altuve-astros.jpg

Do you hear that sound? That's the sound of Football Friday hitting your inbox yet again! It's the unofficial start to your weekend, as I'm here to give you damn near 2,000 words about all the bets you should be making this weekend. I've got NFL picks, college football picks and soccer picks. And even if it's a Football Friday, don't worry, I've got a pick for Game 6 of the ALCS tonight as well, plus an NBA parlay.

You don't have to play football to be a part of Football Friday. It's all-inclusive! If you have seen a football in your life, that's good enough for us. If you can tell the difference between American football and the global version, even better. If you can't, well, maybe read this entire newsletter and learn something.

You should read these stories, too. Not only might you learn something, but you could be entertained, too. What a world!

Let the Football Friday-ing commence!

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook


🔥 The Hot Ticket

Red Sox at Astros, 8:08 p.m. | TV: FOX
The Pick: Over 9 (+100)
: There is no right way to bet. Some bettors are purely mathematical, others go on their gut, and most fall somewhere in between. In the end, nobody has figured out a correct way to bet, and sometimes you just have to go with the results that have been smacking you in the face for the last week. Tonight's total is set at nine and, even though the math is screaming at me to take the under, my eyes say differently. They've seen nearly every pitch in this series and there have been a lot of them to see because nobody can get anybody out.

The first five games of the ALCS have seen 59 runs scored on 87 hits, 38 walks and 19 home runs. Not a single game in the series has had fewer than nine runs scored, and that was Houston's 5-4 win in Game 1.

Do you remember what these two teams got in trouble for a couple of seasons ago? Well, while I'm not here to make accusations about what may or may not still be going on, I'll just simply gesture wildly at the results and ask you to make your own conclusions. Meanwhile, let's bet the over and strap ourselves in for another wild ride.

Key Trend: The over is like 1,000,000,000-0 in this series.

Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: SportsLine's Projection Model has generated picks for Friday's ALCS Game 6 matchup between the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox.


💰 The Picks

wilson-jets.jpg

🏈 NFL

Jets at Patriots, Sunday, 1 p.m. | TV: CBS
The Pick: Jets +7 (-115) -- 
Eat your vegetables! We find ourselves in another situation where Mac Jones and the New England Patriots are heavy favorites. Two weeks ago, the Patriots were eight-point road favorites against Houston, and we backed the Texans, who covered for us. Now the Pats are playing another terrible team, but this time they're at home where they've gone 1-3 ATS to start the season and 0-2 ATS as favorites. In fact, New England is only 1-3 ATS as favorites overall this season because the Patriots simply aren't that good.

They rank 21st in the NFL in points per drive on offense and 19th in success rate. They're solid on the defensive side of the ball, and that's why I fully expect them to win this game. But I'm not ready to trust this offense's ability to cover spreads this size, even against the Jets.

Key Trend: The Patriots are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 as a favorite.

Lions at Rams, Sunday, 4:05 p.m. | TV: FOX
The Pick: Under 50.5 (-110) -- 
The obvious storyline for this game is Jared Goff returning to Los Angeles to face his old team and the quarterback they traded him for. It's hard to argue that the trade hasn't gone exactly how the Rams hoped, as they're 5-1, and Matthew Stafford is lighting it up. Goff is not. Following Detroit's 34-11 loss to the Bengals last week -- which dropped the team to 0-6 -- Detroit coach Dan Campbell openly challenged Goff to play better.

I don't know that he can. While I thought this Lions team played well and fought hard to begin the season, it looked like a team that had lost the will to fight back last week. Maybe Goff will be rejuvenated this week against the Rams, but I have serious doubts about how the Detroit offensive line will hold up against this Rams front. My read is the Lions struggle moving the ball, and the Rams hand off a lot in the second half while nursing a comfortable lead.

Key Trend: The under is 12-3 in Los Angeles' last 15 as a home favorite.

🏈 College Football

No. 8 Oklahoma State at Iowa State, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. | TV: FOX
The Pick: Oklahoma State +7 (-110) -- 
I've received a lot of questions about why Oklahoma State is a touchdown underdog against unranked Iowa State and the answer is simple: despite its record, there's a good argument to be made the Cyclones are actually better overall than the Cowboys. They're certainly more well-balanced. Still, I don't think they're a full touchdown better.

