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AP

Golden Knights betting favorites for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final

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Being up three games to one has often been a dangerous series lead for the Washington Capitals, which might be why the Vegas Golden Knights are favored to stave off elimination in the Stanley Cup final on Thursday night.

 

While Washington is one win away from its first Stanley Cup, the Golden Knights are a -145 moneyline favorite and the Capitals come back as a +125 underdog with a 5.5-goal total for Game 5 at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

 

In the league’s history, teams that have been up 3-1 in the Stanley Cup final have gone on to win the championship 32 of 33 times, including 31 in a row.

 

More in the here and now, Washington is 9-3 in 12 away games during the playoffs. Three of the four teams that had 10 road wins in a single postseason have won the Stanley Cup. Vegas is 7-3 in its last 10 home games as moneyline favorite of -135 to -200, according to the OddsShark NHL Database.

 

The Capitals franchise has the dubious distinction of having lost five playoff series after leading 3-1, which is an NHL record. However, Washington’s top three centers, Evgeny Kuznetsov (playoff-leading 31 points), Nicklas Backstrom and Lars Eller, have generally outplayed their Vegas counterparts in this series.

 

Washington goalie Braden Holtby has a 2.13 goals-against average and .923 save percentage in the playoffs, with two shutouts.

 

The basis for backing the Golden Knights is that they have lacked puck luck, never more so than when left wing James Neal hit the post with a wide-open net when Game 4 was still scoreless on Monday. Top-line center William Karlsson, who did not practice on Wednesday, has been struggling, with only five recorded shots in four games during the Stanley Cup final and only three points in Vegas’ last seven games, well below his averages for the full season.

 

Vegas’ second and third lines, centered by Erik Haula and Cody Eakin, haven’t been able to cover for the dip in production from the Karlsson line.

 

Vegas goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has a 2.15 goals-against average and .929 save percentage with four shutouts in the playoffs. Fleury’s average has risen by almost half a goal during the last four games.

 

While it’s a small sample, the Capitals have had the special teams edge, as their power play is 4-for-12 (33.3 per cent) in the series. The Golden Knights are 2-for-12 (16.7 per cent).

 

The total has gone under in 14 of the Capitals’ last 18 games against Pacific Division teams. The total has also gone under in seven of the Golden Knights’ last seven games against Eastern Conference teams.

 

If Vegas wins and avoids elimination, the Capitals will host Game 6 on Sunday.

 

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

 

Former champion Wawrinka out of French Open

AP
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PARIS (AP) The Latest on the French Open, the year’s second Grand Slam tennis tournament (all times local):

2:50 p.m.

Another former French Open champion has exited the tournament in the first round as Stan Wawrinka lost a five-set battle with Guillermo Garcia Lopez of Spain.

Looking a shadow of the player who won the title in Paris three years ago, Wawrinka struggled with his serve and hit an awful lot of unforced errors (72) in his 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-3 loss.

Wawrinka, a three-time Grand Slam winner who was runner-up in Roland Garros last year, has been hampered by knee problems that forced him to miss three months of the season.

He had won just one match on clay heading to the French Open and entered the tournament at No. 30, his worse ranking since 2008.

2:30 p.m.

The road trip was worth it for Marco Trungelliti, the “lucky loser” who drove for about 9 hours with his brother, mother and grandmother from Barcelona to Paris in order to get into the French Open – and then won his match.

Trungelliti, a 28-year-old Argentine ranked 190th, lost in qualifying at Roland Garros and then headed home to Spain.

But when an eighth spot in the main draw opened up because of an injury withdrawal, Trungelliti raced back to France. He faced Bernard Tomic in the first round on Monday and emerged with a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 victory in a match that lasted nearly 3 hours.

This was only the third tour-level match of the year for Trungelliti and the 16th of his career. He is now 4-3 in Grand Slam action.

1:30 p.m.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova is through to the French Open second round after defeating Veronica Cepede Royg of Paraguay 3-6, 6-1, 7-5.

