Sportsbetting3’s Free Plays: Saturday, April 7, 2012

23 players within five shots at wide open Masters, Couples and Dufner lead the way

A whopping 23 players are within five shots of the lead at the half way point of the Masters. Jason Dufner and 52-year-old Freddie Couples are co-leaders at five-under-par. The leaderboard is full of heavyweights and past Major winners. Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy, Louis Oosthuizen, Bubba Watson, and Lee Westwood are all just one shot back. Phil Mickelson rebounded from a tough Thursday with a 68 and is in the hunt at two-under. Tiger Woods birdied two of the first three holes but couldn’t get anything going the rest of the day slumping to a three-over 75. He’s eight back at T-40.

Grizz stop Heat 17-game home winning streak

The Memphis Grizzlies are in a dogfight for a playoff spot and took a big step Friday with a 97-82 road win over the Miami Heat. The loss snapped Miami’s 17-game home winning streak at America Airlines Arena. Rudy Gay led seven Grizz in double-figures with 17 points. Zach Randolph chipped in with 14/14 off the bench. San Antonio continued their offensive blitz with a 128-103 drubbing of New Orleans. The Spurs have scored 107 points or more in five of their last six games, including 117+ in four of those games. The Houston Rockets improved their playoff chances with a 112-107 road win over the Lakers. Goran Dragic had 26 points and 11 assists for the winners, Luis Scola added 25 points including 10 points in a 2:39 span of the fourth quarter. Andrew Bynum was ejected at 11:19 of fourth after picking up his second technical for wolfing at the Rocket bench after a dunk.

In other games, the Indiana Pacers pretty much locked in the three-seed in the East with a 103-98 win over Oklahoma City overcoming 44 points from Kevin Durant. The Hawks beat Detroit 101-96 to stay in the running for a first-round home court. Deron Williams had 19 points and 13 assists as the Nets waxed Washington 110-98. Cleveland used a 33-17 fourth quarter to beat Toronto 84-80 snapping a nine-game losing streak. Portland beat Dallas in OT and Milwaukee dumped Charlotte to stay on the heels of the Knicks. Denver and Utah won in late action to round out a busy night in the NBA.

NHL regular season ends today, 15 games with playoff seedings on the line

There was just one game in the NHL on Friday but it had huge playoff implications as the Coyotes rocked the Blues 4-1 in St Louis. Phoenix leapfrogged Los Angeles and San Jose to the top of the Pacific and now owns the third seed after starting the night in the eight hole. Tonight, all 30 teams finish their regular seasons with playoff seedings on the line. Key games include Chicago at Detroit, Ottawa at New Jersey, Philadelphia at Pittsburg, and Los Angeles at San Jose.

NFL and College Football News

The Greg Williams audio is still stirring up controversy. Filmmaker Sean Pamphilon who put the audio on YouTube is feuding with the man through whom he gained access, Saints special teamer Steve Gleason. Pamphilon was filming a documentary on Gleason who is suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease. There seems to be be proprietary and right to publish issues. If you somehow missed the audio … here it is

Free agent wide out Jerome Simpson was sentenced to 15 days of jail and three years probation. Simpson made the highlight reels late last season for “flip” touchdown vs the Cardinals while playing with the Bengals. Simpson was indicted on a drug charge back in January, resulting from Simpson being “detained and questioned” by Kenton County, Kentucky cops after his girlfriend signed for a package that had more than two pounds of marijuana inside. Police allegedly found more than six pounds of marijuana inside Simpson’s home and stated that the delivery was “a controlled delivery to a house that was set up as a distribution network.”

Kentucky Derby preps sort out pretenders and contenders

Derby preps on the East and West coast will go a long way in determining what is to this point a clouded Kentucky Derby picture. Super trainer Todd Pletcher sends unbeaten Gemologist to post in the Wood where he’ll take on other Derby hopefuls Lumber Guide, Alpha, and My Adonis. Pletcher sent out unbeaten Uncle Mo in the Wood last year and was beaten at 1-10. The West Coast’s top Derby hopeful Creative Cause will break from the rail in today’s $750,000 Santa Anita Derby. Creative Cause will take on I’ll Have Another, Laison, Paynter, and Midnight Transfer. At Hawthorne, Currency Swap and Our Entourage will head a field of 14 in the $500,000 Grade III Hawthorne Derby. With Union Rags upset last week in the Florida Derby and a 109-1 shot winning the Louisiana Derby, today’s results will go a long way in clearing up a murky Derby picture.

Free Plays

(NBA) Denver -3 over Golden State

(NHL) Nashville -129 over Colorado

(MLB) Milwaukee (Greinke) -113 over St Louis (Wainwright) 4:05 PM EST

(MLB) Minnesota (Liriano) +110 over Baltimore (Hunter) 7:05 PM EST