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Los Angeles is Center of the Sports Betting Universe This Weekend
The Staples Center in Los Angeles began a string of four consecutive days of playoff betting action on Thursday when the LA Kings edged the Phoenix Coyotes 2-1 for a commanding 3-0 series lead in the NHL's Western Conference Finals. The Kings are now just one win away from their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Final since 1993 with Game 4 scheduled for Sunday while their counterparts on the hardcourt will share their home this weekend and have a lot more work to do on their road to the NBA title.
The Lakers and Clippers will each be playing two games at Staples this weekend and have yet to earn a victory in their respective playoff series. The third-seeded Lakers (-2.5) face a virtual must-win situation on Friday after losing the first two games of their Western Conference semifinal series to the second-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder, including a devastating 77-75 setback in Game 2 on Wednesday. The Thunder scored the last nine points of the game after trailing 75-68 with 2:08 remaining, as Kevin Durant hit the game-winning shot with 18 seconds left. The Lakers blew their opportunity for a split in a game they seemed to control throughout and now need to make a statement to get back into the series.
The fifth-seeded Clippers find themselves in a similar hole following a 105-88 loss to the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs on Thursday. The Clips have failed to cover the spread in both games against the Spurs, who won Games 1 and 2 by a combined 33 points. Injuries to point guard Chris Paul (hip) and power forward Blake Griffin (knee) have severely limited the young Clippers against a very deep and experienced San Antonio team looking for its fifth league championship. Much like their NBA co-residents in Staples, the Clippers are depending on homecourt advantage to give them the energy they need to win Game 3 on Saturday just hours before the Lakers play Game 4 against Oklahoma City. Game 4 between the Clippers and Spurs will take place on Sunday night.
LA sports fans are not limited to pro basketball and hockey though this weekend, as their National League West-leading Dodgers play a three-game series against the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals as well. The Dodgers broke a two-game skid on Thursday with an 8-1 win over the San Diego Padres while the Cardinals have lost two in a row after falling 7-5 to the San Francisco Giants in the second game of a five-game road trip that ends in Los Angeles.
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