Service Plays - Saturday 7/10/21



May 12, 2021
H&H Sports - Update #2

C* Athletics -130
C* Marlins -110
B* Red Sox -157
A* Red Sox/Phillies Over 11 [-107]
A* White Sox/Orioles Over 10.5 [-104]



May 12, 2021
Ian Parker


At UFC Fight Night last week, Parker's 7-2 card included telling SportsLine members to back Cyril Game (-145) against Alexander Volkov (+125) in the heavyweight main event.

Dustin Poirier (-105) vs. Conor McGregor (-115): Poirier (best bet)

In their last outing, Dustin Poirier put on the best performance of his career and finished McGregor in the second round. There isn't a whole lot that tells me that this fight will go any different. Poirier will be the better grappler, the better boxer, and no question have the better cardio. Look for Poirier to execute calf kicks early on just like last time and eventually wear McGregor out once again and get the victory. As long as Poirier can avoid the power of McGregor's left hand, he should have no problem dictating where the fight goes.

Stephen Thompson (-140) vs. Gilbert Burns (+120): Thompson (best bet)

After dominating both Vincente Luque and Geoff Neal, Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson welcomes Gilbert Burns to the cage in what could be a title eliminator. I strongly believe this matchup favors Thompson in terms of style. Thompson has underrated takedown defense and, if Burns can't put Thompson on his back, he is going to be in trouble. Look for Thompson to keep the fight on the feet and use his karate-style striking to get the win over Burns.

Irene Aldana (-145) vs. Yaka Kunitskaya (+125): Aldana (best bet)

Irene Aldana will be looking to bounce back from her most recent loss to Holly Holm when she takes on Yana Kunitskaya. Look for Aldana to use her range and distance striking to keep Kunitskaya from clinching and holding her against the cage. Aldana will be the faster and more technical striker. As long as she can avoid the clinch, she should have no problem getting the win as I believe she is the better fighter everywhere.

Sean O'Malley (-430) vs. Louis Smolka (+350) : O'Malley (best bet) (FIGHT CANCELED)

Stylistically, this matchup favors O'Malley. Granted, Smolka is extremely tough and well-rounded, but O'Malley is better everywhere. Look for O'Malley to use his kicks and distance striking to keep Smolka from trying to take him down. As the fight goes on, O'Malley's pace and striking will be too much for Smolka and eventually Smolka will get put away.

Michel Pereira (-160) vs. Niko Price (+140): Pereira (best bet)

This has Fight of the Night written all over it. Niko Price is one of the more exciting fighters in the UFC. He always puts on a show, whether he is on the winning or losing side. In his last fight, we saw a focused and technical Pereira. If that same Periera shows up against Price, I have no question Periera gets it done. Pereira will be the stronger athlete, the better striker and, if he chooses to take the fight to the ground, he has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to back him up. I think Pereira shines in this moment.

Tai Tuivasa (-140) vs. Greg Hardy (+120): Tuivasa (lean)

Greg Hardy will be looking to return to the cage after being on the receiving end of a stoppage loss from Marcin Tybura. Tybura weathered the storm in Round 1 and used his wrestling in Round 2 to seal the win. I expect Tuivasa to implement the same plan. Look for Tuivasa to use his improved wrestling to negate the power and explosiveness of Hardy. Once Hardy gets tired from wrestling, look for Tuivasa to use his striking to put Hardy away.

Max Griffin (-175) vs. Carlos Condit (+155): Griffin (lean)

Carlos Condit and Max Griffin are riding two-fight win streaks. Condit looked impressive against Court McGee and Matt Brown. However, both men are on the downsides of their careers as opposed to Griffin, who is on the way up. Condit is going to have to get his striking going early if he wants to keep Griffin from pressuring him at a high pace. I think Griffin's wrestling is going to be the key factor and too much for Condit. We have seen in the past that Condit struggles to get off his back when he has a strong wrestler on top, and Griffin is that strong wrestler.

