This past weekend was the first weekend of the year when I had a deep desire to watch football. I know that the USFL is going on, and while I wish everybody associated with the league the best of luck, I've taken a stance that I'm not going to invest any of my time into a spring league until one sticks. I've seen far too many come and go.
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No, I'm talking college football and the NFL. I need them to get back as soon as possible. When they end, I still have soccer every weekend to fill that early morning/afternoon sports slot on the weekend. Now that the soccer season has ended, that's gone. I woke up Saturday with nothing to watch, feeling an emptiness in my soul. All I wanted at that moment was a dreary afternoon game between Purdue and Minnesota on a cloudy day. It didn't need to be a good game; I just needed it to be a game to watch.
Hurry back, football. The White Sox are terrible, and I need you.
All right, let's get to tonight's winners.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
The Hot Ticket
- Key Trend: The over is 4-1-1 in the last six meetings.
- The Pick: Over 9.5 (-105)
Sound the alarm! We've got a perfect storm brewing in Cleveland tonight! A perfect storm that should lead to the ball flying out of the yard with ease and plenty of runs being scored. While there's some rain in the forecast that could mess it up for all of us, temperatures at game time should be in the upper 70s with the wind howling out to right-center.
Of course, the weather only plays one factor in our storm. There's also the pitching matchup. Cal Quantrill starts for the Guardians, and he'll bring his uninspiring strikeout rate of 15.1%. If that isn't enough, he pairs it with an 8.7% walk rate that's a little higher than the league average for starters. He'll square off against Texas' Jon Gray, who might feel like he's back in Coors Field tonight.
As for Quantrill, while his hard contact rate is average, he allows a lot of fly balls, and his home run rate allowed is a lot lower than it should be, considering all the contact he gives up. You have to expect a course correction at some point, and well, maybe those winds will bring the correction with them. The only thing this perfect storm is missing is George Clooney and Marky Mark.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Projection Model has a lean toward the over as well, but what it and two SportsLine experts love is a play on the money line.
Avalanche at Oilers, 8 p.m. | TV: TNT
The Pick: Oilers (+115) -- Listen, the Avalanche are a juggernaut, and it's shown in this series. They've won the first three games and outscored the Oilers 16-8, with six of Edmonton's eight goals coming n the first game. It's been 8-2 since. The Avs are going to win this series.
But it'll probably take them five games to do it.
Even though the Oilers will be without Evander Kane tonight thanks to his cheap shot on Nazem Kadri, Kadri is out tonight because of that cheap shot. The Oilers win that trade because as good as Kane has been for them, Kadri has been incredible for the Avs in the playoffs. So tonight, I think the Oilers pick up one last win before their season ends, with Connor McDavid putting the team on his back and helping them survive another couple of days.
Key Trend: The home team has won seven of the last nine meetings.
The Pick: Mariners (+155) -- Seattle got off to a nice start this year, raising the hopes and expectations of the fan base, but it's gone 13-24 since an 11-6 start. Still, as bad as the Mariners have been, they've won four of nine against Houston, and they're sending Robbie Ray to the mound tonight. The reigning AL Cy Young winner has been a disappointment since coming to Seattle, but the underlying metrics suggest he hasn't been as bad as his 4.93 ERA suggests.
He's allowing dingers at a rate that seems unsustainable and should rebound, and tonight he faces a Houston team that fares much worse against lefties (.297 wOBA, 98 wRC+) than righties (.323 wOBA, 116 wRC+). While Seattle will have trouble against Houston's Cristian Javier, I think Ray can do enough to keep them in the game and give them a shot at the win more often than the +155 price suggests.
Key Trend: The Astros have not hit lefties well at all this season.
Monday Night Strikeout Props
Not a whole lot to choose from tonight, but there's some good value on these strikeout props.