UFC 256 — the last pay-per-view of the year — features a familiar headliner in Deiveson Figueiredo. He just main evented the previous UFC 255 and now has a 21-day turnaround in his next title defense. Tony Ferguson is also in action in the semi-main event. We preview both fights, plus offer betting advance in advance of the December 12 card!
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NHL Playoff Game Betting Lines
NHL Playoff Predictions & Game Previews
By Bob Duff
Philadelphia Flyers (+195) at Washington Capitals (-235)
Expect a physilcally punishing series as the big Flyers seek to rough up the more skilled Capitals, the NHL's Presidents' Trophy winners as the best regular-season club. Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, who led all rookie rearguards with 46 points, returned to practice Wednesday after taking what the team termed a maintenance day.
Both teams enter the series in good health. Philly goalie Michal Neuvrith returned to action in the season finale after missing most of the last month of the regular season due to a knee injury and will back up Steve Mason.
Washington forward T.J. Oshie left Wednesday's practice after being hit with a puck but is good to go tonight.
Pick: The Capitals (-235)
New York Islanders (+120) at Florida Panthers (-140)
A rarity for the Islanders in that they get to face a team with less recent playoff experience than them. Isles, losers of a seven-game set to Washington in the opening round last spring, haven't won a post-season series since 1993, beating current Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr and the Pittsburgh Penguins, while the Panthers last tasted playoff success in 1996 and haven't been part of the Stanley Cup picture since 2012.
Steady Isles defenseman Travis Hamonic (knee) is an uncertain starter. Defenseman Erik Gudbranson, who missed the last three regular-season games with an upper body injury, will be in the Florida lineup but forward Vincent Trocheck (foot) and defenseman Steven Kampfer (lower body) are out.
Pick: The Panthers (-140)
Minnesota Wild (+165) at Dallas Stars (-190)
The underdog Wild got some bad news right off the hop. Forward Zach Parise, their leading goal scorer with 25, was left back in Minnesota and is out for at least the first two games with an undisclosed injury.
Minus Parise, Jason Zucker skates on the top line with Mikko Koivu and Charlie Coyle. Forward Eric Haula, a 14-goal scorer, is also out with a lower body injury but could be ready for Game 2.
Forward Thomas Vanek (upper body), an 18-goal scorer, is expected to miss the series. Meanwhile, it's all good news for the Stars. Tyler Seguin and his 33 goals and 73 points have been cleared to return after missing 10 games with an Achilles injury. Forward Mattias Janmark (upper body), a 15-goal scorer, is also available.
Pick: The Stars (-190)
San Jose Sharks (+120) at Los Angeles Kings (-140)
Fourth playoff meeting in six years between these two Pacific Division powers. The last three series have gone seven games and expect another tong war.
Sharks were 3-1-1 against the Kings in the regular season. San Jose defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic (knee) and forward Tom Nieto (broken knuckle) are both back after missing the last dozen regular-season games.
Former Kings back-up goalie Martin Jones makes his first Stanley Cup start for the Sharks. The Kings said that defensemen Alec Martinez (undisclosed injury) and Matt Greene (shoulder surgery) would both be available for Game 1. Forward Marian Gaborik (knee) is skating but not likely to play. Forward Jordan Nolan (back surgery) is out.
Pick: The Kings (-140)
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