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McDavid’s magic leads Oilers to shootout win over Jets

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EDMONTON — Connor McDavid and Kyle Turris scored in the shootout as the Edmonton Oilers emerged with a 2-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.

McDavid also scored in regulation and rookie goaltender Stuart Skinner made 45 saves and was perfect on two shootout attempts for the Oilers (12-4-0) who improved to 7-1-1 on home ice.

Nikolaj Ehlers replied for the Jets (9-3-4), who had a three-game winning streak halted.

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There was no scoring in the first period with the Jets putting 17 shots on Skinner and the Oilers directing 10 on Winnipeg starter Connor Hellebuyck. Skinner made the best save of the opening frame with 10 seconds remaining, stopping a point-blank shorthanded rebound by Andrew Copp.

It remained scoreless through 40 minutes, with the shots favouring the Jets 27-20.

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The Jets finally broke the deadlock with 6:03 left in the third on their 33 shots of the contest as Ehlers beat Skinner high to the glove side from the top of the circle.

However, the Oilers came storming back just 28 seconds later as McDavid scored another highlight-reel goal as he danced through three Winnipeg defenders before beating Hellebuyck for his 11 of the year, extending his points streak to 16 games.

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McDavid then unfortunately took a double-minor for high-sticking Mark Scheifele with 43.6 seconds left, but Edmonton was able to hang on and force overtime.

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The Oilers had a heroic penalty kill in overtime to send the game to a shootout.

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Hellebuyck stopped 31 shots.

The Jets are right back at it on Friday in Vancouver against the Canucks. The Oilers remain home to host the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.

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Notes: It was the second half of a home-and-home between the two teams, with the Jets winning the first chapter 5-2 on Tuesday in Winnipeg? Out with injuries for the Oilers were forwards Derek Ryan (possible concussion) and Devin Shore (undisclosed) and goalie Mike Smith (lower body). Missing from the Jets lineup were forwards Paul Stastny (lower body) and Bryan Little (ear) … The Oilers came into the game with the league’s top power play unit (42.6 per cent) while Winnipeg had the second-worst league-penalty kill at 64.3 per cent.



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The AFC West Could Be The Chargers’ To Lose

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(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

 

The NFL’s regular season is just weeks away, and the anticipation is building, especially for numerous teams in the AFC.

The AFC West is looking like the most competitive division in the league, and perhaps the most competitive division anyone has seen in many years.

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People’s picks as far as who will win each division are coming into focus, and many of them are picking the Los Angeles Chargers to finish first in the AFC West.

Many around the league are used to the Chargers being picked to win the division during the summer, only to fall short almost all of the time.

But this year, things are different, as they have made some major upgrades.

This could be the long-awaited year that the Bolts seriously contend for the Super Bowl after so many years of disappointment.

 

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The Cavalry Has Come In

Last year, Los Angeles finished 9-8 but missed the playoffs after losing an epic, down-to-the-wire contest to their division rivals, the Las Vegas Raiders, in Week 18.

The team had one of the NFL’s best offenses, particularly when it came to the passing game, but its defense was lacking, and it specifically couldn’t stop the run.

General manager Tom Telesco decided there was no time to waste, and he went to work trying to assemble a monster.

The Chargers addressed their ultra-weak run defense (they ranked 29th in rushing touchdowns and 30th in rushing yards allowed) by signing defensive tackles Austin Johnson and Sebastian Joseph-Day.

But their biggest splashes came elsewhere on the defensive side of the football.

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To give Pro Bowl linebacker Joey Bosa some help in pressuring opposing quarterbacks, they brought in Khalil Mack, a six-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro First Team selection.

Mack may not be quite what he used to be after a foot injury prematurely ended his 2021 season, but even if he’s 80 percent of what he used to be, he will make a tremendous impact.

In the secondary, L.A. acquired J.C. Jackson, an up-and-coming cornerback who made the Pro Bowl last year as a member of the New England Patriots.

At age 26, Jackson can still get a little better, and coming up in the Pats’ system under head coach Bill Belichick could pay major dividends for the Bolts.

