Anybody want to buy a soccer team with me? There's going to be a reasonable price on a new Serie A team soon.
If you haven't heard -- and why wouldn't you have!? -- a soccer club in Italy called Salernitana has earned promotion from Italy's second league (Serie B) to its top league (Serie A -- which is coming to Paramount+ next season). This is a massive deal for Salernitana, which hasn't been in Serie A since 1999 when it was called Salerno and was relegated to Serie B. It's been a rocky road for the club since, as it fell much further down the ladder of Italian football than Serie B and went bankrupt in 2005. The club was then refounded and changed its name to Salernitana.
And now it's coming back to Serie A, which poses a problem for Claudio Lotito, one of the team's owners. You see, Lotito also owns Italian club Lazio, a much larger Serie A club located in Rome. As you might imagine, it's against rules for one person to own two teams in the same league, so not Lotito has roughly 30 days to sell his stake in Salernitana.
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And I propose that we all pool our money together to buy him out. Who's with me? How could you not be? You could tell your friends and family that you own part of an Italian soccer team, which will make you seem both wealthy and cultured. Also, Salerno is a lovely city on the Tyrrhenian Sea, not too far south of Naples. And now you have an excellent excuse to spend time there!
The way I figure, it can't be too expensive (relative to other soccer teams), and I know a lot of smart soccer people who could help us build a team capable of staying in Serie A and increase the value of the team.
This is our chance to be eccentric billionaires!
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Alright, onto tonight's picks. Let's hope the added pressure of trying to raise money to buy Salernitana doesn't cloud our judgment.
All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Blue Jays at Braves, 7:20 p.m. | TV: ESPN+
The Pick: Blue Jays (+101): This isn't another case of me not being sure anyone in the NL East deserves to be favored against anybody, but it is an instance where I'm not sure the right team is favored. The Blue Jays are 18-16 on the season with a run differential of +27. That's the seventh-best run differential in baseball. The Braves are on the other end of the spectrum. Not only are they 17-18 on the year, but their run differential of -14 ranks tied for 22nd with the Orioles.
Also, Atlanta has been comically bad against lefties this year, and Toronto lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu is starting tonight. How bad have the Braves been? Well, I'm glad I made you ask me because the Braves have a wOBA of .256 and a wRC+ of 59 (remember, 100 is average.) Those numbers both rank 29th in baseball, ahead of only the lowly Detroit Tigers, who hit lefties about as well as you do.
Finally, there's the difference in bullpens. Toronto ranks sixth in baseball with an ERA of 3.10. Atlanta is 24th at 5.31.
Everything points to Toronto tonight.
Key Trend: The Braves are 1-4 in their last five games against lefty starters.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: SportsLine expert Justin Perri is 19-12-1 in his last 32 MLB picks and he has a play on both the money line and total for this game.
💰 The Picks
Twins at White Sox, 8:10 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Under 8 (-115) -- Yeah, we're back on the under horse in Chicago tonight. Last night's game finished with a score of 9-3, but if you were watching the game and saw how both starting pitchers performed, it's amazing the score remained that low. It was a testament to the weather conditions, and tonight's are even friendlier.
And the pitching matchup should be as well. Dallas Keuchel is starting for Chicago, and his entire career has been about avoiding flyballs. Since the start of the 2020 season, Keuchel's HR/9 ranks 64% better than the league average. Minnesota starter J.A. Happ isn't at Keuchel's level, but he's 11% better than the league average himself. And, if you've paid attention to baseball at any point in the last couple of decades, you know that without dingers, it's hard for teams to score a lot of runs!
Key Trend: The under is 6-1 in the last seven meetings.
Angels at Astros, 8:10 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Astros (-121) -- Listen, I know Shohei Ohtani is incredible, and Mike Trout is Mike Trout, but the Angels still aren't very good. They're 16-19 on the season with a run differential of -30. Only four teams have a worse run differential this season, and all four of them are seen as rebuilding teams -- not teams trying to make a playoff run like the Angels.
So there's too much value on the Astros at this price for me to pass it up. It's partially due to Andrew Heaney starting for Los Angeles, and while he's reinvented himself this season thanks to an impressive whiff rate of 13.2%, this isn't a great matchup for him. Not only do the Astros have the lowest strikeout rate in baseball at 19.1%, but against lefties, it drops to 18.4%. That's bad news for Heaney because the contact he has allowed so far this year has been noisy.
Key Trend: The Astros are 68-31 in their last 99 games as a home favorite.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine's Stephen Oh has won four straight NHL total picks and he's looking to extend that streak to five in tonight's game between the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs.
💸 The DFS Rundown
Based on how things look now, I'm probably going to spend up at PG and look for lower-priced value at SG.
PG: Russell Westbrook, Wizards
SG: DeMar DeRozan, Spurs
SF: Kevin Durant, Nets
PF: Jayson Tatum, Celtics
C: Clint Capela, Hawks
PG: Raul Neto, Wizards
SG: Marcus Smart, Celtics
SF: Joe Ingles, Jazz
PF: James Johnson, Pelicans
C: Tristan Thompson, Celtics
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.
🏌 AT&T Byron Nelson Top 20s
We're betting on each golfer to finish in the top 20. We're also hoping it goes better than last week.
- Talor Gooch +240
- Tom Hoge +350
- Patton Kizzire +450
- James Hahn +500
- Ben Martin +500
- Pat Perez +550
- Kyoung-Hoon Lee +600
- Vincent Whaley +600
- Brice Garnett +650
- Harry Higgs +650