The world lost a legend on Friday with the death of Hank Aaron. Aaron was best known as baseball's Home Run King, as he retired with more career home runs than any player in MLB history, surpassing Babe Ruth's 714 homers on April 8, 1974. He would finish his career with 755 homers, and that record was eventually surpassed* (controversially) by Barry Bonds.
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Still, while Aaron was known for his home run prowess, he was so much more than that as a baseball player. Just check out these numbers CBSSports.com's Matt Snyder went over from his career.
- Aaron is fourth in history in runs, third in hits, 13th in doubles, second in home runs, first in RBI, 27th in walks, 24th in OPS+, first in total bases, first in extra-base hits, seventh in times on base, fourth in intentional walks. He's even fourth in sacrifice flies.
- He's one of just three players with at least 2,000 runs and 2,000 RBI (Babe Ruth and Alex Rodriguez)
- Aaron ranks fifth in career WAR for position players behind Barry Bonds, Ruth, Willie Mays and Ty Cobb
Aaron was a sports legend that transcended his generation. Players of today, who weren't even alive when Aaron played, still view him as a hero for all he accomplished on the field and what he meant to many off it. We've seen few like him in history and aren't likely to see many more in the future.
- Patrick Mahomes will play on Sunday.
- Dayn Perry has an idea of what the Braves can do to honor Hank Aaron's legacy.
- R.J. Anderson with four things you should know about Aaron's 715th career home run.
- In the NFL, Tampa Bay will not have Antonio Brown for the NFC Championship.
And now for tonight's picks, as well as our picks for Sunday's conference championships.
All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Celtics at 76ers, 7:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Under 222.5 (-110): What? You thought that because we made this same bet in this same game on Wednesday and it lost, we weren't going to do it again? Oh yes, we are. The total in that game was at 221.5, and we went under, and tonight it's at 222.5, so you're darn right we're doing it again. Just because it lost the other night doesn't mean it was the wrong play. Things just went poorly.
Mostly what went wrong was that the Sixers were awarded 45 free throw attempts. That is a ridiculous amount of free throws. To put it in perspective, the team that's averaging the most free throw attempts per game this season is Washington. It's averaging 26.6 per game, or 18.4 fewer than the Sixers shot on Wednesday. Considering the game finished with 228 points scored, those free throws had an impact! We are not likely to see it happen again tonight, which will keep the scoring down to its normal level between these two (they averaged 211.6 points per game in eight meetings last season).
Key Trend: The under is 5-2 in the last seven meetings and would've been 6-1 if not for all those darn free throws!
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Advanced Computer Model has simulated this game 10,000 times to find an answer, and I wonder how many of those simulations included the Sixers shooting 45 free throws.
💰 The Picks
Nuggets at Suns, 10 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Nuggets +2 (-110) -- You know I like to look for teams undervalued by the market, and we have found one with the Nuggets. Denver is only 7-7 to start the season, and if the playoffs began right now, they'd be on the outside looking in. However, their record is a bit misleading because their average point differential on the season is +3.9 points per game. That's the fourth-best mark in the Western Conference, ahead of the Suns (+3.3) team the Nuggets face tonight.
Now, the concern is that Denver has been a mess defensively to start the season, but it's so good on offense that I think it's able to keep this a close game on the road tonight. I don't hate a money line play, but I feel better with the points.
Key Trend: The Nuggets are only 5-9 ATS this season. You probably think this is a bad trend, but in my eyes it means regression is coming.
Buccaneers at Packers, Sunday, 3:05 p.m. | TV: Fox
The Pick: Under 51.5 (-110) -- When these two met earlier in the season, it was the worst I've ever seen Aaron Rodgers look in a game and the peak of Tampa's defensive performances. In other words, it was the kind of game that we can't take too much from because it was heavy on the outliers. You won't make a lot of money betting against Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady, so I've chosen to avoid that route. Instead, I'm going to go under this total. It seems a bit high considering the weather conditions the game is likely to be played in, and, no matter who wins, I have difficulty envisioning a shootout.
Key Trend: The under is 4-1 in Tampa's last five as an underdog.
Bills at Chiefs, Sunday, 6:40 p.m. | TV: CBS
The Pick: Chiefs -3 (-115) -- Patrick Mahomes is out of concussion protocol and has been cleared to play. With that in mind, I have a hard time going against the Chiefs at home in this spot. Buffalo's defense has improved, but none of the previous seven offenses it has faced rank in the top half of the NFL in passing DVOA. Indianapolis' passing attack ranked the highest at 16th. Kansas City is second, behind only Green Bay. I love the Bills. They've been one of the most entertaining teams to watch all season long ... but I think the fun ends on Sunday.
Key Trend: The Chiefs are 4-1 ATS in playoff games that Patrick Mahomes starts and finishes.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: CBS mixed martial arts analyst Brandon Wise has just released his picks for UFC 257 on Saturday.
💸 The DFS Rundown
PG: Kyrie Irving, Nets
SG: James Harden, Nets
SF: Jaylen Brown, Celtics
PF: Domantas Sabonis, Pacers
C: Nikola Jokic, Nuggets
PG: Jalen Brunson, Mavericks
SG: Tyler Herro, Heat
SF: Joe Harris, Nets
PF: Thaddeus Young, Bulls
C: DeMarcus Cousins, Rockets
Full lineup advice
Get winning NBA DFS picks from SportsLine pros Mike McClure and Jacob Gibbs. McClure has won almost $2 million in daily Fantasy, while Gibbs crushed the NBA last season, cashing around 65 percent of the time in cash games and nearly 45 percent of the time in tournaments. See their DraftKings advice and FanDuel lineups here.
🏀 NBA Player Props
- Kyrie Irving Over 5.5 assists (-135)
- Kyrie Irving Over 4.5 rebounds (-145)
- Jylen Brown Over 5.5 rebounds (-140)
- Daniel Theis Over 8.5 points (-110)