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The Daily Sweat: Mavericks, 76ers come home to try and force Game 7s

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We haven't had a Game 7 yet this spring. The NBA first round came and went without one. We'll likely get a Game 7 in the NHL first round, given how close most of the series have been, but it hasn't happened yet.

The Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers can set up a couple Game 7s with wins on Thursday.

There are two Game 6s on Thursday night in the NBA with teams trying to avoid elimination. The 76ers are 2.5-point favorites at BetMGM against the Miami Heat in what has been a series dominated by home teams. The Mavericks are 1.5-point underdogs at home against the Phoenix Suns ... in another series dominated by home teams (that's a big trend in this round of the NBA playoffs).

The 76ers seem likely to force a Game 7 only because they're back at home. The home team has covered all five games in that series, and no game has been decided by less than eight points. Whether the 76ers move on might be determined by how James Harden plays. Harden has gotten a lot of criticism this series for some inconsistent play, but he is also capable of big games like his 31-point outburst in Game 4. The Heat have been very good all season but like most teams in these NBA playoffs, they've been a different team on the road.

The Mavericks-Suns series has also been tilted heavily toward home teams. All five games have been won by the home teams and no game has been decided by fewer than seven points. That's why it is a bit surprising to see the Mavs as a small home underdog. The Suns are excellent and a reasonable co-favorite to win the NBA Finals along with the Golden State Warriors. But the Mavs have two decisive home wins in the series already.

Maybe the home team dominance will continue on Thursday. That would mean a couple of Game 7s for the weekend.

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic will try to will his team to a win and a Game 7 showdown against Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic will try to will his team to a win and a Game 7 showdown against Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Here's a first look at the sports betting slate for Thursday:

NHL has four Game 6s

If you're not watching the first round of the NHL playoffs, you're missing out. There have been some great games and hard-fought series.

You won't see this often in any sport, but there are four Game 6s on Thursday. Here are the lines:

Carolina Hurricanes at Boston Bruins (-130)

Toronto Maple Leafs at Tampa Bay Lightning (-135)

Minnesota Wild at St. Louis Blues (-115)

Edmonton Oilers (-145) at Los Angeles Kings

The Hurricanes, Leafs, Blues and Kings are up 3-2 in their respective series. That sets up a lot of drama on the ice for Thursday.

MLB has some daytime action

As usual on a Thursday there are a few matinees. Four games start in the afternoon, with the best one probably being the Houston Astros (-135) at Minnesota Twins (they'll finish a suspended game from Wednesday night, too).

There are eight games overall. The red-hot New York Yankees travel to face the Chicago White Sox in the highlight game of the evening, and the White Sox are a surprising -145. The White Sox have Dylan Cease, off to an excellent start, on the mound. It's still tempting to take the Yankees at plus odds.

What's the best bet?

Oh, there will be many bets made on a full Thursday schedule. It's useless to fight the trend in the NBA: Let's go with both home teams. I also like the Bruins and Lightning to extend those NHL series to seven games. Heck, let's take the Yankees too. Enjoy a fun sports day.