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Bryan Power Bryan Power
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YESTERDAY'S PLAYS
Matchup Selection W/L
MLB  |  Apr 19, 2019
Mets vs Cardinals
UNDER 9 -100 Tie
Play Type: Top Premium

10* Under Mets/Cardinals (8:15 ET): Everyone but Miami has their eyes on the pennant in the NL East this year. Of the four viable teams, the Mets are the only ones to be outscored this season. They're sitting at 10-8 overall, but have a -10 run differential, which is not great for predicting future outcomes. It's still early obviously, but the fact they have allowed a NL-high 113 runs so far is an ominous sign. Keep in mind this is a pitching staff anchored by the likes of Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. The Over is 13-4-1 in all Mets' games so far this season. But I think this series opener in St. Louis is set to go a bit differently. 

St. Louis has the same 10-8 record as the Mets, but they have a +12 run differential, which says they've played the better baseball. They've certainly played better recently, winning 7 of the last 10 games, although they needed a 6-3 win Wednesday in Milwaukee to avoid a sweep in that series. It's been almost a full calendar year since the Cardinals took the field against the Mets as all six meetings last year took place before the end of April. They split the six meetings the Over going 4-1-1. Again though, I look for a different result here. 

Two of the oldest starting pitchers in all of baseball will face off here. For the Cardinals, Adam Wainwright appears to be beating Father Time. He has a 3.94 ERA and 1.125 WHIP and is off B2B quality starts. He's allowed just 10 baserunners in his last 12 IP. Last time out, he didn't give up a hit until there was one out in the sixth. Granted, that was the Reds he was facing, but it was a similar story the start before that (against San Diego) where he allowed only 1 run in six innings w/ a 9-0 KW rate. Jason Vargas has admittedly NOT pitched well so far for the Mets, but he can only improve compared to past outings (lasted only 1/3 of an inning last time out!). The Under is 3-0-1 the L4 times Vargas went 4 innings or less in his last start. 10* Under Mets/Cardinals

Matchup Selection W/L
MLB  |  Apr 19, 2019
Braves vs Indians
Indians
-142 at 5Dimes
P
Play Type: Top Premium

8* Cleveland (7:05 ET): This would appear to be a VERY low price on Corey Kluber pitching at home. Now part of that is obviously due to the fact Kluber has struggled at the outset here in 2019. He has a 6.16 ERA and 1.842 WHIP after four starts and the only time he took the mound here at Progressive Field went shockingly bad. Kluber was bounced after 3 1/3 innings after giving up six runs and that was against the lowly White Sox. But I feel it's only a matter of time before this former Cy Young winner gets things going. Tonight sounds like a nice time to start!

Having Kluber on the mound isn't the only advantage Cleveland has here. They are at home where they've gone 5-1 this season. Thursday was also an off-day for them while Atlanta was wrapping up a series against Arizona. The last series for the two teams here couldn't have gone more differently. The Indians swept the Mariners out in Seattle while the Braves were swept at home by the D'backs. Now having to go out on the road isn't a great deal for Atlanta. Not only was there no off-day, but they've given up an average of 6.0 runs in their previous five road games. 

Oh, the Indians also get Francisco Lindor back in the lineup tonight. It figured to be somewhat of a challenging start to the season for the team as they were w/o their best hitter. But they went 11-7 and now have him back. Atlanta will start Touki Toussant for the 1st time this year. Toussant did throw six innings of a relief on Saturday and was originally set to start yday's game, but was pushed back for rest purposes. Opposing teams are batting just .179 at Progressive Field so far as Cleveland's pitching has been strong. That's nothing new, but it's usually Kluber leading the way. Now, he simply joins in "on the fun." 8* Cleveland

Matchup Selection W/L
NHL  |  Apr 19, 2019
Avalanche vs Flames
Flames
-170 at betonline
Lost
$170.0
Play Type: Top Premium

7* Calgary (10:05 ET): Pardon the pun, but we're one game away from BOTH of the top seeds in the NHL playoffs going down in "flames." Tampa Bay is out after a historically great regular season (62 wins!) and now - out West - Calgary faces the same fate if they don't win their next three games. For Flames' fans, this feeling has to be all too familiar. The last three times Calgary has won a division title, they've gone out in the first round. Then again, this is their first time as the top seed in the Western Conference since the 1988-89 season, the last time they won the Stanley Cup. 

