I don’t want the NBA Finals to end tonight. Not because I have a title future with the Celtics, but because I envision an epic sports Sunday. Picture this: we spend our Sunday watching the US Open recap in the early evening (catch all the live updates here), and when it’s over we can move on to Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
A Sunday without football can hardly be better for a sports fan.
So if you’re sitting on the couch watching the NBA Finals tonight, beat your heart out for the Celtics. Even you, Warriors fans. Put the welfare of sports fans across the country ahead of your personal desires. I mean, wouldn’t you rather win the series at home anyway?
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Go Celtics. Go to America. go on Sundays. Read these stories.
OK, now make those bets.
All Eastern times and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
The hot ticket
Warriors at Celtics, 9 p.m. | TV: ABC
- key trend: The Under is 87-60 in Games 6 and 7 of the NBA Playoff Series since 2010.
- The Choice: Below 210.5 (-110)
The Celtics broke me. My numbers are my numbers and I still believe in them, but Boston has let me down far too easily in the last two games. Game five in particular was a bridge too far. My Celtics (+5000) title future is now hanging in the balance.
I think Boston wins tonight but I’m not going to throw any money behind it. Instead, I’m looking at a tried-and-true betting strategy in the NBA playoffs: betting on the under in games 6 and 7. I’ve touched on this before: the later you get into a series, the worse the games get. Each team now knows everything the other is attempting, and there are few surprises.
Since the 2010 playoffs, Under has been 87-60 in games 6 and 7 of a series. This season it’s 8-4. Considering these are already two strong defensive teams, increasing the intensity tonight could result in a particularly ugly performance.
This is what SportsLine says about the game: The projection model doesn’t see much value tonight, but SportsLine pundits Matt Severance and Mike Barner both have games tonight.
Rays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. | Television: MLB.TV
Tampa Bay Rays +155
The Choice: Radiance (+210) — I rely on an old principle in the NBA Finals, so why not use the diamond? We have many different factors at play here tonight. First, the Rays have long been one of the best MLB teams to bet on as an underdog. Tonight they’re underdogs against the Yankees, but not just any Yankees team.
The Yankees are always slightly overrated for their large, obnoxious (hi Nick, the editor of this newsletter!) fan base. When you factor in the fact that they’ve won six straight games and have the best record in baseball? Then things get really stupid and that’s a stupid prize for both teams tonight. The Yankees are the better team and will win most of the time, but we get the Rays at +210!
They’re between 35 and 27 years old and we’re getting them at Pittsburgh Pirates prizes!
key trend: The Rays have won 13 of their last 19 at Yankee Stadium.
Rangers at Tigers, 7:10 p.m. | Television: MLB.TV
The Choice: Over 8.5 (-105) — I’ve complained endlessly about how bad my White Sox are, but the Sox just beat Detroit and topped them 27-6 in three games. While Detroit’s pitching is lackluster, it has one of the worst offenses I’ve ever seen. They rank last at 7.70% in run rate (runs scored/plate appearances), and the second worst team is Oakland…at 9.08%. Detroit has a wRC+ of 70 while Oakland is at 79.
They’re not just bad, they’re extraordinarily bad.
So let’s bet the over! We don’t need many runs from Detroit tonight and the weather conditions in Detroit will help our cause. Plus, while Texas starter Martin Perez has a 2.18 ERA, his underlying numbers suggest this is unsustainable. After all, Detroit’s bullpen is just toast. The pen’s overall ERA of 3.11 ranks sixth in baseball, but that same pen had position players fielding for the last three innings Wednesday because the pen was overhauled. Don’t be surprised if we win this bet before the end of the fifth inning.
key trend: The over is 7-1-1 in Texas’ last nine away games.
🔒 SportsLine Picks of the Day: Looking for a sweat to end your Thursday night? SportsLine Projection Model’s Top Rated Game of the Day is a money lines game between the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels.
Player Props for the NBA Finals
- GSW Klay Thompson on 5.5 rebounds & assists (-110)
- BOS Marcus Smart over 5.5 assists (+110)
- BOS Robert Williams on 18.5 points, rebounds & assists (-120)