We've got an epic weekend of sports coming our way, as the NBA and NHL playoffs continue, along with baseball and soccer. But we've got something else going on that only comes once per year.
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That's right; the Kentucky Derby is Saturday. If you're like me, you enjoy betting on the Kentucky Derby, but you don't have the slightest idea of what you should be betting. Thankfully, SportsLine is around to help us figure it all out and ensure that the most exciting two minutes in sports are also the most profitable two minutes in sports. So make sure you check out all the content SportsLine has produced for the derby this weekend. The only thing they haven't done is make the Mint Juleps for you.
Now let's let these horsies out the gates.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
The Hot Ticket
Suns at Mavericks, 9:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN
- Key Trend: The Suns are 5-0 against the Mavericks this season.
- The Pick: Suns (-110)
I don't think the Suns will sweep this series, but I also have the sense that they've been playing with their food a bit through the first two games. I've written plenty about how I find this to be the biggest mismatch of the second round, and while that might prove to be tonight's other series due to injuries (and we'll get to them soon enough), nothing I've seen in the first two games has caused me to think otherwise.
The Suns are cooking the Mavs on defense. Luka Doncic is not the greatest defender in the league, but he's struggling more than ever. He's still dealing with the hamstring injury and looks tired, so the one team in the league with the greatest pick-and-roll point guard in history keeps putting Doncic into situations he cannot stop, and it's proving to be a gold mine for the Suns.
Maybe Jason Kidd and the Mavs will figure out a way to adjust tonight and slow it down. It's more likely they don't. The Suns are the much better team, and their strengths line up perfectly with Dallas' weaknesses. Barring an injury, ejection, or somebody on the Mavs having a career night, I don't see the Mavs winning this one often enough to not take Phoenix at this price.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Projection Model agrees with me on who it thinks will win tonight, but it sees a lot more value on the total.
Heat at Sixers, 7 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: James Harden Under 37.5 Points, Assists & Rebounds (-135) -- They refuse to let us have it easy, don't they? On Wednesday, reports surfaced that Joel Embiid was listed as out for tonight's Game 3 in Philadelphia, but the Sixers had to throw a wrench in the gears today. Now the Sixers are , as he has a protective face mask, and it will be more of a pain tolerance issue.
This messes with our Miami Heat Under PAR Principle. It is 2-0 in this series with James Harden and went 3-1 in the first round with Trae Young. But the foundation of the principle is that Miami takes away its opponent's best player, so if Embiid plays tonight, that's no longer James Harden. But might Miami be more focused on Harden simply because Embiid will not be at 100%, and hasn't played yet in the series, so he could be limited as far as overall minutes? We don't know! Throw in the books catching on and lowering the prop to 37.5, and this one feels more dangerous than either of the first two games.
That said, you don't abandon your principles. Without them, you have nothing, so we ride.
Key Trend: James Harden has averaged 31.5 PAR in the first two games of this series.
Liverpool vs. Tottenham, Saturday, 2:45 p.m. | TV: USA
The Pick: Tottenham or Draw (+180) -- There's a lot of the human element featured in today's soccer picks. Liverpool is off to the Champions League final after getting past Villarreal in the semifinals, but it had a more difficult time than expected. It's also a team still fighting tooth and nail with Manchester City for the Premier League title. A Manchester City team now dealing with the heartbreak of again coming up short in the Champions League, but also the benefit of not having other competitions to worry about.
When this match kicks off Saturday, it will be Liverpool's 11th match since the start of April. That's roughly one match every three days or so. Furthermore, Liverpool will be playing Aston Villa on Tuesday with the FA Cup final next weekend. At some point, the stress of all these matches combined with Liverpool's aggressive pressing style will catch up to it. Saturday against a Tottenham side that's inconsistent but well-coached and well-rested (this will be Tottenham's sixth match since the start of April), and fighting for a top-four finish, could be that moment. At least, it will be more often than the price we're getting on Tottenham to get some kind of result suggests.
Atlético Madrid vs. Real Madrid, Sunday, 3 p.m. | TV: ESPN+
The Pick: Atlético Madrid (+108) -- Speaking of Champions League finalists, Real Madrid is in a tricky spot here. El Derbi Madrileño is always a big deal, but it wouldn't be a shock to see an emotional letdown. Real Madrid pulled off an incredible comeback against Manchester City and has already wrapped up La Liga. In other words, they've some tired players of their own (this will be Real's 10th match since the start of April) who are on the wrong side of 30 who might need a rest. With the La Liga title clinched, it's only natural to think we could see Real take its foot off the gas, even if only slightly.
Do you know who will never take their foot off the gas but instead will spike the gas pedal even harder? That's right, Diego Simeone and Atlético Madrid. Not only is this a chance to take down their greatest rival, but Atlético has far more to play for here. It sits fourth in La Liga, only three points ahead of Real Betis for the final Champions League spot. It can't afford to rest like Real can, which could be all the difference.
Leicester City vs. Everton, Sunday, 9 a.m. | TV: USA
The Pick: Everton (+185) -- This is a situation where Leicester City might already be on the golf course or in Dubai while Everton is fighting for its life. With Leicester City knocked out of the Europa Conference League, it has nothing to play for. It's in 11th place in the Premier League, well out of reach of a European spot, and nowhere close to being in danger of relegation. Meanwhile, Everton could leapfrog both Burnley and Leeds United in the standings with a win.
These teams met a few weeks ago in Leicester and managed a 1-1 draw, but Everton has been much better in its last two matches against Liverpool and Chelsea. It's gone into foxhole mode (which is another way I describe a style of play more commonly referred to in a way I can't use here). Any time you can bet on an underdog with everything to play for against a team with nothing to play for, do it.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine racing analyst Michelle Yu, who cashed on 12-1 long shot Medina Spirit in last year's Run for the Roses, offers her picks, wagers and analysis for the 2022 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
Friday Night MLB Underdog Parlay
Because Fridays are for underdogs. This pays out at +341.
- Reds (+110)
- Royals (+110)