MLB

Why the Astros will roll in Game 1 vs. the Red Sox; Football Friday: The Lions are on the verge of win No. 1

It’s another Football Friday and has become tradition, tonight’s newsletter is bursting at the seams with bets for the entire weekend. Of course, just because it’s a Football Friday, that doesn’t mean we’re ignoring the MLB postseason. I have a pick for Game 1 of the ALCS tonight as well.

But then it’s all football and not just the American variety. Soccer returns from its international break this weekend, so I’ve added a couple of soccer plays to your plate as well. Essentially, I’ve made sure you don’t have to do any thinking this weekend. All you have to do is sit down and enjoy the ride until it’s Monday again.

However, first we need to catch up on today’s news, including an NFL trade.

Let the betting bonanza begin.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook


🔥 The Hot Ticket

Red Sox at Astros, 8:07 p.m. | TV: Fox
The Pick: Astros (-140)
: I just had an up-close and personal view of the Houston Astros, and I’ll say that I’m happy I no longer have to worry about watching my team pitch to this lineup. I mean, from top to bottom, Houston’s lineup is a giant pain in the Astro. They work counts, they don’t swing at bad pitches, and when you do throw strikes, they hit them. Seriously, this team strikes out less often than any other team in baseball, which is a tremendous asset to have in this sport, but especially in a time when strikeouts are more prevalent than ever.

And this Houston lineup is especially dangerous against lefties. While lefties neutralize Michael Brantley, Houston’s other big left-handed boppers Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker, are not fazed. That’s why Houston led MLB in wRC+ against lefties this season and had the lowest strikeout rate in the league against them too. This isn’t great news for Chris Sale because the strikeout is his greatest asset, and the Boston defense behind him is not great.

The Coach, Jonathan Coachman, is joined by  Allie O’Neill, Allan Bell and Larry Hartstein to dish out Friday’s best bets. Download and follow The Early Edge on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.  

You see, that’s the other thing about this Houston team. Not only do they pitch well and hit better than you, but they catch the ball too. By outs above average, Houston’s defense is the second-best in baseball. Want to guess which defense ranks dead last? That’s right, the Boston Red Sox.

Key Trend: Houston has won five of the last seven meetings.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: SportsLine’s John Bollman has been crushing MLB this year and he has a pick for tonight’s Game 1 of the ALCS.


💰The Picks

🏈 NFL


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Chiefs at Washington, Sunday, 1 p.m | TV: CBS
The Pick: Under 54.5 (-110) — 
Honestly, my initial reaction to seeing any total this high in an NFL game is to take the under, and I can’t find anything to change my mind. There’s been a lot made of how bad the Chiefs have looked, but those struggles have to be put in the context of who the Chiefs are. No, they’re not the same juggernaut we’ve seen in recent years, but they’re still pretty good. Their offense is first in the league in success rate and dead last in defensive success rate. Thankfully for the Chiefs, they’ll be facing a Washington offense with Taylor Heinicke at quarterback, which could help the Chiefs defense look a bit better.

Conversely, while it’s not as good as hoped for, this Washington defense hasn’t been as bad as I’ve seen it portrayed. It’s more of an average unit than a bad one and has been the victim of terrible field position more than anything. I don’t see either team figuring it all out on Sunday, but both should do well enough defensively to keep this below the total.

Key Trend: The under is 7-3 in Washington’s last 10 home games.

Bengals at Lions, Sunday, 1 p.m | TV: Fox
The Pick: Lions +3.5 (-115) — 
In my opinion, this line is off and based on nothing but the Lions being 0-5 and everybody thinking they stink. Well, you might be surprised to learn that the Lions’ offense ranks 14th in the NFL in success rate, which is ahead of the Bengals in 20th. The real strength of this Cincinnati team has been its defense, but the numbers are slightly misleading. Playing games against the Bears, Steelers and Jaguars certainly helped. It also doesn’t hurt Cincinnati’s numbers that Green Bay managed only two touchdowns in five red-zone trips last week and missed three field goals.

The Lions might be 0-5, but there’s a difference in their 0-5 compared to Jacksonville’s. The Jaguars have looked overmatched and outclassed a lot. The Lions have only looked truly bad in one loss, and that was a 35-17 loss to the same Green Bay team that beat Cincinnati last week. I’ll gladly take the Lions getting over a field goal at home, and I suggest considering the Detroit money line too.

Key Trend: The Bengals are 1-4 ATS in their last five as favorites.

