The only bet worth making for Grizzlies vs. Warriors tonight, other picks for the weekend

Hello, and Happy Friday! It is I, Tom Fornelli, returning to your inbox to let you know that this is definitely me today and not Chris Bengel. Chris, if you’re reading this, I appreciate you filling in for me. I hope you didn’t get yelled at for any of your picks.

I did. Shout out to that guy who sent me a direct message on Twitter to call me a clown who knows nothing about basketball for getting a pick wrong that I didn’t even make. Also, for those of you who weren’t aware of it, you’re going to be wrong a lot when it comes to gambling. The people who do it professionally hope to be right 55% of the time but will settle for 53%.

That means you’re happy being wrong 45-47% of the time, depending on what you’re betting.

But don’t worry, I’ve already told Chris that he’s never allowed to get a pick wrong again or that he’ll have to pay every single subscriber $100 apiece out of his pocket. He wasn’t excited about it, but he understands.

As for me, I’ve never gotten a pick wrong. No, any bet I make lost because the players screwed it up.

Now, let’s get to the picks for tonight and this weekend. None of them will be wrong, but if they are, yell at Chris Bengel for it. It’s only fair.

All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

Grizzlies at Warriors, 9 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Jonas Valanciunas Under 19.5 points (-110): I’m not confident on any aspect of the spread or total in tonight’s game, but I do think the Warriors will win more often than not, and I think Jonas Valuncianas’ stat line will tell us which team won or lost. In short, I don’t think Memphis can win this game without a strong effort from Valuncianas, but I’m not sure what’s reasonable to expect.

No team allowed fewer points per game to opposing centers this season than the Warriors. Of course, that didn’t stop Jonas from putting up 29 points against the Warriors last week, but he did that while shooting 12-of-15 from the field. In his first two games against the Warriors this season, Valuncianass averaged 14.5 points per game while shooting 53%. Given all that’s on the line tonight, I don’t think he’s going to shoot 80% again, so I’m taking the under on his point total.

Key Trend: Valuncianas scored more than 19 points in only one of three games against the Warriors this season. 

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: The simulation model is pretty confident on which way to bet the Over/Under

💰 The Picks


Twins at Indians, 7:10 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Over 9 (-105) — 
Cleveland’s Progressive Field is another park that plays a lot differently in warm temperatures than cold. When it heats up, the ball begins flying out, and tonight’s forecast calls for temps in the mid-80s with the wind blowing out to left. Considering the park already has a jet stream that carries balls out to right-center, and well, it looks like it’s going to be a good night for hitters.

The pitching matchup should help us out a bit too. Cleveland’s Triston McKenzie doesn’t allow a lot of contact, but the contact he allows tends to be of the hard-hit, flyball variety. Minnesota’s Randy Dobnak doesn’t miss bats and gets groundballs, but the flyballs he does surrender tend to be obliterated.

Key Trend: The over is 8-2-1 in Cleveland’s last 11 division games, and 11-2-1 in Minnesota’s last 14.

Dodgers at Giants, 9:45 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Dodgers (-125) — 
Honestly, there’s not a whole lot more to this pick than we don’t often get the Dodgers this cheap. The Giants enter the weekend as one of the bigger surprises of the season because nobody on Earth thought they’d be in first place in the NL West approaching the end of May, or that the Dodgers would be in third. Now, I don’t think anything about the Giants has been flukey. Their results are in line with how they’ve played.

But it’s still the Dodgers, and it’s still Trevor Bauer against Alex Wood. No disrespect to Wood, who has been excellent this season, but his inability to get strikeouts makes me wonder how sustainable the early results are in the long run.

Key Trend: The Dodgers have won seven of their last eight games in San Francisco.

⚽ Soccer

Leicester City vs. Tottenham, Sunday, 11 a.m. | TV: NBCSN
The Pick: Leicester City (+103) — 
So here’s the situation for Leicester. It has to win this match if it wants to reach the Champions League, and even if it does win, it’s not guaranteed of anything. Still, Leicester can only control what it does and can’t concern itself with Liverpool. And I think Leicester can do that, and we’re getting a nice price on them.

The concerns are that Leicester is limping toward the finish line a bit. Sure, it won the FA Cup last week, but it has managed only 10 points in its last eight matches in league play. Well, I can’t think of a better team to play right now than Tottenham. If ever there was a team already on vacation in its mind, it’s Tottenham. The team looked disinterested against Aston Villa during the week, and Harry Kane has reached the stage where he’s making it public he wants to leave. Maybe Tottenham shows up ready to play this weekend, but I think it’s more likely everyone is ready to get on with their lives after a long year.

Key Trend: Tottenham have lost six straight against the top six teams in England this season.

Arsenal vs. Brighton, Sunday, 11 a.m. | TV: Peacock
The Pick: Brighton or Draw (+130) — 
Brighton is hilarious. It’s a team that has beaten both Liverpool and Manchester City (it picked up seven points in four matches against them), yet it’s currently in 16th place. All the metrics scream, “this team is a lot better than you think,” but it’s been comically bad at putting the ball in the net, which is an essential part of the game. Then the luck evens out in quick bursts. I’m hoping we get another one of those bursts against an Arsenal team I’ve loved to fade as a favorite all season.

Brighton’s been better than Arsenal this season if we look at the expected goal differential (xGD) per match. Its xGD per match is 0.40 to Arsenal’s 0.23. Now, Brighton has been better at home, but Arsenal’s been better on the road than at home, so that evens things out a little. Whatever the location, there’s a lot of value on Brighton to finish the season with a result.

Key Trend: Arsenal have won only 13 of the 27 matches they’ve been favored in this season.

Torino vs Benevento, Sunday, 2:45 p.m. | TV: ESPN+
The Pick: Torino (-127) — 
Yes, that’s right, I’m including a match between teams in 16th and 17th place in Serie A. Oh, and nothing is on the line. No matter what happens in this match, Benevento cannot pass Torino in the standings, and it will be relegated. And that’s precisely why we’re picking this match!

You see, the trip from Benevento to Torino is about 90 minutes if you fly, but Benevento will not be flying. No, club president Oreste Vigorito is reportedly punishing his team for being relegated by making them take a 12-hour bus trip north to Torino. So a team that’s already been relegated will now have to spend 12 hours in a bus before playing a meaningless match. I told you there were a lot of variables to consider this week. Fade the bus.

Key Trend: Teams don’t perform well when they’re mad at their boss and had to sit on a bus for 12 hours.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: The Yankees and White Sox — two of the hottest teams in the AL — are facing off tonight and the strongest baseball bet the simulation model has across the league is on the moneyline of the game

💸 The DFS Rundown

Top Three Starters

  • Trevor Bauer, Dodgers
  • Tyler Glasnow, Rays
  • Ian Anderson, Braves

Value Starter

Top Three Hitters

  • Juan Soto, Nationals
  • Manny Machado, Padres
  • Carlos Santana, Royals

Value Hitter

 ⚾ Stack Attack

Tonight’s dinger party is scheduled to take place in Philadelphia.

  • Andrew McCutchen (+350)
  • Bryce Harper (+333)
  • Rhys Hoskins (+250)

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