Happy Thursday, everybody. Things have been pretty quiet today. A little too quiet if you ask me. Maybe I’ve grown so accustomed to the onslaught of breaking news in sports lately that a day without a significant trade or school deciding to join a new conference seems jarring.
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Whatever the case, there isn’t anything earth-shattering to report to you this afternoon, outside of Rafael Nadal withdrawing from Wimbledon. Though maybe merely typing that sentence put something cataclysmic in motion. Of course, if I have the power to do that, I should figure out ways to use it for my personal benefit. While I strategize ways to do just that, you can keep yourself busy with these stories.
- The AFC West comes in at No. 1 when we rank NFL divisions by their quarterbacks, but how does the rest of the league fare?
- A Chicago Bears WR was arrested on drug and weapons charges in Texas.
- Brittany Griner pleaded guilty to drug charges in a Russian court.
- Rory McIlroy hopes the PGA and LIV tours can find some common ground.
To the bets!
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
The Hot Ticket
Latest Odds: Over 8.5
- Key Trend: The over is 13-5 in New York’s last 18 series openers.
- The Pick: Over 9 (-105)
Gerrit Cole starts for the Yankees, which might cause you to think I’m some sort of madman for betting the over. Cole has an ERA of 2.99, a strikeout rate of 31.5% and walks only 7% of opposing hitters, which is 15% below league average. He’s what you would call “pretty good.” However, when teams do make contact against him and get the ball in the air, it tends to travel. His HR/9 is 23% above the league average, and therein lies the rub tonight.
The weather forecast at Fenway tonight has temps in the mid-70s with strong winds blowing out toward the Green Monster. That means the ball carrying further than normal, and in turn more dingers and more runs. Furthermore, Boston starter Josh Winckowski does not strike people out. His K rate of 17.3% is low. He lives on getting groundballs, but that doesn’t matter much to me against this Yankees lineup. If you don’t miss their bats, the Yankees will hit home runs off you.
So there’s plenty of reason to anticipate tonight’s game is another classic Yankees/Red Sox battle that lasts 4.5 hours, but don’t worry. There’s a more than decent chance our over will have cashed only two hours in.
Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Projection Model sees some value on the over as well, but it thinks the better play is on the money line.
Cardinals at Braves, 7:20 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Cardinals (+205) — Atlanta has won the first three games of this series by a combined score of 16-4. Why is this idiot telling you to bet the Cardinals tonight? I’m an idiot, but one with plenty of reason to believe that the market is too high on the Braves.
Yes, the Braves have dominated this series and won seven of 10, but the Cardinals are not pushovers. St. Louis’ run rate of 6.14% ranks 28th in the league over the last week, but it’s too good of an offense to stay down much longer. Also, Atlanta has leaned on its bullpen a bit more than usual in the last week and as good as Spencer Strider has been for the Braves, he doesn’t tend to go deep into games.
If the Cardinals can keep things close and get to the pen, they’ve got a legit shot at avoiding the sweep tonight.
Key Trend: There is no encouraging trend to support this play, but we don’t need trends when we have belief.
Latest Odds: Over 8
The Pick: Over 8 (-105) — Dylan Cease was named the American League’s pitcher of the month in June because he went 5-0 with a 0.33 ERA and struck out 45 hitters in 27.1 innings. Over his last seven starts, he’s posted an ERA of 0.46 with 54 strikeouts in 39.1 innings. Those are great numbers, but have you done the math on the innings?
Cease’s shortcoming is that he strikes everybody out, but he also walks a lot of hitters (11% of them, in fact) and uses a lot of pitches to get through them all. So, he rarely goes deep into games. In two starts against Detroit this season, Cease has struck out 16 and allowed only one earned run, but he hasn’t lasted longer than five innings in either start.
So we should expect plenty of the White Sox bullpen tonight, and it’s a shorthanded unit with a lack of reliable arms outside Kendall Graveman and Liam Hendriks at the back end. We’re likely to see a lot of players reach base and round them tonight.
Key Trend: The over is 9-4-1 in Chicago’s last 14 home games.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Novak Djokovic goes against Cameron Norrie in a Wimbledon semifinal on Friday and SportsLine tennis expert Sean Calvert has everything you need to know about betting the match.
Bi-Coastal Baseball Parlay
You know, it’s been a while since we’ve done a parlay, and considering how much success we’ve had with them this year, that’s probably a mistake. So let’s get back in the habit tonight with a two-leg MLB parlay paying +115.