Today's Top Picks: Blues-Bruins Game 7 and MLB best bets, plus who's to blame for Kevin Durant's injury
Also, watch SportsLine on CBS Sports HQ live at 6 p.m. ET for all today's best bets
When Kevin Durant went down during Game 5 on Monday night in Toronto, my heart sank. I don't like seeing anybody get hurt, especially when that player is one of the best in the world at what they do, and even more so when they're doing what Durant was doing. Had the Warriors not been facing elimination, I'm not convinced that Durant is playing in the game.
As you'd expect, the aftermath of Durant's injury has caused people to do what they're predisposed to do in such situations: look for someone to blame. It can't just be a cruel twist of fate; somebody, somewhere along the way, did something that caused it to happen, the thinking goes. I've seen people blame team doctors, Durant's teammates and coaches for pressuring him to play, as well as fans being blamed for questioning his toughness, and motivating him to play through the pain.
It's all a pointless exercise because, in reality, there is nobody to blame. We need to believe there is because of our inner drive to feel like we, as human beings, have any control over our lives and the things that happen in the world.
I get it, and I want to help. That's why I've decided that we, as a collective of human beings and NBA fans, should all unite and blame the Knicks. Does Durant get hurt if the Knicks aren't interested in signing him this summer? Does Durant get hurt if Knicks fans don't start getting cocky about their chances of landing Durant?
Of course not. But they did, and they got their dirty Knicks luck all over him, and now here we are. All the Knicks do is ruin basketball. Way to go, Knicks.
Hell, just by mentioning the Knicks in this lede I'm probably going to go 0-3 with today's picks. All odds are via William Hill.
1. St. Louis Blues at Boston Bruins: Under 5.5
I'm in a bit of a pickle here. Like anybody outside the city of Boston, I'd prefer not to see a team from the city win yet another championship. It's a story that's getting a bit old. At the same time, I'm a Chicago Blackhawks fan, and the St. Louis Blues are one of the Blackhawks' biggest rivals. So do I root for Boston, or a team I'm supposed to hate?
I know, I'll root for the under! It's not a bad play. Since the 2010 season, there have been 44 Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The under has gone 24-14-6 in those games. It makes sense. With so much on the line, teams that maybe only give 90 percent on defense are now giving the full allotment of 110 percent that's mathematically possible. Every goal becomes more and more critical. Also, nerves are a factor due to the stress and pressure. Somebody is going to win the Stanley Cup tonight, but odds are they won't score a lot of goals while doing so.
The SportsLine Projection Model has simulated Game 7 10,000 times, so before you lock in your bets, you'll want to see where the model has identified value in the final hockey game of the year. Head over to SportsLine to get all the computer's picks.
2. Milwaukee Brewers at Houston Astros: Brewers +117
We're making a value play here. The Astros are one of the best teams in baseball, and they have their stud on the mound in Justin Verlander. Well, while he's nowhere near as highly-regarded as Verlander, Milwaukee's Brandon Woodruff has been pretty good himself this season. In fact, Woodruff has a better FIP and xFIP than Verlander does, all while allowing fewer fly balls and home runs. And while he doesn't get the swings and misses that Verlander does, he still gets plenty of strikeouts of his own, and the contact he allows isn't as hard as the contact Verlander tends to allow. You can also argue the Brewers have the better offense right now. Over the last week, Milwaukee's offense has an MLB-best wOBA of .398. In that same period, the Astros' wOBA is at .300, which ranks 19th in MLB. There's plenty of value on the Brewers here.
DFS millionaire Mike McClure is setting his tournament lineups for Wednesday's action, and he's identified a pair of Twins you'll want to be all over. You can see his entire optimal lineups for multiple formats only at SportsLine.
3. Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals: Under 8.5
Because who doesn't want to watch a Tigers-Royals game? OK, so these are two bad teams, but while neither of tonight's starting pitchers is anything special, they aren't particularly bad, either. They're also both lefties, and both of these offenses have struggled against southpaws this season. Finally, it's going to be cool with strong winds blowing in from left field, which should help keep a few extra balls in a park that's hard enough to go deep in as it is.
The U.S. Open begins Thursday morning, and golf expert Sal Johnson wants no part of Brooks Koepka, predicting the two-time defending champion doesn't crack the top 10. See all of Johnson's picks over at SportsLine.
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