NHL Picks: Canucks at Sharks

The Vancouver Canucks are in revenge-mode Monday as they look for a win against the red-hot San Jose Sharks.

 

Vancouver was blindsided by the Edmonton Oilers Saturday when the upstart Oilers scored two goals on their first two shots, eventually chasing Cory Schneider in what would turn into a 4-0 final. Tonight the Canucks attempt to bounce back against a Sharks team who are 11-1-4 at home and riding a four-game win streak.

 

The Canucks have usually played well in California and they have a nice following of fans that often make the trek but this is just a solo game and then it’s back home for three. Coach Alan Vigneault’s mission for his team is to get in, get the points and get out before anyone else gets hurt.

 

Mason Raymond (shoulder) is the latest Canuck to hit the injury report and after missing the morning skate, Raymond will watch tonight’s game from the press box.

 

Sports betting sites offer the Sharks as small home favorite but when playing on the road against the Sharks, Ducks or Kings off a road loss Vancouver has been a solid play, going 6-2-1 the past nine times and scoring 3.2 goals per game.

 

Vancouver is also “live” for a post-streak system that has produced 2 overs, 15 unders and a push the past 18 times with games averaging just 4.2 total goals.

 

The Canucks have confirmed Schneider will start against the Sharks and the new No. 1 has a 3-2-1 career record against San Jose, with a 6-3-2 road record in 2013. Antti Niemi makes his eighth-straight start for San Jose and he sports a 10-1-3 record at home with a microscopic 1.63 goals against average.

 

Niemi is 5-6-2 in his career against Vancouver but this Canucks lineup lacks the kind of punch that has put up such strong numbers over the past few seasons. Taking all things into account, the top play for us in tonight’s game is on the total.

Pick: Take the Canucks and Sharks Under 5 goals (+106)

 

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Astros open season with 8-2 win

The Houston Astros entered the 2013 season ranked No. 1 in category for “Most likely team to lose 100-plus games.” Baseball pundits will be singing different tunes Monday following an 8-2 win over the Texas Rangers.

The game was scoreless through the first three and-a-half innings but Houston scored two runs in the bottom of the third followed by a pair in the bottom of four. Houston took a 7-2 lead in the fifth and held on for its first victory of 2013.

Bud Norris gets the win and Erik Bedard was solid in 3.1 innings of relief. Seven different players had hits for Houston including Rick Ankiel, who blasted a three-run homer to blow the game wide open. Matt Harrison was tagged with the loss for Texas.

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MLB Tips and Trends – Texas Rangers at Houston Astros

It’s the dawn of a new era for the Astros as they kick-start the 2013 Major League Baseball season in a new division against the Texas Rangers.

 

Houston led the Majors with 107 losses in 2012 and oddsmakers are only projecting marginal improvements in this campaign but tonight’s starter, Bud Norris, gives the team a quality chance against most opponents.

 

Norris (7-13, 4.65 ERA) led the team in strikeouts and quality starts in 2012 and the fourth-year pitcher has a 3.51 ERA at home in 48 starts. The right-hander led the league with a 1.71 ERA in home games and a 4.8 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio. He faces a Rangers team who hit .269 against and opened last season with a 9-1 record in its first 10 road games.

 

It’s helped fuel a moneyline price of -165 on the road squad who are projected to win upwards of 88 games this year and challenge Los Angeles for the AL West title.

 

Baseball odds for the total show 8.5 Under (-115) and the Rangers opening day starter is Matt Harrison. The left-hander was 18-11 in 2012 with a 3.29 ERA and his team is an impressive 14-2 when he starts a series. Harrison also shows a strong 16-3 Sunday record and although he has struggled in division play (27-30), the Astros are a step down from the likes of Oakland and the LA Angels.

 

ODDS TO WIN THE 2013 AL WEST DIVISION

The Angels (-250) lead the charge followed by Texas (+250), Oakland (+550), Seattle (+1350) and then Houston (+10,000).

 

Futures for Houston’s win total hover just south of 60 and the team appears to be rolling with a ‘Moneyball’ theory, entering the year with the lowest payroll ($18.7 million) since the 2006 Florida Marlins ($15 million).

 

For what it’s worth, we could see the Astros winning at least 60 games this year, catching a few teams off-guard and taking advantage of the opportunities to face the bottom part of the rotation as opponents look-ahead to tougher matchups.

MLB Season Win Total Pick: Take the Astros Over 59 wins!

 

As for tonight’s game, our play is on the Rangers and Astros to stay under 8.5 runs. Harrison went 2-2 in his first four starts of 2012, pitching six-plus innings each time out and allowing just nine earned runs. Norris is as big a ‘homer’ as any pitcher in baseball and as the season begins, we’ll look to bank a winner with our first total.

Pick: Take the Rangers-Astros Under 8.5 (-115)

 

The Pick Sixty Sports team has been cashing winners with hockey and basketball picks all month long – Follow us on twitter and get in on the action! 

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