Why does all the major news break when I'm busy? On Monday, I wrote a column about how there wasn't any point in saying USC should fire Clay Helton because he was already fired. It was only a question of when it would happen. Shortly after it was published, I sat down to record the Cover 3 Podcast with my co-hosts, and on the show, we talked about how Helton would be fired eventually.
Then, after the show, I took off my headphones, looked at the clock and thought late afternoon would be a great time to get my workout in. I mean, what news was going to break late on a Monday afternoon?
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Flash forward an hour later, when I'm finishing my workout, I see roughly 100 notifications on my phone about Clay Helton being fired. Sure enough, right after I'd spent hours writing and talking about it, and just after this newsletter was sent to your inbox, USC announced the decision we all knew was coming.
Who knows what will happen today when I'm on the bike and this newsletter is being pushed to your inbox? Anything is possible when I step away from the computer for a bit. But stepping away from the computer is the last thing you should do. Instead, read these stories and then join me for some baseball bets.
- Speaking of the USC job, Urban Meyer says there's "no chance" he's taking it.
- Chase Young holds Taylor Heinicke in higher esteem than anybody reasonably should.
- Which landing spots make the most sense for John Wall?
- The Game of the Century 50 years later, and before the "rematch" Saturday.
It turns out the MLB season is still going, so we might as well bet on it.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
⚾ Angels at White Sox, 8:10 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: White Sox -1.5 (-125): The White Sox have been mediocre in the second half of the season, going 29-26 since the break, but some context is missing in the record. The White Sox happen to reside in the AL Central, which is a division that has the Sox and four bad teams in it. Seriously, Cleveland is in second place, and it's 12.5 games behind Chicago with a record of 70-73.
Because of their ability to cruise to the finish line and still win the division, the White Sox have been liberal with their IL usage. I'm not saying the players they've put on the injured list haven't been hurt, but if the Sox were in a tight race, they might have asked some players to play through the aches and pains. Those injury stints have had a significant impact on the play.
Well, the Sox are now healthier than they've been in a while. Both Lance Lynn and Lucas Giolito rejoined the rotation in the last week, and the offense finally has a lineup that resembles the one that was supposed to be the team's regular nine. That lineup showed up Tuesday night when the Sox put up nine runs on Packy Naughton and the Angels, and it'll be back tonight against the unfortunately named Janson Junk.
Junk has a limited MLB sample, but he's been a guy who doesn't get many strikeouts and walks too many in the minors, so I'm not optimistic about how he'll perform against the White Sox tonight. Sure, there's some concern about the Sox having Dallas Keuchel starting, but they have a fresh bullpen awaiting behind him, so I expect Chicago to cruise tonight.
Key Trend: 68 of Chicago's 83 wins so far have come by two runs or more.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Advanced Computer Model doesn't love much of anything about this game, but its favorite play is on the total.
💰 The Picks
Indians at Twins, 7:40 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Indians (-105) -- OK, so I just told you about how the AL Central stinks, and I specifically mentioned Cleveland ... but don't let that deter you from betting the Indians tonight! While Cleveland might not be good, it's still better than the Twins, who find themselves at the bottom of the division.
Tonight, in particular, I'm looking to fade Minnesota starter Griffin Jax. On the season, Jax has an ERA of 6.72 in 64.1 innings with a well-below average strikeout rate and a walk rate that's higher than you want it to be. He also seems allergic to groundballs and softly-hit fly balls. I'm happy betting against him and the terrible bullpen backing him up.
Key Trend: Minnesota is 2-6 in its last eight home games.
Padres at Giants, 9:45 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Under 8.5 (-115) -- It's well-established that I love taking the under in night games in Oakland and San Francisco, and this play is very much in line with my taste. I have some concern about San Francisco starter Dominic Leone due to his 11.1% walk rate (and his 1.41 ERA is highly misleading) but there's plenty to like about him even if the results haven't shown up yet. He does an excellent job of avoiding the heart of the plate and limiting hard contact, which plays well in San Francisco.
On the other side, Joe Musgrove has been one of the few moves the Padres made this offseason that has worked out well. He has an ERA of 2.93, a high K rate and a low walk rate. He's been phenomenal and will keep the Giants offense in check while praying his team can support him. Considering the Padres are hitting .201/.276/.317 as a team the last two weeks, I'm not sure they will. Still, while I like the Giants to win, I love the under.
Key Trend: The under is 8-3 in San Francisco's last 11 home games.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: There's one MLB underdog Advanced Computer Model loves tonight, and you can find out who it is here.
⛳ Fortinet Championship Top 10s
We're betting on each of these golfers to finish in the top 10 this weekend.
- Charley Hoffman (+400)
- Talor Gooch (+550)
- Pat Perez (+650)
- Lanto Griffin (+750)
- Bo Hoag (+1200)