Thursday, January 26

Luka Doncic will probably shoot better in Game 2, but so will the Warriors, plus other best bets for Friday

Happy Friday, fine people of the internet! It’s Tyler Sullivan here to lead you into the weekend and boy am I in a good mood. Not only did my Celtics bounce back in Game 2 to even up the Eastern Conference Finals last night, but my fiancée won tickets for us to see Paul McCartney at Fenway Park in a few weeks this morning. Needless to say, I’m floating. 

Now, I’ll try to bring that good juju into our Friday picks, where we are again jam-packed with action ranging from the NBA and NHL playoffs, along with a full slate of MLB to take in. Before we get to the picks, however, let’s see what’s making headlines around the sports landscape. 

Alright, let’s dive in to the picks below, but first here’s one last reminder: head over to for the best Preakness Stakes picks ahead of the race tomorrow night.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

The Hot Ticket

Mavericks at Warriors, 9 p.m. | TV: TNT

Latest Odds:

Golden State Warriors

  • Key Trend: Warriors are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 home games and the Mavs are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games
  • The Pick: Warriors -6 (-110)

Golden State put together a convincing 25-point win over the Mavs in Game 1 and folks may think that there’s a regression earmarked for Game 2 that favors Dallas. After all, Luka Doncic only shot 6-18 from the field and 3-10 from deep in the opening game of this series, and it’s highly unlikely he rolls out back-to-back inefficient games. 

However, I also think the Warriors could be more efficient shooting the ball. Golden State had seven double-digit scorers in Game 1, but Steph Curry only shot 43% from the field and 33% from beyond the arch. Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole also shot just 25% from three. Similar to Doncic, the pillars to this Warriors team will likely shoot the ball better in Game 2, which has us laying the points tonight.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Projection Model and I are riding the same wave tonight, as it’s laying the points with Golden State. To see where the simulations land on the total, head on over to SportsLine. 

The Picks

Getty Images


Oilers at Flames, 10:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN

Latest Odds:

Calgary Flames

The Pick: Flames (-170) — The 9-6 explosion in Game 1 between these two teams may suggest that it’ll be a tightly contested series, but if you peel the initial game of the Battle of Alberta back you’ll find that Calgary had more of an edge than even the nine goals would suggest. The Flames outshot the Oilers 48-28 and Calgary was able to run goaltender Mike Smith off the ice after he allowed three goals on 10 shots. Smith is set to get the start again in Game 2, which should be music to Calgary’s ears. 

The Flames may also be getting a boost in this matchup with the possible return of defenseman Chris Tanev. He has missed the past two games with an undisclosed injury but did skate on Thursday. If Calgary can inject a top-four defenseman back into their lineup, that creates solid value here. 

Key Trend: Flames are 25-9 in their last 34 home games.


Rays at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV

Latest Odds:

Tampa Bay Rays

The Pick: Rays (-130) — This is your classic letdown game for the Orioles after Anthony Santander knocked a three-run homer in the ninth to walk it off against the Yankees on Thursday. Baltimore is 7-20 in their last 27 games following a win and will begin a weekend set with a rested Rays club after they had Thursday off. That rest, coupled with the Orioles using five different arms out of the pen on Thursday after starter Bruce Zimmermann went five innings, will very well be the difference-maker for Tampa Bay, who’ll be tapping Jalen Beeks and his 1.72 ERA as the opener.

Did we also mention that the Rays have won 15 straight against Baltimore?

Key Trend: Rays are 9-3 in their last 12 road games.

Cardinals at Pirates, 6:25 p.m. | TV: Apple TV

Latest Odds:

St. Louis Cardinals

The Pick: Cardinals (-150) — St. Louis will be sending Adam Wainwright, sporting a 3.15 ERA, to the mound against Pittsburgh on Friday night. More recently, Wainwright has been dialed in, owning a 1.38 ERA over his last two starts with just four total hits. Specifically against the Pirates, the 40-year-old hurler has dominated, as he’s won nine consecutive starts,. That includes a six-inning shutout performance back on Opening Day. Safely ride the Wainwright wave tonight. 

Key Trend: Pirates are 0-7 in their last seven games following an off day.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Have the itch to swing for the fences? SportsLine has a four-leg parlay for tonight’s MLB action that will pay over 11-to-1.

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