MLB: Game Two-New York Mets at Chicago Cubs

You've done it. You've gotten through the last weekend of the year that won't include a football game that counts in the standings. The NFL is still in its preseason, but the college football season will begin in Ireland on Saturday when Northwestern and Nebraska square off.

And you've only got to wait six more days until it starts. Six days that will likely feel longer the more you think about it, but I'll try to make them go by as quickly as possible. After all, the football may not begin until Saturday, but we've got plenty of things to bet on before then.

Before we get to those bets, let's check in on what you might have missed so far today.

Just think, after tonight's wins, you'll only have five more days until football starts.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

Mets at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. | TV: MLB Network

  • Key Trend: The Mets are 2-6 in their last eight games against the American League.
  • The Pick: Yankees (+140)

It's getting more difficult to convince Mets fans I don't hate their team, considering how often I've been betting against the Mets lately, but I promise I don't. It's not me hating the Mets, it's the market loving them a little too much. That's the case again tonight. 

Max Scherzer will get the nod against the Yankees tonight. Scherzer is awesome, and the Yankees have been awful lately. The Bronx Bombers have been bombing since the All-Star break, going 10-20. They no longer have the best record in the American League, and since they're the Yankees, that means the world is coming to an end. I want to take advantage of it before it does.

The Yankees were on a ridiculous pace earlier in the year that was unsustainable. They're still really good, though! Certainly good enough to back as home underdogs, even if they are going against Max Scherzer.

While Scherzer is a phenomenon, the one thing that's hurt him his entire career is that when opponents do manage to make contact against him, it's often hard. Hitters have a barrel rate of 9.1%, and the overwhelming majority of contact he allows is flyballs. That's not the ideal combination against a Yankees team that still ranks first in baseball in home run rate (4.23%) despite the recent slump.

The Yankees will eventually bust out of their slump, and tonight's a good night to bet on it happening.

Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: We've got conflicting reports! The Projection Model agrees with me, and has a healthy lean toward the Yankees, but SportsLine expert John Bollman says you should be betting the Mets, and he's gone 46-25 in his last 71 money line plays involving the Mets.

💰 The Picks



Reds at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV

The Pick: Reds (+205) -- The Reds sold everything they could at the deadline and have since lost Joey Votto to injury. As the kids say, they are down bad. In fact, they're down a little too badly in the market because this is a ridiculous price to get them at in this matchup. I don't have the most faith in Reds starter Luis Cessa, but while he doesn't strike anybody out and walks way too many hitters, at least he gets plenty of groundballs.

Do you know who else doesn't strike anybody out but gives up fewer groundballs? Philadelphia starter Noah Syndergaard. If you haven't seen Syndergaard since his days with the Mets, he's a different pitcher. Gone are the 100 mph fireballs, and in their place are 94 mph sinkers. Still decent velocity, but Thor isn't nearly as overwhelming as he once was. In fact, he pitches to contact more often than not, and I don't like backing heavy favorites when their starters don't miss bats.

Key Trend: The Phillies have lost four of their last five home games.

Cardinals at Cubs, 8:05 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV

The Pick: Under 8 (-105) -- Wrigley Field is one of the most weather-dependent parks in baseball, and tonight's forecast should have pitchers feeling good about themselves. Temperatures will be in the low-70s at first pitch with winds blowing in from centerfield, and when that happens, the ball simply doesn't carry as well. Throw in that this is a night game as well, and runs will be far more difficult to come by.

While neither Jordan Montgomery nor Drew Smyly will ever be confused as overpowering lefties, both have excellent command. Smyly's walk rate this season is 37% below league average, while Montgomery is 40% better. Combine the ball not carrying with fewer free passes, and both offenses will need to string together a lot of hits to put runs across the board. That means we aren't likely to see any "big" innings, and avoiding big innings is how unders are won.

Key Trend: The under is 5-2 in the last seven meetings.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: College football starts this weekend and Barrett Sallee has shared his three favorite plays for Week 0.