Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, April 20, 2016 at 8:29 PM
OUR NBA PLAYOFF NOTEBOOK - THREE MORE SERIES RESUME TONIGHT ...PLUS THE NFL DRAFT UPDATE FEATURES THE TOP DEFENSIVE LINEMEN, BEST SAFETIES
Is the NBA's opening round of the playoffs shaping up to be more a matter of men versus mice? After all, the heavy-hitters - a/k/a big betting favorites - rolled through the first four days/nights of post-season play with chalk-eaters going 9-4 ATS (against the spread) following Tuesday's action.
Hey, we advised you days ago that there could be a plethora of sweeps in Round I and so nobody should really be surprised if half the best-of-seven series are over-and-out after four games nor should anyone be surprised that double-digit betting favorites covered four-of-six out of the post-season starting gate.
The "haves" and the "have nots" have been made clear ... just check out what the series odds prices were at the start of this first round:
Eastern Conference -
Cleveland - 2500; Detroit + 1000
Toronto - 400; Indiana + 320
Miami - 150; Charlotte + 130
Atlanta - 170; Boston + 150
Western Conference -
Golden State - 8500; Houston + 2000
San Antonio - 13000; Memphis + 2500
Oklahoma City - 4000; Dallas + 1500
Los Angeles Clippers - 400; Portland + 320
In other NBA Playoff News & Notes ...
It sure looks as if the above-mentioned Pacers vs. Raptors series in the East (Game 3 is tonight in Indianapolis) could well be the best of the first-round bunch after Indy nabbed its road split in the first two games North of the Border. The $64,000 question then is when will Toronto's guards DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry decide to join the party? The Raptors' backcourt shot a combined 9-of-31 from the floor for 28 points in the 98-87 win/cover against 8-point pup Indiana in Game 2 after they teamed up to shoot 8-of-32 from the field for 25 points in the 100-90 Game 1 loss ... a big-time Jim Hurley Network winner! ...
Finally, out West no telling if Golden State's mega-star Steph Curry (ankle) will play in this evening's Game 3 bash in Houston - the Warriors have won/covered both games so far in this series and did so without Curry in Game 2 - but anything close to another 34-point, 5-assist game here by "Splash Brother" mate Klay Thompson should be enough for G-State to put a three games-to-none stranglehold on this series. The Warriors right now are listed as a 5.5-point betting favorite tonight. P.S., did anyone notice that Curry "fill-in" Shaun Livingston chipped in with 16 points and 6 assists in 29 minutes as a starter?
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers/Bloggers are all geared up for the NBA Playoffs that continue to roll on this week/this month - just go online right here or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 each/every day during these NBA Playoffs and we'll send you straight into the winner's circle or sign up now for the entire NBA Playoffs. Plus, remember there's Major-League Baseball on tap every day and so the time is just right to cash in big this spring as the NBA Playoffs and Baseball pounds out major profits!
THE NFL DRAFT REPORT
Our extensive Jim Sez NFL Draft coverage rolls on with a look at the top incoming Defensive Tackles and Defensive Ends and then the best Safeties - remember we'll have our Jim Sez NFL Mock Draft next week, so don't miss out:
JOEY BOSA, DE, Ohio State - Once upon a time there was a strong feeling that this Buckeyes great (see 26 career sacks) would be the numero uno pick in this year's NFL Draft but recent events/trades have changed that and so instead expect the 6-foot-5, 270-pounder to go somewhere in the top six picks and don't be shocked if some marquee team trades up for 'em ... perhaps the Pittsburgh Steelers? Otherwise, Bosa could wind up with Dallas at the #4 choice.
DEFOREST BUCKNER, DE, Oregon - At 6-feet-7, 292 pounds, this behemoth is a game-changer who faced constant double- and triple-teams in his senior season and yet still racked up 10.5 sacks and some 17 tackles for losses. The NFL folks say he's gonna be nabbed somewhere in the top 10 and he might sneak into the top five should some team see his pass-rush potential (he needs to fine-tune his skills in fending off initial blocks). Let's look for Buckner to go to San Francisco at pick #7.
SHAQ LAWSON, DE, Clemson - Solid 2015 season really elevated his stock as the former Tigers' star collected 12.5 sacks and 24.5 TFL (tackles for losses) en route to a near-perfect season for this ACC squad. There's debate as to whether or not Lawson climbs into the draft's top 10 selections and we'll say - for now -- he goes at pick #10 to the New York Giants.
SHELDON RANKINS, DT, Louisville - The top D-tackle on the board is listed at 6-foot-1, 300 pounds and should be a mid- first-round selection that gets the call to the stage on his birthday (he's turning 22). Rankins has active hands and quick feet and is considered one of the best run defenders in recent draft history. Could wind up with Tennessee at pick #15 that was acquired from the Los Angeles Rams in that mega-deal from a week ago.
A'SHAWN ROBINSON, DT, Alabama - A two-year starter and star for the Crimson Tide, this 6-foot-4, 307-pounder also is slated to go somewhere in the middle of Round I. Robinson possesses super-strong hands but remains a tad raw as a pass rusher. How about Indianapolis at #18 making this 'Bama star its choice?
ROBERT NKEMDICHE, DT, Ole Miss - Oft-troubled star never did quite live up to his pre-college hype but still ranks among the top 25-to-30 players in this year's draft and should get nabbed somewhere near the back portion of Round I. Tends to play a bit out of control but a real gem with great size/strength at 6-3, 295. Early feel is Nkemdiche could be headed to Pittsburgh at pick #25 should that aforementioned alleged deal for Bosa fall through on draft night.
JALEN RAMSEY, FS, Florida State - Many draft board have this 6-foot-1, 210-pounder as the second- or third-best overall prospect in this man's draft and he can cover as well as make up ground in a heartbeat with smooth running style. Might drop as far down as #5 with Jacksonville hitting the lottery here.
KEANU NEAL, FS, Florida - Most draftniks believe he'll be a second-round selection after registering 96 tackles (third-best on last year's Gators) despite missing a pair of games with hamstring woes. Likely mid second-rounder with Detroit and/or Atlanta interested.
VONN BELL, FS, Ohio State - This 5-foot-11, 200-pounder needs some tutoring when it comes to his tackling skills but considered an excellent nickel safety. Might be on the Indianapolis Colts' second-round radar.
NOTE: Catch our NBA Playoff Update plus more NFL Draft Notes in tomorrow's edition of Jim Sez.