Mar 30, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) celebrates after hitting the game winning shot against the Chicago Bulls during the second half at the American Airlines Center. Dallas won 100-98. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Streak for the Cash, April 2 Picks and Analysis

In one of today’s full assortment of sports picks in Streak for the Cash, Pierre Jackson and the Baylor Bears take on BYU as they play for a spot in the NIT Finals. Find my free picks for both semifinals and plenty of other sports action below. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

After a great opening day to the month and the baseball season, the picks in Streak for the Cash keep on rolling on this second day of April. The NIT semifinals fill in the pre-Final-Four college basketball gap and are joined by plenty of picks from the NBA, NHL, NBA, and Champions League both in UEFA and CONCACAF. Here’s the picks I’m watching today:

4/2 Streak for the Cash Picks

9:00- Traktor Chelyabinsk: Traktor will look to even their series with AK Bars Kazan and force a deciding game seven in this KHL matchup. Traktor is at home and slightly favored since they’ve taken six of the last eight head-to-head meetings when they’ve been hosts to AK Bars. The games in this series have been tight and unpredictable, and it seems like game seven would be a fitting conclusion. Confidence Meter: 2 1/2 (out of 10)

2:45- Paris Saint-Germain Win or Draw: PSG hosts Barcelona in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League matchup. PSG has dominated at home domestically with a 11-3-2 record in French Ligue 1. Granted, the competition isn’t the level they’ll face against Barca, but remember the last round where Barcelona dropped their road leg to AC Milan 1-0. In fact, their last three road matches in all competitions (Champions and La Liga) have ended in draws or losses. PSG is solid and should be focused on getting at least a draw in their home leg. They may even win if they get solid play from Ibrahimovic up front. Confidence Meter: 4

2:46- Bayern Munich win: In the other UEFA quarterfinal, Bayern hosts Jeventus. Bayern Munich has been on a crazy run domestically winning their last 10 matches including a 9-2 win over Hamburg on Saturday. Arsenal did get a 2-0 win in the last round at Allianz Arena, but I think Bayern will be more focused and ready to get a solid lead before traveling for the second leg of this matchup. Confidence Meter: 6

February 21, 2013; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher David Price (14) poses for a picture during photo day at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

3:10- Yes David Price does gets Win: Usually I pick against the pitcher to get the win in these props since so many scenarios can play out that would cost any one pitcher the win. However, in this I’ll go with Price getting the win as the Rays open by hosting the Orioles. David Price is coming off 20 wins in 31 starts last season in which he got seven wins in nine home starts and a pair of wins in three starts against the O’s. I think Baltimore will come back to earth a little bit this year while Tampa will again be in the thick of the AL East race. Confidence Meter: 5

7:03- Baylor Bears: In the early NIT semifinal, the Baylor Bears are favored by three over BYU after beathing them by 15 earlier this season in Waco. The two teams have both played well in the NIT with Baylor rolling Long Beach State, Arizona State, and Providence while the Cougars knocked off Washington, Mercer, and Southern Miss. Baylor has been inconsistent all year, but seemed to find its rhythm with a big win over Kansas in their regular-season finale. If either of these teams were home, they’d be heavy favorites, but on a neutral court it’s a little bit trickier. Baylor has more talent, but have struggled to put it together at times this year. Ultimately, I think they’ll draw on their previous win and follow Pierre Jackson and Isaiah Austin to the NIT Championship. Confidence Meter: 6

7:03- Pierre Jackson or Tie: This prop pits BYU’s Tyler Haws against Pierre Jackson of Baylor in first-half points. Haws has been exceptional in the NIT (37, 25, and 24) but only had 13 the first time these teams met. Jackson averaged slightly less per game this season and has been pouring in fewer points in the tournament (11, 26, 20). However, he did get the best of Haws in their first meeting finishing with 16. I’ll take the tie and go with previous head-to-head history, but this pick really is a toss-up in my mind. Confidence Meter: 3

7:05- Washington Wizards: The battered and beleaguered Bulls are 1 1/2 point underdogs as they visit Washington to take on the surging Wiz. Washington has won its last seven in a row at the Verizon Center and are playing very well behind John Wall. Bradley Beal returned in their last game to provide a boost as well as the Wizards knocked off the Raptors. The Bulls will be playing for the third time in four nights which could be difficult for such a short-handed team. The two teams have split their first two meetings, and I think tonight’s game will come down to a possession or two at the end. I see it going Washington’s way mainly due to their homecourt advantage and the Chicago fatigue. Confidence Meter: 4

