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GameDay Predictions, Tues, Dec 17: NBA, NHL, NCAAB

The Oklahoma City Thunder are streaking and look for their seventh consecutive victory when they visit the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday. Oklahoma City has won 14 of its past 15 games and the 19-4 start ties for second-best in franchise history, topped only by the 1993-94 Seattle SuperSonics’ 20-3 run. Denver has won 10 of its last 13 games. Denver is five games above. 500 in the tough Western Conference but there are still a lot of people unsure how to measure the club. Here’s one way: Nuggets PG Ty Lawson had 29 points and eight assists in last month’s loss to Oklahoma City — and they still lost.

The Winnipeg Jets conclude a brief two-game road trip Tuesday against the lowly Buffalo Sabres. The Jets, who have won five of their last seven away from home, face a Sabres team that is 4-12-2 in its own building. Buffalo has just two wins in its last 12 games (2-8-2) but their goalie, Ryan Miller, has posted a .929 save percentage in his last five appearances and a .921 mark on the season but is just 6-17-0 as the team struggles to produce offense.

Like many schools, Louisville is adjusting to this season’s increased enforcement of hand-checking rules, resulting in more man and zone looks than the trapping and pressing that worked so well during last year’s championship run. The sixth-ranked Cardinals (9-1) overcame the absence of injured point guard Chris Jones (possible return tonight) with impressive contributions all around in beating Western Kentucky on Saturday. Louisville’s next step is continuing that teamwork against Missouri State, which returns nine lettermen and five starters. The Bears’ only loss came against Virginia (83-63).

Sports Predictions, Wed, Dec 4, NBA, NFL

After beating the NBA-best Indiana Pacers, the Portland Trail Blazers host another league powerhouse when the Oklahoma City Thunder visit Wednesday. Oklahoma City has won eight in a row, most recently edging the Kings in Sacramento on Tuesday night. NBA leading scorer Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 27 points and 11 boards. Portland’s 15-3 start is its best since 1998-99 but Oklahoma City is 10-2 over the last three seasons against the Blazers and has won seven in a row. Durant is so hot, not sure anything can slow him down.

The Houston Texans’ franchise-record losing streak is up to 10 games, and even Thursday’s trip to Jacksonville no longer seems like an easy win for the defending AFC South champions. The Texans let one slip away Sunday, falling 34-31 to visiting New England after leading by 10 at halftime and being up by three in the fourth quarter. Jacksonville rallied for a 32-28 win at Cleveland last week, its third win in the last four games after dropping eight straight to start the season. . Statistically, the Texans should be better than their 2-10 record – they rank 10th in total offense and third in total defense – but a minus-12 turnover margin contributes to their ranking 29th in scoring offense and 27th in scoring defense. Jacksonville has recorded eight takeaways in the last four games, matching the total from its first eight contests.

GameDay Predictions: Tues, Dec 3, NBA, NCAAB

Duke hosts Michigan in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday night with hopes of continuing one streak that goes back 13 years while avoiding another that extends even longer. A win by the No. 22 Wolverines would snap the 10th-ranked Blue Devils’ much-hyped streak of 106 consecutive home wins against non-conference opponents that began in November 2000. It would also give Duke consecutive non-conference losses for the first time since November 1999. And you have to go back to ’08 for the last time the Wolverines beat Duke, so tonight is NOT the night… or is it?

After sweeping a six-game homestand, the Oklahoma City Thunder hit the road looking for their eighth straight win in Sacramento against the Kings. Oklahoma City rode Kevin Durant’s first triple-double of the season to its latest win, knocking off Minnesota on Sunday to improve to 9-0 at home. The Kings have developed a penchant for falling way behind in games before battling back to make things interesting but continue to come up short. That won’t be good enough against Kevin Durant. Durant is the first player since Michael Jordan in 1998 to finish with at least 30 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, four steals and four blocks in a game.

GameDay Predictions: Tues, Nov 26, NBA, NCAAB

The Golden State Warriors are dealing with a three-game losing streak and questions about the depth of their roster with Andre Iguodala out of the lineup. The Warriors will look to get back to their high-scoring ways when they visit the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday. The Pelicans had a three-game winning streak come to a screeching halt in San Antonio on Monday, shooting 38.1 percent in a 112-93 setback.

