February 9, 2023

Last night didn’t go as planned. What I thought would happen was that I would watch the first few minutes of the Hall of Fame Game, get bored, and then find something else to watch. Instead, the weather delay changed everything. Instead of watching the start of the game, I watched the last 10 minutes of the fourth quarter.

When I activated the game, Las Vegas was leading 20-3 and it looked like our under 30.5 game was safe. The Raiders then scored a rushing touchdown to make it 27-3. Soon after, the Jaguars — who had done nothing on offense all night — drove 86 yards in nine plays for a meaningless touchdown to kill the under.

One NFL game down, and we already have our first heartbreaking loss of the season. Well, I better get this out of the way early, right?

Okay, so the NFL returned last night and the Premier League returns this weekend. Along with some MLB games tonight, I have football picks to share to guide you through the weekend. Let’s hope we avoid more painful losses.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

Padres at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. | Television: MLB Network

Latest odds:

Los Angeles Dodgers -160

  • Basic trend: The Dodgers have won 40 of the last 55 meetings at Dodger Stadium.
  • The Pick: Dodgers (-160)

When the Padres traded Juan Soto and everyone else at the deadline, they did so with the realization that they weren’t going to win the NL West this season. It’s not impossible, but with the Dodgers 12.5 games ahead, they’d have to play like the worst team in baseball to make it happen. No, the Padres made the moves because they know the path through the National League to the World Series will go through the Dodgers.

Tonight we get our first look. While it’s hard to argue that adding a player like Soto (and the others San Diego got) doesn’t make the Padres much better than they were, I still think the Dodgers are the better team. Also, the moves have the Padres being overvalued in the market.

Tony Gonsolin isn’t a household name, but he’s been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season. He has great control, misses bats and avoids hard contact. The Padres send Sean Manaea to the mound, and while he strikes out more batters than Gonsolin, he walks far more, misses fewer batters and is prone to giving up the longball. That’s not good news considering the Dodgers have a wRC+ of 117 against lefties (5th in MLB), a .333 wOBA (5th) and a 3.44% home run percentage (5th).

The Padres are much improved, but it’s not likely to matter much tonight.

Here’s what SportsLine has to say about the game: Looks like I’m not the only one who thinks you should be gunning for the Dodgers tonight.

💰 The Options



Red Sox at Royals, 8:10 p.m. | Television: ESPN+

Latest odds:

Over 9

The Pick: Over 9 (-120) — Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium is one of several baseball parks that play differently depending on the weather. Overall, it consistently proves to be one of the hardest parks to inhabit (only Comerica Park is harder). But that all changes during the summer, when The City of Fountains begins to bake in the sun.

When KC heats up, the balls fly and tonight’s forecast calls for temps in the 90s. This is great news for us because the pitching matchup features two pitchers who don’t miss bats. Boston’s Josh Winckowski has a 5.00 ERA in nine starts and a 14.1% strikeout rate. Kansas City veteran slugger Zack Greinke has an even lower strikeout rate at 13.4%. The balls will be played tonight, and when they are, they will travel great distances. Runners will round the bases. Runs will score. We will redeem tickets.

Basic Voltage: The over is 14-5-2 in the last 21 meetings at Kauffman Stadium.

⚽ Football

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Bournemouth v Aston Villa, Saturday, 10am. | TV: Peacock
The Pick: Aston Villa (+104) —
Some sportsbooks offer odds on the first manager to be sacked and Bournemouth’s Scott Parker could be worth a bet. Parker helped Bournemouth return to the Premier League after failing to keep Fulham two seasons ago, but is unhappy with how the summer has gone for the club as they prepare for the Premier League. In short, Parker doesn’t believe Bournemouth have nearly the talent and depth needed to survive a season in the league and retain their place. Usually, a manager who says “we’re not good enough” before the season starts doesn’t go well.

Meanwhile, Aston Villa continued to strengthen their squad in the summer, striking early to fill some serious needs in midfield (Boubacar Kamara) and upgrade at centre-back (Diego Carlos). Phillipe Coutinho also returns after a semi-successful loan spell last year and manager Steven Gerrard plans to challenge for a European place this season. It’s probably too much to ask, but Villa finished ninth in the league last year if you just look at the standings after Gerrard took over from Dean Smith in December. While Europe may be a dream, three points against Bournemouth on the opening weekend is not.

Newcastle v Nottingham Forest, Saturday, 10am. | TV: Peacock
The Pick: Newcastle (-150) —
We have a theme: betting on mid-tier clubs with higher ambitions facing recently promoted teams in the first week. Newcastle didn’t have the summer their fans were hoping for either. All the new money from the new owners hasn’t immediately led to superstars flocking to the north of England to join the Toon Army, but they are a vastly improved squad from where they were a year ago and should be off to a good start.

Nottingham Forest are a club with quite a bit of history, but this will be their first game in the Premier League since 1999. Forest have spent a lot this summer trying to ensure they stay for a while, but for the most part, they are a completely new team from the one that won promotion from the Championship. A couple of pre-season friendlies aren’t likely enough for the team to gel, and I can see Forest getting off to a slow start. That includes a possible away defeat to Newcastle to start the new season.

Manchester United v Brighton, Sunday, 9am | TV: Peacock
The Pick: Brighton or Draw (+135) —
Why do I have a feeling we’re going to weaken Manchester United a lot this season? As you would expect from United, the off-season has been a mess. While I like the signing of Erik Ten Hag, he has a lot of work to do to get United where United believe he is, and it will take a lot more than a summer to do it. Throw in all the off-field drama about Cristiano Ronaldo no longer wanting to be there (so much for that happy reunion) and there’s already a whole lot of drama and turmoil around the club.

Then there’s Brighton. Reliable, tough Brighton. The team without superstars, but with a good coach in Graham Potter with a clear vision. The club gets a lot more out of their team than they should. Honestly, these teams are mirror images of each other. United are full of stars who let you down and Brighton are a bunch of nobodies who constantly surprise you. I’ll be more surprised if Brighton don’t work than if they do.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine’s Andrew Gombas shared his favorite bets for Saturday night’s UFC event in Las Vegas.

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