The 2020 Preakness Stakes will take place at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland on October 3. This year's edition is considered a prep race for the Breeders' Cup Classic, and completes the 2020 Triple Crown.
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NBA Free Picks Today
NBA Games To Wager On
By Dan Favale
Atlanta Hawks (-3.5) vs. Washington Wizards (+3.5)
Two of last season's biggest underachieving teams square off in this matchup, and it's tough to really love either one.
The Washington Wizards played like a postseason team after acquiring Markieff Morris at the trade deadline, and they've since added Ian Mahinmi and Andrew Nicholson, along with head coach Scott Brooks, to the fold. But Mahinmi is injured, Morris has been outplayed by Nicholson and it's not entirely clear whether the Wizards will figure out their small forward issues this season.
The Atlanta Hawks, on the flip side, bid adieu to two of their five starters from last year. Al Horford is with the Boston Celtics, and Jeff Teague is on the Indiana Pacers. They are replaced, respectively, by Dwight Howard and Dennis Schroder, which puts their offense at risk of severe regression.
Still, the Hawks' defense was sensational in 2015-16, and that shouldn't change with Howard and Schroder assuming big roles. To the contrary, Atlanta looked like it was on point during the preseason. So while the Hawks' offense isn't as dynamic as the Wizards' attack, they should be more elite in their area of specialty.
Plus, with them playing at home, we're inclined to give them the edge.
The Pick: Atlanta Hawks (-3.5)
Chicago Bulls (PK) vs. Boston Celtics (PK)
Be sure to double check the odds on this one depending on when you're looking at them. The Boston Celtics just narrowly escaped an opening night win over the Brooklyn Nets, so they will be entering the tail end of a back-to-back having traveled the night before. The home team, in most cases, would have an edge in this instance.
But perhaps the line says more about how good the Chicago Bulls aren't, or how good the Celtics are. Maybe it's both.
The Bulls are projected to throw out a starting lineup of Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson and Robin Lopez. Such a combination offers absolutely no spacing and very few shooting options.
Rondo, Wade and Butler all prefer to operate with the ball in their hands, and neither Gibson nor Lopez has real offensive range. Don't be surprised, then, if the offense crumbles under the weight of its shortcomings.
The Celtics, meanwhile, have no real weakness. Yes, they almost blew a fat lead against the Nets. But they can play any style—fast or slow, big or small. Even their floor-spacing issues appear to have worked themselves out. Al Horford gives them an everyday center who can chuck threes, and Jae Crowder appears to have honed his three-point touch even further.
Unless the line moves to favor the Celtics by seven or eight points, they're your pick here.
Pick: Boston Celtics
Portland Trail Blazers (-2) vs. Los Angeles Clippers (+2)
At first glance, this line is begging you to pick the Los Angeles Clippers. They have more star power and should have the better defense.
But the Portland Trail Blazers are not to be taken lightly at home. They are scary good in front of their home crowd. They are working off a 113-104 victory over the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, a win that really showcased their depth.
Both Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum went off, Allen Crabbe flashed immense improvement on both sides of the ball and Evan Turner, despite barely scoring, proved to be a valuable playmaker and made some nice defensive plays. That's depth the Clippers just cannot match. They have a glitzy starting five, and that's about it.
Let's also not forget Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are working their way back from injuries they suffered/aggravated during playoffs. Paul in particular didn't have a great preseason. It may take some time for this group to work through the rust.
Mostly, though, we should just expect the Blazers to hit their stride at home once again.
The Pick: Portland Trail Blazers (-2)
Sacramento Kings (PK) vs. San Antonio Spurs (PK)
Place your bets on this one before the line moves. Because it's going to move.
There is no way in this lifetime that the Sacramento Kings would be a pick 'em matchup, on the tail end of a back-to-back, for the San Antonio Spurs. It doesn't matter that they're at home, or that they absolutely spanked the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night. It doesn't even matter that the Spurs are missing Danny Green.
Barring a sudden, though not completely unprecedented, decision by Gregg Popovich to rest all his best players, the Kings are not winning this game.
And even if Coach Pop has his team enter early-season rest mode, there's still a chance the Spurs' second- and third-stringers are good enough to pull out the victory anyway.
Roll with San Antonio unless the line soars past 13.
The Pick: San Antonio Spurs
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