With the weekend looming large, and the ability to carry on through another few remaining work days dwindling, today’s action set for online sports betting will be a welcome boost of excitement to help get us through another grueling day at the workplace, and hopefully will be a profitable one at that! For betting on sports on Thursday, we turn our attention to the Bovada Sportsbook, a favorite amongst our staff here since its formation out of the Bodog ranks in the past year. Bovada Sportsbook provides a simple and easily-manageable sportsbook betting interface to work with, and if you’ve been familiar with Bodog before it, you’ll definitely find the similarities and the best attributes of Bodog carried over into this newer venture today. With top sports action on the day ranging from continuing first round action in the NBA playoffs, to a pair of exciting NHL Stanley Cup Playoff games and the usual host of Major League Baseball contests, today is a great day for sports betting fans to jump in on as much action as you can get a hold of, as there’s plenty of emerging and existing trends to follow around the sports world right now.
Let’s check out the first set of options for top sportsbook betting at Bovada, with a look into the available match-ups set for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. First up, the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia Flyers look to untangle their 1-1 tie in the Conference Semifinal series, after the Devils soundly defeated the Flyers in Game 2 by a 4-1 score. No doubt New Jersey has to be excited heading home after scoring 4 goals in the 3rd period of Tuesday’s game, showing that they have the offensive capability and the defensive fortitude to hang with a seemingly more talented Flyers squad. Defense again will be a huge factor in tonight’s game, as Philadelphia must step up on the road to reclaim their stance as a favored team in this series. That puts a lot of pressure on goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who has had a rocky road in this year’s playoffs despite showing moments of sheer brilliance in net. That said, Philadelphia needs to get back to its game plan of shots, shots, shots, as they were held to just 20 in Game 2 and failed 5 times with the power play. For the Devils, staying strong on their own defensive end, helping out Martin Brodeur, and capitalizing on a porous Flyer defense is paramount to their success. If New Jersey can again keep Philadelphia on their toes tonight, they’ll be in a very strong position heading into Game 4, before the series shifts back to Flyers ice.
Next up for Stanley Cup Playoff wagers tonight, the St. Louis Blues try to get back in the battle against the Los Angeles Kings, with the Kings leading the series 2-0 after a pair of convincing victories at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis over the past week. St. Louis looked completely shocked and dumbfounded in the 5-2 loss at home in Game 2, and was noticeably lacking on the defensive end without star defenseman Alex Pietrangelo in the ranks. This is absolute do-or-die time tonight for the Blues, who may simply be happy to get away from their booing fans and face LA on the Staples Center ice-sheet, a place where the Kings have actually not played their best hockey as of late. There’s a possibility that ‘Petro’ gets back in the game, and St. Louis would benefit hugely from that, as they need him, T.J. Oshie, David Backes, and Andy McDonald to all be ready for a tough match-up this evening with their backs against the wall. For LA, Jonathan Quick continues to be the man in goal, posting the best record and stats in the postseason going 6-1 with a 1.56 Goals Against Average, and a ridiculous %.952 save percentage. The Vezina trophy candidate will no doubt be on his best form with the expectations that the Kings likely won’t score as many goals at home tonight as they did in Game 2, and getting the Los Angeles defense to once again keep the Blues scoring attack frustrated will be a focal point for head coach Daryl Sutter this evening. Look for captain Dustin Brown to be a major factor once again, either with his goal scoring or passing ability, and expect Anze Kopitar (two goals in Game 2), Jeff Carter, Mike Richards and Justin Williams to all be ready to bring the attack back to the doorstep of the league’s top-rated defense.
Shifting focus over to the games scheduled for the NBA Playoffs this evening, the Miami Heat try to make it three straight wins over the New York Knicks, who now look to be completely vulnerable without Amare Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert in the line-up. Though the Knicks will get home court advantage for the next two games, Miami certainly is smelling blood coming into tonight’s match-up, after beating the Knicks by 33 in Game 1 and 10 points in Game 2. Unless New York comes out guns blazing and shoots the lights out at Madison Square Garden, the Heat by virtue of their Big Three will simply be too much to handle for Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler, the two best remaining players the Knicks have to put on the court. Expect a big game tonight from Dwayne Wade, who is averaging just over 27 points/game at MSG in his career, and look out for LeBron James to bring his talents to New York as well, averaging 29.9 points against the Knicks in their house, the second-best points average amongst active NBA players. For the second game of the evening, expect a much better match-up as the Dallas Mavericks try to dig themselves out of a 2-0 hole against Oklahoma City, having being just barely beaten out in the first two games of this series. With two games decided by a total of 4 points thus far, expectations should remain that another very close finish is coming this evening. For Dallas, finding a way to slow down the quicker, more agile OKC offense is key. If Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden all score to their potential, this game will once again see the Thunder leading at the final buzzer. However, if Dallas can get a good shooting night out of their veterans Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry and Shawn Marion, and play better defense at home, there’s every possibility that they’ll be the team with the lead at the end of the 4th quarter.
Wrapping up the best options for betting on sports at Bovada today, turn your attention to the 9 games scheduled in Major League Baseball, as a number of weekday series wrap up and new series wait to kick off tomorrow. Good games to check out include the Toronto Blue Jays vs. Los Angeles Angels, featuring a great pitching duel between Brandon Morrow and Dan Haren, the Washington Nationals vs. Arizona Diamondbacks with Ross Detweiler taking on Ian Kennedy, and an always exciting match-up between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Atlanta Braves in the rubber match of their 3-game set coming after a wild 15-13 Atlanta win yesterday in extra innings. Look out as well for the Tampa Bay Rays, who look for a series sweep of the dwindling Seattle Mariners, to give them 5 straight victories at the top of the AL East division. Also check out a match-up with great potential to be a low-scoring affair, as the St. Louis Cardinals pit their best starter thus far, Jake Westbrook, against Erik Bedard and the Pittsburg Pirates. Offense should be tough to come by with this quality pitching on the mound, so expect a great duel and some great betting options to wrap up the day at Bovada Sportsbook. Enjoy all this great online sportsbook betting action on Thursday, and keep in touch for more updates throughout the weekend ahead!