Today's Top Picks: Three MLB best bets, including the Astros as a rare home underdog

The Bucks need to beat the Raptors on Saturday night. Not because I'm a Bucks fan (I'm not), or because I hate the Raptors (I don't). It's not because I think Drake is incredibly overrated as a rapper (I do), and it's not because I enjoy watching Aaron Rodgers struggle to chug a beer (I really do).

It's because of the NBA's schedule for the NBA Finals.

No matter what happens in Game 6 on Saturday night, the NBA Finals won't begin until Thursday, May 30. So if the Eastern Conference Finals end on Saturday, it means we'll have four full days without a basketball game.

I shudder at the thought. Not because I dislike baseball (love it) or don't enjoy the NHL (enjoy the playoffs). Because it's been an extremely successful betting season for me in the NBA! It's the only thing that's keeping my bankroll afloat after what's been a horrific start to the MLB season for me.

So I need Giannis and company to win Saturday night so I have another chance to win money to lose on baseball.

Tonight is one of those nights when we have neither the NBA or NHL. We do have the WNBA season beginning, but while I'll have picks for those games at some point, I don't have any tonight.

Which leaves us with baseball and only baseball. Let tonight be the night I turn my MLB season around. All odds via Westgate.

1. White Sox at Twins: Twins Over 5.5 (+110)

I don't like the overall price on the Twins in this game because, as good as Jose Berrios is, the White Sox offense has not been bad, and Berrios runs into trouble from time to time. I am a big fan of the Twins offense in this matchup, and I should be. It may come as a surprise to learn that the Twins have the best record in baseball, and it's largely because they've scored more runs than any other team.

The Twins score those runs with dingers. They have 98 homers, more than any other team. Tonight they're facing a starter in Reynaldo Lopez who gives up a lot of fly balls. Lopez enters the game with a flyball rate of 55.4 percent. That's the highest rate of flyballs allowed amongst 89 qualified pitchers in the league this year. The next closest? That would be Jeff Samardzija's 49 percent rate, so Lopez is a full 6.4 percent higher. So, what do you think is going to happen when a pitcher who gives up a ton of fly balls goes against an offense that doesn't strike out all that often and hits a bunch of home runs? Hmmmm.

SportsLine senior analyst Larry Hartstein is on an MLB heater, nailing 12 of his last 17 picks. He has the White Sox-Twins game in his best bets for Friday, and you can see which side he likes along with the rest of his picks over at SportsLine.

2. Braves at Cardinals: Under 10

I understand why this total is so high. Atlanta starter Mike Foltynewicz has been a hitter's dream this season, posting a 6.91 ERA with an xFIP that isn't much better at 5.81. He's also allowed a ridiculous 3.29 HR/9, but we must remember he's only thrown 27.1 innings, so the sample size is still low. Odds are those numbers will come down a bit. St. Louis will start Miles Mikolas, who gives up plenty of contact, but it's usually of the groundball variety, and he rarely walks hitters. So I expect there to be runs scored in this game, but I think setting the total at 10 is a bit extreme, and I like the value on the under here.

Game 6 of Bucks-Raptors tips off on Saturday, and the SportsLine Projection Model has a strong pick for the game after entering the conference finals on an 85-61 run with its A-rated picks. See what the model says over at SportsLine.

3. Red Sox at Astros: Astros +128

How often are you going to get the Astros as an underdog at home? This is a Houston team that is 18-6 at home this season we're talking about. Now, the reason they're dogs here is that Chris Sale is starting for Boston, and after a bad run at the beginning of the year, he's gone full Chris Sale in recent starts. But you know what? While Houston's Wade Miley is no Chris Sale, he's not awful, and he has one of the best bullpens in baseball behind him. We can't say the same for Chris Sale.

Furthermore, do you know which offense has posted the highest ISO (.245) and wOBA (.382) in baseball against lefties this season? That's right, it's the Astros. Chris Sale may be great, but the Astros just saw him last week, and he allowed three runs in only 5 1/3 innings. Houston can get to him again here, and at this price, I don't know how you can pass it up.

The Indianapolis 500 is set for Sunday, and the SportsLine Projection Model is locking in its picks for the big race. Head over to SportsLine to see not only the model's winner, but the projection for the rest of the field as well.  

CBS Sports Writer

Tom Fornelli has been a college football writer at CBS Sports since 2010. During his time at CBS, Tom has proven time and again that he hates your favorite team and thinks your rival is a paragon of football... Full Bio

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