If you are looking for a brief summary of what you need to know today to make informed betting choices, you’ve come to the right place!
1. Rondo gets the thumbs down
Just when the Chicago Bulls seemed destined to secure the eight-over-one upset, fate intervened, proving you really don’t know what to expect from this team, game to game. This morning, it was announced Rajon Rondo is out indefinitely with a broken thumb. The news comes as a shock because Rondo was able to finish Game 2, falling one rebound shy of a triple-double.
The injury gives new life to the Boston Celtics, who had no answer for “playoff Rondo” through the first two games. Without him, the Bulls are thin at point guard, which was a big reason they struggled during the season: Fred Hoiberg wouldn’t play Rondo for long stretches.
Chicago still has a big advantage on the glass, but without Rondo buzzing around on defense, the Celtics should have more success getting their own offense going. Up 2-0, the Bulls are still in the driver’s seat, and those smart few who picked the upset shouldn’t panic, but I’d take Boston to win tonight.
2. Ibrahimovic out for season
It was possible that the 35-year-old striker wouldn’t be around Old Trafford next season, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic was still going to have a massive say in whether Man United would be in the 2017-18 Champions League. Now, United’s top scorer has been ruled out for the remainder of the campaign with a knee injury, almost certainly ending his career with the club.
As for the immediate future, it’s a big blow to Man U’s chances at the Champions League. The club is four points back of fourth in the Premier League table, with a crucial game against current fourth-place Man City coming next week. City has taken six of the last ten league meetings between the teams, and should be able to handle them again at home.
If Man U can’t finish top four, they could still qualify by winning the Europa League, and they’re currently the odds-on favorites to do just that. But without Ibrahimovic up front, a lot of responsibility is going to fall on young Marcus Rashford to give United enough offense. It feels like Jose Mourinho’s team is due for a collapse, and the Europa League would be the most devastating spot for that to come. Look at the field to win (Ajax, Lyon, and Celta de Vigo).
Photo Credit: Doha Stadium Plus Qatar (Zlatan Ibrahimovic — Doha, Qatar) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons