A Tale of Two Series: The NBA and NHL Finals Are Strikingly Different

After two marathon playoff seasons, the NBA and NHL playoffs are both down to the final series. On one side of the coin the Golden State Warriors face off against the Cleveland Cavaliers for the fourth consecutive NBA Finals. On the other side, the Washington Capitals are making their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals since 1998, and the Las Vegas Golden Knights are the first NHL expansion team to make the Finals since 1968. The matchups in the NBA and NHL final series couldn’t get much different.

It’s hard not to appreciate the greatness of LeBron James. This is his eight consecutive trip to the NBA Finals. It’s an amazing accomplishment. And no one can downplay how dominant the Warriors have been the past four seasons. But here we are, two impressive teams about to face off for the fourth straight year, and it is hard to get excited about it. Maybe because it is a forgone conclusion that the Warriors will send the Cavs packing in a short series. The Cavaliers are one of the biggest underdogs in NBA Finals’ history. Regardless, the fourth successive matchup between these two teams just feels anticlimactic. LeBron2.jpg

Skating on to the Stanley Cup Finals, there are all kinds of story lines. First, how about the fact that there is an expansion team in the final series? It may seem unfair to long suffering fanbases, and maybe the NHL expansion draft rules need changing, but this is an incredible story. This is a collection of rookies and guys not protected by their former teams, the fact that they have made it this far is amazing. Meanwhile, the Capitals are back in the chase for the championship after their last appearance 20 years ago. The Capitals have never won the Stanley Cup. Alexander Ovechkin is one of the greatest players of all time, and the only multi-time MVP not to win the Stanley Cup. The list of intriguing topics in the Stanley Cup Finals goes on and on. knights

So here we are, two final series that could not be more different. The Cavaliers-Warriors IV is like Shrek Forever After: the first two series/films were great and then followed by a dud. Watching the fourth installment seems more like a chore than a pleasurable experience. On the other hand, Capitals-Knights is like Baby Driver: a new, exciting series/film that is bursting with energy. Even though my love for basketball is exponentially higher than my feelings toward hockey, the Stanley Cup Finals has me more excited than the NBA Finals for the first time ever.

Week 12 NFL Picks

Another rough weekend for NFL games. I looked at the schedule and got excited seeing the Saints @ Rams, but besides that… Lets just say the schedule is pretty lackluster this week. Due to this, I’m just going to pick five games based on the consensus Vegas odds from VegasInsider.

Buffalo Bills @ Kansas City Chiefs – 12 CT

Chiefs are favored by 9, but both of these teams are melting down after a good start to the season. Tyrod Taylor is back in the starting lineup for the Bills, and I think they are able to keep up with the Chiefs. I’ll take the Bills and the points.

Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts – 12 CT

The Titans are 6-4 and one game behind the Jaguars in the AFC South. After getting embarrassed by the Steelers last week, expect the Titans to right the ship. The Titans are favored by 3, and I’ll take them to cover.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons – 12 CT

The Falcons seem to have their groove back and they are in the thick of the NFC playoff race. The Buccaneers have won two straight with Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB, but those came against the Jets and Dolphins. The Falcons are favored by 10, and I don’t think the Buccaneers can keep up with the Falcons. Falcons cover in a blowout.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Arizona Cardinals – 3:25 CT

The Cardinals are starting Blaine Gabbert against his former team. Revenge game? I don’t think so. Jaguars are favored by 5.5, and they’ll cover this one.

New Orleans Saints @ Los Angeles Rams – 3:25 CT

This is by far the most fun game of the day. I don’t have a good feel for how this one is going to go, but since it’s the best game I feel like I have to pick it. The Saints have some big injuries to their defense, and it will be interesting to see how they respond. This should be a good one, but I think the Rams cover the 2.5 points.