Good afternoon, you've got a packed evening of sports coming your way with an NFL game, the NBA playoffs and a college football game as well. So, of course, I want to talk about baseball for a minute.
The MLB regular season is wrapping up this weekend, and I need to distract myself from my White Sox choking away their division lead for a moment. Thankfully, our MLB writers did a roundtable about which MLB rules implemented for 2020 they'd like to keep going forward, and which ones they want to ditch. One change they didn't mention, however, was the way MLB scheduled the season.
In an effort for as little travel as possible, MLB schedules were reduced to regions. The East Divisions played each other, as did the Centrals and Wests. It's an idea MLB should keep going forward. I'd love to see MLB go to more of a "conference" model. Instead of leagues, have the East, Central and West conferences. Baseball, unlike the NFL and NBA, is not a national sport. Fans focus on their favorite teams and regional rivalries. MLB should play to that. Most of a team's games should be against regional rivals.
I'm telling you, it will create more engagement from fans nationwide.
I'm also telling you to read these stories before we move onto the picks:
- Royals great Alex Gordon is retiring after 14 seasons with the team.
- It doesn't look like Jimmy G is starting for the 49ers this week.
- The MetLife Stadium turf has been found not guilty on charges of murdering numerous ligaments.
All right, let's get this money.
All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook
🏆 The Hot Ticket
Dolphins at Jaguars, 8:20 p.m. | TV: NFL Network
The Pick: Over 48.5 (-110): William Hill Sportsbook initially had a total of 45 set for this game, and as you can see, it's climbed 3.5 points since. And I'm OK with that. I'm all for it if you can find it below 49, and I don't mind it at 49, either. I know a matchup between the Jaguars and Dolphins isn't going to excite a lot of people, but this game has all the makings of a shootout to me.
The Jaguars are averaging 28.5 points per game through two weeks, and while they lost to the Titans 33-30 last week, they put up 480 yards of offense in the game, averaging an impressive 6.5 yards per play. Tonight they'll be going against a Dolphins defense that has been mighty friendly through two games. Last week, Miami allowed Josh Allen to throw for 415 yards and four touchdowns while the Buffalo offense had 523 yards of offense. What gets lost in that, though, is that Miami had 410 yards of offense itself against one of the most formidable defenses in the NFL last year. The Jags defense Miami faces tonight has been soft as well, allowing nearly 400 yards per game in the first two weeks. Please give me that over.
Key Trend: The over is 5-2 in Miami's last seven conference games and 6-1 in Jacksonville's.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: SportsLine's Advanced Computer Model has a play for tonight's game as well.
Nuggets vs. Lakers, 9 p.m | TV: TNT
The Pick: Lakers -6.5 (-110) -- I had other plans for this game attacking the total again, but then I saw a headline on CBSSports.com. That headline read, "Lakers present case to NBA saying LeBron James is not getting enough free throw attempts, per report." You know what that means, don't you? LeBron is getting at least 12 free throw attempts tonight. He's going to be living there. If Nikola Jokic or any Nugget breaks social-distancing protocol and comes within six feet of LeBron without wearing a mask, we're going to hear a whistle. The Lakers will cruise tonight.
Key Trend: The Lakers are 5-2 ATS in their last seven as a favorite.
⚾ MLB | Today's full schedule
Mets at Nationals, 6:05 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Nationals (-120) -- To be blunt, this is a bad line. The Nationals should be favored by more than this in this matchup. Neither one of these teams is very good, as the defending champs are 23-33 and in last place in the NL East. The Mets are only two games better at 25-31, and while they're still mathematically alive for the playoffs, they won't be in the playoffs. Washington starter Patrick Corbin gives the Nats a big advantage over the Mets and David Peterson. While Corbin's ERA is a homely 4.76, his FIP of 4.00 suggests he's been more unlucky than bad. I like the Nats here tonight to put one of the final nails in the Mets' playoff hopes.
Key Trend: The Nats are 14-7 in Corbin's home starts and 19-12 when favored.
🏈 College Football
UAB at South Alabama, 7:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Under 47 (-110) -- The biggest football game on the schedule tonight. For those of you unaware, the UAB football program was shuttered for two years. The Blazers did not play in 2015 and 2016 before returning from the dead in 2017 under Bill Clark. Since that return, the under is 25-14-1 in Blazers games. When UAB is a road favorite, the under is 9-2-1. Why is this the case? Because Bill Clark's teams play an efficient, disciplined style of football. They're not out here trying to impress you, they're here to beat you. When the Blazers are playing their best, they're leading with their defense, and that's going to be the case against South Alabama on Thursday night. The Jaguars might cover, but neither team will score a lot of points.
Key Trend: The under is 9-3-1 the last 13 times South Alabama has been an underdog.
SportsLine Pick of the Day: The SportsLine Projection Model is heavily favoring one side of Marlins vs. Braves at 7:10 p.m. ET. SportsLine subscribers can get picks for that game, and for every other MLB game today, here.
💸 The DFS Rundown
Lance Lynn ($9.5K FD/$9.3K DK) -- With no true ace on the slate tonight, there are about four top-of-the-rotation arms that will probably be popular tonight. Of those four, Lynn is the most enticing to me. I can understand if you're worried about him going against the Astros, but he did strike out seven in six innings the last time he faced them. In his three starts since that one, he's averaging 45 FanDuel points per start. The ceiling likely isn't great here, but Lynn's floor is high and he should deliver on his price.
Niko Goodrum 2B/SS ($2.8K FD/$3.3K DK) -- I don't think Goodrum is going to have a monster game, but if you're looking to squeeze in some bigger bats tonight, he's a tremendous lower-priced option to allow yourself more room. Plus, there is the possibility of a big night for Niko. He's going against Royals lefty Kris Bubic, and Goodrum is slugging .556 with a wOBA of .396 against lefties this season. He's going to be worth his price at worst, and he's not likely to be in many other lineups, so if he does pop for a big game, you'll be the only one taking advantage of it.
Full lineup advice
SportsLine's team of DFS insiders has you covered for daily fantasy sports. Mike McClure has won almost $2 million playing DFS and is one of the top MLB DFS experts anywhere. Check out his MLB picks here, and be sure to see what he's picking for NBA DFS here too. Use SportsLine's all-new DFS Optimizer to get optimal NFL DFS picks from 10,000 simulations.
🏈 TNF Props
Because why only bet on the total when we can bet on a bunch of props too?
- JAX Chris Thompson Over 2.5 receptions (+140)
- JAX Chris Thompson Over 14.5 receiving yards (-110)
- MIA Myles Gaskin Under 19.5 receiving yards (-105)
- MIA Ryan Fitzpatrick Over 0.5 interceptions (-185)