Vegas Sports Masters Blog
Back to Blog Home…

Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, April 28, 2019 at 12:00 AM









You had better believe this is a different type of NBA Playoffs than any we’ve seen the past decade or so:

After all, LeBron James is nowhere to be found after he marched his way to eight consecutive NBA Finals as a member of the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers – that’s four NBA Finals appearances with each team and three total titles for The King – and so these days it’s a mad scramble to win the Eastern Conference while it could well be a case of “status quo” in the NBA’s Western Conference … especially if the two-time defending champion/three-times-in-four-years champion Golden State Warriors are gonna be getting those favorable whistles from the zebras.

Wow, are we zoomed in on how the refs are gonna call Tuesday night’s Game 2 between the Houston Rockets and the aforementioned Warriors after all the shenanigans in Sunday’s wild/wacky 104-100 non-cover win by G-State!

We’ll get to our Monday / Tuesday game previews in a few moments time, but first let’s tie up some loose ends from Round I that finally finished up this pastSaturday night in Denver:

Obviously, we’re off-and-runnin’ now with the second round (a/k/a conference semifinals) here after the higher seeds all survived and advanced from Round I but there was one priced underdog that cashed as the West’s third-seeded Portland Trail Blazers (+ 150) bested Oklahoma City. Otherwise, Philadelphia (- 630), Toronto (- 1160), Golden State (- 20,000), Denver (- 275), Boston (- 480), Milwaukee (- 5000) and Houston (- 320) all bagged first-round series wins as betting favorites.


And now hear this …

Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers keep banging out loads of winners in this year’s NBA Playoffs with action each/every night this week, so make sure you’re cashin’ all post-season long plus get all the daily Major-League Baseball action too right here at or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. Get in the winner’s circle today!




Tonight, it’s …

PHILADELPHIA at TORONTO – 8 p.m. ET, TNT / Raptors lead series 1-0

Count us among the folks that wondered aloud why the Toronto Raptors entered this best-of-seven playoff series as heavy-duty – 310 betting favorites (and that was up from an opening price tag of – 225) … guess we don’t have to wonder anymore!

Between mega-star Kawhi Leonard’s career-high 45 points – he canned 16-of-22 field-goal attempts, for goodness sakes! – and the fact the Raptors once made 13 consecutive shots in the first half of Game 1 and ran off a 10-0 scoring spree in the second half, ‘ya gotta say “mission accomplished” for first-year head coach Nick Nurse’s squad.

If you’re the Sixers, then take comfort in the fact Philly’s not lost back-to-back spread results in its last 10 games and C Joel Embiid has to shoot it better than 5-of-18 from the floor here, right?


Here’s the game-by-game playoff update between the 76ers and the Raptors. Note home teams are in CAPS below:

DATE                      WINNER                 SPREAD          LOSER                     SCORE

4-27                        TORONTO             - 6.5                Philadelphia          108-95


On Tuesday, it’s …

BOSTON at MILWAUKEE – 8 p.m. ET, TNT / Celtics lead series 1-0

Forget a sense of urgency here in Game 2 for the East’s top-seeded Bucks … this is downright desperation time already!

Milwaukee – which banged out a 51-32-3 ATS (against the spread) mark while entering Sunday’s series opener against the Celtics – was scalped in broad daylight in that humbling/bumbling 112-90 home loss in Game 1 and it wasn’t all the fault of MVP frontrunner Giannis Antetokounmpo (see 22 points on 7-of-21 FG shooting) as the fact is the Bucks shot a woeful 31-of-89 from the field and missed 26-of-39 triples.
Hey, maybe the up-and-down season for the Celtics is in the proverbial rear-view mirror ‘cause this Boston bunch is now 4-0-1 spreadwise in this post-season and PG Kyrie Irving (26 points / 11 assists in Game 1) is playing a whole lot better than “Uncle Drew” ever did!


Here’s the game-by-game playoff update between the Celtics and the Bucks. Note home teams are in CAPS below:

DATE                      WINNER                 SPREAD          LOSER                     SCORE

4-28                        Boston                   + 8                   MILWAUKEE         112-90





Tonight, it’s …

PORTLAND at DENVER – approximately 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT / Game 1

The smarty pants in Las Vegas have the West’s second-seeded Nuggets as modest – 145 betting favorites here to cop this best-of-seven set but ask yourself this question:

Is Denver really gonna be able to produce an “A” game here in Game 1 after playing seven exhausting playoff tilts against the San Antonio Spurs in Round I?

