Can the Yankees stay hot in Toronto? Plus other best bets for Friday
It wasn’t just the Golden State Warriors who won Thursday night. While they’re the only ones who will get rings to commemorate their fourth title in the last eight seasons, there are also those NBA fans who can now celebrate their favorite time of the year: the offseason. Let all the rumors and drama commence!
The NBA offseason is rivaled only by the NFL’s offseason for its levels of reality TV show-esque drama. There will be plenty of trade talk, but there will be even more gossip about teammates who don’t like one another. Oh, and we can only guess what kinds of things Kyrie Irving will do over the coming months.
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During the NBA season, only so much is possible. This season felt like the most unpredictable NBA season in recent memory, and it still ended with the Warriors winning their fourth title in eight years. But in the NBA offseason, anything can happen.
Now let’s start the weekend with some winners.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
The Hot Ticket
Yankees at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
Key Trend: The under is 5-1 in New York’s last six division games.The Pick: Under 9.5 (-115)
With complete understanding that it’s mid-June, and we’re not even 40% of the way through the regular season, I don’t think it’s crazy to say that the AL East could be decided in Toronto this weekend. The Yankees have won seven straight and have the best record in baseball at 47-16. They have a 10-game lead on the second-place Blue Jays, and unless Toronto wins this series, it’s a lead that could become insurmountable.
This is terrible news for a Toronto team that has lost seven of the last nine meetings with the Yankees in Toronto!
But I don’t see much value in betting the money line tonight. The smarter bet is on the total. Toronto is a home run-hitting paradise, but neither of tonight’s starting pitchers allows fly balls. Both Jordan Montgomery and Ross Stripling make their living by avoiding walks and getting ground balls. While both offenses are potent, they’re also a little too reliant on the long ball for their runs. They aren’t as effective when asked to string a bunch of singles and doubles together to produce.
That’s why tonight’s total of 9.5 strikes me as too optimistic.
Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Projection Model doesn’t like anything tonight, but SportsLine’s Micah Roberts is partial to one side of the money line.
Giants at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Pirates (+180) — Who doesn’t want to spend their Friday night watching the Pittsburgh Pirates? Certainly not me! It hadn’t really sunk in what the end of the NBA season means for me until now. The next few months will be filled with nights of watching bad baseball teams hoping they win often enough to make the pain profitable.
We might as well dive in headfirst. The Pirates are bad. They don’t hit much, but that could result from not facing their own pitchers. However, the Giants are overpriced tonight with Carlos Rodon starting. When he’s on, he’s damn near untouchable, but he’s not always on. His command comes and goes, leading to many walks, and the contact he does allow tends to be the flyball variety. If you catch him on the right night, you can hurt him, and while the Pirates offense is limp overall, its HR rate of 2.94% against lefties ranks 12th in the league.
Key Trend: The Giants are 1-6 in their last seven games following a day off.
White Sox at Astros, 8:10 p.m. | TV: Apple TV
Chicago White Sox
The Pick: White Sox (+140) — Yes, the same person who has complained endlessly about the White Sox is telling you to bet the White Sox tonight. Let it be an important lesson for you not to allow personal feelings to affect your betting. There’s one thing the White Sox still do exceptionally well: hit left-handed pitching.
The White Sox offense ranks first in MLB in wOBA and wRC+ against lefties and is top five in home run rate and isolated power. It’s also top-10 in hard-hit rate. Tonight the White Sox are facing lefty Framber Valdez, who is an excellent groundball pitcher but is also one who rarely strikes out opponents and walks a few too many. Also, the White Sox have one of their top starters in Lucas Giolito going tonight. If ever there was a combination of factors in play that would allow the Sox to overcome their manager and beat a good team tonight, it would be the ones going in their favor tonight.
Key Trend: The White Sox offense has an MLB-best wOBA (.362) and wRC+ (141) against lefties this season.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine’s Early Edge crew have shared all their favorite picks for Friday night right here.
Stanley Cup Final parlay
Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final isn’t until Saturday night, but I don’t want to send you into the weekend without a little something extra to sweat. Here’s a two-leg parlay paying +218.
Avalanche (-150)Over 6 (-110)