TheLines gives its weekly lookahead to what’s on tap in the sports world and what should be the most wagered-on events in the coming days. Here is TheLines Lookahead for the week of Monday, Aug. 17 through Sunday, Aug. 23.
NBA Playoffs: Mavs vs Clippers (Beginning Monday, Aug. 17)
On paper, this looks like your average 2-7 first round matchup. Los Angeles (-600) is favored heavily, but that doesn’t mean this won’t be an exciting (and close) series. The game’s biggest stars are on display here; including Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Luka Doncic. The Clippers could win this series in 6 or 7, but it might still go down as the most entertaining series of the entire first round. Los Angeles is 35-37 against the over/under point totals, while Dallas (+400) is 45-30 against the over/under. This could mean a sneaky win or two for the Mavs, or at least a consistently-close series. Dallas will be an interesting bet to cover nightly, even if Los Angeles takes the series outright.
Lightning vs Blue Jackets: Game 4 (Monday, Aug. 17)
The saga began with the fifth longest playoff game in NHL history and a Tampa Bay victory. The Jackets pulled off a 3-1 victory in Game 2, and Tampa Bay squeaked out a win in Game 3. What more could you ask for in a series? Though Tampa has been favored in every game and in the series, Columbus is proving they’re no pushovers. Game 4 should be a decisive one; should the Lightning take a 3-1 series lead, it could be curtains for the Blue Jackets. But should the Jackets tie it up at two games each, the rest of the series should be must-watch TV.
NBA Playoffs: Thunder vs Rockets (Beginning Tuesday, Aug. 18)
Houston is without prolific scorer Russell Westbrook for at least the first few games, leaving James Harden alone with an ultra-small lineup. OKC has possibly the best backcourt in the league and provides a matchup nightmare. The Thunder were hot-and-cold in the bubble (3-3), but had outstanding wins over the Lakers and the Heat. Oklahoma City (+140) are current underdogs, despite sitting in one of the best positions for a first-round upset. Five world class guards will be on display in this series– one worth keeping an eye on.
Bruins vs Hurricanes: Game 5 (Wednesday, Aug. 19)
Similar to the Blue Jackets-Lightning series, Boston and Carolina began their series with a multi-overtime thriller that saw the Bruins pull off a win. The following games were decided by one goal and two goals, respectively, and fourth-seeded Boston finds themselves with a narrow 2-1 series lead. Game 4 has yet to be decided, but Game 5 is going to be the thriller in this series; for one, it could see one of these teams moving on to the quarterfinals, or it could set the table for a do-or-die Game 6. The Bruins are slightly favored in the series, but don’t discount a major Hurricanes victory in either Game 4 or Game 5.
The Northern Trust (Thursday, Aug. 20–Sunday, Aug. 23)
The Northern Trust kicks off the race for the FedEx Cup. Justin Thomas (+350) holds a comfortable lead over second place Collin Morikawa (+600) and PGA hotshot Bryson DeChambeau (+500). Thomas sits atop the leaderboard in wins (3) and top-10 finishes (9) this season. Patrick Reed, who currently sits sixth, is the defending winner but sits over 1,100 points out of first place. Still, he should not be ignored. Webb Simpson, who ranks third, is 714 points out of first place but has only played in 11 events so far this year. The final sprint to the Tour Championship in Atlanta begins Thursday, and should provide plenty of drama.