Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Playoff Updates: NBA, MLB, NHL

Teams arriving at a Game 7 after losing a 3-1 series lead have a losing record and in this series, four games have been Under so far with two Pushes.

Two of the easier wins last night in the NBA as the Denver Nuggets won comfortably, not needing the 7.5 points they were getting, and the Under also an easy win (by 14.5 points) for the ninth consecutive time in a Game 7. Hopefully some of you took note of the observation in my last post.

This win was the second time the Nuggets have come from 1-3 down in a series to win, following their First Round comeback against the Utah Jazz. 

The Conference Finals started in the East last night with an overtime win for the Miami Heat as 'dogs versus the Boston Celtics, while in the West the Nuggets will play the Los Angeles Lakers.

MLB announced a unique play-off format yesterday, with all Division Series, Championship Series and World Series games scheduled for a neutral venue in either Texas or Southern California, and importantly with no rest days scheduled within a series meaning some tough starting pitching decisions ahead.  

The host stadium for the World Series will be Arlington, Texas, and with the home town team currently the second worst in baseball and nine games out of a Wild-Card place, the chances of them having home advantage here are somewhat slim.

Other clubs hosting games are the National League's San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers, both staging American League games, and Houston, whose Astros play in the American League and will host National League games.

The expanded Wild Card games are all best of three games, and the higher seeded team will have home advantage. 

In case you need any more evidence for how unusual this season has been, the five clubs with the longest playoff drought are all in with a chance of ending their disappointment this year, including my wife's hometown club. 

They are, in order of woefulness, Seattle Mariners (last playoff appearance 2001), Miami Marlins (2003), San Diego Padres (2006), Chicago White Sox (2008), and the Philadelphia Phillies (2011). Every dog has its day.

In the NHL, the Dallas Stars have reached the Stanley Cup Finals thanks in large part to two overtime wins. I mentioned the edge on backing Unders in play-off games earlier this month, and since then we have had six Unders and two Overs. Two matches resulted in a Push. 

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