I really hope MLB doesn’t do anything stupid. Wait, let me clarify that: I hope MLB doesn’t do anything stupider than what it’s already doing. Today is the day MLB said would serve as a deadline not to lose regular-season games, and there are no signs that an agreement will be reached. In fact, over the weekend, you got the sense that MLB is fine with losing games. As if that’s the goal.
That sucks, but I’m not interested in taking sides or figuring out who is to blame. Frankly, I don’t care. The only thing I care about is that I have baseball to watch, but MLB should understand that I’m a dying breed. The sport’s popularity is not what it used to be. While revenues have increased lately, we live in a world where consumers have more options available to them than ever before when it comes to finding ways to entertain themselves. In 2020, when baseball was forced to play a 60-game season due to a pandemic, consumers welcomed it back because they’d spent months without other options. This time that won’t be the case.
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The longer MLB goes without playing games, the longer consumers will have to figure out other ways to entertain themselves. There’s no guarantee they’ll come back, and there’s a good chance that those who do won’t do so with the same enthusiasm for the game they had before.
Now let’s end the month with some winners.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
🏀 Bulls at Heat, 7:30 p.m. | TV: NBA League Pass
The Pick: Under 222 (-110): Judging by the look on your face (I can see you, by the way), you’re confused, and some are even appalled. You’re wondering how I could tell you to take the under in a Chicago Bulls game after recently spreading the gospel of Bulls Overs. Well, friend, all good things must come to an end, and the run of Bulls Overs has done so. The market caught on and course-corrected. Things have stabilized, and tonight we’re taking the under in a Bulls game.
But first, a moment of silence for Bulls Overs.
OK, the moment’s over. This total is too darn high! Seriously, this should be an awesome matchup. Miami has the best record in the East, and the Bulls are a game behind in second. It’s a possible Eastern Conference Finals preview, but let’s hope that if these teams do get that far, it doesn’t look anything like tonight’s game will. The Bulls are still dealing with injuries, as is Miami. The Heat will be without Kyle Lowry tonight, as well as Markieff Morris, Victor Oladipo, Javonte Smart and Caleb Martin. The onus of the offensive load will be on Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, which isn’t a huge deal, but it does impact the offensive ceiling.
The Heat are also one of the few teams capable of slowing down the Bulls. As magnificent as he’s been, DeMar DeRozan finally showed signs of mortality in Chicago’s loss to Memphis over the weekend. It should be an entertaining game, but it won’t be as high-scoring as this total suggests. Don’t be surprised if the loser fails to crack 100 points.
Key Trend: The under is 13-6-1 in Chicago’s last 20 road games against a team with a winning record.
Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: SportsLine’s Projection Model doesn’t love much of anything about tonight’s game, though it does have a slight lean on the total.
💰 The Picks
🏀 College Basketball
Kansas State at No. 12 Texas Tech, 9 p.m. | TV: ESPN2
The Pick: Over 133.5 (-110) — It’s Senior Night in Lubbock, and I think the Red Raiders will celebrate by scoring a lot of points. Kansas State will likely score some, too. When these teams met in January, it was ugly. The Wildcats pulled off a 62-51 upset by swallowing the Tech offense whole. The Red Raiders averaged only 0.77 points per possession that night and shot 39.6% from the field, including 4-17 from three. The Red Raiders turned the ball over 18 times — two more than Kansas State’s 16 — and that certainly didn’t help matters, either.
Well, tonight I expect a cleaner performance from both teams. These teams rank in the top five of the Big 12 in adjusted offensive efficiency in conference play, but Kansas State’s defense ranks ninth while the Red Raiders are first. That’s why Tech should win the game, but I’m not comfortable asking them to cover a spread this large. Instead, I’m going to rely on both teams to score points and do a much better job taking care of the ball. Also, as good as Texas Tech is defensively, its opponents have shot 33.2% from three in Big 12 play, and Kansas State has been the second-best three-point shooting team in the Big 12. Yet another reason I’m not comfortable taking Tech against the spread and believe the Wildcats will put points on the board.
Key Trend: The over is 7-2 in Texas Tech’s last nine home games.
No. 17 UCLA at Washington, 11 p.m. | TV: ESPN2
The Pick: Washington +8 (-110) — UCLA fans are going to start thinking I hate their team because I’ve picked against them so often in recent weeks. I swear I don’t. In fact, as I’ve written here before, I’m forever grateful to this group of Bruins for winning me so much money last season. The problem is they were flying under the radar last year, and after their deep tourney run, everybody knows who they are now. As a result, the market is overrating them a little too often.
Tonight is one of those times. Johnny Juzang is doubtful for tonight’s game as he’s missed the last two games due to an ankle injury. Tyger Campbell has been dealing with some nagging injuries of his own. Now, Juzang didn’t play in UCLA’s 76-50 win over Washington 10 days ago, but that game was at UCLA, and I don’t know that we should count on Washington to go 3-17 from three again (or for UCLA to go 10-22). Tonight’s game at Washington should be quite a bit closer.
Key Trend: Washington is 13-6 ATS in its last 19 as an underdog.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Baylor and Texas square off tonight in one of the biggest games on the college basketball slate, and the SportsLine Projection Model has a strong lean toward one side of the total.
🏀 Tonight’s Parlay
Tonight we’ve got a simple four-leg parlay paying +106.
- North Carolina (-360)
- Howard (-475)
- Iowa (-650)
- Fresno State (-650)
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism