—The Stanley Cup Playoffs begin this week, and the Nashville Predators are the favorite to win it all at +375. The Tampa Bay Lightning have the second-best odds at +550, and the Bruins have the third-best odds at +750.
Call me crazy, but the Washington Capitals at +1200 to hoist la Coupe sounds like a pretty good bet. I get it, the Caps crap the bed this time of year, every year. But you have to believe that Alex Ovechkin is going to have a serious playoff run at some point in his career. At +1200, it’s tempting to pick this to be his year.
Either way, predicting the Stanley Cup winner is the probably the toughest prediction to make in sports. It’s the sport where the phrase “just get into the tournament” makes the most sense.
Here in Boston, we know the Bruins are in. And we feel pretty good about them as they take on the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round. But what if Leaf’s goaltender Frederik Andersen turns into a brick wall? It at least gives Toronto a shot. And a shot is something that every team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs has if their goaltender gets hot.
—One team that has no shot of winning a championship this year is the Boston Celtics. Kyrie Irving is out until next season, which means the C’s might not even get out of the first round. I hope I’m wrong, but as good as Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are, they’re just not at the level to carry this team to the NBA Finals. Not yet at least.
I still wouldn’t bet against LeBron James in the East, so I expect the Cleveland Cavaliers to be playing in the Finals. And in the West, even though the Houston Rockets are the No. 1 seed and have the most wins in the NBA, I wouldn’t bet against the No. 2 seed Golden State Warriors, even if Steph Curry misses some playoff time with his current knee injury.
The Warriors still have Kevin Durant, and they’re still the team to beat in the West. I don’t care what James Harden has to say about it.
—The Red Sox entered this week’s Yankees series at Fenway having won eight straight after losing on Opening Day in Tampa Bay. The bullpen has some questions, but if starters Chris Sale and David Price keep pitching like they did in their first two starts of the season, then you can bet on a third straight division title.
—There was another Patriots report last weekend. It came from the Boston Herald, and said that Bill Belichick called out Rob Gronkowski in front of other players last season for being a TB12 client.
That sounds like a leak from a player. It’s probably coming from Gronkowski. In fact, I would bet you any amount of money in the world that the source to that report is Gronkowski.
At this point, it just sounds like whining. And the more I hear about how Patriots players are unhappy with Belichick, the more I side with Belichick. If Gronkowski wasn’t so damn dominant I would be telling you the Patriots should just trade him right now. But they can’t trade him now. That wouldn’t make any sense.
But there’s a reason that Belichick has been so successful over the years. It’s because he does things his way. We’ve heard his way isn’t always the most pleasurable. It’s funny though. Whenever they’re playing in February, I don’t hear any Patriots players complaining about it.
So I wish they’d stop complaining about it now. Because the Patriots still have another Super Bowl to win while Tom Brady is young enough to throw a football.
—I interrupt this regularly-scheduled programming to remind you to subscribe to my YouTube channel (youtube.com/DannyPicard) and check out my new series, “363: OFF THE AIR.”
—Finally, how can I not tell you what I thought of WrestleMania 34 on Sunday? Well, I thought it was a very good night for the WWE. It was a little too long of a show, but it was highly entertaining all night long.
Ronda Rousey had the best performance of the night. Charlotte Flair vs Asuka was the most exciting match of the show. Daniel Bryan’s return was awesome. The Undertaker returned to make quick work of John Cena and went out on top. AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura was a somewhat disappointing match until Nakamura’s heel turn after Styles’ win. And Brock Lesnar beating Roman Reigns and retaining the Universal Championship was the biggest surprise of the night.
Everyone thought Lesnar was leaving for UFC, so the assumption was that Reigns would win the title and have his true WrestleMania moment.
We all forgot that Vince McMahon is a genius.
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