Ladies and gentlemen, it is good to be back. That's right, it's me, Tom Fornelli, returning to your inbox following a lovely two-week vacation. Did you miss me? I won't lie, I kind of missed you. Or, at least, I missed writing to you.
I'd like to thank everybody who stepped in for me the last two weeks for doing a good enough job to help our readers make some money, but not enough money to cause me to be replaced here.
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Also, I'd like to thank college football for not tearing itself apart at the seams while I -- a college football writer -- was on vacation. What's that? You can't be serious. Texas and Oklahoma are doing what now? And it's not just a message board rumor? They made it official today?
Honestly, I don't know if it's going to be good for college football in the long run, but while it might kill the sport, I do love thinking of college football realignment scenarios. So while I want to be mad at Oklahoma and Texas, I can't be. I'm having too much fun imagining how all the dominoes will fall from here on out.
- Speaking of how the dominoes will fall, our Dennis Dodd wrote about just that.
- It looks like all that speculation about Aaron Rodgers is going to end in him playing for the Packers this season.
- It's being reported that Dodgers players don't want Trevor Bauer back.
- The four biggest topics ahead of MLB's trade deadline.
Now it's time to win back some of that money I spent on vacation.
All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Blue Jays at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Over 11 (-105): The weather in Boston tonight is set to be the kind that makes a pitcher want to fake an injury before first pitch. Temperatures will be in the lower 80s come first pitch with the wind blowing out to centerfield. Precisely the kind of conditions that have helped the ball carry at Fenway throughout the years, and wouldn't you know it, tonight's game just so happens to feature two of the more prolific offenses in the league.
Toronto and Boston enter tonight's game ranked second and third respectively in run rate, and Toronto has the highest HR rate in all of baseball at 4.17%. The Red Sox rank seventh at 3.46%. While we don't know too much about Toronto starter Thomas Hatch, we do know that he has not been a high strikeout pitcher at any level. That, combined with Boston starter Nick Pivetta's overall lack of lights-out stuff and his tendency to allow fly balls, gives us all the reason in the world to think this contest will feature a lot of runs.
Key Trend: The over is 6-2 in the last eight meetings.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Advanced Computer Model isn't in love with anything in this game, but its strongest play is on the money line.
💰 The Picks
Nationals at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Nationals (+110) -- It might be my first day back from vacation, but my NL Least Principle never takes a day off. For any newcomer, the principle is simple. The NL East stinks. The Mets lead the division, but they're only four games ahead of a Phillies team that's 49-49. The Braves and Nationals are still within range of the playoffs -- even if they're not within the reality of them -- and the Marlins are about to sell everything not nailed down.
Knowing this, if every team in the division stinks, how can one ever be favored over the other? If nobody is good enough to be favored against anybody else, we should always bet the underdog in divisional games.
That's where we're at tonight, with a Phillies team that has a run differential of -23 and shouldn't be favored over anybody. Oh, and if you're wondering how our NL Least Principle is doing this season, it is 50-56 for a return of nearly nine units. So, not bad!
Key Trend: In NL East divisional games, the underdog has gone 50-56 for a return of nearly nine units this season.
Rockies at Angels, 9:38 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Angels (-145) -- There's nothing complex about this pick. The Rockies offense is comically bad. Against righties, Colorado ranks last in MLB in wRC+ at 70 (which means it's 30% below league average), and it's 27th in isolated power (.297) and 25th in wOBA (.297).
But that's not all my friends!
Everybody knows that the Rockies hit better at home than the road due to the thin air, but while the Rockies aren't hitting anywhere this year, they've been genuinely pathetic outside Coors Field. The Rockies have a wRC+ of 61 -- sixty-one -- on the road! That's nearly 40% below league average! The Cubs are the next lowest at 78! They're also last in both isolated power and wOBA. Tonight all that terrible comes together to face Shohei Ohtani. That's right, the Rockies will have to try hitting a pitcher who has hit more home runs by himself (35) than they have on the road (30 in 46 games) as a team.
Key Trend: Colorado is 10-36 on the road this season.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine's Stephen Oh is a data scientist who has gone 40-22 in his last 62 money line picks on the Kansas City Royals. He's got another one lined up for the Royals home game against the division-leading Chicago White Sox tonight.
💸 The DFS Rundown
Top Three Starters
Today's Top Stack
- Aledmys Diaz, Astros
⚾ Why Not? An MLB parlay
Who wants to get a little nuts tonight? I've got so much energy in reserve after my vacation, and I want to get over the top while still remaining in a reasonable realm of possibility and value. So, with that in mind, here's a three-leg run line parlay that pays +767.
- Twins -1.5 (+115)
- White Sox -1.5 (+120)
- Astros -1.5 (-120)