Trevin Giles (-120) vs. Dricus du Plessis (+100): du Plessis (lean)

In his UFC debut, we saw Dricus Du Plessis get a KO victory over Markus Perez in the first round. He will be looking to carry that momentum as he takes on prospect Trevin Giles. Giles' striking over his last few fights has improved and he consistently shows his stellar ground game. However, his cardio has plagued him. Look for du Plessis to keep the fight standing, where he will be the faster and better striker. If he doesn't get the quick finish like last time, look for his cardio to be the answer to getting the win over Giles.

Jennifer Maia (-190) vs. Jessica Eye (+170): Maia (lean)

Jennifer Maia will be looking to bounce back against Jessica Eye after losing a five-round decision to champion Valentina Shevchenko. Look for Maia to pressure Eye early with her strikes and eventually take the fight to the floor, where she will be the elite grappler. If Eye can't utilize her striking to keep the distance and prevent Maia from bullying her way into the clinch, expect her to again be on the losing side of the lopsided decision.

Ilia Topuria (-240) vs. Ryan Hall (+200): Topuria (lean)

Topuria is one of the top prospects in the UFC and he will have the task in trying figure out the grappling wizardry of Ryan Hall. We have seen Hall's ability to strike as he did a great job putting together combinations against Darren Elkin. However, Topuria will not be a sitting duck like Elkins. I expect Topuria to be able to fend off the leg locks of Hall and bully him against the cage. Topuria will also be the better striker, and that is where he will need to keep the fight if he wants to win.

Brad Tavares (-175) vs. Omari Akhmedov (+155): Tavares (lean)

After a hard-fought loss to Chris Weidman, Omari Akhmedov bounced back with an impressive submission win over Tom Breese. Akhmedov might be the better wrestler, but his cardio usually is his downfall. If he fails to put Tavares on his back early, more than likely Tavares will be able to dictate the pace and out-strike his way to victory. Look for Tavares to stuff the takedown attempts of Akhmedov and force him into a kickboxing match in which he will have the advantage



May 12, 2021
Kyle Marley

Conor McGregor (-115) vs. Dustin Poirier (-105): McGregor by (T)KO

I can't wait for this rubber match. Both guys have been KO'd once and now they settle it in the trilogy. The calf kicks from Poirier are really what changed the second fight and McGregor has to be the one to adjust to stop those, or else the same thing probably happens. Poirier is the one with the better cardio and if he can add on a banged up leg to McGregor, then he will just take over as the fight moves along. McGregor looked like the sharper striker though, until the KO and if he does adjust to the leg kicks, then I think he can get the KO here. Five rounds of cardio could be an issue as well, but I think McGregor will be lighter on his feet in this matchup and throw calf kicks of his own. I am going to lean with him to get the job done, but I like the TKO prop for a better line.

Stephen Thompson (-155) vs. Gilbert Burns (+130): Thompson by unanimous decision

I really love the output from Thompson in his last two fights. He set a personal best in significant strikes in both of those fights, and he landed 309 total between the two. As long as he keeps up the high volume, then I think the only way Burns can beat him on the feet would be a knockout. Burns is a dangerous grappler though, and that is what he should be looking to do in this fight. If he can get the fight to the mat, he is live for a submission and can also use takedowns to try and help win rounds. If it wasn't for those last two Thompson fights, then I would probably take Burns here. Thompson looks too good right now though, and I think he is able to keep this fight on the feet and use his striking and movement to win on the scorecards.

Tai Tuivasa (-135) vs. Greg Hardy (+115): Hardy by split decision

This is a close fight that should be a pure striking match. Both guys have power and can end this fight early with a knockout. I have been going back and forth on this one though, because picking who gets the KO is a coin flip and I think it will be a very close fight if it goes the distance. Right now, I am going to lean with Hardy because he is the bigger, taller, more athletic fighter and he is the underdog.

Irene Aldana (-120) vs. Yana Kunitskaya (+100): Aldana by unanimous decision

I think Aldana is the clear better striker in this matchup, and she is the higher output striker as well. Kunitskaya needs to make this more of a dirty fight and try to get the win in the clinch or the mat. I will side with Aldana because I think she can stay upright long enough to win at least two rounds.