🏈 College Football


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No. 11 Kentucky at No. 1 Georgia, Saturday, 3:30 p.m | TV: CBS
The Pick: Georgia -21.5 (-110) — 
I feel like I’ve seen this story so many times already. Georgia’s defense isn’t fair. It’s the best unit in the country and has strangled opponents to death. Granted, the Bulldogs haven’t run into many explosive offenses, but I’m not sure how much of a difference it would’ve made. Plus, while Kentucky has no reason to feel bad about its 6-0 start or its ranking, it’s not as if the Wildcats have an explosive offense.

Kentucky reminds me of Arkansas in a lot of ways. It’s a physical team that can run the ball and play solid defense, but doesn’t offer much threat in the passing game. A one-dimensional offense isn’t going to have a lot of success against Georgia, and we saw what the Dawgs did to the Hogs a couple of weeks ago. I’m expecting something similar in Athens on Saturday.

Key Trend: Georgia has covered six of the last eight meetings.

No. 12 Oklahoma State at No. 25 Texas, Saturday, 12 p.m | TV: Fox
The Pick: Texas -3.5 (-110) — 
Oklahoma State is the Big 12’s version of Iowa. It’s crazy to think of what Oklahoma State used to be under coach Mike Gundy vs. what it’s become, but this is a defensive football team trying to outslug opponents because it just doesn’t have the offensive firepower to get into a shootout. The difference is Iowa’s defense is incredible at forcing turnovers to give its offense short fields with which to work; plus, it has elite special teams. Oklahoma State has neither of those things. The Cowboys have a negative turnover differential on the season, have only made three of their six field goal attempts and rank 69th nationally in net yards punting.

It’s not complementary football if you don’t have anything to complement your defense. That’s the biggest reason why I have a tough time seeing the Cowboys going on the road and hanging with Texas. Even with the Longhorns coming off a heartbreaking loss to Oklahoma, their offense is explosive and talented enough to move the ball on the Cowboys, and I don’t trust Oklahoma State to score enough.

Key Trend: Texas is 6-1 ATS in its last seven as a favorite.

If you’re looking for more college football bets, you can read all my favorite plays in my weekly column, The Six Pack

⚽ Soccer


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Borussia Dortmund vs. Mainz, Saturday, 9:30 a.m | TV: ESPN+
The Pick: Both Teams to Score (-150) — 
Borussia Dortmund matches are fun to watch for a couple of reasons. The first is that Erling Halaand plays for Dortmund. Aside from looking like the mutant lovechild of actor Jesse Plemons and Stewie from Family Guy, he’s the closest thing we’ve seen to a new Zlatan Ibrahimovic since Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He’s just a giant, goal-scoring machine who is destined to end up at a massive club and be a global superstar.

The other fun part of Dortmund is that it’s so open and aggressive in attack that it’s vulnerable in defense as well. Dortmund matches are goalfests. Dortmund has played 11 matches across all competitions this season and has allowed goals in nine of them. The only teams it shut out were something called Wehen (it plays in Germany’s third tier) in a DFB-Pokal cup match to start the season and a 1-0 snoozer against Sporting in the Champions League. Everybody else has scored at least once, and while Mainz has not been the most potent attacking side in Germany this season, even it will manage to find the back of the net against Dortmund at least once.

Key Trend: Both teams have scored in nine of Dortmund’s 11 matches.

Juventus vs. Roma, Sunday, 2:45 p.m | TV: Paramount+
The Pick: Juventus (-112) — 
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Jose Mourinho took over a big club that had been underperforming as of late, got off to a hot start, and earned the love of everybody involved. But then cracks started to show, and now his team doesn’t look so invincible. Yes, Roma won their first three Serie A matches under Mourinho but were outplayed in a 3-2 loss to Hellas Verona, followed by an ugly 1-0 win over Udinese. The following week Roma lost the Derby della Capitale to Lazio before rebounding with a 2-0 win over Empoli. Now, Roma hasn’t played poorly overall, but if you look at the teams they’ve played in Serie A, only Lazio and Fiorentina are currently in the top half of the table.

While Juventus started the season dreadfully, this is the best team Roma has faced so far, and Juventus found its stride before the break. Since a 1-1 draw with AC Milan, Juventus has won four straight matches, including a Champions League clash with Chelsea. The key has been defense, where Juventus allows an average of 0.7 expected goals (xG) over its last six matches. Roma has allowed only two goals in four home matches in league play but has allowed six in three road matches. We’re getting Juventus at a great price here.

Key Trend: Juventus has won five straight across all competitions.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine’s prop superstar Alex Selesnick has released his favorite prop bets for Week 6 in the NFL.


 🏈⚽ Football Variety Hour Parlay

It’s a six-leg, three-sport, money line parlay paying +233!

  • Wisconsin (-650)
  • UTSA (-900)
  • Colts (-475)
  • Steelers (-230)
  • Liverpool (-290)
  • Manchester City (-900)



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