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A Calgary Flames "home" game on Sunday. Photo: Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

Without true home-court/ice advantage inside the NBA and NHL bubbles, the Lakers, Bucks, Golden Knights and Flyers earned arguably the least valuable No. 1 seeds ever.

Yes, but: Both leagues are still trying to replicate the home team experience, using in-game music coordinators and other elements to make the bubbles feel like homes away from home.

By the numbers: NBA "home" teams have been slightly better in the bubble (.562 winning percentage, up from .551 pre-shutdown), while NHL "home" teams have been slightly worse (.500 winning percentage, down from .533).

What they're saying: "Each team submitted warm-up music and walk-in music, and we'll incorporate certain defensive chants and songs for timeouts," says Courtney Benjamin (aka DJ M.I.L.), one of the NBA bubble's four music coordinators.

  • The NHL is doing similar things inside their arenas, while also ensuring that rules like last change — wherein the home team gets to respond to the away team's line change — remain in play.

Between the lines: Given the unprecedented nature of the bubbles, oddsmakers and bettors took a "wait-and-see" approach to the restart, gradually adjusting their lines and tactics. Now, the intensity of the postseason — paired with the lack of a true home atmosphere — presents a new challenge.

"It's a unique time, which can be viewed as either an opportunity or a headache. Most professional bettors view it as opportunity, but there's just so much uncertainty ... and only so much prep work you can do. You learn a bit more about these new situations day by day."
— Ben Fawkes, VP of digital content at VSiN

Today's slate: The NBA postseason begins with four games on ESPN, while the NHL playoffs continue with four games on NBCSN.

  • NBA: No. 6 Jazz at No. 3 Nuggets (1:30pm ET); No. 7 Nets at No. 2 Raptors (4pm); No. 6 76ers at No. 3 Celtics (6:30pm); No. 7 Mavs at No. 2 Clippers (9pm).
  • NHL: No. 2 Lightning at No. 7 Blue Jackets, 3pm ET (TB leads 2-1); No. 2 Avalanche at No. 7 Coyotes, 5:30pm (COL leads 2-1); No. 4 Bruins at No. 5 Hurricanes, 8pm (BOS leads 2-1); No. 4 Blues at No. 5 Canucks, 10:30pm (VAN leads 2-1).

Go deeper

Aug 28, 2020 - Sports

More sports leagues join Black Lives Matter protests

An empty Oracle Park in San Francisco. Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The sports walk-out first started by NBA players after the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., continued through Thursday, with even more leagues joining the historic strike.

  • NBA: All three playoff games were postponed for the second straight day, but players met and voted to resume the season by this weekend, likely on Saturday.

Scoop: Trump-backed Perdue says he wouldn’t have certified Georgia 2020 results

Perdue at a December 2020 campaign event in Columbus, Ga. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Georgia gubernatorial candidate David Perdue wouldn’t have signed the certification of the state’s 2020 election results if he had been governor at the time, the former Senate Republican told Axios.

  • “Not with the information that was available at the time and not with the information that has come out now. They had plenty of time to investigate this. And I wouldn’t have signed it until those things had been investigated and that’s all we were asking for," he said.

Why it matters: There has been no evidence widespread fraud took place in Georgia's elections last year and the November results were counted three times, once by hand.

Beijing Olympics: These countries have announced diplomatic boycotts

Photo: Zhang Qiang/VCG via Getty Images

Several countries, including Canada and Australia, have announced they will join the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to protest human rights abuses committed by China's government.

Driving the news: Leaders have faced pressure from human rights groups and others to boycott the Games, pointing to the ongoing genocide of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang region and other abuses.