7:05- New York Islanders: Both the Jets and Islanders are playing for the second night in a row as Winnipeg heads to Uniondale to take on New York. The Islanders are just 6-11-2 at home while Winnipeg is 10-8-2 on the road as both teams have better road records than home. Winnipeg was ahead against the other New York team before falling to the Rangers last night while the Isles beat the Devils 3-1. Both teams are in the midst of playoff pushes, but the Jets have dropped their last three while the Isles have won four of five with their only blemish coming at Pittsburgh. Even at home, I think New York gets the points it needs in this one. Confidence Meter: 5

Mar 31, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby (70) makes a save against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at the Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers defeated the Capitals, 5-4 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

7:05- Washington Capitals: The Caps and Canes meet in Raleigh where Carolina has lost their last four games at home and are just 7-9-0 on the season. Carolina is just 1-8-1 over their last 10 while Washington has been playing well especially on the road. They have won four of their last five away games and should be the more rested team since they haven’t played since Saturday while Carolina lost 4-1 to Montreal last night. Confidence Meter: 7

8:10- Milwaukee Brewers: It took extra innings, but the Brewers got the win yesterday in their opener over Colorado. They’ll send Marco Estrada to the hill tonight who is their #2-starter after spending most of last year in the bullpen. He’ll be opposed by Jorge De La Rosa who has been horrible at Miller Park in his three starts especially getting pounded by Rickie Weeks and Ryan Braun in the past. I think the Brewers win this one big. Confidence Meter: 5

8:10- Knicks win or Single Digit Loss: The Knicks are 7 1/2 point underdogs but historically play the Heat very tough. The Knicks have beaten the Heat twice this season and lost by six in their other meeting. New York will be pumped up for this game in Miami and come in having won their last eight in a row. There’s also no guarantee that Miami will have its stars after LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Mario Chalmers all sat out the game in San Antonio. The Knicks should be able to keep it close and it wouldn’t surprise me if they won the game if James and/or Wade don’t play. Confidence Meter: 4

9:30- Maryland Terrapins: Iowa is favored by three as they take on the Terps, but Maryland impressed me in their win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa, so I’m going with the Terps. Iowa’s run through the NIT has surprised me and they finished with their own impressive win over Virginia, but Maryland is a smart team that’s built around a big man in Alex Len that I don’t think the Hawkeyes will be able to control. Confidence Meter: 5

9:40- St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals dropped their opener in Arizona last night, but look to bounce back as they send Jaime Garcia to the mound against Trevor Cahill. Everything went according to plan for Arizona last night as Ian Kennedy dominated and their bullpen was solid at the end. The Cards bullpen struggled, but Garcia has the advantage in the starting matchup in my opinion and I think St. Louis will even their record at 1-1 tonight. Confidence Meter: 3

Mar 31, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; The Los Angeles Kings celebrate the win over the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Kings defeated the Stars 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

10:05- LA Kings: The Kings are -135 favorites as they head to the desert to finish their road trip which has seen them go a very solid 3-0-1. As they host the NHL’s defending champions, the Coyotes have dropped their last two home games and eight of their last nine overall. They beat LA the last time the teams met at Arena, but they’ll be without starting goaltender Mike Smith once again in this one. The Coyotes struggles and the Kings road success make LA the pick in this one. Confidence Meter: 6

10:10-LA Dodgers: The Dodgers won behind Clayton Kershaw’s mammoth performance yesterday and will look to Hyun-Jin Ryu to continue their success in his MLB debut tonight as they again host the Giants. Ryu looked great throughout Spring Training and will be the first player to go straight from the Korean league to the Major Leagues. Run support could be minimal for Ryu as the Dodgers lineup struggled a little in the opener, and San Francisco will counter with Madison Bumgarner who has been solid over the past several seasons. Bumgarner has struggled a bit in April historically (4.07 ERA) and with the Dodgers well-rested bullpen and home field advantage I think they’ll get the win. Confidence Meter: 4

10:40- Dallas Mavericks: The Lakers are three-point home favorites as they face the Mavs in a critical Western Conference matchup. The Mavs are on fire right now having won 10 of their last 14 while LA has dropped four of six and enter with multiple injury concerns. Winning at the Staples Center is never easy as evidenced by the Lakers 23-12 home record, but the Mavericks  do have Dirk back and are playing well. I think they’ll get the win on the road, but picking against LA at home is always a tough call. I’d stay away unless you’re in the red at the end of the day. Confidence Meter: 2 1/2

April Results

Picks Overall: 11-2 to mariners

Confident Picks (over 5): 2-1 (LAC Pending)

Personal Streak: 

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