. It was just a guessing game really

“And when you bring hazards into play it makes things even harder. It’s been a while since I’ve played in wind like this.

“The toughest part is deciding what shot to hit. It’s hard to pick the shot. You can use the same club and end up with a 30-yards difference based on if you hold the ball up or ride the wind.”

Since lifting the Australian Open title in 2014, American 22-year-old Spieth has gone on to triumph at the Masters and US Open, his first major victories.

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Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott struggled to even-par 71s in the hot, windy opening round of the Australian Open on Thursday, leaving the top two-ranked players in the tournament five strokes behind little-known leader Lincoln Tighe.

Spieth and Scott, tied for 19th with 11 others, were in good company. Australia’s Tighe, with seven birdies and two bogeys, had a one-stroke lead after his 66, one of only 18 in the 156-player field who broke par at The Australian Golf Club.

Australia’s Matt Jones, who is a member at The Australian, birdied the par-5 18th for a 67 and was in second place.

Geoff Ogilvy, the 2010 champion who was playing in the same group as Spieth, was two strokes behind after a 68, tied for third with fellow Australian Todd Sinnott and 17-year-old Taiwanese amateur Yu Chun-an.

The top-ranked Spieth birdied his opening hole and bogeyed his last to go along with birdies on a pair of par-5s and bogeys on two par-3s.

Scott, who hasn’t had a season without a victory since 2001 and is thus far winless this year, had two double-bogeys in three holes but came back with a birdie on the last to match Spieth. It could have been worse for Scott — he chipped in from off the green on the ninth for his second double-bogey.

Lee Westwood, the 1997 Australian Open champion, shot 70, as did U.S. Amateur and 2015 NCAA champion Bryson DeChambeau.

The northwest winds of about 40 kilometers per hour (25 mph) shifted to the south late in the day, causing more havoc for the afternoon groups. The high temperature reached 39 degrees Celsius (102 Fahrenheit).

Spieth, who shot a course-record, final-round 63 in similarly tough conditions here last year, was also plagued by poor tee shots Thursday.

The long-hitting Tighe has advanced to the Dec. 10-13 final stage of the Web.com Tour qualifying tournament in Florida, meaning he won’t defend his New South Wales PGA championship that is being held on the same weekend.

Ogilvy, who has missed five cuts in a row since the U.S. Open, said he putted well thanks to the state of the greens.

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Carolina Panthers at Dallas Cowboys

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The undefeated Carolina Panthers are at the Dallas Cowboys in a Thanksgiving Day special featuring marquee quarterbacks Cam Newton and Tony Romo, to say nothing of the Greg Hardy connection. Kickoff is at 4:30 p.m. Thursday

Carolina is one of just two undefeated teams remaining in the NFL and quarterback Cam Newton is being considered for the MVP due to his outstanding play this season. Newton has always been a strong runner at quarterback, but this season his passing is much improved.

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The Cowboys now have Tony Romo back under center after missing 7 games, Dallas is four games under .500 but is still in the running to win the NFC East, trailing the New York Giants by just two games.

Tony Romo led Dallas to its first win in 8 games last weekend defeating Miami 24-14.

Carolina beat two opponents in the NFC East – Washington and Philadelphia – handily and brings the league’s third highest scoring offense, but faces four of their next five games away from home.

The Carolina defense, albeit not as strong as previous years, is rounding into form and has a strong front seven against the run.

Greg Hardy the defensive end for Dallas will be facing his former team for just the first time since he left last offseason. Carolina will have its talented defensive end Charles Johnson activated to play and give Romo a hard time with his pass rush.

Dallas will look to run the ball with Darren McFadden to take the early pressure off Romo and open passing lanes for him to hit Dez Bryant down field and Jason Witten over the middle.

Dallas has won five straight games outright against Carolina. However, the two teams have not played head to head since October of 2012.

This is probably one of those games that has a score of something like 7-6 after three quarters, as the two defenses battle it out.

Three keys to watch

Can the Panthers keep Hardy off Newton?

