After a nice 42′ minute goal by Sergio Aguero, we look to keep the streak alive with another soccer game this afternoon and touch on a good match-up with a great line for a little puck action later. First up –
Chelsea v. West Ham United (@London Stadium; London, U.K.)
In a 3pm EST game we have a strong and in great form Chelsea side (winners in 17 of their last 20 EPL matches). Chelsea had lost this game last year on the road to West Ham and I believe they will try to seek some revenge as their play has shown them to be a better team than the previous season. Hazard and Costa will look to exploit Jose Fonte on West Ham’s back line with Michail Antonio suspended for the match because of a red card. With Tottenham winning yesterday and cutting Chelsea’s lead to 7 points for the top spot in the EPL look at any games v. bottom 10 teams as “must wins” for Chelsea. Chelsea’s 19GF – 11GA away goal differential is well matched against West Ham’s 14GF – 22GA Home goal differential. Despite my love for home teams in soccer, West Ham has actually been a better team on the road, they rank 15th/20 in the EPL in home contests (5-3-5) while Chelsea is 2nd/20 in the EPL in away contests (8-3-2). I like Antonio Conte and The Blues to put this one away with a second half goal.
PICK: Chelsea to win full time (-180)
New York Rangers v. Tampa Bay Lightning (@Amalie Arena; Tampa, Florida)
As much as I’m not confident with the match-up, I just don’t see anything wrong with throwing down on the Rangers here with this great line. The Rags come into this competition as the #1 road team in the NHL (22-8-0 road record), which is actually better than their home record of (19-14-2). For some reason the Rangers just love playing on the road, they look sharper and seem to feel a lot less pressure away from MSG. As for this Tampa side they have actually been pretty good lately (6-2-2 in last 10) but when you dig a bit deeper, the strength of schedule for those last 10 has been shit. After the dealing of Bishop, there is nothing to be scared about facing Vasilevsky, and with Stamkos out for the year their offense has taken a hit. As the season is coming to an end the Rangers see themselves basically locked into the top wild card spot but looking to jump into the top 3 in the Metropolitan division (0nly 4 points out). The Rangers 2.30 GA/G on the road is a leagues best while their 3.20 GF/G on the road is second to only Montreal. Tampa is an average home team/ average team in general, I think their hot streak comes to an end tonight.
PICK: Rangers to win. (Pick’em)