Why the Bulls will stay hot against the Hawks, plus best bets to get you through the weekend


In this morning’s newsletter, Pete Blackburn posed a simple question: Can Justin Rose hold onto a lead in the 2021 Masters? Well, after an up-and-down second round (four bogeys, four birdies), Rose posed an even-par 72 to hold on to the clubhouse lead at 7 under, but several players went low on Friday at Augusta National to jump into contention.

There’s a long way to go before the tournament is over, and Rose could still be on his way to adding a green jacket to his U.S. Open and Olympic gold medal collection. We’ll find out this weekend, and of course, if you aren’t able to watch it just yet, you can always keep track of everything here.

It’s the best way to follow those top 20 props I shared with you in Wednesday’s newsletter that I know you bet. At least, I hope you did, because we’re off to a solid start.  

Of course, while most of our attention is focused on the Masters, there’s plenty of other sports going on. In tonight’s newsletter, I have an NBA and an MLB play for you to get through your Friday evening, as well as a couple of soccer picks for the rest of the weekend. 

Now let’s try to drive these picks right down the center of the fairway.

All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook


🔥 The Hot Ticket

Bulls at Hawks, 7:40 p.m. | TV: NBA League Pass
The Pick: Bulls +2 (-110)
: I’m betting against the Hawks again. Earlier this week, we took the Grizzlies and the points against Atlanta because the Hawks were tired. Memphis won by 18. While the Hawks might’ve had Thursday night off, this will still be their seventh game in 10 days, and they’re banged up. Both Clint Capela and Danilo Gallinari are listed as questionable as of Friday afternoon, and the Hawks are also without De’Andre Hunter, John Collins and Cam Reddish.

Meanwhile, the Bulls are playing very well. They’ve won three straight, including last night over Toronto. The combination of Zack LaVine and Nikola Vucevic is starting to cook, and tonight those two will be running a lot of ball screens and pick-and-roll against one of the worst pick-and-roll defenses in the league. The same defense that could be missing its primary rim protector in Capela.

Key Trend: The Bulls are 19-7 ATS in their last 26 road games.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Advanced Computer Model has a pick for the spread in this game too, but it’s a much bigger fan of a play on the total.


💰 The Picks

⚾ MLB

Reds at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Diamondbacks (+135) — 
The Reds are off to a hot start, as they’ve gone 5-1 to open the season with an offense scoring 11.4 runs per game, but that’s probably not sustainable. And the market might be overreacting just a little bit here. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the Reds are an above-average team, but they aren’t as good as this start suggests. Plus, are you ready to start trusting Tyler Mahle as this heavy a road favorite? This is still the same Tyler Mahle with a career ERA of 4.67 and FIP of 4.73, right? Mahle’s strikeout numbers have improved lately, but he still walks far too many batters to trust here. The Reds win this game more than they lose it, but not nearly often enough to justify the price, so I’m fading with the Diamondbacks.

Key Trend: Arizona is 7-3 in its last 10 games as a home dog.

⚽ Soccer

Real Madrid vs. Barcelona, Saturday, 3 p.m. | TV: fuboTV
The Pick: Real Madrid (+190) — 
It’s the latest edition of El Clásico, with both teams needing a win in order to challenge Atlético Madrid for a league title in 2021. I’ve made a point of betting against Barcelona in matches like this all season. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still one of the world’s best clubs, but this year’s iteration is what I refer to as bumslayers. Barcelona beats up on the teams it’s better than and loses to those on its tier or above. Barcelona has played 10 matches against teams that advanced past the Champions League’s group stages, and it’s won only three of them, with two of those wins coming against Sevilla. It lost to Real Madrid 3-1 earlier this season. Madrid, on the other hand, is playing its best soccer of the season. It has won five straight, including a 3-1 win over Liverpool during the week. It has picked up 10 wins in its last 12 matches and hasn’t lost since January 30. Finally, even in empty stadiums, Barcelona’s been better at home than on the road, so every way I look at this match, I see Real Madrid winning.

Key Trend: Real Madrid has outscored Barcelona 5-1 over their last three league meetings.

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Manchester United, Sunday, 11:30 a.m. | TV: Peacock
The Pick: Manchester United (+145) — 
The first meeting between these two back in October was one of the craziest Premier League matches of the season. Tottenham came out of nowhere to blitz Man United 6-1 at Old Trafford, and it wasn’t some kind of fluke performance. However, a lot of time has passed since then, and time moves a lot slower when you live under Jose Mourinho.

This Spurs team that has cooled off considerably since that 6-1 thrashing and its early-season success against England’s best. In its last seven league matches against England’s “Big Six,” Tottenham’s won only once (a 2-0 win over Arsenal), drawn once (0-0 to Chelsea) and lost the other five by a combined score of 11-3. Meanwhile, Manchester United’s only loss since late January came in the FA Cup quarterfinals. I’m backing the Red Devils on Sunday.

Key Trend: Tottenham has won only one of its last seven matches against England’s “Big Six” clubs.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Renowned soccer expert Roger Gonzalez reveals his picks for Saturday’s El Clásico between Real Madrid and Barcelona.


💸 The DFS Rundown


USATSI

Building Blocks

PG: Trae Young, Hawks
SG: DeMar DeRozan, Spurs
SF: Khris Middleton, Bucks
PF: Jayson Tatum, Celtics
C: Nikola Jokic, Nuggets

Value Plays

PG: Kemba Walker, Celtics
SG: Donte DiVincenzo, Bucks
SF: Kelly Oubre, Warriors
PF: Jae’Sean Tate, Rockets
C: Ivica Zubac, Clippers

Full lineup advice

Get winning NBA DFS picks from SportsLine pros Mike McClure and Jacob Gibbs. McClure has won almost $2 million in daily Fantasy, while Gibbs crushed the NBA last season, cashing around 65 percent of the time in cash games and nearly 45 percent of the time in tournaments. See their DraftKings advice and FanDuel lineups here.


 🏀 NBA Player Props


USATSI





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