USA Today Images
The Pittsburgh Pirates blow the dust off the suitcases this week, flying cross country for a date with the Arizona Diamondbacks starting Friday. The Bucs don’t have much down time to get their travel plans or home life in order before this nine-game road run that takes them into May. They host the Chicago Cubs for a day game Thursday, then immediately rush to the airport to catch their flight to Phoenix.
Last season, the Pirates avoided a situation like this, with at least a day between cross-country hikes. In 2013, the Bucs kicked off the season with a three-game home stand versus the Cubs that finished on a Friday and traveled overnight to play the L.A. Dodgers that Saturday, losing the opener 3-0 and getting swept in that three-game set, outscored 10-2.
Gas was thrown on the Giants-Dodgers rivalry last October when San Francisco won its third championship in five years. The Giants continue to come through in October while Los Angeles spends millions on talent every offseason only to come up short. These National League West members picked up that rivalry this week with a three-game set in the Bay Area, and San Fran could be ripe for a letdown in the game immediately following the series finale Thursday.
San Francisco heads to Coors Field Friday, where letdown games usually involve the hometown Rockies sending a few balls over the fences at the homer-friendly park. The Giants were already swept by Colorado at home, getting outscored 10-3 in that series. San Fran has a 3.92 ERA on the road to start this season and the last time they went mile high, the Giants gave up 26 runs in three games to the Rockies.
The Golden State Warriors have cruised to two easy victories to open their first round NBA Playoffs series against the New Orleans Pelicans, winning 106-99 in Game 1 and 97-87 in Game 2 Monday. But while those games were rarely in doubt, outside of a slow start in Game 2, Golden State has burned backers who gladly gave the big points in those contests.
The Warriors are 0-2 ATS versus spreads of 12.5 and 13.5 points in the postseason and have actually struggled against double-digit chalk in recent weeks (1-6 ATS last seven). The Warriors are giving five points with the series swinging to New Orleans in Game 1 but bettors should beware over these next two games, especially if Golden State takes Game 3. They could start looking ahead to their possible Round 2 matchup, extending a 1-7 ATS record in their last eight overall.