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It's surprising that we don't see more teams come back from down 0-3 to win a series. You'd think it would happen a few times every decade or so.
Coming back from an 0-3 hole has never happened in the NBA, which isn't great news for the Dallas Mavericks. But they did force a Game 5 at least.
The Mavs' win over the Golden State Warriors was overdue in the Western Conference finals. They finally looked like the team that knocked off the Phoenix Suns a round before. The Mavericks are 6.5-point underdogs at BetMGM in Game 5 as they try to keep the series going.
The biggest problem for the Mavericks on Thursday night is the Warriors are just about unbeatable at home. The last time the Warriors lost at home was March 30. If they win on Thursday night, they'll go through April and May without losing a home game.
The Mavericks lost by 25 in Game 1, and while that was disappointing it was understandable. They were coming off an emotional seven-game series against the Suns and were due for a letdown. Then in Game 2 they led by 19 in the first half, Luka Doncic was playing great, and they blew it. The Warriors didn't just win, they won by nine and covered. Game 3 was another Mavs loss and, unless Dallas wants to make history against a great Warriors team, it practically ended the series.
If you are backing the Mavericks on Thursday night, it's due to the memory of that first half in Game 2, when they looked like they were heading for a huge win. But it's difficult to fade the Warriors at home. Golden State seems likely to win, and for bettors the question is whether you trust the Mavericks to keep it close and cover. That hasn't happened too often this year in a blowout-heavy NBA playoffs.
Here's a first look at the sports betting slate for Thursday:
Oilers try to close series vs. Flames
If you had the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday, condolences. But the late St. Louis Blues goal to tie and their overtime winner was a reminder that even very good teams don't usually get an easy pass into the next round of the NHL playoffs.
The Edmonton Oilers have been scoring a bunch and can eliminate the Calgary Flames in Game 5 on Thursday. But the Flames, who were favored to take the series when it started, are -160 to win and force the series back to Edmonton. The Oilers aren't a bad underdog play, given how great their offense has been against the Flames.
The other NHL game is the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes, and the Hurricanes are -155 favorites in that Game 5. The series is tied and while the Rangers look like decent value as underdogs, Carolina has won eight in a row at home dating back to the regular season. They're 6-0 at home in the playoffs.
MLB has 11 games
There's only one afternoon game in MLB this Thursday and it's the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds, two teams that are a combined 24 games under .500. Not great, but if you really want some afternoon action the Cubs are -115 favorites.
Among the other 10 games, the highlight is probably the New York Yankees at the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees have Nestor Cortes Jr. on the mound. Cortes has been magnificent this season and has turned into an immediate fan favorite. But the Rays, who are 4.5 games back in the AL East, are always a tough out.
What's the best bet?
The NBA playoffs haven't had many close games. It's a weird phenomenon and it continued Wednesday with a 13-point Boston Celtics win. The Warriors are great at home and while 6.5 points seems like a lot, we'll take Golden State anyway.