NBA

Expect the Rays to stay hot on the road against the Angels, plus other best bets for Thursday

I hope your Thursday is going well, or at the very least, better than Albert Pujols‘ Thursday. If you missed the news, there’s a real chance that we’ve seen the last of an all-time great, as the Los Angeles Angels designated Pujols for assignment on Thursday.

The move came after Pujols was reportedly upset about not being included in the Angels lineup on Wednesday night despite having good numbers against Tampa starter Ryan Yarbrough. Whatever the impetus, it’s a sad way to see a great career come to an end.

Pujols was in the final year of a 10-year, $240 million deal with the Angels, and the 41-year old was hitting .198/.250/.372. While the last few years he’s only been a shell of his former self, Pujols at his peak was one of the greatest hitters the sport had ever seen. For five years between 2005 and 2009, Pujols hit .334/.439/631 with 206 home runs and won three NL MVP Awards. He also led the Cardinals to two World Series titles.

If we have seen the last of him on the field, Pujols finishes his career fifth all-time in career home runs with 667 and third in RBI with 2,112.

Onto tonight’s festivities!

All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook


🔥 The Hot Ticket

Rays at Angels, 9:38 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Rays (+130)
: It’s a very limited evening slate in MLB tonight as we have only two games being played tonight, but thankfully one of them is providing us with plenty of value. As addressed above, we know that Albert Pujols will not be in the Angels lineup tonight! We also know that the Angels recently put Anthony Rendon on the injured list, removing one of their biggest bats. And while having Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani provides a floor, the Angels offense just isn’t as good without Rendon.

Yet the Angels are being priced in this spot like a team at full capacity on offense, so this is a spot we can take advantage of.

Furthermore, while Angels starter Andrew Heaney has done an excellent job of missing bats this season, the contact he’s allowed has been loud. I think the Rays offense finds success often enough against him to make them worth a shot here. Plus, the Angels bullpen has been anything but impressive to this point, so if this is a close game in the late innings, Tampa has an advantage.

Key Trend: The Rays are 8-1 in their last nine road games.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Advanced Computer Model likes the money line in this game tonight too, but it’s fonder of a play on the total.


💰 The Picks

🏀 NBA

Wizards at Raptors, 7:30 p.m. | TV: NBA League Pass
The Pick: Wizards +2.5 (-110) — 
All right, so Russell Westbrook told us in no uncertain terms what we could do with our prop on him not getting a triple-double last night, but this newsletter holds no grudges. Well, OK, it does, but it’s not holding one here. Not when this newsletter sees value on the Wizards in this spot.

With the Wizards having played last night, I think this line is overreacting a bit to them being on the second leg of a back-to-back. Washington has been playing out of its mind lately, and it has found the right formula to just let Russ and Bradley Beal cook while winning games at the same time. And while the Raptors come into this game having covered in three straight, they’ve done so as underdogs. As favorites, they’re only 15-20 ATS this season, and in the Eastern Conference, they’re 16-23 ATS.

Key Trend: Washington is 15-3 ATS in its last 18 games, and has covered six straight on the road.

Lakers at Clippers, 10 p.m. | TV: TNT
The Pick: Clippers -8.5 (-110) — 
There’s a part of me worried that I’m only piling on the Lakers by picking against them here, but I’m doing it for good reason. Injuries have just wrecked this team, and tonight they’ll still be without LeBron James as well as Dennis Schroder. It’s a team with no identity at the moment and is filled with players who aren’t sure what their roles are. Of course, come playoff time, there’s still a chance they can flip the switch and figure it out. I mean, they do have LeBron and Anthony Davis, but tonight? Against the Clippers? I just don’t see it.

Key Trend: The Clippers have covered five of the last six meetings.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine MMA analyst Kyle Marley has revealed his selections for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas.


💸 The DFS Rundown

Building Blocks

PG: Stephen Curry, Warriors
SG: Terry Rozier, Hornets
SF: Kevin Durant, Nets
PF: Anthony Davis, Lakers
C: Nikola Vucevic, Bulls

Value Plays

PG: Alex Caruso, Lakers
SG: De’Anthony Melton, Grizzlies
SF: Saddiq Bey, Pistons
PF: Isaiah Stewart, Pistons
C: Ivica Zubac, Clippers

Full lineup advice

Get winning NBA DFS picks from SportsLine pros Mike McClure and Jacob Gibbs. McClure has won almost $2 million in daily Fantasy, while Gibbs crushed the NBA last season, cashing around 65 percent of the time in cash games and nearly 45 percent of the time in tournaments. See their DraftKings advice and FanDuel lineups here.


 🏀 NBA Player Props


Getty Images
  • Joe Harris Over 3.5 rebounds (+105)
  • Kyle Kuzma Over 4.5 rebounds (+105)
  • Alex Caruso Over 3.5 rebounds (+120)


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