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I have a lot of thoughts about Thursday night's NBA Draft, but the biggest one isn't related to any of the picks made. No, it's about the broadcast itself. I won't go too deep into it, but I will say that I wish TNT had the NBA Draft rights.

Wouldn't you rather watch three hours of Chuck, Kenny, Shaq and EJ commenting on everything happening than anybody else? It's the kind of expansive event they were made for, as they wouldn't take anything too seriously, but they know enough to provide some insight.

As for the picks themselves, the Sacramento Kings and I are no longer on speaking terms. Letting Jaden Ivey go to the Detroit Pistons is a personal attack on me as a human being, and I don't believe the Kings have any right to make such decisions. Somebody should strip them of their ability to do so.

Shame on you, Kings. Shame on you.

Now how about we make some bets?

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook


The Hot Ticket

Lightning at Avalanche, 8 p.m. | TV: ABC

Latest Odds: Colorado Avalanche -200
  • Key Trend: Colorado is 59-13 in its last 72 home games.
  • The Pick: Avalanche (-190)

Put on a fancy tux and your most delicate white gloves because the Cup is in the building tonight, ladies and gentlemen. After beating the Lightning in overtime Wednesday night, the Avalanche return home with a 3-1 lead in the series and a chance to hoist Stanley for the first time since 2001 and the third time in franchise history. My gut, and my numbers, tell me they will.

While Tampa was able to get a win in Game 3, it's a win that was born of desperation more than anything else. Now that the Avs made sure they didn't get Game 4 too, it turns out they were only delaying the inevitable. The Lightning have been a much better team at home than on the road throughout the postseason. Goalie Andre Vasilevskiy has allowed 1.82 goals per game at home compared to 3.29 on the road. As a team, Tampa is scoring 3.7 goals per game at home and only 2.36 on the road.

Compare that to a Colorado team that's scoring 4.5 goals per game everywhere it goes, and it doesn't bode well for the Lightning tonight. Of course, if Vasilevskiy puts on a masterclass performance, Tampa can get out of Colorado with a win and return home with a chance. Given Vasilevskiy's pedigree, it's certainly within play. But it's not in play often enough to bet against the Avs tonight.

Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: Everybody is pulling in the same direction tonight. Not only does the Projection Model have an A-graded money line play, but three separate SportsLine experts are all in agreement.


The Picks

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USATSI

MLB

Athletics at Royals, 8:10 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV

Latest Odds: Over 9

The Pick: Over 9.5 (+100) -- There are two ways to look at this bet. One is to wonder why the hell I would be telling you to take the over in a game featuring two of the most impotent offenses in the league. I would ask another question: why the hell is the total for a game between two of the most impotent offenses in the league set at 9.5?

Exactly! Zack Greinke starts for the Royals tonight, and while he's had a tremendous career, he's very much on the back end of it. Hitters rarely swing and miss against him, leading to quite a few dingers. Oakland's Cole Irvin has an ERA of 3.14, but he doesn't strike anybody out, either, and other metrics suggest that ERA is due to begin climbing soon. So now you have two pitchers who don't miss bats battling on a hot, steamy night in Kansas City. Kaufmann is typically a pitcher's park, but it tilts heavily toward the hitter in weather conditions like tonight.

Key Trend: The over is 4-1 in KC's last five home games and it's 4-1 in its last five home games against Oakland.

Reds at Giants, 10:15 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV

Latest Odds: Cincinnati Reds +190

The Pick: Reds (+180) -- It's been a while since I told you to bet on the Reds, but they remain undervalued on the market. Some of you may remember me telling you to take the Reds at home against the Giants in late May. We're on them again tonight for many of the same reasons we were then. 

Graham Ashcraft has been a pleasant surprise for Cincinnati, posting a 3.51 ERA so far this season, but it's not because he's a strikeout pitcher. Far from it. He limits walks and hard contact and induces ground balls at a healthy rate. A process that isn't all that dissimilar to San Francisco starter Alex Cobb. But Cobb has been prone to allowing some dingers, and he's struggled a bit lately, posting a 7.17 ERA over his last four starts.

Furthermore, Cobb doesn't typically pitch too deep into games and the San Francisco bullpen has been stretched thin the last few weeks. The Giants are favored for a reason and will win more often than not, but at +180, there's too much value on Cincinnati to pass it up. I'd take the Reds anywhere down to +170.

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

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Looking for another MLB play? There's a home dog you should be running to the window to bet on tonight according to the SportsLine Projection Model.


Friday Night Dingers

The Cardinals and Cubs renew their rivalry tonight, and I think these three Redbirds have a shot to go yard.

  • Paul Goldschmidt (+390)
  • Nolan Arenado (+390)
  • Harrison Bader (+750)