Today is one of the most Wednesday-ish Wednesdays I can remember in a long time. The NCAA Tournament has ended, and the most intriguing thing about tonight’s NBA slate is figuring out which teams will rest players to get ready for the playoffs or draft lottery and which want to play for seeding. Making matters worse, baseball and The Masters start tomorrow, meaning we have to get through the rest of this Wednesday first.
Stupid, good-for-nothing Wednesday.
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I’ve done my best to help you kill off the rest of Wednesday in today’s newsletter. I have an NBA play for the night, but I’ve rounded things out with 10 different MLB futures for the new season and the five best bets to finish in the top 10 at Augusta National this weekend. We’ll get to all of them soon, but first, let’s kill some more time by reading.
Now let’s get Wednesday over with.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
- Key Trend: The Knicks are 2-10 ATS in their last 12 home games.
- The Pick: Nets -5 (-110)
The Brooklyn Nets want that No. 7 seed! After Brooklyn’s win over Houston last night and Cleveland’s loss to Orlando, the Nets are now 1.5 games behind the Cavs for that coveted slot. The only way they can pass the Cavs is to win out.
All that’s standing in their way tonight is a Knicks team that wants the season to be over. The Knicks have nothing to gain with a win tonight and will still be without Julius Randle. While Seth Curry is on the injury list for Brooklyn, with this being a “must-win,” if he’s able to play, he’ll play.
The Nets have won all three regular-season meetings against the Knicks this season, including a five-point win at Madison Square Garden in February. And they did that without either Kyrie Irving (unvaccinated) or Kevin Durant (vaccinated but hurt) in the lineup that night. Seriously, Cam Thomas led the Nets with 21 points that night, while Seth Curry had 20 and LaMarcus Aldridge had 18. Tonight the Nets will have KD, Kyrie and everything to play for. I have some fears about this being the second of a back-to-back, but that’s already been baked into the line.
Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: The SportsLine Projection Model has one of these teams covering the spread 64% of the time tonight, but which team is it?
💰 MLB Futures
MLB’s Opening Day is on Thursday, which is so close that they’ve already begun postponing games due to weather. That’s how you know it’s real! Anyway, the baseball regular season is a long one, so it’s always good to have a few preseason futures in to root for over its duration. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of rooting for one team you have no connection to because they need another win to move closer to their regular-season win total over!
⚾ Win Totals
The Pick: Detroit Tigers Under 77.5 (-110) — The Tigers were a bad team last season, but that didn’t stop them from winning 77 games. They’ve improved a bit this offseason, and that, along with the expected improvement of their young players, should lead to more wins in theory — but I don’t see it in reality. Not only is the rest of their division improved, but the Tigers going 36-30 against the AL East and West again probably is not happening.
The Pick: Tampa Bay Rays Under 89.5 (-105) — It feels dangerous to bet an under for the Rays, since exceeding expectations is the franchise’s brand, but looking around the AL East, I don’t see this team getting to 90 wins. The Yankees are still good, the Blue Jays should be better and the Red Sox aren’t pushovers. Yes, they won 100 games last season, but they went 51-25 against the division. I don’t think that’s repeatable.
The Pick: San Francisco Giants Under 88.5 (-110) — The Giants surprised the hell out of everybody last season, going 107-55, which means they can regress pretty hard and still finish above this total. But I’m not going to bet on it. While the Rockies will still stink, Arizona should be better and the Padres shouldn’t collapse as severely as they did last year. The Giants will still be in playoff contention all season, but this is good value based on my projections.
The Pick: St. Louis Cardinals Under 84.5 (-110) — My official prediction is that the NL Central will be the worst division in baseball this year, and the Brewers will win it handily. Honestly, there’s a good chance that the Brewers will be the only team finishing above .500. I have the Cardinals in the 80-81 win range, so I’ll happily take the under 84.5.
The Pick: Arizona Diamondbacks Over 66.5 (-110) — My favorite bet of last season was the Pirates Over 58.5 wins. There’s nothing like rooting for a terrible baseball team to win games when you know they won’t most of the time. This year, the Diamondbacks are the new Pirates, but with a higher win total. While they’ll still get battered by the Dodgers and Giants, the gap between them and most everybody else on their schedule isn’t as significant as this win total suggests. Welcome to The Race To 67!
⚾ To Win The Division
The Pick: Houston Astros to win the AL West (-175) — Sometimes the favorites are favorites for a reason, and we’re getting the Astros at a friendly price because of the players they lost. They’re still the best team in the division, and the Angels are the only real threat that I can see. And we all know how good the Angels are at delivering on all their promise! So, yeah, take the Astros again.
The Pick: Milwaukee Brewers to win the NL Central (-180) — As I said above, the NL Central will be bad, and the Brewers are the only team in the division worth betting. Honestly, Milwaukee could have this thing wrapped up by the beginning of September, so even if we’re paying a heavy price, it should be heavier.
The Pick: Atlanta Braves to win the NL East (+120) — I know the Braves lost Freddie Freeman, but by replacing him with Matt Olson, I don’t see any drop-off. This team didn’t win the World Series by accident, and I have a tough time buying into the Phillies and Mets. Philadelphia’s pitching doesn’t fill me with confidence, and the Mets are the Mets, so they’ll screw it up somehow. Seriously, the season hasn’t started, and Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer are already hurt.
The Pick: Toronto Blue Jays to win the AL East (+185) — The AL East will be a war between four teams, and I don’t think the Blue Jays are getting enough respect. It makes sense: the Yankees and Red Sox have massive, fervent fan bases and books need to protect themselves from those hordes with their prices. That leads to Toronto and Tampa Bay getting favorable odds more often than not.
The Pick: Minnesota Twins to win the AL Central (+525) — I do not know why sportsbooks are so high on the Chicago White Sox. I know they’re the favorite to win the division and won it by 13 games last season, but you can argue the White Sox got worse this offseason while the rest of the division got better. Now, Minnesota’s pitching will probably throw a wrench in the gears, as will Byron Buxton‘s annual trips to the disabled list, but even if it’s a longshot, there’s no way the Twins should be +525. I’d have them closer to +300.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: The SportsLine Projection Model simulated the Masters Tournament 2022 10,000 times and came up with a shocking leaderboard.
⛳ Masters Top 10s
The Masters tees off Thursday morning, which means this is one of the weekends where I’ll not only be betting on the PGA, but watching it too. Here are the best Top 10 bets to place this weekend.
- Daniel Berger (+330)
- Louis Oosthuizen (+350)
- Adam Scott (+430)
- Paul Casey (+450)
- Tony Finau (+450)