No doubt that Mike Malone’s club has been toughened up by capturing Game 7 against the Spurs the other night but getting handle on Portland’s exquisite backcourt combo of Damian Lillard (averaged 33 ppg in that five-game series win against Okie City) and CJ McCollum (he’s averaging 24.4 ppg this post-season) will be a tall task but the flip side says Denver C Nikola Jokic (averaging 23.1 ppg / 12.1 rpg / 9.1 apg versus San Ant) is playing the best ball of his career and there may not be enough healthy bodies on Portland’s side to handle him here.

A couple of spread stats here: Portland’s 48-39 versus the numbers overall this season; Denver’s 45-44 versus the vig.


Here’s the game-by-game history this season between the Trail Blazers and the Nuggets. Note home teams are in CAPS below:

DATE                      WINNER                 SPREAD          LOSER                     SCORE

11-30                     Denver                   + 2                   PORTLAND            113-112

1-13                        DENVER                 - 4.5                Portland                 116-113

4-5                          DENVER                 - 6                   Portland                 119-110

4-7                          PORTLAND            - 8.5                Denver                   115-108



On Tuesday, it’s …

HOUSTON at GOLDEN STATE – approximately 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT / Warriors lead series 1-0

Where does one begin?

The Golden State Warriors “held serve” with that controversial Game 1 non-cover win 104-100 but all the talk following that matinee tilt revolved around whistles that didn’t exactly go Houston’s way whether you’re talking Warriors’ players jumping into James Harden’s “landing space” or possibly/likely fouling Chris Paul on a made triple late in the third quarter that instead befitted G-State after a pair of technical fouls were called on the Rockets.

In any event, you could say Game 1 was one that “got away” from a Rockets team that canned just 14-of-47 triples – sounds a lot like Game 7 in last year’s Western Conference Finals, doesn’t it? – and now here’s Harden and Paul (they made just 14 FG between ‘em) having to regain their composure and hope Dubs’ star Kevin Durant (just 11-of-25 FGs in Game 1 but for 35 points) doesn’t bust ‘em with one of those half-a-hundred point performances.

Word to the wise here: The Rockets have to put the referees’ shoddy showing in Game 1 behind ‘em … or else this could get ugly in a hurry!


Here’s the game-by-game playoff update between the Rockets and the Warriors. Note home teams are in CAPS below:

DATE                      WINNER                 SPREAD          LOSER                     SCORE

4-28                        GOLDEN ST            -6.5                 Houston                 104-100




The New York Yankees were supposed to be a 97- or 98- win team here in the 2019 Major-League Baseball season – and most folks forecasted a World Series appearance for the first time since 2009.

Okay, so maybe the Yankees’ 17-11 record – fifth-best in the bigs at this very moment – doesn’t seem like anything special until you realize that DH Giancarlo Stanton has played in three games, 3B Miguel Andujar also has played in just three games, ace RHP Luis Severino has not thrown a single pitch yet and there’s been as many as 15 regulars on the Injured List and – at times – many of them on that IL at the same time.

So, maybe it’s time for the “all-knowing” Yankee fans to cut second-year manager Aaron Boone a break: The skipper that most Yankees fans love to hate has guided his crew to wins in 11 of their last 13 games including a weekend sweep in San Francisco. Okay, so another Yank – versatile INF DJ LeMahieu (knee) -- was dinged up in Sunday’s 11-5 win that starred C Gary Sanchez and 2B/SS Gleyber Torres as each whacked two-run dingers but this is one heckuva story for a Yankees team that has not resembled what they thought they’d be putting on the field in 2019.

C’mon, no noise about beating crummy teams – three in a row against Kansas City following a series-starting loss, three out of four in Anaheim and then the sweep in San Fran – this Yankees’ club is cashing left-and-right and doing it with guys named Tauchman, Wade, Kahnle and German.

As some might say, Damn Yankees.



NOTE: There’s MLB, NBA and NFL News & Notes all this week right here in the Jim Sez columns.



Join the discussion


Forgot password

Keep me logged in