Sean O'Malley (-400) vs. Louis Smolka (+310): O'Malley by unanimous decision

This should be a fun fight, but I do think it's a bad matchup for Smolka. O'Malley is the faster and more dangerous striker and I think this fight mainly plays out on the feet. The ground could be interesting though and I do think Smolka should have a grappling-based game plan here so we can see how good O'Malley is off his back. I don't see any value in this line, but Sugar Sean is going to be the pick.

Max Griffin (-190) vs. Carlos Condit (+160): Condit by unanimous decision

I think this fight is closer than the line indicates. Condit isn't the same guy he used to be, but if he was, then he would be a huge favorite here. I don't know that he has fallen off enough to be lined at 40 percent against Max Griffin. Griffin isn't special anywhere and I think Condit can beat him on the feet or the mat. I don't think it will be easy, but I see Condit being slightly up on volume and I am going to take him to win a close fight on the scorecards.

Michel Pereira (-160) vs. Niko Price (+135): Price by unanimous decision

It's hard to trust either one of these guys, but I like what I have seen from Price lately with his volume and I don't really understand this line. I think Price is the better fighter of the two. Either of them can land a big KO but I slightly favor Price in this matchup. He can win it anywhere the fight goes.

Trevin Giles (-110) vs. Dricus Du Plessis (-110): Giles by unanimous decision

I am not sold at all on Du Plessis. He has big KO power, nice guillotines and RNCs. That's really it. I do give him the edge in those three things in this fight as well, and if he wins it will probably be a finish with one of those. I am going to take Giles to be the aggressor and the one landing the better strikes and takedowns and he can win a decision or get a finish himself.

Ilia Topuria (-225) vs. Ryan Hall (+180): Topuria by (T)KO

This is submission or bust for Hall and maybe even an ankle/leg lock or bust. Topuria is the better fighter everywhere here and he is a legit fighter who can contend for the title one day. Hall is just a tricky fighter, and he will dive across the cage trying to grab an ankle, and if he gets it then he can win fast. I think Topuria passes the test here, though, and I will take him to get a knockout.

Jennifer Maia (-195) vs. Jessica Eye (+165): Eye by split decision

I do agree with Maia being favored here and she is the better all-around mixed martial artist. I just don't see her having a 2-1 edge here because I think this fight mainly takes place on the feet and I see it being very close, if that is the case. Maia would be smart to mix in takedowns and not give Eye a pure striking match, but I am going to side with Eye because this is a dog or pass fight on the betting line.

Brad Tavares (-165) vs. Omari Akhmedov (+140): Tavares by unanimous decision

I favor Tavares on the feet and Akhmedov on the ground in this matchup. I don't think Akhmedov will submit Tavares, though, and I don't know that he has the cardio to win two rounds with takedowns because Tavares has a good get-up game. I do think the first half of this fight will be close and maybe Akhmedov does win round 1, but I like Tavares to pull away and win rounds 2 and 3 after Omari slows down and is less effective with takedowns.

Zhalgas Zhumagulov (-360) vs. Jerome Rivera (+280): Zhumagulov by unanimous decision

I don't think I would pick Rivera over anybody, so I am going to side with Zhumagulov here. Rivera mainly just spams kicks on the feet and it's his submission game that is actually dangerous. It's only dangerous in top control though and he isn't a good wrestler to rely on him getting even one takedown. I'm going to take Zhumagulov to avoid takedowns and just pick Rivera apart for a decision win.

Alen Amedovski (-175) vs. Hu Yaozong (+150): Yaozong by unanimous decision

I don't want to pick either one of these guys, but it's dog or pass, so I will lean with Yaozong. He is only 26 years old and should be improving each time out and Amedovski looks to be a KO or bust type fighter at 33 years old. No way would I lay that juice on Amedovski so give me Yaozong to avoid the KO shot and work his way to a decision victory.



