Hello, it is I, Tom Fornelli, and I cannot properly explain to you how happy I am to be back in your inbox today. It has been a long week in my household, and the days won't get shorter soon. You might remember watching the Chicago Bears beat the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in a game that was played in extremely wet conditions. After the Bears kneeled out the win, Justin Fields and his teammates celebrated by treating the Soldier Field turf as a water slide.
Well, the turf at Soldier Field was not the only part of Chicago to be converted into a lake Sunday afternoon. My basement was as well. My office and a lot of my equipment were destroyed, but I've finally been able to climb out of the lake long enough to write a newsletter. And I couldn't be happier. Seriously, I am in desperate need of a win right now, but before we get to tonight's bets, let's catch up on what else has been happening in the world as I try to drown out the noise of all those fans downstairs.
All right, now that we're caught up, let's bet on some sports.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
- Key Trend: The under is 10-1 in the Chargers last 11 September games
- The Pick: Under 54 (-110)
Considering the matchup, I'm not surprised to find the total this high. The Chiefs are still the Chiefs, and the Chargers have an excellent offense of their own. But I don't think the total should be this high.
The Chargers' defense should be improved over what we saw last season. It's designed to take away the deep ball and keep things underneath. With Tyreek Hill in Miami now, I'm not sure the Chiefs have the personnel remaining to beat what the Chargers are trying to do. Further, by adding Khalil Mack, the Chargers have improved their pass rush, meaning Patrick Mahomes won't have as much time to take those deep shots.
On the other side, I think this Chiefs offense is improved as well, and I wonder what the Chargers offense will look like without Keenan Allen (who is out due to injury). That certainly limits the Chargers' offense a bit, particularly on a short week. And that's the other factor that cannot be ignored The possibility that this game goes nuts because of the quarterbacks and offenses, but Thursday night games don't tend to get wild. There's limited time to prep which often leads to more vanilla game plans. Plus, as division rivals, there's plenty of familiarity between these teams already. This isn't going to be a 13-10 snoozefest or anything, but I'm not expecting too many fireworks, either.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: SportsLine's R.J. White has gone 17-5-1 ATS in his last 23 picks involving the Chargers, and he's got a play on the spread tonight, as well as a lean on the total.
The Pick: Mike Williams Over 65.5 receiving yards (-130) -- I don't want to overthink this. Mike Williams didn't do much of anything last week in the Chargers' 24-19 win over the Raiders. He was targeted only four times and caught two passes for 10 yards. While the numbers weren't great, Williams was also on the field for 93% of the team's snaps, and with Allen out tonight, I don't expect him to see fewer snaps this week.
I do expect him to see a higher share of targets. Williams and Austin Ekeler will likely be the team's most targeted players in the passing game tonight, and Williams is due to bounce back. Williams averaged 71.6 yards per game last season, though he does tend to be boom or bust. He had as many games with less than 40 yards receiving last year (four) as he did 100+. Something tells me he's more likely to finish with 100 yards tonight than 40, so I'm going over.
Key Trend: Williams averaged 71.6 yards per game last season.
Padres at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m | TV: MLB Network
The Pick: Diamondbacks (+145) -- I don't know how many more regular-season MLB games I'll be including in the letter on the days I'm writing this season, but I have to include this one tonight. Not only is there value in this play, but we've got a spiritual duty to support the Diamondbacks. I told you to take the over on Arizona's win total before the MLB season began. It was set at 66.5. The Diamondbacks picked up win No. 67 last night to cash that ticket with 20 games left to play.
I think there's a good chance they get No. 68 tonight. At least, there's a much better shot they get it than this line suggests. Drey Jameson will make his MLB debut, starting for the Snakes. Jameson struggles with command like most young pitchers, but he also misses bats with a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and can touch triple-digits. San Diego is sending Sean Manaea to the mound, and while he's better than his 5.23 ERA, he gets squared up a lot and allows too many dingers to trust in this spot.
Key Trend: Arizona has won five of its last seven series openers.