Streak For the Cash Picks, April 21 Picks and Analysis

In one of today’s Streak for the Cash highlights, the Houston Rockets and shooting guard James Harden (13) visit Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder led by small forward Kevin Durant. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday’s another full day of sports action on ESPN’s Streak for the Cash. Tennis and soccer from Europe get things going this morning; then this afternoon there’s picks from a full slate of Major League Baseball games, a NASCAR prop, a prop from the PGA Heritage, as well as a few more soccer picks and the all-day feature that is the NBA Playoffs. The NHL gets in the on action tonight along with Sunday Night Baseball and the Rockets visiting the Thunder.

Here’s the picks I like the best:

Streak Picks-4/21

8:05- Nadal in straight sets: Nadal and Djokovic meet in the Monte Carlo Masters final to get things started. In their 33 previous head-to-head matchups, Nadal leads the series 19-14. On clay though, Nadal leads 13-2 and in this same event last year he won 6-3, 6-1. If Nadal is fully healthy, I think he wins 2-0 as he announces he’s fully back to form. Confidence Meter: (out of 10)

11:00- Chelsea win or draw: The Blues visit Liverpool playing fairly well (4-0-2 in their last six overall). Liverpool has only won one of their last four outright when they went on the road to beat Aston Villa. Chelsea has played much more often lately so fatigue may be a factor, but they earned a draw in their earlier meeting at home. If Chelsea can secure the win, they probably lock up a trip to the Champions League. Based on their recent form, I think the Blues leave Anfield with at least a point. Confidence Meter: 3

Apr 14, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Indiana Pacers small forward Paul George (24) advances the ball during the fourth quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Knicks won 90-80. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

1:05- Pacers Winning Margin or Tie: The Pacers are 6 1/2 point favorites as they open their series against Atlanta. The two teams split their regular season series with each team winning close games at home. Both teams struggled toward the end of the season with Indiana droppoing five of its last six and Atlanta five of its last seven. The Hawks aren’t a particularly good road team (19-22) and the Pacers are very good at home (30-11). I think Indiana’s defense will turn the Hawks into jump-shooters which is how they’ll ultimately win by 10-13 points. Confidence Meter: 6

1:10- Washington Nationals: Jordan Zimmermann looks to get his fourth win of the season in his fourth start of the year as he looks to pitch Washington to a win in this rubber-game of their three-game set. Zimmermann has been excellent on his way to 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA while his opponent Dillon Gee has had the exact opposite results as he’s gone 0-3 with an 8.36 ERA.  The Nats have scuffled a bit of late, but their bats should be able to get things going against Gee and Zimmermann could easily move to 4-0. Confidence Meter: 7

1:35- LA Dodgers: LA lost both halves of their double-header yesterday in Baltimore to run their losing streak to six. They’ll look to Chad Billingsley to be the stopper as he takes the mound against Jake Arrieta and the O’s. Billingsley has looked solid in his two starts with a 1-0 record and a 3.00 ERA although he only got a no-decision his last time out. In his last time, Arrieta got his first win of the season as he beat Tampa even though he could only get through five innings. Arrieta has struggled with Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford in the past when the duo were with Boston.The Dodgers will be super-motivated to end their streak, and I like Billingsley as a solid spot-start option, so I’ll go with Dodger-blue for the Streak-green. Confidence Meter: 5

1:30- Boston Red Sox: Ryan Dempster takes the hill for Boston looking for his first win of the season as they face Kansas City in the first game of their day-night double-header. Last time out, Dempster went seven innings striking out 10 and allowing a run on two hits. He’ll face Ervin Santana who also had a strong outing in his last game going eight innings allowing one run in a no-decision against Toronto. Sanata hasn’t been a problem for Sox hitters in the past and Boston has won seven in a row, so I think they’ll keep their run going at least until facing Jeremy Guthrie tonight. Confidence Meter: 4

Apr 12, 2013; Augusta, GA, USA; Webb Simpson hits out of a bunker on the 2nd hole during the second round of the 2013 The Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