 

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Two Others In The AFC West Look Weakened

The Kansas City Chiefs appear to be a safe pick to win the AFC West, but the big question is how they will overcome the loss of Tyreek Hill, one of the game’s best wide receivers.

Patrick Mahomes won’t be able to look for him in third-and-long situations, and it’s not entirely clear who will adequately fill that void, especially in big games.

Meanwhile, the Denver Broncos have star QB Russell Wilson, but they have lost wideout Tim Patrick for the whole season to a torn ACL.

To begin with, the Broncos had the least-impressive collection of receivers in the division.

If the Chargers take full advantage of their schedule, they could be playing for a spot in Super Bowl LVII come January.

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The post The AFC West Could Be The Chargers’ To Lose appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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The NFL Preseason Is Finally Starting In Full Force

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(Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)

 

After a long wait, the 2022 NFL season is finally around the corner.

It wasn’t long ago when teams were building their rosters through free agency.

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Then, prospects went through the Scouting Combine before the annual rookie draft.

Voluntary OTAs happened next before mandatory training camps.

Not too long ago, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Las Vegas Raiders played in the Hall of Fame Game.

Now, the calendar moves into the preseason, meaning that the games that matter are just weeks away.

NFL Network national insider Ian Rapoport tweeted, “There are games today… as the preseason kicks into gear.”

Those words are like music to the ears of football fans even if the games do not reflect on the win-loss record yet.

What matters most is that football is back and they can witness the games.

In the first matchup, the New York Giants will face the New England Patriots.

The Patriots are coming off a season wherein they reached the playoffs with quarterback Mac Jones.

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They hope to enter the postseason again with an offense led by Jones, Damien Harris, Kendrick Bourne, Hunter Henry, and Jonnu Smith.

On defense, the Patriots will parade Deatrich Wise Jr., Matthew Judon, and Devin McCourty.

Meanwhile, the Giants are hoping to bounce back from five straight losing seasons by bringing in head coach Brian Daboll.

There has been renewed enthusiasm in the squad with the former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator now calling the shots.

 

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Ravens Take On The Titans

In the other preseason pairing, both the Baltimore Ravens and the Tennessee Titans would like to see if their rosters are back to full strength.

The Titans will pay attention to Derrick Henry‘s status after suffering a foot injury last season.

Meanwhile, the Ravens have been decimated by injuries, especially Lamar Jackson‘s ankle issue.

Both the Titans and Ravens hope for a healthy season for their key players.

The post The NFL Preseason Is Finally Starting In Full Force appeared first on The Cold Wire.

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UFC Fight Night: Vera vs. Cruz odds, predictions, lines: MMA expert reveals surprising fight card picks

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A potential title shot could be at stake Saturday when veteran ranked bantamweight contenders Marlon Vera and Dominick Cruz meet in the main event of UFC Fight Night: Vera vs. Cruz. Their showdown closes the curtain on the main UFC San Diego fight card (7 p.m. ET) from Pechanga Arena. The No. 8-ranked Cruz is a popular former champion who is trying to make his way back to the top after a series of injuries caused a nearly four-year hiatus in his career. He has won two straight fights but faces a daunting challenge in the No. 5-ranked Vera, a rugged veteran who could get closer to sealing his first title shot with a signature victory over a former champion.

Vera is a -250 favorite (risk $250 to win $100), while Cruz is a +210 underdog in the latest UFC Fight Night: Vera vs. Cruz odds from Caesars Sportsbook. The co-main event showcases featherweight prospects as David Onama (-290) meets Nate Landwehr (+245). Before locking in any UFC Fight Night: Vera vs. Cruz picks, make sure you check out the MMA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine expert Andrew Gombas.  

Gombas is a former NCAA wrestler who taps into his experience on the mat to help understand and dissect the X’s and O’s of MMA matchups in a manner that sets him apart from other MMA analysts. He started the MMA handicapping service MMA Knockout Bets in 2018 and has shown a profit every year since.