But history doesn't matter to the Flames right about now, only the present does. They're down 3-1 to an Avalanche team they went 3-0 against in the regular season. Perhaps I'm biased, but outside of Game 3 (where they lost 6-2), I feel that Calgary has been the better team in this series. Twice they've lost in overtime, including Game 4 where they blew a two goal lead. (Unfortunately, I was on them). Game 2 saw them minutes away from taking a commanding 2-0 series lead only to give up a game-tying goal late in regulation. The Flames could easily be the ones up 3-1 in this series. 

Now they are back home. If you recall, I had them in Game 1 when they won here by a score of 4-0. A big problem for the Flames in the two games in Colorado was that they gave up a TON of shots. The number was 108 to be exact w/ the Avs posting 50+ in both games. That makes a goaltenders life very difficult. Fortunately, now that they're back home, I expect Calgary's offense to pick back up. They had the highest goals per game average at home of any team in the league in the regular season. I don't see them losing this series on home ice. 7* Calgary

Matchup Selection W/L
NBA  |  Apr 19, 2019
Celtics vs Pacers
Pacers
-3 -107 at pinnacle
Lost
$107.0
Play Type: Top Premium

10* Indiana (8:35 ET): The Pacers lost a couple of low scoring games in Boston, 84-74 and 99-91. Game 1 saw them fall apart in the third quarter when they scored all of eight points. In Game 2, the collapse happened later. They were outscored 31-12 in the fourth quarter this time as Boston outscored them 10-0 over the final five minutes. Indiana desperately needs to find some offense as they've been held 100 points the last three times they've played the Celtics. Game 1 was their lowest scoring game of the year (same as the Celtics). At home, I think Indiana finds the missing offense and delivers in a virtual "must-win" spot. Lay the short number.

Boston hasn't exactly been shooting the lights out either. They shot just 36.4% in Game 1 and 47.6% in Game 2. Kyrie Irving had 37 points in Game 2, but outside of Jayson Tatum (26 pts), he didn't have much help. Only one other Celtic had more than six points. Remember that Jaylen Brown is now starting in place of the injured Marcus Smart. I expect Smart's absence to be felt more on the road. The Celtics were only mediocre on the road in the regular season, going 21-20 overall and they had a losing record as an underdog.

Meanwhile, Indiana is an outstanding 29-12 SU at home. Key for them is defense. The fact that they've held the Celtics under 100 in both games should not come as a shock considering the Pacers were #1 in the league in scoring defense. They allow just 101 PPG at home, so expect the defensive prowess to continue as they find their offensive touch. The Pacers won 24 of their 33 games as a home favorite in the regular season, outscoring opponents by almost eight points per game. Yes, there's been a big swing in the line from Games 1 & 2. However, Indiana is significantly better here and they are also a perfect 6-0 ATS when coming off a road trip of at least seven days. 10* Indiana

Matchup Selection W/L
NBA  |  Apr 19, 2019
Raptors vs Magic
UNDER 210 -109 Won
$100
Play Type: Top Premium

8* Under Magic/Raptors (7:05 ET): I had the Under in Game 1 of this series. In my analysis, I stated that "an outright upset is definitely in the realm of possibility here" due to the Raptors' poor history in Game 1's. That's exactly what happened as the Magic won outright 104-101 as 9.5-pt dogs. Of course, I'd also noted the Magic posted the league's top defensive efficiency rating in the second half of the regular season and won 22 of their final 31 games. Given Orlando's defensive prowess, I certainly thought it odd that they came into the playoffs riding a 7-game Over streak. 