1:55- Hoffman or Simpson: Headed into the final round at Harbour Town, Charley Hoffman is two shots up on Webb Simpson, three on Kevin Streelman, and four on Brendon de Jonge and Graeme McDowell. I actually think that US Open defending champion, Simpson has a great shot at winning this after a -6 yesterday but he’s the other half of this prop so I’ll take Hoffman or Simpson to be wearing the tartan jacket at the end of the day. Confidence Meter: 3 1/2

2:10- Milwaukee Brewers: I covered why I like Wily Peralta for this start in this post as he takes on the Cubs this afternoon at Miller Park. Peralta will face Scott Feldman who comes in 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA and the Cubs lineup  who rank in the bottom third of the league in most categories including 28th in runs scored. Chicago is just 2-6 on the road while the Brewers have won their last six and try to complete their second consecutive series sweep after beating San Francisco earlier this week. I think they’ll get it done and get Wily his first win. Confidence Meter: 5

3:35- Spurs win by Double Digits: The Spurs host the Lakers who are expected to get Steve Nash back but will still be without Kobe Bryant. The Spurs know how to play playoff basketball and should have a healthy Tony Parker at point guard and Manu Ginobili back on the court as well. The Spurs took two of three from the Lakers this season with their only loss coming last week when they were already assured a playoff spot. The key to this game and this series is Tony Parker, and I think he blows Steve Nash away today and leads the Spurs to a big win. Confidence Meter: 5

Apr 12, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade (3) prior to a game against the Boston Celtics at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

7:05- Heat Winning Margin: Miami starts its title defense against Milwaukee at the AmericanAirlines Arena where they were 37-4 this season. Milwaukee was just 17-24 on the road, so if they do steal a game in this series I don’t think it’ll be in South Beach. In this prop it’s the Heat winning margin against the Bucks made free throws. As a team, the Bucks average 15.3 free throws made per game, but I still think the Heat cover and win this prop. Confidence Meter: 4

8:05- Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies look to earn a split in their series with St. Louis after losing 5-0 yesterday as they were dominated by Lance Lynn. Tonight they’ll face Jake Westbrook who has a 0.00 ERA coming into this one, but was knocked around in his last start which was later washed out and erased from the record books. The Phillies will hope to raise that ERA today as they welcome Ryan Howard back to the lineup and look to Kyle Kendrick to continue his strong career numbers against the Cardinals (5-1, 2.63 ERA in six starts). Confidence Meter: 5

8:30- Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks have lost four in a row and dropped their first game on this trip to Calgary, so they aren’t a lock to beat Edmonton. I do think they’re the better team though and beat Edmonton 2-1 at the Pond just before their recent skid. I wouldn’t go all-in on it, but the Ducks should be able to get this win in Edmonton where the Oilers have failed to beaten Anaheim in their last nine tries. Overall the Ducks are 12-2-0 in the last 14 head-to-head meetings. Confidence Meter: 3

9:40- Oklahoma City Thunder win by Double Digits: The final playoff series to get underway is the nightcap tonight as James Harden returns to OKC to take on the Thunder. In the teams three regular season matchups, the Thunder won by 22 at home, 30 in Houston, and lost by three at Houston. Oklahoma City is excellent at home and close the season winning seven of their last nine to secure the top spot in the Western Conference. The Rockets finished the regular season in a tailspin losing four of their last six including their last three on the road. The Thunder play playoff defense and the Rockets haven’t played much defense all season, so I think Oklahoma City wins this one big. Confidence Meter: 7

Streak Scoreboard

Yesterday’s Results: 8-6

Overall Record for the month: 150-118

 

Record in confident picks (confidence over 5): 42-30 (2-2 yesterday)

Current Streak: W5 (Islanders and Nets got my streak to five.)

Topics: MLB Picks, NBA Playoffs PIcks, NHL Picks, PGA Tour Picks, Soccer Picks, Streak For The Cash Picks

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