March Madness is nearly here, but in the meantime, there is plenty to bet on at West Virginia sportsbooks early next week.
Both the NHL and NBA provide a variety of great markets and matchups to wager on before the NCAA Tournament gets underway.
Since the Big Dance rearranged its regular schedule, this year’s first round doesn’t begin until Friday, March 19.
That leaves lots of time for bettors in the Mountain State to put some action down elsewhere. Two popular options are hockey and basketball.
The NBA is coming off of its brief All-Star break, while the NHL is nearly at the midpoint as well. NHL teams are playing just 56 games this season.
Pittsburgh has played 26 of those contests and earned 33 points so far. It’s currently three points behind Washington for second and five back of the New York Islanders in first.
The Penguins are one of the hotter teams in the league, winning their last four. They take on the Boston Bruins next Tuesday night in prime time on NBCSN.
On the hardwood, there are a couple of interesting games on the docket. The Nets and Knicks battle on Monday night in Brooklyn, while New Orleans and Portland meet on Tuesday.
Betting on Penguins hockey
Pittsburgh looks like it has found somewhat of a groove. It’s won five of the last six and is scoring at a very efficient rate.
The Penguins scored 26 times over their last six games since being shut out 2-0 against the Isles.
They now find themselves right in the middle of things in the East Division. Even though they’re in a good position at the moment, several teams are right on their tail.
Boston is just a point back, while Philadelphia is in reach with 29 points.
Three players feature at least 20 points on the team. Sidney Crosby leads the way with 25 points and is tied for the team lead in goals.
Left-winger Jake Guentzel and Evgeni Malkin are next with 23 and 21 points, respectively.
After struggling for part of the year, it seems as though goalie Tristan Jarry has sorted things out. In March, he’s 4-1 with a goals-against average of 2.61. His save percentage for the month is also impressive at .917.
If Pittsburgh can get consistent results from both Jarry and backup Casey DeSmith, then it should pose problems for opposing teams.
Most games are important in this shortened season, but this series against the Bruins may loom large for the playoffs. It appears that both teams will be fighting for positioning for the remainder of the year.
WV sportsbooks don’t have odds for this tilt posted yet, but they are likely to be tight.
The Pens dropped both previous games against the Bruins in late January. The difference this week is they will play at home this time around, and that could prove to mean a lot.
Pittsburgh is an incredible 11-2 at home, whereas Boston is an average 7-4-3 on the road.
Since the two sides actually meet up on Monday night as well, bettors may have an advantage heading into the second matchup. It’s possible both backup goalies will get the nod to start.
Regardless, expect the Pens to be slightly favored at home and for the game’s total to be at least six goals.
NBA markets at WV sportsbooks
Knicks vs. Nets
The fight for New York on Monday night should be an exciting affair to watch. The game airs at 8 p.m. EST on ESPN.
These two sides might be two of the most surprising teams in the NBA this season, but for different reasons.
Brooklyn is shocking people by looking like the potential favorite to take home the title this summer. It’s sitting in second place in the Eastern Conference right now, just a half game back of the 76ers.
The Knicks have also been impressive in their own right this season. Of course, they had much lower expectations; however, they have a 19-19 record and the sixth spot in the conference.
The problem is New York is exceeding expectations and Brooklyn hasn’t really scratched its surface yet.
Its best player, Kevin Durant, hasn’t played in a while but looks amazing when he does take the court. The addition of James Harden allowed the Nets to take their time in bringing KD back to the lineup.
When he does play, they could have the best starting roster in the NBA. Guard Kyrie Irving is also among the stars performing extremely well.
In their first matchup, Brooklyn took care of business, winning by seven points on the road.
Monday’s game could see a bigger margin.
The Nets are 14-6 at home, while the Knicks are four games under .500 away from Madison Square Garden.
Although WV sportsbooks don’t include odds for this one yet, it’s safe to say Brooklyn will be favored. ESPN’s Basketball Power Index gives it an 81% chance of coming away with a victory.
Pelicans vs. Blazers
In the late game on Tuesday, Portland will host Zion Williamson and New Orleans. This matchup tips off at 10 p.m. EST on TNT.
Unlike the first game, these two teams had polar opposite first halves.
Even with lots of injuries, the Trail Blazers are 21-15 and in position for the postseason. On the other hand, the Pelicans were disappointing and have a lot of work to do.
They also entered this campaign with playoff hopes but are going to need a big run to fulfill them.
New Orleans is 15-22 and 4.5 games back of the No. 8 seed.
Despite not winning as much as it would prefer, Williamson is tearing up the stat sheet every single night.
The second-year forward averages over 25 points per game and is shooting around 62% this season.
Portland features an incredible talent in guard Damian Lillard, too. Through 35 contests, he’s scoring nearly 30 points and adding eight assists per game.
Bettors can expect to see Portland as the favorite, but the point spread might not be too sizable. The Blazers are just 5-5 in their last 10 and could be susceptible to an off night.
ESPN’s BPI reflects this trend and actually has New Orleans as the favorite. It gives the Pelicans about a 53% chance of winning Tuesday night.