Game 1 went Under and so did Game 2. I thought Toronto might underestimate their opponent for Game 1, but that was definitely not the case in Game 2 as they came out and won 111-82. The Magic didn't shoot well in either game (40% and 37%). We figure to see improvement in that department for Game 3, now that they're at home. But at the same time, Toronto is no slouch defensively itself. The Raptors have not allowed any opponent to shoot 50% since the All-Star Break. Incredibly, they've allowed only three opponents to shoot 50% or better since January 1st.

  But let's go back to the fact Orlando has posted the defensive efficiency rating in the league since the Break. Toronto came into the playoffs having scored 110 or more points in nine consecutive games. I said that streak would end in Game 1 and it did. They scored 111 in Game 2, but again I'm calling for less than 110 pts here. Neither Kawhi Leonard nor Kyle Lowry should shoot as well as they did in Game 2. When Orlando is off an ATS loss, the Under has gone 24-11 this season. The Under is also 6-0 their last six times hosting Toronto. 8* Under Magic/Raptors

PICKS IN PROGRESS
Matchup Selection W/L
NHL  |  Apr 20, 2019
Stars vs Predators
Predators
-140 at betonline
Lost
$140.0
Play Type: Top Premium

8* Nashville (3:05 ET): We're all even at two games apiece in this best of seven series, but the Predators still have the home ice advantage as two of the (if necessary) remaining three plays would be played at their rink. After dropping Game 1 here in Music City (3-2), the Preds were able to avoid what would have been a terrible 0-2 hole by taking Game 2 in overtime. In fact, the first three games of this series were all decided by one goal. But Game 4 was all Dallas as they scored four times in the first period en route to a comfortable 5-1 win. Now it's Nashville's time to respond. 

The Preds went 25-14-2 SU at home in the regular season, so home ice advantage does matter here. (Dallas is below .500 on the road this year). They see an uptick in shots, but more importantly is the decrease in goals allowed. Needless to say, we won't see anything resembling the first period the Stars put together in Game 4. Something key to note is that three of those four 1st period goals Dallas scored in Game 4 came via the power play. Before that, they were just 1 of 13 w/ the man advantage in this series. The Preds are 14-2 SU the L16 times they have been off a loss by 3+ goals. 

The Stars are not a prolific offensive team. In the regular season, they ranked 28th in the league in goals per game. That's easily the lowest ranking of all 16 playoff teams. In fact, the only other playoff team in the bottom 10 in scoring is the Islanders. Now both teams are quite stingy in the goals allowed department, each ranking in the top three in the league. But even though their power play is virtually non-existent, I've always felt the Preds' offensive edge would be the difference maker here. Also key is the fact they rank 7th in the league in Corsi For % while Dallas is just 24th. 8* Nashville 

Matchup Selection W/L
NHL  |  Apr 20, 2019
Jets vs Blues
Blues
-134 at pinnacle
Play Type: Top Premium

10* St. Louis (7:05 ET): Enough is enough already! The road team has won all five games in this series, but what transpired in Game 5 may have set the stage for the home team to finally break through and thus end the series. Now it certainly looked as if Winnipeg was poised to win Game 5 at home. They took an early 2-0 lead (scored first goal just 12 seconds in) and carried that into the third period. But then the Blues stunned the Manitoba faithful by scoring three times in the final period, including the game-winner w/ just 15 seconds left in regulation. The series ends Saturday. 

My view was always that the Blues were the better team here. They have the higher Corsi For %, ranking 9th in the league in that key metric. (Winnipeg is 21st, third worst among playoff teams). For those unaware, Corsi For % is a measure of puck possession time. Obviously, the more a team controls the puck, the more likely they are to win the game. The Jets have allowed far too many shots on goals all season. In fact, in the regular season, they allowed an average of 33.7 shots per game. That's the most among the 16 playoff teams. (St. Louis allowed the 4th fewest at 28.6 per game). 

