Good afternoon everyone, it's Chris Bengel back with you on this Tuesday. Have you been watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs? If not, you're missing out on some insane action.
On Monday, the Colorado Avalanche rallied back from a 4-2 third period deficit to win 6-5 in overtime. Now the Avalanche are headed to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2001. Some of the first years I remember watching hockey was when those early 2000s Avalanche teams, led by Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic, were making deep postseason runs. That was a fun era of hockey.
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All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
The Hot Ticket
Rangers vs. Lightning, 8 p.m. | TV: ESPN
- Key Trend: The Lightning are 38-15 in their last 53 games as a home favorite
- The Pick: Lightning (-180)
The Lightning finally were able to break through in this series and take Game 3 thanks a goal in the final minute from winger Ondrej Palat. If you take out Game 1, when the Rangers put up six goals, Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy has been strong in net with just five goals surrendered in Games 2 and 3.
There's no way around the Rangers being a dangerous offensive unit. However, the Lightning should be playing with quite a bit of confidence after scoring three unanswered goals to win Game 3. Lightning star Nikita Kucherov couldn't get anything going in Game 1 despite registering seven shots. Now he's recorded two goals and three assists over the past two games. I expect Kucherov to continue his stellar level of play and appear on the stat sheet once again in Game 4.
Back the Lightning in a spot where they almost have to win with the series shifting to New York for Game 5.
Cubs vs. Orioles, 7:05 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Cubs (-115): -- Why are the Cubs only a slight favorite at -115 odds against an Orioles team that has lost three of their last four games and has a severe disadvantage in the pitching matchup? The Orioles are sending right-hander Kyle Bradish to the mound. He has a 1-3 record, a 6.82 ERA and has given up at least four runs in four of his last six starts.
Meanwhile, Cubs starter Keegan Thompson, despite shifting between being a starter and a reliever, enters Tuesday's start with a 6-0 record to go along with a 1.99 ERA. The right-hander has only yielded four runs in his last three starts, which includes wins over the Cardinals and White Sox. The Cubs are also one of the better hitting teams in the majors, ranking eighth in hits (452), 14th in home runs (55) and third in walks (197).
When facing a pitcher with a rocky track record like Bradish, that's something that definitely leads me to believe that this is a very winnable road game for the Cubs.
Key Trend: The Cubs are 31-15 in their last 46 interleague road games against a team with a losing record
Athletics at Braves, 7:20 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Kyle Wright Over 5.5 strikeouts (-125) -- The Athletics have the third-fewest wins in the majors and have lost nine of their last 10 games. Obviously, betting the Braves moneyline is a winning play, but the odds are too elevated for my liking at -250. However, there's some easy money to be made on Kyle Wright's strikeout prop.
Wright is 5-3 with a team-low 2.41 ERA and team-high 66 strikeouts. The Braves right-hander has struck out at least six batters in two of his last four starts. In addition, Wright had five strikeouts in each of the other two games in which he didn't register six strikeouts. It also helps that the Athletics have struck out 485 times, which is sixth-most in the league.
Key Trend: Kyle Wright has recorded at least six strikeouts in two of his last four starts