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YESTERDAY'S PLAYS
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
Won
$100
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 Lost
$115.0
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

PICKS IN PROGRESS
Matchup Selection W/L
MLB  |  Apr 21, 2019
Mets vs Cardinals
Mets
-125 at 5Dimes
Lost
$125.0
Play Type: Top Premium

10* NY Mets (2:15 ET): The Mets were forced to call up Chris Flexen for yesterday's game in St. Louis to replace the injured Jacob deGrom. That went about as well as expected w/ Flexen allowing six runs in his first big league start since last July. The Mets lost 10-2 and just to rub salt into the wounds, Cardinals starter Miles Mikolas not only dominated them from the mound (allowed just four hits in 8 IP), but also at the plate w/ a pair of hits of his own. But the Mets are in luck today as they'll have Noah Syndergaard starting. I look for them to bounce back. 

The Mets are now 11-9, but have been outscored by 17 runs. That's not a great sign for the future, but Syndergaard makes the present appear strong. Now it's hardly been a dominant start to the year for Syndergaard. In fact, he has a 5.62 ERA after four starts. He's allowed four runs or more three times. But the Mets are 3-1 when Syndergaard takes the mound. He also has a 3.08 ERA in four career starts vs. St. Louis. With the deGrom injury, the club is now counting on Syndergaard to lead the rotation for the time being. I'm betting on him stepping up big in this spot.

St. Louis will go w/ Dakota Hudson, a converted reliever that was shelled his last time out. Hudson allowed six runs and eight hits in just 3 2/3 innings vs. Milwaukee, a 10-7 loss for the team. Hudson has yet to go a full five innings in any start this season and now has a 6.39 ERA and 2.368 WHIP. Chances of him outdueling Syndergaard here seem small. Making matters tougher is that the Cards are 0-4 the last 4 times they've been coming off a game where they scored 5+ runs. The Mets are 21-8 the L29 times Syndergaard has started and they scored two runs or fewer the previous day. 10* NY Mets

Matchup Selection W/L
MLB  |  Apr 21, 2019
Reds vs Padres
Padres
-138 at BMaker
Won
$100
Play Type: Top Premium

8* San Diego (4:10 ET): The Reds came into this series having not won a single road game all season. (Well, except for one in Mexico). Now, they've won three in row. That dramatic turnaround lends itself to a play on host San Diego today as the four-game sweep remains pretty rare these days when you're the home team. The Padres know this all too well as last Sunday they lost in Arizona after taking the first three games of that series. That begat a six-game losing streak for the team, the last five of which have all come here at home. The streak ends Sunday. 

San Diego hasn't had much offense during the losing streak, scoring just 13 runs. They've been held to two or fewer in five straight. The good news though is they many not need much offense today w/ Joey Lucchesi on the mound. Lucchesi has pitched very well in his three starts at Petco Park, posting a 2.60 ERA and 1.096 WHIP. Those numbers were even better before he ran into Colorado here on Monday. His first two starts saw him toss 10+ scoreless innings w/ 13 strikeouts. This is Lucchesi's second season in the bigs and he also pitched well here at home in his rookie campaign. All told, he has 105 strikeouts in 96 1/3 IP at Petco.

Cincinnati's Tyler Mahle comes in on a similar trajectory as Lucchesi: two strong starts followed by a rough one. Last Tuesday, Mahle allowed 4 runs and 11 hits against the Dodgers. The Reds also haven't done much scoring for Mahle this year, totaling just three runs in his three starts! Remember that the Reds had been swept in three of their first six series. Their offense remains as bad as any in all of MLB w/ a .195 team batting average for the year. That's dead last and it drops to .179 on the road. The Padres should avoid the sweep here. 8* San Diego

Matchup Selection W/L
NHL  |  Apr 21, 2019
Sharks vs Golden Knights
UNDER 6½ -120
Play Type: Top Premium

10* Under Sharks/Knights (7:05 ET): Four 1st round playoff series are now complete and in all four the lower seeded team has advanced. That's pretty crazy. The most notable upsets have obviously been the top seed in each conference bowing out, including the shocking sweep of Tampa Bay by Columbus. Vegas looks to keep the trend of lower-seeded teams advancing Sunday night in Sin City. While the Golden Knights didn't have the home ice advantage coming into the series, they were able to take Game 2 in San Jose. Then came a pair of wins here at home where of course they have been magical since coming into existence.