The No. 8-seeded Czech needed 2 hours, 7 minutes to overcome her 87th-ranked opponent on the Philippe-Chatrier showcourt on Monday.

Kvitova’s best run in Paris was to the semifinals in 2012. She bowed out in the second round last year, making her Grand Slam return after an assailant attacked her with a knife at her home in December 2016, requiring extensive surgery to her left hand, her playing hand.

Royg had reached the fourth round at Roland Garros last year.

1:05 p.m.

Former top-ranked player Victoria Azarenka has bowed out of the French Open in the first round, beaten 7-5, 7-5 by Katerina Siniakova.

Azarenka, a semifinalist in Paris five years ago, is currently ranked 84th after giving birth to a son in December 2016.

After a poor clay-court campaign punctuated by early exits in Madrid and Rome, the two-time Grand Slam champion was unable to turn things around against the 54th-ranked Siniakova.

She hit 38 unforced errors on the remote Court 18.

11:35 a.m.

Lucky loser Marco Trungelliti of Argentina has replaced Nick Kyrgios in the main draw of the French Open.

The 21st-seeded Kyrgios pulled out with an injured right elbow on Sunday.

Trungelliti will play Bernard Tomic in the first round.

10:35 a.m.

Rafael Nadal headlines the second day at the French Open, beginning his bid for an 11th title at Roland Garros.

The “King of Clay” is 79-2 in Paris and is the title favorite again. He has lost only one match on his favorite surface this season, claiming titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome.

The top-ranked Spaniard faces Simone Bolelli of Italy on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Seventh-seeded Dominic Thiem, the only player to beat Nadal this season on clay, is also on the day’s busy program, taking on Ilya Ivashka of Belarus on Court 1.

Former champion Novak Djokovic, the No. 20 seed, is up against Rogerio Dutra Silva of Brazil.

In women’s play, No. 2 seed Caroline Wozniacki takes on American Danielle Collins, while two-time champion Maria Sharapova faces Richel Hogenkamp of the Netherlands.

More AP tennis coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Tennis

Four golfers headline 2018 THE PLAYERS odds

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THE PLAYERS Championship features one of the top fields of the year on the PGA Tour, and sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com have a logjam at the top of the board for the event which gets underway on Thursday at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, and Jordan Spieth are pegged as +1400 co-favorites on the odds to win THE PLAYERS Championship at the sportsbooks, with Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler just a step back of that quartet at +1800 odds.

Of those golfers, both Day and Fowler are past champions at the event, with Day taking the tournament by four strokes in 2016 and Fowler picking up a victory in a playoff against Sergio Garcia and Kevin Kisner at the event in 2015.

Last year’s winner at THE PLAYERS, meanwhile, is pegged as a longshot to claim the tournament title once again this weekend. South Korea’s Si Woo Kim topped Louis Oosthuizen and Ian Poulter by three strokes at the event last year, becoming the youngest ever winner of the tournament. The 22-year-old is back with the longer shots at +7500 odds for this week.

Oosthuizen is also down the golf odds list at +7500 for this year’s edition of THE PLAYERS, with Poulter set at +6600. Rafa Cabrera Bello and Kyle Stanley tied for fourth place the tournament last year, finishing four strokes back of the leader; they’re both longshots at +10000 odds this week.

Martin Kaymer, the 2014 champion, is at +20000 odds this week, with Tiger Woods, who won this tournament for the second time in 2013, sitting in the second tier of contenders on the odds at +3300. Woods also won this event back in 2001, and hasn’t played in this tournament the past two years.

Joining Woods at +3300 on THE PLAYERS Championship odds is Phil Mickelson, who won this event in 2007. Mickelson finished well back in the pack in a tie for 41st place at this tournament last year, 13 strokes behind the leader, but is a strong third in the FedExCup standings so far on the season.

Matt Kuchar, the 2012 champion, sits at +6600 odds for this week, while 2009 winner Henrik Stenson, riding a strong three-tournament run, is listed at +2800. Jon Rahm (+2200), Justin Rose (+3000), and Paul Casey (+3300) round out the top of THE PLAYERS betting lines.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.