College basketball in a Cancun casino?? (True: Watch it on ESPN tonight). Now I have heard everything. With its offense clicking on all cylinders, #10 Wisconsin is on the verge of its best start in 20 seasons though they could be in for a stiff test against defensive-minded and also unbeaten Saint Louis at the Cancun Challenge on Tuesday night.

Wichita State hasn’t been troubled very much this season. That may change against BYU when the No. 12 Shockers overcome the high-scoring Cougars in the championship game of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City on Tuesday night. Wichita State (6-0) is beating opponents by an average of 22.0 points, while limiting them to 39.9 percent shooting — 27.7 from beyond the arc. BYU (5-1) on the other hand averages 93.2 points while shooting 48.0 percent — 38.2 from behind the arc. The Cougars hit 10 of 12 from 3-point range in the second half alone, in their last contest.

Tues, Nov 19 2013 Predictions: NCAAB, NBA, NHL

Watch the Memphis-Oklahoma game if you want but I picked this one. And sure UNLV basketball has beaten Arizona their last two meetings and sure, UNLV has the longer, storied history but that’s not what’s going down tonight. In every category Arizona is levels above UNLV this year and while the Vegas line favors Nevada by 4, I’m going the other way.

Two teams in the midst of losing streaks will look to right their respective ships when the Phoenix Suns visit the Sacramento Kings in the first half of a home-and-home showdown. And I’m going to make this simple: Both the Suns and Kings are looking sad so far this year so the only advantage each has is being at home.

The Colorado Avalanche were the feel-good story during a sizzling 13-game start to the season but have dropped three straight heading into Tuesday’s matchup with the visiting Chicago Blackhawks. Chicago rebounded from a 7-2 thrashing in Nashville on Saturday night with a dominant performance in a 5-1 drubbing of visiting San Jose on Sunday behind two goals from Patrick Sharp. It marked the last home game this month for the Blackhawks, who will kick off a seven-game, 12-day road trip.

Tues, Nov 12, 2013: NHL, NBA, NCAAB

Everything favors the San Jose Sharks tonight and they have earned a point in four of their last five games but have been unable to secure a victory. San Jose looks to halt its winless streak when it visits the Calgary Flames on Tuesday. Calgary is kicking off a three-game homestand after concluding its four-game road trip with three straight losses and will face an extravaganza of shots and goals from the Sharks — even at home.

The Los Angeles Lakers attempt to bounce back from a miserable performance when they host the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday. Los Angeles gave up 47 first-quarter points in a 113-90 rout by Minnesota on Sunday that halted the Lakers’ 22-game winning streak against the Timberwolves. The Pelicans ended an 11-game losing streak against Los Angeles last Friday and now look to beat the Lakers in Los Angeles for the first time since Jan. 6, 2009. And even with a name like ‘The Pelicans’ they probabaly will.

And we’re early in on the season of college hoops but — early on in the season experience is key. In march this match up might be much more interesting for this highly hyped Kentucky team, but there will be some growing pains tonight. Michigan is a 3-3.5 favorite but I predict they will win big.

Tues, Nov 5, 2013: NBA, NHL, NCAAF

Opening a new round of the B3TZ Ultimate Challenge and it’s a Tuesday-class smorgesborg. Why ‘Tuesday’? Well WTF? Tuesday sports events, especially non-pro events seems like second class experiences. But in this day ‘n age they aren’t. Hell, take the Ohio at Buffalo game. Buffalo needs this to keep the lead in the Mac and to go for 7 straight. Ohio won their last meeting by 7 and in 2011 by 1. This looks to be a good one and since their at home Buffalo is favored by 4.

And what the hell has happened to the Edmonton Oilers? As a kid in the 80s all I remember is success, success success; winning the Stanley Cup in ’83,’84,’86,’89… and the last 20 years has been silence. So much silence that in 2013 they are 3-10 — only a slightly better record than a hockey team from FLORIDA… FLORIDA! And tongiht against the Panthers they aren’t even favored. Oh, Edmonton. What happened?
The Oilers are 4-0 in the last 4 meetings in Florida and 7-1 in the last 8 meetings but still.