This is the game everyone circled when schedules were released in April. The return of Tony Romo makes it more interesting, but all eyes will be on the Cowboys defensive end.

Forcing a Romo moment.

Romo remains one of the game’s great gunslingers. He’s never met a throwing window he didn’t think he could zip a pass through. That has led to plenty of late-game drama – good and bad.

Linebacker play will be key

There might be more interesting matchups (start with Dez Bryant vs. Josh Norman), but this game could be decided by which team best stops the run. Both teams rank among the league’s top eight rushing offenses, with the Panthers’ Jonathan Stewart and Dallas’ Darren McFadden both coming off 100-yard games

 

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Houston Rockets vs. Memphis Grizzlies

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The Memphis Grizzlies invade the Toyota Center to take on the Houston Rockets tonight.

The Grizzlies had their four-game win streak snapped at San Antonio on Saturday and responded with a dominant 110-96 win over the Mavericks last night. Mike Conley led the way with 21 points and six assists, Jeff Green added 19 points and Marc Gasol had 15 points as the Grizzlies suffocated the Mavs with excellent defense, holding them to just 36 points in the first half to set up the easy win to improve to 8-7 on the season and 5-2 at home.

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The Rockets have lost six of their last seven and are coming off a 107-102 loss to the Knicks. James Harden led the way with 24 points and 10 assists, Terrence Jones added 18 points while Clint Capela added 16 points, but it wasn’t enough to get past the Knicks who were led by Kristaps Porzingis’ 24 points and seven blocks. Dwight Howard was rested for the game since it was the second game of a back to back set, but he is expected to return tonight.

In ATS trends, the Grizzlies are 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall and 4-1 ATS in their last five games playing on zero days rest, while the Rockets are 0-5 ATS in their last five games following a loss and 0-6 ATS in their last six home games.

Head to head, the Grizzlies are 5-2 ATS in their last meetings and the under is 10-4 in the last 14 meetings in Houston

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Nashville Predators vs. Buffalo Sabres

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The Nashville Predators roll into Western New York tonight to face the Buffalo Sabres as their trek away from home continues. It’s the first of two meetings between the Preds and Sabres; the other will take place on Saturday night back in Nashville.

It’s been three games since the Preds have been able to find the back of the net, having lost most recently to the New York Rangers on Monday night by a 3-0 final, but it hasn’t been for lack of trying. Nashville registered 31 shots on goal against the Rangers, but couldn’t beat the stellar play of goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

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The Predators were dealt a dose of reality on Monday night as they dropped a 3-0 decision to the Rangers and were shutout by Henrik Lundqvist for the third time in their last four tries. Nashville is having a strong start to the year but will need to continue their level of play if they are going to challenge for a division title or even one of the top three spots as some of the league’s best teams sit in front of them as Minnesota, St. Louis, Dallas, and Chicago are all in the fold in the Central. Nashville needs a rebound type game and against an offensively inept team like the Sabres they should have a good chance here to earn two points. Rinne will likely start as he will go up against Chad Johnson.

The Sabres are coming off back to back losses and sit in last place in the Atlantic division but in good time they will be back as a league power as they have some great pieces on the horizon. Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart are the future of this team and if they can land another top end prospect in this year’s draft it’ll go a long way to securing their future but for the time being they will be hard pressed to beat some of the league’s best and that’s where they find themselves here. Nashville has too much defensively for the Sabres to compete with and in the end I like the Preds to get the victory.

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Ottawa Senators at Dallas Stars

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The Senators look to slow down the West leading Stars in Dallas on Tuesday while the home side can make it six in a row with a victory.

The Ottawa Senators head into Dallas on Tuesday night looking to climb the standings in the Atlantic division and separate themselves from the rest of the pack as they currently sit in second spot and are nine points back of the Canadiens for first. Ottawa has had a pretty acceptable start to the year though if you ask them they’d like to be in a bit better position but thanks to the rest of the division minus the Panthers having a slow start as well they find themselves in a playoff spot at the moment and they should stay there moving forward. Craig Anderson is expected to get the start as he will go up against Kari Lehtonen. The Sens are 5-2-1 on the road this season while the Stars are 8-2 at home.

