Thursday’s Sports BIT Show: Warriors-Spurs, Red Sox-A’s & 2017 49ers

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Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs

The Warriors probably shouldn’t have won Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against San Antonio but did when the Spurs collapsed after superstar Kawhi Leonard left with an ankle injury midway through the third quarter. Leonard missed Game 2 and the Spurs were overwhelmed from the start in a 136-100 loss. Golden State earned its second-most lopsided postseason victory ever to go to 10-0 in these playoffs. The 36-point Warriors' win was second to a 39-point victory for Philadelphia at St. Louis on April 6, 1948. Golden State's 23 first-half assists were its most ever in a playoff half, topping 22 against Phoenix on May 4, 1994. So it would appear the Spurs have no shot in Saturday’s Game 3 in San Antonio unless Leonard plays. That’s still up in the air as of this writing. The Spurs are 6-point dogs on NBA odds at Sportsbook Review’s top-rated betting sites, and that number is likely to rise if Leonard sits again. 


Boston Red Sox at Oakland A’s

The Red Sox and A’s meet for the first time this season on Thursday night in Oakland. The A’s are last in the AL West and their bullpen has been a disaster of late. They go with Sonny Gray, who just a few years ago was one of the AL’s rising star pitchers. However, injuries derailed Gray in a terrible 2016. He has been solid enough in three starts in 2017 with a 0-1 record and 3.78 ERA. Gray hasn’t lasted more than six innings yet, meaning that beleaguered Oakland bullpen likely will be called upon. For Boston, it’s 28-year-old rookie Hector Velazquez. The Red Sox purchased the right-hander’s contract from the Mexican League in February for just $30K. Velazquez is 2-1 with a 1.55 ERA in five Triple-A starts. "If he commands the baseball, that's what it's all about. It's not about sheer velocity. It's about pitching ahead in the count,” Manager John Farrell said.


Deep Dive On 2017 San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers were an abject disaster in 2016, among the NFL’s worst offensively and defensively on the way to a 2-14 record, tying the fewest wins in franchise history. Ownership cleaned house on the coaching staff and in the front office. Now the organization is run by first-time GM John Lynch and first-time head coach Kyle Shanahan, the offensive coordinator of last year’s high-flying Atlanta Falcons. As of this week, the Niners' 90-man roster features 50 players who have been drafted or signed since Shanahan and Lynch took over. The 49ers are given a wins total of just 4.5 for the coming season on NFL odds.  The Niners appeared to have a strong draft on defense, but they have major quarterback questions with castoffs Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley at the position. The 49ers might be favorites just once in 2017: Week 3 at home vs. the Rams. Both of San Francisco’s wins last year were against the Rams. Expect another Top 5 pick in the 2018 draft for the 49ers, maybe No. 1 overall.

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