May 12, 2021
Brandon Wise

Dustin Poirier (-105) vs. Conor McGregor (-115)
Moneyline pick: Poirier (-105)
Prop pick: Poirier by KO/TKO/DQ (+175)

This is the most important fight of Conor McGregor's career. Everything leading into this fight is about him finding the weakness he missed in the rematch where he was stopped by strikes for the first time. The problem is that only six months have elapsed since that rematch as we head into the trilogy. Maybe the push of a "now or never" training camp gets McGregor back to the "Mystic Mac" days of his career where he was able to call his shots ahead of time with stoppages, but it is so hard to make a smart bet on that. The line will always bend toward McGregor given his popularity, but the smart play is Poirier to get this done again. He's proven himself as arguably the best lightweight in the world over the last few years and he took apart McGregor at McGregor's own game. I like Poirier to get the stoppage here. If you want the extra risk of Poirier by TKO at +188, I can't blame you. But there's always the chance of Poirier dropping McGregor and ending up with his back for the rear-naked choke, so taking a slightly lower payout at +140 seems safer.

Stephen Thompson (-170) vs. Gilbert Burns (+145)
Moneyline pick: Thompson (-170)
Prop pick: Thompson by decision (+160)

A very important contest in the welterweight division as both look to get back into title contention. Stephen Thompson has one of the most difficult styles to fight against in the sport with his trademark karate stance that leaves nearly no target for opponents to land on. Burns, meanwhile, blitzed his way to a shot against Kamaru Usman with tremendous power after a while middling at lightweight. He suffered a brutal TKO loss to his teammate and now hopes to get right back to face him again. While Burns has beat some big names to get to his title opportunity, an argument can be made that he did not face anyone at the peak of their powers until Usman. Now, he gets as tough a test as imaginable in Thompson where he'll have to find a way to get inside range without eating tons of jabs and kicks to reach his target. It's tough to envision that happening. Thompson should point fight his way to another victory.

Tai Tuivasa (-135) vs. Greg Hardy (+115)
Moneyline pick: Tuivasa (-135)
Prop pick: Tuivasa in Round 1 (+300)

This fight is in this position for a reason. UFC is expecting these two sluggers to throw caution to the wind and someone to get a knockout. While Hardy has shown improvements over the last two years in getting experience in the Octagon, it's still tough to see him not falling for any of the traps that Tuivasa will lay. Hardy has plenty of punching power, but Tuivasa has shown a fairly elite chin with only the volume punching of Junior dos Santos stopping him in his career. Expect Hardy to blitz forward for a finish, but the counter punching from Tuivasa should make the difference en route to a stoppage.

Irene Aldana (-120) vs. Yana Kunitskaya (+100)
Moneyline pick: Kunitskaya (+100)
Prop pick: Kunitskaya by decision (+163)

A true coin-flip fight with both women looking to climb the ranks. The only problem is it feels like Aldana has been inflated in price by her shocking knockout of Ketlin Viera in December 2019. She followed that up with a decision loss to Holly Holm to go along with some other head-scratching performances. Kunitskaya, on the other hand, has won four of her last five since a TKO loss to Cris Cyborg in her promotional debut. She tends to grind out fights with her length more than anything and proves to be tough to hit clean. Expect Kunitskaya to keep a similar gameplan in going the distance with Aldana in this one.

Sean O'Malley (-800) vs. Kris Moutinho (+550)
Moneyline pick: O'Malley (-800)
Prop pick: Over 1.5 rounds (+138)

It's tough to get excited about this matchup. As great as it is to see O'Malley getting on a more consistent pace of Octagon appearances, this late-replacement opponent just cannot provide the right test that he needs to develop. O'Malley was supposed to face Louis Smolka in this spot, but Smolka withdrew with an injury. Afterwards, seemingly every able-bodied bantamweight volunteered their services to face O'Malley, yet UFC still went with an unknown making his promotional debut. Moutinho is a bit of a wildcard in that there's not much tape on him out there, but all four of his losses have been stoppages. This feels like UFC once again trying to shine up a young star with the expectation of a highlight-reel finish. O'Malley coasts in this one.

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