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The Dallas Stars were expected to push through to the league’s contenders this season but they have broken the door down and look like Cup threats at the moment as they are atop the Western Conference and lead a very talented Central division. Dallas brought in some big time pieces over the last season and a half and two of them get to face off against their former team here as Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky will do battle with the Sens Army.

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY: sportschatplace.com

Chicago Bulls at Portland Trail Blazers

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The Portland Trail Blazers (6-9) face off against the Chicago Bulls (8-4) tonight in the Moda Center at 7:00 PM.

The Blazers will look to win their third straight game after beating both Los Angeles teams over the weekend. The Bulls are hoping to get back on track after a 106-94 loss to the undefeated Golden State Warriors on Friday. Prior to that game, the Bulls had four consecutive victories.

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About the Bulls: 

  • Chicago saw a four-game winning streak end Friday night, when it lost 106-94 to the Golden State Warriors in Oakland. Jimmy Butler finished with 28 points and seven assists and Pau Gasol added 14 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in the loss
  • The Bulls played without point guard Derrick Rose, who was sidelined with a sprained left ankle. After missing the last two games, the former MVP is expected to return against the Blazers. The oft-injured All-Star already was playing with a protective mask because he fractured an orbital bone during training camp.
  • Rose had played in the Bulls’ first 10 games of the season.
  • The Bulls have been one of the NBA’s best early-season defensive teams. They rank second in field goal defense, holding opponents to 41.1 percent shooting, and second in effective field goal defense (45.7 percent
  • Joakim Noah needs 619 rebounds and 37 offensive rebounds to become the franchise leader in both categories. Michael Jordan is the Bulls’ all-time rebounding leader (5,836) and Horace Grant is the all-time offensive rebounding leader (1,888).

About the Blazers:

  • After dropping seven in a row, the Blazers have won their last two. The most recent came Sunday night in Los Angeles, where they defeated the Lakers 107-93.
  • Point guard Damian Lillard recorded 30 points, a career-high 13 assists and six rebounds in the win.
  • Lillard ranks among the NBA’s top 10 in scoring (fifth, 25.5 points per game) and assists (tied for seventh, 7.1 per game) and ranks second in 20-point, five-rebound games with 12.
  • Center Mason Plumlee finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds against the Lakes, recording a double-double for the second consecutive game. It’s just the fourth time in his career he’s logged double-doubles in consecutive games. … Plumlee, who is shooting 59 percent this season, ranks third in the NBA in field goal shooting.
  • Lillard and fellow backcourt mate CJ McCollum are averaging 45.6 points per game, the third-highest of any duo in the NBA.

In ATS trends, the Bulls are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games following a loss of more than 10 points and 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games overall, while the Blazers are 4-12-1 ATS in their last 17 games against a team with a winning record and 0-6 ATS in their last six against the Eastern Conference.

Head to head, the Bulls are 2-6 ATS in the last eight meetings overall and just 1-5 ATS in the last six meetings in Portland.

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Saint Louis Blues at Buffalo Sabres

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The St. Louis Blues and Buffalo Sabres meet Monday night at the First Niagara Center.

The young Buffalo Sabres are losing a bit of momentum after a very promising stretch and look to regain their footing with a three-game homestand that begins with Monday’s contest against the St. Louis Blues.

Buffalo had won five of six games before going winless in the last four (0-2-2) while managing only four goals during that span.Leading scorer Ryan O’Reilly has three goals in four games, but many of the other key offensive weapons have gone cold for the Sabres during their slide.

The Blues could use a boost as well after winning only two of their last six contests (2-3-1), including their seventh consecutive victory over Buffalo – 3-2 in a shootout on Thursday.

