Hello and welcome to your weekend. I hope the week has treated you well, and I hope you've followed my picks the last couple of days because this newsletter is running hot! That's right, we haven't gotten a pick wrong the last two days, meaning we're heating up just in time for football season.
And, yes, I have another preseason NFL game for you to bet on tonight. Don't feel dirty about it. Embrace your inner degenerate. Nurture it. Allow it to grow and expand your horizons.
The first step to doing that is betting on preseason NFL games. The second step is reading these stories. The third step is betting on more stuff. Today, I'm here to guide you through all three steps.
- It'd be a real shame if Aaron Rodgers ditched the Packers to host "Jeopardy!" A real shame.
- There's a new season of "Survivor" coming to CBS next month, so it's only natural to see alliances forming.
- Chris Sale is Boston's wild card down the stretch.
- Your soccer viewing guide for the weekend can be found here.
On to Step Three, which begins at Step One.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Chiefs at Cardinals, 8 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Under 41 (-110): Yep, we're doing it again. It worked last night, and it has worked all preseason long. I think this game is especially ripe for our preseason unders because it's a nationally televised game and likely to draw more gambling interest.
Those viewers then see the Chiefs and Cardinals and think to themselves, "it's Patrick Mahomes against Kyler Murray! Andy Reid against Kliff Kingsbury! There are going to be so many points!" That's how we end up with a preseason game with a total of 41 points.
Well, there have been 18 preseason NFL games this season, and do you know how many of them have ended with more than 41 points? None. The closest we came was Pittsburgh's 24-16 win over the Eagles last week. The average preseason game this season has featured 31.4 points. Let everybody who doesn't pay attention bet the over. You're betting the under.
Key Trend: No preseason game has had more than 40 points scored in it this season.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: Looking to bet the spread instead? Larry Hartstein is 16-4 with his last 20 ATS picks involving the Chiefs, and he's released his pick for Friday's game between Kansas City and Arizona.
Twins at Yankees, 7:05 p.m | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Yankees -1.5 (-125) -- We're going back to the well tonight. The Yankees are the hottest team in baseball, and given the matchup against the Twins tonight, I don't see the winning streak ending on Friday. Minnesota is sending Charlie Barnes to the mound tonight, and I'm betting you've never heard of him. Don't feel bad; Barnes is a 25-year old lefty whom the Twins drafted in 2017 out of Clemson, and he just made his MLB debut recently.
His first 18.1 innings haven't been great. He has an ERA of 4.91 and has made it through five innings only once in his three starts. This is because he doesn't strike anybody out and gives up plenty of fly balls. It's not a great combination against a Yankees lineup that ranks third in baseball in wOBA against lefties (.334) and eighth in HR rate (3.55%) against them. On the other side, the Yankees are starting Nestor Cortes, and his first 50 innings have been impressive. Plus, he's facing a Twins lineup that hasn't hit lefties well all season, and its biggest lefty-masher -- Nelson Cruz -- is in Tampa now.
Key Trend: Eight of New York's last nine wins have come by at least two runs.
Giants at Athletics, 9:40 p.m | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Under 9 (-115) -- The Oakland Coliseum is already extremely pitcher-friendly on its own, with ample foul territory for pop-ups to turn into outs and giant blocks of seating in the outfield to keep any possible jet streams that could help the ball carry out of the park. At night, it becomes even more difficult to score runs.
According to Statcast's ballpark factors, the Oakland Coliseum is the least hitter-friendly park in baseball after the sun goes down. There are fewer runs scored there at night than anywhere else, and it becomes nigh impossible to hit the ball out of the park unless you make perfect contact. So, with that in mind and two pitchers on the mound who don't allow many dingers as it is, the under feels like a safe play here.
Key Trend: The under has gone 25-10-1 in Oakland's last 36 interleague games at home.
⚽ Premier League
Wolverhampton vs. Tottenham, Sunday, 9 a.m | TV: NBCSN
The Pick: Wolverhampton (+220) -- I don't typically bet early-season soccer because I like to let teams settle in first, plus I prefer to wait for the transfer window to close. That said, I couldn't help but notice something last week that I'm interested in following this weekend. Last week was the first week of the Premier League season, and the first time stadiums in England were full of fans since before the pandemic.
Not surprisingly, road teams struggled after spending the last year in empty stadiums. We saw heavy road favorites such as Manchester City, Arsenal and Aston Villa all lose, with Arsenal and Villa losing to newly-promoted sides. Man City lost to the same Tottenham that Wolverhampton faces Sunday. Yet, that 1-0 Tottenham win doesn't show that Man City won the expected goals (xG) battle 1.9-1.3. There were only two other teams to win on xG but lose last week in the Premier League, and one was Wolverhampton.
With Wolverhampton in front of its fans and Tottenham having to play in front of a hostile crowd for the first time in a while (and there's a difference!), I think we're ripe for a letdown of sorts after a huge win against the defending league champions. Oh, and there's a chance Tottenham will still be without Harry Kane, which definitely hinders their potential.
Key Trend: Tottenham had an xG difference of -1.9 on the road last season compared to +6.9 at home.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: If those MLB plays aren't enough for you, the Advanced Computer Model has two different A-graded plays for tonight's game between the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Angels.
⚽ Serie A Future
The Serie A season begins this weekend with every match available on Paramount+, which is awesome because Serie A is one of the most entertaining soccer leagues in the world. So this week, I'm going to include Serie A futures for us to bet before the season begins.
The Pick: Victor Osimhen to finish as league's top goalscorer (+1200): As you can see by the odds, this is a long shot, so maybe you don't want to bet a full unit on it. Still, it's a good bet. I've already told you to place a future bet on Napoli finishing in the top four, and Victor Osimhen is a big reason I see that as a likely possibility for Napoli. Osimhen came to Napoli last year from Lille in France in a transfer that cost Napoli roughly $82 million and could cost up to $94 million. Napoli doesn't spend that kind of money on a player without good reason, but Osimhen's season was disrupted by both a COVID diagnosis and a shoulder injury.
Still, Osimhen scored 10 goals last season, and his average 0.59 xG per 90 ranked seventh in the league behind all the heavy hitters. Now he enters a new season more comfortable in the league and with a new manager who has historically built his attack around one player.
In Luciano Spalletti's first stint at Roma, he helped Francesco Totti win the league's golden boot in the 2006-07 season with 26 goals. It happened again with Edin Džeko with Roma in 2016-17. Even at Inter Milan, where Spalletti lasted only two seasons, Mauro Icardi led the league in goals with 29 during the 2017-18 season.
In other words, Spalletti has had one of his players lead the league in goals in each of his last three Serie A stops. If it's to happen a fourth time, Osimhen is the obvious choice to pull it off.