NBA teams don’t even have 10 games under their belt yet but it’s been a bumpy ride. The Denver Nuggets are having some trouble adjusting from George Karl’s up-tempo style to the predominantly half-court scheme implemented by new coach Brian Shaw. The Nuggets looked like a team on the rise last spring, earning the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference and appearing set for years to come with a young nucleus. Instead, the Denver will still be searching for their first win when they host the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday.

Tues, Oct 29, 2013: MLB, NBA

Mike Matheny is getting a fair bit of heat and the Cardinals are in a must-win situation until the end. Fortunately they are 4-0 in their last 4 during game 6 of a series and 6-1 in their last 7 interleague games vs. a right-handed starter.

And I hear there is this other sports called, what is it… Bas-ket-ball. Right. Basketball. The NBA’s 2013-14 season opens tonight and here at B3TZ sports we’re throwing caution to the wind. The marquee match-up pits the reigning world champion Miami Heat against the “Derrick Rose is back now” Bulls. Rose has something to prove here.

And why not pull another rabbit out of the hat? The Clippers and Lakers mix it up in Los Angeles. The Clippers season last year was a disappointment and the Lakers are on the brink of calling it quits and rebuilding and tonight will be the first hard evidence.

MLB: Rays at Yankees

Tampa Bay, which has won four straight, is 9-7 against the Yankees while leading Cleveland by one game and Texas by two for the top spot in American League wild-card race. The Rays take to the road for the final six games of the regular season after winning nine of their last 12 to put destiny in their own hands starting in the Bronx Tuesday night.

Matt Moore (15-4, 3.34 ERA) lost for the first time in more than three months Thursday, allowing six runs (five earned) over four innings against Texas. The 24-year-old is 2-0 against the Yankees this season in four starts with a 3.55 ERA, but surrendered five runs over five innings in his last outing against them July 28. Alfonso Soriano is 2-for-3 with a homer versus Moore, who is 4-2 lifetime against New York with a 4.24 ERA.

The Rays have had 10 different pitchers start games this season, their most in one season since 2006, when 12 different pitchers started games. Since 2008, Tampa Bay has used only 20 starting pitchers — three fewer than any other team in baseball (Giants, 23).

This series a must-win for the Yankees, who will send Hiroki Kuroda to the mound on Tuesday. Kuroda is looking to even his season record at 12-12, though he owns a formidable 3.17 ERA on the year. Kuroda hasn’t won since Aug. 12 against the Angels, and he has dropped each of his past two decisions.

Tampa Bay or Cleveland? The Wild Card race here is neck-and-neck. The Indians have faltered but Tampa Bay has the harder task tonight while Cleveland won’t get much resistance from the White Sox.

[copy assembled from MLB.com and other sources]

MLB: Giants at Mets

If you are a Giants fan there is something to root for, cheer for and especially pray for — for the rest of the baseball season: The Giants are trying to avoid becoming only the second team in the World Series era (since 1903) to finish in last place as the defending champion. The 1998 Marlins are the only team to do so.

And they won’t get any help today as they will once again face their former top pitching prospect, Zack Wheeler Zack Wheeler (7-5, 3.22), who they gave away (it didn’t qualify as a trade if you ask me) to the Mets in 2011 for Carlos Beltran (sigh…) at the Trade Deadline. That was a total bust.

All Wheeler did at AT&T Park on July 10 was beat San Francisco with seven innings of one-run ball, striking out five and scattering three hits.

While Wheeler likely will always cause Giants fans to wonder what could have been, their starter Tuesday has them wondering what they might have. Right-hander Yusmeiro Petit (3-0, 2.53 ERA) is set to make his fifth start for San Francisco this season, having gone 3-0 with a 2.36 ERA — and a near-perfect game — in his first four.

San Francisco is undefeated in his four starts, during which time he is allowing opposing hitters to bat .206 and has yet to surrender a home run.

Of late and ESPECIALLY AGAINST THE DODGERS, the Giants have been firing on all cylinders, as a team batting .297 and has scoring 77 runs in September, the first- and second-best marks in the National League over that span, respectively.

San Francisco is playing to ‘win out’ the rest of the season and I predict Wheeler will be the next notch in their bat.
[copy assembled from MLB.com and other sources]