See spot. See spot bet: This week's best spot bet opportunities

Apr 30, 2013 |
The Maple Leafs could be set up for a letdown in their first playoff game in nine years.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
The Maple Leafs could be set up for a letdown in their first playoff game in nine years.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Spot bets are a classic handicapping practice that have proven profitable no matter what sport you’re betting. Whether it’s a team looking past this week’s opponent, one coming off a hard-fought victory, or a rough patch of schedule, bettors can find value picking their spots.

Lookahead spot

Mets not mindful of Marlins

The New York Mets may be in an extended lookahead spot after starting the season with a bang, but it’s come to a head with the National League East-leading Atlanta Braves on deck following a three-game set with the lowly Miami Marlins this week.

New York jumped out to a 7-4 start to the year but has gone just 3-10 since, even suffering a 4-3 loss to Miami on Monday. The Mets may have been getting ahead of themselves, sitting behind the Braves in the standings before plummeting to fourth in the division. With the series in Atlanta starting Friday, New York runs the risk of looking past the floundering Fish, who are getting solid underdog value at home.
Letdown spot

Leafs’ postseason letdown

A lot has changed since the Toronto Maple Leafs last made a postseason appearance. The year was 2004. Spider-Man 2 was a hit at theaters, Lance Armstrong was cheating his way to a sixth Tour de France title and George W. Bush was settling into his second term as President of the United States. Nine years of frustration are pouring into Wednesday’s playoff opener versus the Boston Bruins and Toronto may be happy just to be still playing.

Teams generally hold the sticks a little tighter in Game 1 of the postseason and aren’t quite themselves when playing under the playoff pressure. Now double those expectations for the Leafs, whose rabid fan base and cut-throat media coverage have been waiting nearly a decade for this. On the other side of the rink, Boston is playoff savvy and won’t be shaken by the switch in intensity.

Scheduling spot

Red Wings' cross-country tour

The Detroit Red Wings finished No. 7 in the Western Conference and therefore must make a cross-country trek to California to play the No. 2 Anaheim Ducks in the opening two games of their first-round series, starting Tuesday. The Wings don’t plan on making many adjustments to deal with the three-hour time difference and goalie Jimmy Howard told the media all the team needs is a good night’s sleep.

Detroit went 9-5-1 versus Pacific teams overall, including back-to-back road wins over Anaheim in March, and was 11-9-2-2 on the road. The Ducks boast a 16-7-1-0 record inside the Honda Center – the fourth-best home record in the West. The teams play Tuesday and Thursday in Anaheim before coming back to Detroit Saturday and Monday.
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