It’s the hope that kills you. I recently wrote about how excited I was that the Chicago White Sox were in the playoffs and how I cherish that nervous feeling that comes with caring about a team when the stakes get high. I still do, but the other side of that coin sucks.
The Houston Astros routed the White Sox in their ALDS matchup, which ended Tuesday with a 10-1 Astros win. It was a game that encapsulated how most of the series went, and it was just four hours of knowing the result but forcing yourself to watch it out of obligation. It was terrible. It put me in a bad mood the rest of the day, and I wasn’t feeling much better about it this morning.
But I also know I’m not alone. Not only are there other White Sox fans feeling the same way, but there are fans of the Milwaukee Brewers who watched their season end on Tuesday, too. Monday night, it was Rays fans watching their season end far earlier than they thought it would. Tomorrow night, fans of either the 107-win San Francisco Giants or 106-win Los Angeles Dodgers will join our pity party, and they’ll be welcomed with open arms.
Because no matter how much the losing sucks, there’s always the hope you’ll avoid it next year. Maybe it won’t kill you next time.
Now let’s have some fun.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
🏒 Rangers at Capitals, 7:30 p.m. | TV: TNT
The Pick: Over 6 (-125): So, we have a bit of a problem on our hands tonight. The only sport going is hockey (unless you’re really into betting NBA preseason games). Neither ALDS matchup went longer than four games, and tonight would’ve been the night they played any Games Five. But they aren’t. Nope, all we have is a slate of NHL games.
And that’s fine!
I like the NHL from a viewing perspective, but from a gambling perspective, it’s far and away my weakest sport (of the ones I bet at all). Especially on the first night of the season when I have no data to work with about the teams this season. Still, we are alive, and we are reading this … therefore, we must bet. So we’re betting on NHL games tonight, and our philosophy for tonight’s bets is simple: let’s have fun.
The Capitals and Rangers are playing a nationally-televised game, and last year’s meetings were high-scoring. The division rivals played eight times last season, and there were 49 goals scored in those games. That’s an average of 6.13 goals per game, as five featured at least six goals. So, it’s opening night, these two teams don’t like one another, it’s a nationally-televised game, and we’ve got nothing else to watch. Let’s bet the over and root for goals!
Key Trend: The over is 11-4-1 in Washington’s last 16 division games.
Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: SportsLine expert John Bollman is 11-4 in his last 15 moneyline plays involving the Capitals, and he has a moneyline play for tonight he’s fond of.
💰 The Picks
Blackhawks at Avalanche, 10 p.m. | TV: TNT
The Pick: Blackhawks (+170) — Here’s our other nationally-televised game, and I do have some helpful intel on this one. The Avalanche finished last season tied with Las Vegas for the highest points total in the league, but were bounced earlier than expected from the playoffs. It’s still a good team and should be considered one of the best in the Western Conference again. But, the Avs will be without their best player in Nathan McKinnon, who tested positive for COVID. He’ll miss the game alongside Colorado coach Jared Bednar, who also tested positive.
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks have been bad the last few seasons but made some significant additions in the offseason. Chicago’s problem in recent seasons has been a porous defense, but they added Marc-Andre Fleury in net and signed one of the top defenseman available in free agent Seth Jones. They’ll also have long-time captain Jonathan Toews back, who missed last season with an illness. Over the course of the season, Colorado will prove to be better than Chicago, but the Blackhawks could prove to be the better team tonight often enough to warrant taking them at this price.
Key Trend: There is no trend that supports this play, which means we have to make it.
🏈 College Football Futures
The Pick: C.J. Stroud to win the Heisman Trophy (+1000) — I’ve been covering college football professionally for over a decade, and I’ve been a fan far longer, but I don’t remember the last time a Heisman race seemed this unclear so deep into a season. The guy who was the Heisman favorite in the preseason might’ve just lost his starting job due to performance, not injury. No quarterback is standing out weekly, and Alabama’s Bryce Young is still the odds-on favorite despite Alabama losing to Texas A&M and Young not playing all that well.
But a bit further down the board, we find Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud. Stroud took over for Justin Fields this season and “struggled” early in the season. I put struggle in quotes because the truth is his only crime was not being Justin Fields. Instead, he was just “playing remarkably well for a freshman and we’ve all been spoiled by QBs in recent seasons, so people thought he stunk.” Well, Stroud has settled in the last couple of weeks, has a ton of NFL weapons around him, and is on a team that will be competing for a playoff spot. If he keeps playing as he has been lately, he’s not going to be +1000 to win the Heisman much longer, so we’re making a value play here. This is probably the best price we see on Stroud for the rest of the season.
Key Trend: A QB has won 17 of the last 21 Heisman Trophies.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: If you’re in a season-long NFL confidence pool and need help figuring out your picks for Week 6, don’t worry, SportsLine’s Projection Model has you covered. Not only will it tell you which teams are most likely to win, but how confident you should be in each of them.
⛳ The CJ Cup Top 10s
We’re betting on each of these golfers to finish in the top 10 this weekend.
- Abraham Ancer (+333)
- Tyrrell Hatton (+350)
- Jason Day (+650)
- Kevin Streelman (+800)
- Chris Kirk (+1000)