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With more than 1,400 selections tracked by the third-party monitoring service Bet MMA, he has shown a 6 percent return on investment for his followers. Over the past two years, his followers have netted a profit of more than $10,000.

At UFC 275 in June, Gombas swept the board with his main-card picks and the five-fight sweep included telling SportsLine members to back Jake Matthews (+125) against Andre Fialho (-145) in a matchup of welterweight prospects. Matthews dominated and scored a second-round stoppage to give Gombas’ backers another easy winner. Anyone who has followed Gombas already has seen massive returns.

Now, with UFC Fight Night: Vera vs. Cruz approaching, Gombas has studied the card from every angle and released his top MMA picks. Gombas’ UFC Fight Night picks are only available at SportsLine.  

UFC Fight Night: Vera vs. Cruz preview 

The main event will help create clarity at the top of a cluttered bantamweight division. Champion Aljamain Sterling is scheduled to face No. 2-ranked T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 280 in October. Either Cruz or Vera could be in line for the winner because all the contenders ranked above them have come up short in title fights or eliminators.

Cruz (24-3) is a popular and proven veteran who also has found success as a UFC analyst, a pursuit he discovered while shelved from fighting because of numerous lingering injuries. The 36-year-old San Diego native believes he has one more title run left in him, and an impressive win Saturday could provide that opportunity.

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The former champion faces a major litmus test in Vera (19-7-1), an eight-year UFC veteran whose resume includes several quality wins but who is still just 29 years old.

The sinister Ecuadorian brawler has seen his profile and ranking rise behind a 9-2 run in the past four years and a recent 4-1 stretch that includes numerous standout victories. Two years ago, he knocked out ultra-hyped prospect Sean O’Malley in the first round and is coming off a dominant five-round decision against rising contender Rob Font in April. Vera has earned three consecutive performance bonuses. You can only see who to pick at UFC Fight Night here.

UFC Fight Night predictions 

We’ll share one of Gombas’ UFC Fight Night picks here: He is siding with Bruno Silva (-310) to get past Gerald Meerschaert (+255) in a matchup of middleweights.

Silva (22-7) is a power puncher and former M-1 Challenge middleweight champion who started his stint with the UFC by notching three consecutive knockout victories. However, the 33-year-old Brazilian is looking to rebound from his first loss with the promotion. He dropped a decision to Alex Pereira in March.

Meerschaert (34-15) is a six-year UFC veteran and one of the promotion’s most accomplished grapplers, as evidenced by his 26 career submission victories. The 34-year-old Wisconsin native has won three of his past four.

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“Silva has a big power edge and is the better striker. Meerschaert is a tricky grappler who isn’t afraid to put himself in precarious positions. Sooner or later, I believe Silva will knock Meerschaert out,” Gombas told SportsLine. See who else to pick here.

How to make UFC Fight Night picks 

Gombas also has strong picks for Vera vs. Cruz and other fights on the UFC Fight Night card. He’s also backing a fighter who has “power and an exciting style” to emerge with a dominant victory. Those UFC Fight Night picks are only available at SportsLine.

Who wins Vera vs. Cruz? And which fighter is a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed top picks on UFC Fight Night, all from the insider who’s up more than $10,000 on MMA picks the past two years, and find out. 

UFC Fight Night odds, fight card

See full UFC Fight Night picks, predictions, best bets at SportsLine.

Marlon Vera (-250) vs. Dominick Cruz (+210)
Cynthia Calvillo (-160) vs. Nina Nunes (+140)
Gabriel Benitez (-350) vs. Charlie Ontiveros (+290)
David Onama (-290) vs. Nate Landwehr (+245)
Ariane Lipski (-170) vs. Priscila Cachoeira (+150)
Ode Osbourne (-230) vs. Tyson Nam (+195)
Yazmin Jauregui (-190) vs. Iasmin Lucindo (+170)
Martin Buday (-250) vs. Lukasz Brzeski (+210)
Bruno Silva (-310) vs. Gerald Meerschaert (+255)
Youssef Zalal (-125) vs. Da’Mon Blackshear (+105)
Azamat Murzakanov (-155) vs. Devin Clark (+135)

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