MLB’s crackdown on foreign substances is going to start affecting over-unders, other best bets for Monday


If you see Ben Simmons walking around Philadelphia today with a distant look in his eyes, please give him a hug for me. The only thing I could think about while watching the Sixers lose to the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night was how bad I felt for Simmons. He just looks miserable and lost in his mind.

Things only got worse after the game when his coach Doc Rivers and teammate Joel Embiid seemed too eager to throw him under the bus, and as Sam Quinn went over, it seems like it’s only a matter of time before Simmons finds himself with a new team.

Don’t get me wrong; Simmons definitely deserves a lot of the blame, but he seems to be wearing the weight of the world on his shoulders. I mean, have you ever seen anything sadder during a basketball game than a player opting not to take a wide-open dunk because they’re so lost in their head and lacking confidence in their ability to shoot? Ben Simmons had a dunk, but his first thought was, “oh my god pass the ball or you might have to shoot free throws.”

That’s messed up! I almost feel like Simmons should take a gap year or something. He should spend the season backpacking through Europe or on a walkabout in Australia in a quest to find himself. As Marshawn Lynch would say, Ben needs to take care of his mentals.

It’s a limited sports slate tonight, but don’t worry, I’ve found some plays for us.

All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook


🔥 The Hot Ticket

Indians at Cubs, 8:05 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Under 7 (-105)
: I’ve gone over how Wrigley Field plays differently depending on the time of day and the weather many times, and tonight’s forecast usually leads to lower-scoring affairs on the north side of Chicago. A big storm came through Chicago on Sunday night, and it brought much cooler temperatures with it, as the forecast is calling for temps in the mid-60s when tonight’s game starts. That, combined with strong winds blowing in from left-center, will make it difficult for hitters to hit the ball out of the park, which means the offense will have to string hits together to score runs.

There’s not a lot of stringing hits together in this modern version of baseball.

Also, while he’s not a household name, Chicago’s Adbert Alzolay returns from the IL tonight (he was dealing with a blister), and he’s been one of the Cubs’ strongest starters this season. He has a strikeout rate of 26.7%, and his weak spot has been that he’s prone to the long ball, but as I just went over, the ball will not be carrying tonight.

Key Trend: The under has gone 23-11-3 in the Cubs last 37 games as a home favorite.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Advanced Computer Model has a play on the total at Wrigley tonight too, but does it agree with me?


💰 The Picks

⚾ MLB

Dodgers at Padres, 10:10 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Over 7 (-120) — 
I’m going to start by saying that there’s more gut feel to this play than anything, so if you don’t want to follow me, I understand. I try to limit the ol’ gut when it comes to this newsletter, but with such a limited slate of action tonight, I have to squeeze one in.

Essentially, I’ve been wondering what the impact of MLB’s crackdown on foreign substances will do on scoring. My inclination is that many previously untouchable pitchers could become more touchable. So when you see the pitching matchup in this game between Yu Darvish and Julio Urias, it’s natural to think low-scoring, which is why this total is where it’s at.

But I have a sneaking suspicion we’ll see more runs than you expect! Also, it doesn’t hurt that Yu Darvish has been somewhat shaky as of late already. Darvish had an ERA of 1.75 over 61.2 innings in his first 10 starts of the season, but he’s posted an ERA of 4.84 in 22.1 innings over his last four starts. Urias has hit a few rough spots himself lately, posting an ERA of 4.98 over his last four starts.

Key Trend: The over is 5-2 in San Diego’s last seven home games.

🏀 NBA

The Pick: Suns to win the NBA Finals (+150) — Now that the NBA is down to a final four of teams few people expected, it makes sense that we take out another future. I mean, we just lost our Sixers futures on Sunday night. We must replace them.

So let’s replace them with the best of the four teams remaining, yet the team with the second-best odds to win it all. I don’t know what Kawhi Leonard’s injury situation is, but if he is available at some point in the Western Conference Finals, he won’t be 100%, and the Clippers without Kawhi aren’t a great team. The Suns can survive against them without Chris Paul because they have Devin Booker.

Meanwhile, in the East, neither one of those teams strikes me as being better than a fully-healthy Suns squad in a seven-game series, and Chris Paul should be back long before the Finals were to begin. So, we’re getting a ton of value on the Suns to win it all here in my estimations.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: The Advanced Computer Model and three of our SportsLine experts are all on the same side of the money line in tonight’s game between the Houston Astros and Baltimore Orioles.


💸 The DFS Rundown

Top Three Starters

  • Julio Urias, Dodgers
  • Yu Darvish, Padres
  • Adbert Alzolay, Cubs

Value Starter

Today’s Top Stack

Value Hitter


⚾ MLB Parlay


Getty Images

Tonight’s money line parlay pays +233.

  • Astros (-160)
  • Twins (+105)





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