Welcome ladies and gents to the very first edition of The Weekly Showstopper, where BetMGM will take you through the most exciting betting games of the weekend.
As we all collectively get ready for the Big Game (don’t forget to buy the salsa!), the sports slate may seem a bit different without football, but that’s not gonna stop us from uncovering some primetime wagering action. From NBA and NHL to college hoops, here are the must-see matchups that should be firmly in play for great bets.
Los Angeles Lakers @ Boston Celtics
Saturday, January 30 | TV: ABC
Love him or hate him, what LeBron James is doing in his age-36 season is truly spectacular. His MVP-level of play hasn't dipped, and his 3-point shooting has looked even more dangerous. Now he’ll lead his Lake Show into Beantown for what should be a defensive-minded clash.
The Celtics have shown cracks in their armor, losing recent games to the 76ers (twice), the Spurs and even the Knicks, but Boston will be well-rested for this game, so expect to see an All-Star performance from Jayson Tatum, who played very well against L.A. last season. On the flip side, the Lakers are 10-2 on the road, having lost their first away games this week to the 76ers and Pistons. Like the Celts, they could really use a big W to get back on track.
Although it’s been a tough travel schedule for Los Angeles, there haven’t been many upper-tier opponents on the docket thus far, which makes this ABC-televised event more enticing. The Celtics were dominated in back-to-back games by Joel Embiid last week, so the Lakers will likely try to muscle them with Anthony Davis (if his bruised quad heals up) and King James to gain a decisive edge.
Colorado Avalanche @ Minnesota Wild
Saturday, January 30 and Sunday, January 31
The long wait for Minnesota fans was totally worth it. Nearly six years after the Wild drafted him, rookie Kirill Kaprizov has dazzled with his playmaking and appears to be the early favorite to win the Calder Trophy. The wunderkind will have a big test ahead of him this weekend against Colorado, who has been lifted by a terrific goal streak from Mikko Rantanen as of late.
The Avalanche, one of the big preseason favorites to win the Stanley Cup, are off to a mixed start as they head into a string of consecutive scraps with their West division rival. The Avs vs. Wild double-feature could include some outstanding Power Plays, albeit with potentially low-scoring totals since both defenses rank among the league’s best in goals against per game.
This series should be one to watch for bettors all season long as the NHL heats up.
No. 15 Kansas @ No. 18 Tennessee
Saturday, January 30 | TV: ESPN
Both the Jayhawks and Vols badly need a win in this Big 12 vs. SEC Challenge on ESPN. Just one week ago, this would’ve been a matchup of Top 10 teams, but now they’re clawing to get back among the elite.
Kansas has been shaky away from home, with a recent string of three straight road losses. The Volunteers, on the other hand, are 9-2 at home, although they’ve lost to Florida and Missouri recently.
If the Jayhawks can get a big shooting night out of guards Ochai Agbaji or Christian Braun, that’ll make all the difference against a Vols squad that has struggled offensively. Tennessee will need a positive contribution from five-star freshman Jaden Springer, who is still battling an ankle injury, in order to keep up the pace.
Overall, this one might swing either way and should be a hard-fought battle from start to finish.