Each week TheLines gives a betting preview of the sports week ahead. Here is TheLines Lookahead for the week of Monday, Sept. 21 through Sunday, Sept. 27.
Stars vs. Lightning: Game 2 (Monday, Sept. 19)
It was all Dallas in Game 1, with the Stars dominating 4-1; how the Lightning respond in Game 2 will be vital to the series. Tampa Bay (-143) is favored to win Game 2 and some key numbers make this a must-win for them. Winners of Game 2 win 71.8% of all best-of-seven series in the NHL and teams that begin 2-0 in a series win 87.2% of the time. On the other side, the Stars will look to put their foot down and give themselves a bit of breathing room in the series. One thing is for certain: this will be a much more competitive game than Game 1.
NBA Conference Finals (All week)
The Conference Finals are not only set, but well underway. The Celtics, backed up against an 0-2 game deficit and facing rumors of an upset locker room, managed a Game 3 win against the Heat. Boston (-138) is favored to win Wednesday’s Game 4, but has shown to be susceptible to balanced team efforts from Miami. Meanwhile in the West, Playoff LeBron has been activated by being snubbed MVP votes and the Lakers thumped the Nuggets in Game 1. Los Angeles is a massive Game 2 favorite (-330), but Denver has proven to have a lot of dog in them. After defeating two 3-1 deficits in the past two rounds (first team in NBA history to overcome two 3-1 deficits in the same postseason), Denver surely isn’t sweating yet. The Lakers will need to put the Nuggets away convincingly and never let them back into the series.
SEC Football Week 1 (Saturday, Sept. 26)
College football has been rolling for a few weeks now, but game slates have been thin without the prowess of the SEC. The opening weekend features No. 23 Kentucky at No. 8 Auburn (-300), Tennessee (-160) at South Carolina, and No. 5 Florida (-550) at Ole Miss, among others. The nation will get their first look at the post-Tua Alabama Crimson Tide and the new-look Georgia Bulldogs under USC transfer J. T. Daniels. The SEC pulls the most handle in college football and generated the second-most revenue of any conference last year (Big Ten). To many, college football kicks off this Saturday.
Boxing: Jermall Charlo vs. Sergiy Derevyanchenko (Saturday, Sept. 26)
After a few bouts of heavy favorites, we’re looking at an evenly-matched fight for the Middleweight title. Undefeated Charlo (30-0) ranges from a -137 favorite (Fox Bet) to a steeper -176 favorite (BetMGM). Derevyanchenko (13-2) is anywhere between a +135 underdog (FanDuel Sportsbook) to a +110 underdog (FoxBet). Despite having a significant advantage in height and reach, oddsmakers are keeping Derevyanchenko in this one thanks to his recorded 10 knockouts in 15 fights (66.7%). Charlo is a menacing belt holder with 22 knockouts in his 30 fights (73.3%). It’s a premier fight in Connecticut – one you won’t want to miss.
Packers vs. Saints (Sunday, Sept. 27)
Drew Brees went up against fellow future-Hall-of-Famer Tom Brady in Week 1 and is now set to tackle fellow future-Hall-of-Famer Aaron Rodgers in Week 3. In Week 1, Brees out-dueled Brady in his Tampa Bay debut. Rodgers opened his Week 1 with 364 yards and four touchdowns but didn’t need quite the same volume in their Week 2 win over Detroit. New Orleans (-3.5) holds a slight edge at home. Should the Packers get Aaron Jones going again (236 total yards, three touchdowns in Week 2), they’ll set themselves up nicely for the win. This is one of the best Sunday Night Football matchups yet, and it’s must-watch TV.