Today's Top Picks: Best bet for Bucks-Raptors, plus why Sharks-Blues is going seven games
Also, watch SportsLine on CBS Sports HQ live at 6 p.m. ET for all today's best bets
In Tuesday playoff action across the NBA and NHL, there is officially only one elimination game. The San Jose Sharks are down 3-2 to the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs. It's not unfamiliar territory for the Sharks after rallying back from a 3-2 deficit against the Vegas Golden Knights earlier in the playoffs, but the Blues' dominance in Game 5 -- breaking a streak of back-and-forth winners in the series -- has set up a chance to clinch on home ice.
While Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals in the NBA isn't technically an elimination game, it carries the impression of one, or at least the last chance to entertain the idea that Toronto might win the series. The Raptors needed two overtimes to put Milwaukee away in Game 3, and if they aren't able to repeat that result with a win in Game 4 then this series is almost certainly set to conclude in Game 5 back in Fiserv Forum.
On the other hand, a second straight Toronto win totally resets the series. Suddenly, the Milwaukee team that had the upper hand for long stretches of play in Games 1-3 is back to all square with a best-of-three against a Raptors team that just survived a knock-down, drag-out series with the Sixers. So it's not an elimination game, but it's a stakes-changing Game 4 for sure.
Here are two plays I like for Tuesday night in NBA and NHL playoff action, plus a golf pick for the weekend. All odds via Westgate
1. Milwaukee Bucks at Toronto Raptors: Bucks -3
It just doesn't seem likely that Giannis Antetokounmpo is going to have the same kind of limited production as he did in Game 3, and when you consider Milwaukee's absurd run against the spread in these playoffs it's fair to wonder if the Bucks' stars were just due for an off night. This team has been too consistent to expect another off night, and I think how close Milwaukee came to winning with a mediocre performance in Game 3 plays as much of a role in the Bucks being favored as Kawhi Leonard's injury.
The SportsLine Projection Model has simulated the Bucks-Raptors matchup 10,000 times, and while the model has a strong 54 percent play on the spread, its strongest pick is on the total, which is cashing in 61 percent of simulations. Check out those picks over at SportsLine.
2. San Jose Sharks at St. Louis Blues: Sharks +160
This series, and San Jose's entire playoff run, has been too wild to think it's going to come to an end here in Game 6. The Sharks lost back-to-back games for the first time in the series and I think the resiliency this group has shown powers a rally back on Tuesday night after the 5-0 blowout loss. The Western Conference finals have seemed destined for a Game 7, and I hope the Sharks are able to force it with their second road win of the series.
Switching to MLB, DFS millionaire Mike McClure is sharing his optimal tournament lineups for Tuesday's action, including going with the hot bat of Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez. You can find his tournament lineups only at SportsLine.
3. Charles Schwab Challenge: Ian Poulter (40-1) to win
This is a great opportunity to fade some of the players that might still be mentally exhausted from dealing with the brute that is Bethpage Black for four rounds. Poulter not only has some good course experience here at Colonial with a couple top-10 finishes, he has extra rest after missing the cut at the PGA Championship! You don't need to be an elite driver of the golf ball to separate yourself from the field here, and that's what opens up the options for picks to win.
The SportsLine Projection Model has simulated the Charles Schwab Challenge and landed on some huge surprises in the top 10. Check out the computer's projections only at SportsLine.
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