Happy Monday, everyone, and more importantly, happy birthday to me because I have received the greatest birthday gift I could’ve hoped for. According to multiple reports, White Sox manager Tony La Russa will announce his retirement Monday.
La Russa has not managed the White Sox since late August due to ongoing health concerns per the advice of his doctors and underwent a procedure to repair his pacemaker. It was his second stint with the White Sox, and as I’ve documented in this newsletter multiple times over the last two seasons, it was disappointing. After getting knocked out of the playoffs with ease last October, the White Sox entered 2022 as the heavy favorites to win the AL Central and may not even finish the season with a winning record.
Perhaps stepping away will be the best for all involved. Elsewhere today:
- Is Baker Mayfield going to get benched?
- NFL Week 4 overreactions and reality checks.
- Do MLB teams really get hot at the right time?
- Watch out, college football coaches. If it can happen to Paul Chryst, it can happen to any of you.
Now let’s get this birthday cake.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Rams at 49ers, 8:15 p.m. | TV: ESPN
Latest Odds: Los Angeles Rams +2
- Key Trend: The road team has covered five of the last seven meetings.
- The Pick: Rams +2 (-110)
This has been a one-sided division rivalry the last few years, with San Francisco winning six of the last seven meetings dating back to 2018. However, it had been six straight 49ers wins until the playoffs last year when the Rams beat the 49ers 20-17 in the NFC Championship.
The Rams were better that day and more pertinent to our interests tonight, the Rams are a better team than San Francisco right now. Statistically, the 49ers have one of the best defenses in the NFL. They rank first in success rate and points allowed per drive. Opponent possessions are averaging only 21.3 yards per drive, which is also the best number in the league. But have you looked at who San Francisco has played to start the season?
Jonathan Coachman is joined by Larry Hartstein, Zack Cimini and Allie O’Neill to dish out Monday’s best bets. Download and follow The Early Edge on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
In Week 1, they faced Chicago (32nd in offensive success rate) in a monsoon. The following week it was home against a Seattle team that tore the Lions apart for 48 points Sunday but was mediocre at best on offense in its first three games. Last week the Niners faced a Denver offense that ranks 31st in the league in success rate. To use a phrase I often hear covering college football: they ain’t played nobody.
The Niners have also been questionable on the offensive end, even before Trey Lance went down with an injury. In fact, their offense is so bad it’s surprising San Francisco’s defense hasn’t faced it yet. The Niners rank 27th in success rate, 31st in points per drive, and 24th in turnover rate. While the Rams’ defense is off to a much slower start than anticipated, the offense is still humming along nicely, and it’s the unit I have the most faith in tonight.
I’ll take the two points because this is the NFL, and it’s hard to predict, but I also think the Rams win more often than they lose tonight.
Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: While SportsLine’s Larry Hartstein and I disagree on the spread, Matt Severance thinks we should be making a play on the total instead.
🏈 Monday Night Football
Rams at 49ers, 8:15 p.m | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Darrell Henderson Over 22.5 Rushing Yards (-113) — Henderson leads the Rams in rushing through three games, so it’s surprising to see his rushing yardage prop so low tonight. There’s a reason for it, though. While Henderson was the team’s primary back in the first two weeks of the season and rushed for 47 yards in both games, he had only four carries for 17 yards last week as Cam Akers took on a more prominent role, particularly on earlier downs.
Still, I think Henderson’s lack of carries last week was more about the game script (Akers got hot!) than Los Angeles’ overall plan, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him get more tonight. Sean McVay has always been hard to predict when it comes to his RB usage, so I think this prop is an overreaction. Plus, Henderson might not need many carries to get 23 yards anyway.
Key Trend: Henderson has averaged 47.4 rushing yards per game over the last three seasons.
Giants at Padres, 9:40 p.m | TV: MLB Network
Latest Odds: San Francisco Giants +180
The Pick: Giants (+196) — The Padres lost two of three to the White Sox over the weekend, including Sunday, but it didn’t matter. With the Brewers losing to the Marlins, the Padres clinched a wild card berth and celebrated after the game. Tonight, we’re betting on a hangover in both the literal and figurative sense.
It’s a pitching mismatch with San Diego sending Joe Musgrove to the mound and San Francisco handing the ball to John Brebbia. Still, the Padres have been playing some mediocre baseball lately as it is, and it’s only natural there’s a bit of a letdown after clinching yesterday. To be clear, this one is a lot more gut feel than math, but the numbers suggest there’s value on the Giants at this price regardless.
Key Trend: The Padres are 1-4 in their last five home games.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine’s Mike McClure shared his favorite player props tonight if you want to bet them separately or put together a parlay.