MLB – Astros -1.5 (+100) @ Twins: 7:10 PM CT on Bally Sports North
Don’t let last night’s improbable Minnesota Twins victory over the New York Yankees fool you into thinking that this means they’ll turn things around, especially in this game here. Minnesota’s oldest tormentor may have left town last night, but their newest tormentor going back to last season’s playoffs just arrived from Texas.
Even without the garbage cans, this Houston Astros team keeps on winning and winning comfortably — as 30 of their 35 wins this season have come by two-plus runs. That includes every single win that’s been started by Jose Urquidy who takes the mound tonight. I honestly chuckled when I saw Matt Shoemaker listed as getting the start for Minnesota tonight, coming off his last outing in Kansas City where he recorded one out and gave up nine runs.
I have next to no faith that the Twins can win this game, and when the Astros win they do it by multiple runs so I’ll take this even-money price on them covering the run line.
MLB – Padres Team Total under 2.5 (-110): 6:10 PM CT on MLB Network
It’s a strange feeling to look at the powerful San Diego Padres lineup and think that they’ll be held under this low total, but that’s just a testament to how dominant Jacob deGrom is right now. The Padres have been in a bit of a power outage anyway, averaging only 2.5 runs per game over their last 10 contests for a 7-3 under mark to this particular team total. Not the kind of run you want to be on when you travel cross-country to face the best pitcher in baseball.
Unless something changes dramatically, deGrom is on his way to making ERA history. Teams simply cannot touch him right now, with his last six opponents going under this total, including his most recent start on Saturday when he blanked these very Padres in San Diego.
Since his return from the disabled list, deGrom has increased his pitch and innings counts in each start, so it’s scary to think that we might still be approaching his peak performance. I’ll keep riding his ability to shut teams down until proven wrong, and given the offensive struggles of the Padres, I’m thinking we see another gem from deGrom tonight to keep San Diego under this number.
NBA – 76ers Team Total over 114 (-110): 6:30 PM CT on ESPN
Joel Embiid appears to have a knee that’s a medical marvel, and as long as he’s playing the Philadelphia 76ers will continue to roll offensively. This number still represents the floor of points that Philadelphia has scored this postseason, just as it was on Tuesday when we cashed the over on the exact same number.
The Atlanta Hawks simply haven’t been able to adapt defensively to an offense like the Sixers have, a big shock to Atlanta’s system after coasting by the offensively challenged New York Knicks in the first round. They also have no answers for Embiid, who has dropped 79 points over two games on 54% shooting to carry Philadelphia.
By returning home, Atlanta’s offense should be better and more consistent, pulling up scoring in general and Philly’s score as a result. Be mindful of Embiid’s status for the game, but if he’s playing, I’ll definitely back the Sixers to surpass the bare minimum of what they’ve done in these playoffs.
NBA – Suns/Nuggets over 223 (-110): 9:00 PM CT on ESPN
At least one team has crossed the 120-point threshold in seven of the eight playoff games for the Denver Nuggets this postseason, leading to a 6-2 over record in those games. Unfortunately for Denver, the last two instances have been the Phoenix Suns dropping 122 and 123 points in two blowouts to start this series, but there’s reason to believe the Nuggets will find their scoring touch and contribute more to this total tonight.
First off, the Nuggets are too good of a shooting team at 48.5% on the season for their 43% shooting in Phoenix to follow them home. Second, Denver’s home games were 25-14 to the over, the best in the NBA. The return to elevation should also bring down defensive effort, particularly from the Suns who have to adapt.
The offense is cooking for Phoenix right now with a 1.239 points per possession mark in their last three games. Even a slight dropoff from them can still carry this game over with more contribution from the Nuggets who love to get into high-scoring games at home.
Bonus Bet: Oddsmakers seem to be anticipating a dropoff in offensive output from the Suns, dropping their team total down from Wednesday’s number of 114 to 110.5 points for tonight. I’m going against that adjustment because I don’t think Denver has an answer for this Suns offense right now.
The offensive efficiency is just too good for Phoenix right now, especially against awful defensive statistics for Denver throughout the playoffs. Plus they’ve done it without an offensive explosion from Devin Booker yet who’s only scored 39 points in two games. I’m anticipating another high-scoring game here that can get Phoenix over this discounted total as they’ve done in four straight games.
NBA – Trae Young Over 9.5 Assists (-110): 6:30 PM on ESPN
Young has averaged 9.4 assists per game over the course of the season and has increased his distributing in the playoffs to an even 10 per game. Young had a tough game shooting on Tuesday as he saw a lot of Ben Simmons all night, a defensive adjustment I expect Philadelphia to continue tonight.
With Young being forced by the length of Simmons to kick out and toss lobs on more of his drives, I expect his assists to go over the 9.5 prop for this game.
Tiny Nick is 289-186 ATS (+90.9 Units) on his Locks since joining Zone Coverage.
Every day he will offer his Locks and Degenerate picks. Locks are the games he’s confident in. Degenerates are entertaining but riskier picks.