The Golden Knights have already failed in their first shot in closing out the series as they lost Game 5 in San Jose by a score of 5-2. Facing elimination, the Sharks got off to a fast start, scoring just 76 seconds into the game. They never trailed and spent most of the game enjoying a multi-goal advantage. However, here at T-Mobile Arena, the Golden Knights have to like their chances. They are 62-25-7 SU the L2 years at home, including 9-3 in playoff games. They won Game 3 by a score of 6-3 and Game 4 by a score of 5-0. 

The winning team of every game in this series has scored a minimum of five goals. The only game to stay Under thus far was the Game 4 shutout here in Vegas. I expect the Knights not to give up many again tonight as they were third best in the league in the regular season when it came to # of goals allowed at home. The Under is 6-1 the last 7 games in Vegas. 10* Under Sharks/Knights 

Matchup Selection W/L
NBA  |  Apr 21, 2019
Raptors vs Magic
OVER 207 -105
Play Type: Top Premium

8* Over Raptors/Magic (7:05 ET): This is the other series (besides Celtics-Pacers) where there has yet to be an Over. Toronto now leads 2-1 after taking Game 3, 98-93. Unfortunately for Raptors' backers, unless they bet early, it was an ATS loss as the line closed -5.5. But the team will take it. Since losing Game 1 at home, 104-101 as 9.5-pt chalk, Toronto has held Orlando to just 175 total pts in a pair of victories. The Magic have shot pretty horribly for the series (37.8 FG%) and really need a win here or the series is all but over. Speaking of Over, that's what I'll call for Game 4 to do! 

Playing the Over is a departure for me in the series as I won w/ the Under in both Games 1 and 3. In my Game 1 analysis, I wrote "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. I also wrote that "the Magic posted the league's top defensive efficiency rating in the second half of the regular season." Thus I thought it was a bit odd to see them come into the playoffs on a 7-game Over streak. I thought there was definitely value w/ the Under early in the series and was right. 

But now the oddsmakers have been forced to adjust and we have our lowest O/U line for any game in the series. You have to figure that Orlando will start to shoot the ball better. While not a great offensive team on the road, at home the Magic average 109.6 points per game. Toronto is obviously one of the league's better offensive teams, averaging 114.0 PPG. It should be noted that this is the lowest O/U line for any Raptors game in some time. Their last game w/ a sub-210 pt total was New Year's Day vs. Utah. The Under might be 7-0 the L7 meetings here in Orlando, but the Over is 7-0 the L7 times Orlando has played on exactly one days' rest. 8* Over Raptors/Magic

Matchup Selection W/L
NBA  |  Apr 21, 2019
Celtics vs Pacers
OVER 203½ -110 Won
$100
Play Type: Top Premium

10* Over Celtics/Pacers (1:05 ET): This is one of two series yet to see an Over (Raptors-Magic is the other). The first two games in Boston were obviously really low scoring w/ the Celtics winning 84-74 and 99-91. Each of those two games saw the Pacers experience a significant scoring drought. In Game 1, it was a dreadful eight-point third quarter that turned a halftime advantage into a large deficit. Game 2, the collapse happened later w/ a 12-point fourth quarter and no field goals over the final minute. Obviously, both Games 1 and 2 stayed well Under the total.

Game 3 looked to be a little different. At least for a half it did. Indiana went into the break w/ a two-point lead, but it was how many points that had been scored in the first half that made things quite different. It was a 61-59 game and we looked to be heading towards our first Over of the series. But things came to a grinding halt after the halftime w/ the Pacers again turning in a dreadful half offensively. They scored only 12 points in the third quarter, which was the 4th time in the series they scored 17 or less in a quarter. They wound up w/ only 35 pts in the half and the results ended up being the same: Celtics win/cover & Under.

In this series, the Pacers are a stunning 12 of 40 on uncontested three-point attempts. That seems unfathomable. Whether or not they are able to stay alive to fight another day, I do see an Over Sunday afternoon. I realize that Indiana is w/o Victor Oladipo, but them averaging just 87 PPG on 39.8% shooting vs. Boston is kind of stunning. Remember they've been w/o Oladpio for awhile now and still averaged 107.3 PPG on 47.2% shooting for the regular season. Boston averages 111.8 PPG too. The first half of Game 3 showed me these teams are capable of putting together a high scoring game when facing each other. 10* Over Celtics/Pacers

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