Maybe the Knicks are learning. In years past, we've seen the organization clear a bunch of cap space with the idea they'd be able to sign a superstar or two and turn around a franchise that hasn't done anything notable in a long time. Each time we've seen the Knicks fail to land that player.
Now the Knicks are clearing cap space to land their top free-agent target again, but this time they aren't chasing a superstar. They're chasing Jalen Brunson. I don't mean to disrespect Brunson. He's an excellent player. If the Knicks sign him -- and it's hard to imagine they won't -- he'll work out just fine. That said, the Knicks used to do this to make room for guys like LeBron James or Kevin Durant. Now they're doing it for Jalen Brunson.
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Does anybody think Brunson will make the Knicks a contender in the East? Can we even be sure Brunson gets the Knicks to the playoffs next season? Maybe it proves to be the first step in a larger plan we can't see yet, and we all look at it as the signing that started it all. More likely, Brunson goes to New York, plays well, and then a few years from now, Knicks fans get excited that his contract is coming off the books and will allow the team to chase another superstar free agent they'll fail to get.
The Knicks are setting attainable goals, so we should too. Let's make some money tonight.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
The Hot Ticket
- Key Trend: The Phillies have won 10 of the last 14 meetings in Philadelphia.
- The Pick: Phillies (+115)
The Phillies are 17-7 since firing Joe Girardi and have gotten back into the NL East race, but recently lost Bryce Harper to a broken thumb. That's an injury that could be a killer for the team's playoff hopes -- and it's also an injury impacting the line for tonight a little too significantly.
Both starting pitchers live off groundball contact, so I don't know how often hitters will elevate the ball and take advantage. It should also have a more significant impact on Atlanta's lineup. The Braves hit dingers. Their HR% of 4.00% ranks second in MLB, but the Braves can be too dependent on the long ball to score runs. Atlanta has an HR% of 4.14% over the last two weeks, ranking sixth, but their overall run rate of 11.76 in that same window ranks 17th.
In other words, unless the ball is leaving the park, the Braves aren't scoring much these days. The Phillies offense hasn't exactly been crushing the ball itself lately, but they put the ball in play and draw walks, which could be beneficial tonight in what should be a closer matchup than the prices on each team suggest.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Projection Model doesn't see much of anything worth betting in this game.
The Pick: Under 7.5 (+100) -- This is a strong weather play, as is often the case when we're betting totals at Wrigley Field. The park plays bigger at night, but the effect will be more drastic this evening as temperatures will be in the upper-60s and winds will be blowing in from center. Conditions like these make it much more difficult to hit the ball into the bleachers, limiting the offensive ceiling.
Cincinnati starter Hunter Greene has a high strikeout rate but gets in trouble because he walks too many hitters and gives up a lot of home runs. The weather will be a big boost to him, as it will be to Cubs starter Justin Steele. Steele isn't as dinger-prone as Greene -- few are -- but he does struggle with walks. The winds will help keep the walks from hurting him too badly.
Key Trend: The under is 7-3 in the last 10 meetings, and 4-0 in the last four at Wrigley Field.
The Pick: White Sox (+170) -- There's a tweet about the Angels that went viral last year because it's funny and a little too accurate. Essentially, it was about how Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani do something incredible every game even though the Angels lose. Well, last night Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani hit back-to-back homers to give the Angels a 3-0 lead, and the Angels went on to lose 11-4. Tonight, the Angels are getting far too much respect.
Yes, Ohtani is starting on the mound and he's incredible, but the rest of the team matters too. Plus, the White Sox have Michael Kopech starting. His ERA of 2.59 is better than Ohtani's 2.71. Kopech is a nightmare for righties, as they're hitting .137/.224/.206 against him, and the Angels could be without Brandon Marsh (he left last night's game with a knee injury). Meanwhile, the White Sox offense scored 11 runs last night, and its run rate of 13.04% over the last two weeks ranks ninth in baseball. I would fire on the White Sox at +150, so to get them at +170 feels like stealing.
Key Trend: The White Sox are 7-3 in their last 10 road games.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: I'm sharing my favorite Top 10 bets for the John Deere Classic this weekend below, but SportsLine's Mike McClure has quite a few other bets you should make for the tournament.
John Deere Classic Top 10s
It's not the most star-studded field in Illinois this week, but these are the tournaments when you find some of the best value. We're betting each of the following golfers to finish in the top 10.
- Kevin Streelman (+500)
- David Lipsky (+550)
- Taylor Pendrith (+600)
- Ryan Armour (+750)
- Charley Hoffman (+1000)