I won’t bore you with more complaining about the Chicago White Sox today. No, instead, I’m going to take a look at the NFL because I need football season to get here — did you know the White Sox stink? — and we’ve got camp drama! We don’t have camp drama in Baltimore because Lamar Jackson has shown up to mandatory minicamp just like he said he would. There had been some speculation Jackson could sit out with contract talks coming.
It’s not the same story everywhere in the area, however. Don’t look now, Jack Del Rio, but we’ve got another little dust-up in the nation’s capital. Star receiver Terry McLaurin isn’t going to show up to camp this week because he wants a new deal himself.
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And can you blame him? This is a player who has caught 228 passes for 3,165 yards and 16 touchdowns the last three seasons with guys like Case Keenum, Alex Smith and Taylor Heinicke throwing to him. Now he has to deal with Carson Wentz. I’d want the money up front too!
- The Dolphins were ready to risk it all for Sean Payton.
- Third-year NFL players ready to break out.
- Texas A&M tried to get the SEC to suspend Nick Saban.
Oh, hey, the NBA Finals are back tonight. Let’s talk about them.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
The Hot Ticket
Latest Odds: Boston Celtics +4
- Key Trend: The Celtics are 13-3 ATS following their last 16 losses and 9-2-1 in their last 12 as a road dog.
- The Pick: Celtics +4 (-110)
So this sounds pedantic because it is, but I want to make it clear to all of you since we don’t all bet at the same places, and the margins for this one are similar. I’ve been betting the Celtics money line in this series, and in some cases, it’s still the better play. Different books have different spreads at the moment. If you can get the Celtics +4 with standard (-110) or better juice, take that. If your book is at Celtics +3.5 but has the Boston money line at +130 or better, take that. Got it? As I said, it’s pedantic, but the margins are that close based on what my numbers have.
Boston was destined to win this entire thing after winning Games 1 and 3. The Warriors were not to be denied after winning Games 2 and 4. I’m still standing in the same place I’ve been the entire time: Boston is the better team.
As I said Friday when I told you to take the Celtics, as long as Steph Curry and Klay Thompson don’t go Splash Brother, the Celtics will win every game. Well, Steph went for 43 points in the game as the Warriors won to even the series. And, you know what? He might do it again tonight. That said, the Warriors have been a one-man team on the offensive end for the most part in this series, and it’s hard to ask a player to do what Curry did in Game 4 game after game. Especially against a defense like Boston’s.
It could happen, but as usual, I’m not betting on it.
Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: I am a man on an island.
Padres at Cubs, 8:05 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Under 9 (+100) — It’s a night game at Wrigley, which is always friendlier for pitchers than hitters, but the park and weather are only playing a small role in tonight’s pick. The bigger impact is the matchup and the offenses. The Cubs offense has struggled the last couple of weeks, and tonight it goes against former Cubs starter Yu Darvish.
Darvish has not been his usual self this season. His strikeout rate is down to 20.1%, but he still has excellent command and gets plenty of swinging strikes and weak contact. He’s going head to head with Justin Steele, who walks a few too many hitters for my liking, but gets a lot of ground balls and has a barrel rate against of only 1.4%. Also, while the Padres offense has performed better against lefties, they don’t make much hard contact against them. I don’t think San Diego needs more than four runs to win this game.
Key Trend: The under is 7-3-1 in the last 11 meetings.
Reds at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Reds (+135) — Yeah, we’re betting the Reds again. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? While the Reds have been consistently undervalued, this is also a case of the Diamondbacks not being good enough to be favored as heavily as they are here. Before the season began, I advised you to take the over 66.5 on Arizona’s win total, and we’re well on pace to win that one. That’s great, but the DBacks aren’t close to an elite team.
Tonight’s Arizona starter is Merrill Kelly. He has an ERA of 3.32, but don’t put much stock in that. His strikeout rate of 19.8% is well below league average for MLB starters, and his walk rate of 9.9% is even worse. Guys with control issues who allow a lot of contact don’t tend to hold onto ERAs in the low threes for long.
Key Trend: Arizona is 2-5 in its last seven home games.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: The US Open is this weekend and SportsLine’s Mike McClure has an early look at what you should be betting.