Why to take the under on this Max Fried strikeout prop, plus other best bets for Wednesday

I don’t think Deshaun Watson is going to be traded before the deadline. Yes, I know about the reports stating that the Houston Texans and Miami Dolphins have already agreed to the parameters of a deal. Still, if it were that simple, Watson would already be in Miami. Miami wants him, and Watson wants to be in Miami.

The reason it hasn’t happened yet is that Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, despite approving the trade, doesn’t want to finalize it until Watson’s legal issues have been resolved. Well, considering that Watson doesn’t want to settle the 22 civil suits lodged against him, I have a hard time believing that this will all be taken care of before the NFL‘s Nov. 2 trade deadline. Furthermore, Ross wants to know if the NFL will suspend Watson due to the allegations against him, and Roger Goodell says he will let the legal process play out.

So the Dolphins have two options here: they can either trade for Watson without knowing what his future holds or they can not trade for him this season and hope for more clarity in the offseason. I know which one I’d choose, but I’ve seen NFL franchises do stupid things before.

And now, the picks.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

Braves at Astros, 8:09 p.m. | TV: FOX
The Pick: Max Fried Under 4.5 strikeouts (-137)
: While I didn’t write yesterday’s newsletter, if you follow me on Twitter, you know that my favorite play of the day was the under 4.5 strikeouts for Atlanta’s Charlie Morton last night. It did not win the way I had planned on it winning — I do not know how to handicap for a broken leg — but it won, and I like it again tonight with Max Fried for many of the same reasons.

The Astros don’t strike out. Houston had a strikeout rate of 19.4% during the regular season, which was the best in baseball by a considerable margin. Against lefties like Fried, that number dropped to 18.3%, which was also the best rate in baseball by a wide margin.

Then there’s Fried himself, who is not a strikeout pitcher. The MLB average starting pitcher struck out 22.6% of batters faced this season, which means Fried’s 23.7% strikeout rate isn’t much better than average. Fried makes his money avoiding hard contact, and that will be his goal tonight against a Houston offense that makes a lot of contact, period.

Key Trend: No team in baseball strikes out less often than the Astros.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: If you’re looking to make a more traditional bet this evening, check out what the Projection Model has to say.

💰 The Picks


Heat at Nets, 7:30 p.m. | TV: NBA League Pass

Latest Odds:

Under 218

The Pick: Under 217.5 (-110) — Did you know that the under has hit in every Brooklyn game this season? Normally that would scare me away from taking it again, but I still like it a lot here because the market hasn’t fully caught on yet. This Nets team has plenty of star power, but it has been bad offensively to begin the season. The Nets rank 21st in the league with an offensive rating of 103.2, and I think NBA rule changes are a big reason why.

The NBA has changed the way it calls fouls this season. Offensive players aren’t getting away with leaning into defenders to get foul calls like they have in the past, which has hurt James Harden significantly. I mean, leaning into defenders to draw fouls has been like 80% of his game, but not this year. From Harden’s first season with Houston (2012-13) to last season in Brooklyn, Harden averaged 10.2 free throw attempts per game. This season he’s had 12 free throw attempts in four games. He’s still adjusting, and it’s hurting the Brooklyn offense. Meanwhile, Miami is still Miami, and that means it’s No. 1 in the league in defensive rating (by a lot!).

Key Trend: The under is 12-5-1 in the last 18 meetings.

Wolves at Bucks, 8 p.m. | TV: NBA League Pass

Latest Odds:

Under 231

The Pick: Under 230.5 (-110) — When you’re this early in a season, it can be difficult to decipher what’s real and what isn’t, but the Timberwolves have been solid defensively so far. They’re third in the league with a defensive rating of 96.2, which leaves them behind only the Heat and Atlanta Hawks. Now, it needs to be pointed out that the three games Minnesota has played have been against New Orleans (28th in offensive rating) and Houston (20th), but the Wolves have something to do with their performances! Still, this Milwaukee team is the toughest test yet for this revamped Minnesota defense.

Thankfully, Minnesota has paired great defense with a bad offense. The Timberwolves rank 25th in the league in offensive rating and 24th in true shooting percentage. One of the reasons this total is as high as it is is the pace both teams move at, but I don’t mind there being a lot of possessions when one team is as inefficient offensively as the Wolves have been.

Key Trend: The under is 4-1-1 in Milwaukee’s last six as a favorite.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Both the SportsLine Projection Model and expert Mike Barner are on the same side of the spread in tonight’s NBA game between the Orlando Magic and Charlotte Hornets.

 🏒 Goal Bonanza Parlay

All right, I feel bad telling you to bet three different unders today, so how about an over parlay? This one pays +260.

  • Panthers/Bruins Over 5.5 (-125)
  • Stars/Knights Over 5.5 (+100)

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