- The Raptors need tonight’s game and probably get it, but they’ve lost six of seven to the Cavs, so Blackjack is taking the points.
- Pittsburgh should be pressing to score early and often, which will push the tempo.
- The Predators just haven’t given a consistent full-game effort yet, but expect that to change tonight.
Here we sit on a Thursday afternoon, brothers, getting ready for a stacked, important weekend for our team. We’ll have playoff games in the NBA and NHL, we’ll have a full weekend MLB slate and we have the Kentucky Derby on Saturday. It’s a big weekend, and we need to get in gear starting right now. There is no margin for error. There is no time for doubt. There is only time for winning. That’s what we do. It’s who we are, and today we show it yet again.
Cleveland Cavaliers at Toronto Raptors (-6.5)
6 p.m. ET
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
I’ve been as high on the Raptors coming into these playoffs as anyone out there. But Game 1 was an unmitigated disaster. They blew a double-digit lead, they could not buy a basket in the fourth quarter and, as usual, they had no answer for LeBron James. The most troublesome thing about the Raptors is they always seem to get away from what works in the regular season once May rolls around. The Raptors need this game and probably get it, but they’ve lost six of seven to the Cavs, so I’ll take the points.
THE PICK: Cleveland +6.5
Washington Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins (-177)
7 p.m. ET
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
The Pens are down 2-1 in this series heading into Game 4. The Capitals are trying desperately to exorcise their black-and-gold demons in this series. I think the Penguins even this thing up tonight, but I don’t know about laying -177 to get there. What I do think we see is a wide-open offensive shootout. These two usually score plenty of goals to begin with, and now without Tom Wilson on the ice due to his three-game suspension, I think it opens up even more. Pittsburgh should be pressing to score early and often, which will push the tempo.
THE PICK: Over 6
Nashville Predators at Winnipeg Jets (-135)
9:30 p.m. ET
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
I am not a believer in the theory that just because a team needs to win a game, it will win that game. Everyone is thinking the Predators have to have this one, but the money is split very closely between the two teams. The Jets have outplayed the Predators on the whole for the series, but Nashville has certainly had its moments at the beginning of Games 2 and 3, where it looked dominant. The Predators just haven’t given a consistent full-game effort yet. I think we see it tonight. They are just too talented to go down like this. I think we have a long series on our hands.
THE PICK: Nashville ML