Good afternoon everyone, it's Chris Bengel with you on this Tuesday. For the first time in quite a while, we were limited to plays on the diamond last night -- and the rain certainly didn't do us any favors.
Tuesday brings to the return of both the NBA and NHL playoffs, so there's going to be no shortage of excitement. It's going be quite the week as we also have the Preakness Stakes to look forward to this weekend.
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I've got picks across three different sports tonight, so let's not waste any time and dive right into them!
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
The Hot Ticket
- Key Trend: The Heat are 8-1 ATS in their last nine home games
- The Pick: Heat -2 (-110)
This isn't exactly the Eastern Conference Finals I thought we'd be seeing. It seemed as though the Bucks were destined to return to play for a spot in the NBA Finals. Still, this is going to be a fantastic series between the Heat and Celtics.
The Heat have proved to be an unstoppable force when playing on their home floor. Throughout the 2022 postseason, Miami has a perfect 5-0 mark when playing at FTX Arena. The defense has been strong for Miami in the playoffs, as they've allowed just 97.5 points-per-game, which is good for first in the entire 16-team postseason field. In addition, Miami is holding their opponents to a 33.2 percent shooting clip from three.
The Heat will be without starting point guard Kyle Lowry once again tonight. However, he missed the majority of the series against the Sixers and Gabe Vincent gave Miami strong minutes at the point guard spot. Look for Jimmy Butler to continue to have the offense run through him and thrive despite Boston's length. The Heat should cover this very small number.
Lightning at Panthers, 7 p.m. | TV: TNT
The Pick: Panthers (-165): -- The Battle of Florida returns for the second consecutive installment of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Both the Panthers and Lightning were tested in the opening round. The Capitals gave the Panthers everything they could handle, but the Panthers will able to put the series away in six games. Meanwhile, the Maple Leafs had a 3-2 series lead over the Lightning, but Tampa Bay's championship pedigree shined through in Games 6 and 7.
There's no secret that the winner of this series easily could be headed to the Stanley Cup Final. It's going to be a closely contested series, but it's impossible to go against the Panthers in this spot. Florida has been an absolute juggernaut at home this season. The Panthers own a 46-8 record over their last 54 games when they're a home favorite. In addition, the Panthers are 48-11 in their last 59 overall home games.
It's worth noting that the Panthers closed out their series against the Capitals on Friday, so they've had an extra day of rest on the Lightning. Over their last eight games, Florida is 7-1 when playing on three days rest. The Lightning could be a tad tired and this is a group that has been the second-most penalized team in the playoffs. The Panthers' depth will just be too much for the Lightning to overcome.
Key Trend: The Panthers are 46-8 in their last 54 games as a home favorite
Angels at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Angels (-130) -- In his last time on the mound, Angels starting pitcher Reid Detmers put together a performance for the ages as he tossed a no-hitter against the Rays. Even in the no-hitter, Detmers only recorded three strikeouts due to the fact that he's a pitcher that throws to contact. Over his last four starts, he's allowed two runs or less in three of those games. I believed that those trends are likely to continue as Detmers toes the rubber against the Rangers.
The Rangers rank 28th out of 30 teams across Major League Baseball in batting average with just a .216 average this season. Texas has also only scored 138 runs, which is good for 21st in the league. This is the type of lineup that is going to have to slug a few home runs if they want to topple Detmers and a lineup that features Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani and Anthony Rendon. It also doesn't hurt that the Angels have scored 17 runs in their last three games.
Finally, Rangers starting pitcher Taylor Hearn hasn't been the most dominant throughout the first two months of the season. Hearn is the owner of a 5.26 ERA and hasn't thrown more than five innings in any of his starts. Now, Hearn has pitched well across his last two starts, but prior to that, the left-hander had yielded nine runs in two starts. Hearn has also walked at least three batters in three of his last four starts, which leads me to believe that the Angels will have plenty of baserunners in this contest. Combine that with Detmers pitching well and I'll take the Angels side in a heartbeat.
Key Trend: The Angels are 10-1 in their last 11 road games against a left-handed starter