Iowa State's overall defensive numbers are strong, but it hasn't played as well on that side of the ball recently. Plus, its offense has never been explosive. And while I've been critical of Oklahoma State's offense -- it's a big reason why I haven't been all that high on this team despite its unblemished record -- it has played better on that side of the ball recently and the defense is still strong. All of that makes it hard to trust the Clones as favorites.

Key Trend: Oklahoma State is 13-3 ATS in its last 16 as an underdog, including 10 straight up wins.

LSU at No. 12 Ole Miss, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. | TV: CBS
The Pick: Under 76.5 (-110) -- 
This is not an easy game to handicap. We have no idea how LSU will respond after the school reached a "separation agreement" with coach Ed Orgeron earlier this week. To be fair, though, it's not like we were ever sure what to expect from the LSU before that happened. The Tigers finally had success leaning on their run game in a 49-42 win over Florida and I think they'll bring that same approach here. The Rebels defense has struggled against the run, ranking 113th nationally in defensive expected points added (EPA) against the run and 123rd in success rate. Running the ball will also keep the Ole Miss offense off the field a bit longer, which would be helpful.

The other aspect we have to consider is that Rebels QB Matt Corral carried the ball 30 times against Tennessee and he's not exactly a giant. After the game, Lane Kiffin said Corral was banged up and hinted that he could miss the LSU game. If he's out or less than 100%, that hurts Ole Miss' offensive ceiling, which only makes the under even more appealing here.

Key Trend: There is no trend to support this, so you'll just have to trust me.

Want more college football picks? You can find all my favorite plays for the weekend in The Six Pack.

⚽ Soccer

Manchester United vs. Liverpool, Sunday 11:30 a.m. | TV: NBCSN
The Pick: Under 3.5 (-160) -- 
There's typically a common theme with matches like these in England. When two of the biggest clubs in the country meet, there's non-stop hype surrounding the match. Everything every player or coach does during the week leading up to it has to mean something and is scrutinized accordingly. There's then plenty of time spent talking about how important the match is for both clubs and how it will be electric.

Then it usually ends with a boring match where neither team seems interested in making the mistake that will be discussed for the next week. So when I see a total set as high as this one, I have to go under. Going back to the 2011-12 Premier League season, these clubs have met 20 times in league play and scored 45 goals. That's an average of 2.25 goals per match, and only three of those 20 matches have seen four or more goals scored in them, so why in the world would we bet on it being four in 21?

Key Trend: Only four of the last 20 Premier League matches in this rivalry have had four goals or more scored.

Barcelona vs. Real Madrid, Sunday, 10:15 a.m. | TV: ESPN+
The Pick: Real Madrid (+150) -- 
I am grateful for Barcelona having one of the world's largest and most passionate fan bases because it forces sportsbooks to protect themselves against it. Real Madrid is favored in this match, even though it's in Barcelona, but it's not favored by enough.

Over the last couple of seasons, Barcelona have been bumslayers. That's still the case without Lionel Messi. This is a team with numbers that look good because they pile on against inferior competition but come crashing back to Earth against better teams. In 11 matches across all competitions, Barcelona has played four clubs currently in the Champions League (Bayern Munich, Benfica, Atlético Madrid and Dynamo Kyiv). Barca has won only one of those four matches (it beat Dynamo) and lost the other three. They were outscored in xG in those matches by a score of 5.3-4.1. If we remove the Dynamo Kyiv match, they were outdone 5.2-2.5.

In Barcelona's other seven matches this season, they have an xG advantage of 12.3-6.7. Notice the disparity? That's what bumslaying looks like! Well, Real Madrid might not be at the height of its powers right now, but it's in much better shape than the Blaugrana, and it certainly isn't a bum. To get Real at this price feels like a steal no matter the result.

Key Trend: Real Madrid has won three straight meetings.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Let SportsLine's Projection Model help you in your confidence pool by not only helping you figure out which teams to pick, but how much confidence to have in each one.


🏀 Friday Night NBA Parlay

How about a three-leg NBA parlay for Friday night? It pays +181.

  • Knicks (-360)
  • Nuggets (-330)
  • Nets (-145)