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The St. Louis Blues look for a strong road win after splitting their last 10 games. The St. Louis Blues are averaging 2.7 goals per game and are scoring on 17.1 percent of their power plays. Vladimir Tarasenko leads St. Louis with 13 goals, Alexander Steen has nine assists and Colton Parayko has 47 shots on goal. Defensively, the St. Louis Blues are allowing 2.5 goals per game and are killing 85 percent of their power play chances. Jake Allen has allowed 29 goals on 414 shots faced and Brian Elliott has given up 19 goals on 187 shots. Allen has given up eight goals in his last three games.

The Buffalo Sabres need a win here to snap a four-game losing streak. The Buffalo Sabres are averaging 2.1 goals per game and are scoring on 21.5 percent of their power plays. Ryan O’Reilly leads Buffalo with seven goals, Rasmus Ristolainen has eight assists and Jack Eichel has 67 shots on goal. Defensively, the Buffalo Sabres are allowing 2.7 goals per game and are killing 73.6 percent of their power play chances. Linus Ullmark has allowed 17 goals on 229 shots faced and Chad Johnson has given up 33 goals on 332 shots. Johnson has allowed six goals in his last three games. Mark Pysyk is doubtful with a lower-body injury.

The Blues are 57-19 in their last 76 vs. a team with a losing record and 7-3 in their last 10 road games. The Sabres are 22-48 in their last 70 home games and 15-46 in their last 61 vs. Western Conference. The Blues are 9-1 in the last 10 meetings in Buffalo and 17-2 in the last 19 meetings overall.

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Orlando Magic at Cleveland Cavaliers

 Orlando Magic at Cleveland CavaliersThe Cavaliers will try to finish 3-0 on their homestand tonight when they square off against the Orlando Magic for the first of four regular season matchups. Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Cleveland (10-3) is a perfect 7-0 at The Q this season and 27-1 dating back to January 19th of last season.

The Orlando Magic look for a big road win to where they can get back to a .500 record. The Orlando Magic are averaging 100.4 points on 42.3 percent shooting and allowing 100.8 points on 42 percent shooting. Evan Fournier is averaging 19.2 points and 4.2 rebounds while Nikola Vucevic is averaging 15.1 points and 8.5 rebounds. Tobias Harris is grabbing 8.3 rebounds and Victor Oladipo is dishing 3.7 assists.

The Orlando Magic are averaging 12.2 offensive rebounds, a trait that continues to keep them in games. The Magic now just need more consistent offense to string together some victories. The Magic have lost six of their last eight road games. C.J. Watson is questionable with a calf injury.

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The Cleveland Cavaliers look to build on a solid 10-3 start to the season. The Cleveland Cavaliers are averaging 103.9 points on 46.6 percent shooting and allowing 96.7 points on 42.9 percent shooting. LeBron James is averaging 26.6 points and 6.2 assists while Kevin Love is averaging 18.3 points and 12 rebounds. J.R. Smith is dishing 2.1 assists and Tristan Thompson is grabbing 9.8 rebounds. The Cleveland Cavaliers are shooting 34.9 percent from deep and have won eight of nine games when topping 100 points. The Cavs must continue to dig deep with the injuries continuing to pile up. The Cavs have not lost a home game all season. Mo Williams is out with a leg injury.

The Magic are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning S.U. record and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall. The Cavaliers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. NBA Southeast and 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games overall. The Magic are 0-4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings in Cleveland and 3-12-1 ATS in the last 16 meetings overall.

Last game: Cleveland took its second straight with a 109-97 win over Atlanta on Saturday.

Cavaliers’ probable starting lineup: 6-3 Matthew Dellavedova (7.3 ppg, 5.7 apg), 6-6 J.R. Smith (9.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg), 6-8 LeBron James (26.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 6.2 apg), 6-10 Kevin Love (18.2 ppg, 12.0 rpg) and 6-10 Tristan Thompson (7.7 ppg, 9.8 rpg,).

Magic’s probable starting lineup: 6-3 Elfrid Payton (10.7 ppg, 6.2 apg), 6-4 Victor Oladipo (13.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 3.7 apg), 6-7 Evan Fournier (19.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg), 6-9 Tobias Harris (14.9 ppg, 8.3 rpg) and 7-0 Nikola Vucevic (15.1 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.5 bpg).

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