Another key coming into this series was play in the third period. Yes, that's obviously key in any game, but especially w/ these teams. In the regular season, Winnipeg had the lowest win percentage in games they led after two periods among the 16 playoff teams (.743) while St. Louis was 2nd worst in the entire league (.065) when trailing after two periods. The fact that the Blues have "stolen" two games (Gms 1, 5) in this series where they trailed entering the third period is huge and will end up being the difference. Also remember that the Jets are a sub-.500 team over the last two months. The Blues closed the regular season on a 24-6-4 SU tear and won 14 of their last 16 home games. The home team is "due" and the Blues close it out. 10* St. Louis

Matchup Selection W/L
NBA  |  Apr 20, 2019
76ers vs Nets
UNDER 233 -110 Won
$100
Play Type: Top Premium

10* Under Sixers/Nets (3:05 ET): The big story here is that Philadelphia likely will be w/o Joe Embiid. But they didn't have Embiid for Game 3 either and still won 131-115 here in Brooklyn. It was their second straight 130+ point game against the Nets, but this time they didn't shoot nearly as well as they did for Game 2 in Phillly (56.1%). That wasn't surprising, but the game still easily went Over the total. As a result, oddsmakers have been forced to up their O/U line for Game 4. I see some value here w/ the Under as Philly should start to cool off offensively.

Brooklyn attempted 39 three-pointers in Game 3, a playoff record. Problem is they made only eight. While that percentage may very well improve Saturday afternoon, the real issue for the Nets lies on the defensive end. When they pulled their Game 1 upset, they did so by holding the Sixers to just 102 points. While not necessarily noted as a defensive team, Brooklyn did at least show they are capable of defending the Sixers well once. Now there's no Embiid and at home the task should (theoretically) be easier. Despite Game 3, the Under is still on a 7-3 run when the Nets are off an ATS loss.

Philadelphia has seen the Over go 7-2 their last nine games, but this is a higher total than usual for them. The last two games have seen them shoot better than 40% from three-point range. They figure to "cool off" moving forward as they weren't exactly a great three-point shooting team in the regular season. Their scoring drops off by about 6 PPG on the road compared to at home. Following a SU win by 10 or more points, the Under is on a 6-2 run in 76ers' games. They scored at least 30 in every quarter of Game 3. That won't happen again here. 10* Under Sixers/Nets

Matchup Selection W/L
MLB  |  Apr 20, 2019
Astros vs Rangers
UNDER 9½ -115
Play Type: Top Premium

10* Under Astros/Rangers (8:05 ET): Houston dropped three of four to Tampa Bay in its first series of the season. Little did we know how good the Rays would be looking at this point. But the Astros have Walso certainly gotten on track, winning 12 of their last 15. Two of their three losses came against the Rangers. But that was before they ripped off 10 straight wins. That win streak ended w/ a 2-1 loss in Oakland Wednesday, but the 'Stros got back on track last night and gained a measure of revenge by beating the Rangers 7-2. With the Under now 10-3 in their 13 road games, that's the way I'll play this one.

Texas has not had much offense the last three games, but last night was particularly anemic. They finished w/ two runs on four hits, the third straight game w/ five or fewer runs and nine or fewer hits. Both runs scored last night came from solo home runs and one wasn't until the ninth inning. I don't see them doing much tonight against Astros starter Gerrit Cole, who has pitched at least six innings in all four starts. He's given up three runs or less in each of the last three, one of which was against these Rangers. That start saw Cole betrayed by his offense, which did not score. Last time out, Cole finished w/ 11 K's in a win over Seattle. He has a 0.92 WHIP and all three road starts have stayed Under. 

The Rangers counter w/ Adrian Sampson, whose only prior start did not go well. He lasted just four innings and gave up seven runs. I expect better here as Houston is only averaging 3.7 rpg on the road. (Fortunate for them, they're only giving up 2.8 rpg). Sampson has faced the Astros in relief this season, going six innings on April 1st and he held them to one run on four hits. It's the only time he's ever faced them. Given how good Astros' pitching has been so far and that Cole has a 2.61 ERA in six career starts vs. Texas, you have to figure the Rangers won't do much at the plate and I don't think Houston will be as prolific as they were yday either. 10* Under Astros/Rangers

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