This will be a lot easier in a few weeks when we have football again, but for now, this will be a very inexact science. Still, it can’t go worse than Tuesday did, so we’ll give this one a shot. Saturday was a win thanks to a +275 payout on Minnesota and Vancouver’s draw, so hopefully we can build off that success as we start August.
PHILLIES -1.5, +105
Mitch Keller is pitching like a man who doesn’t want to play in Pittsburgh, and I don’t mean that in a good way. Keller has been just awful at PNC Park, going 2-5 with an 8.48 ERA in home starts this year. The Pirates have won back-to-back games as the underdog against their in-state rivals, but the Phillies’ bats should break out here against Keller. With Kyle Gibson making his first start for Philadelphia against Pittsburgh’s league-worst offense, the Phillies shouldn’t have any problems here.
CARDINALS -1.5, +125
As long as they’re not facing the Cubs, St. Louis tends not to play one-run ballgames. Given that the Twins have lost five straight after a win and don’t tend to do well against National League opposition, the Cardinals have a good shot to cover the runline here. Given that Adam Wainwright is pitching well and the Twins are in tatters, this has value.
DODGERS -2.5, +100
The last time Caleb Smith faced Los Angeles, he didn’t get to bat, and anytime the starting pitcher doesn’t get to bat in the National League, something has gone seriously wrong. In Smith’s case, it was that he gave up five runs in one inning to the Dodgers and gave up another four runs without an out in the second inning of a 22-1 loss. It’s probably not going to be that bad this time, but with Smith having given up five runs or more in three of his past five starts, it’s probably not going to be good. This number is staggering, but Los Angeles probably gets it done.
PHILADELPHIA UNION -1.5, +170
Not only has Philadelphia won four straight at Subaru Park, but it’s got the right opponent to put up a big number against. Chicago has left Soldier Field five times in 2021, lost all of them and only once kept the margin of defeat to a single goal. Considering Union has already put five goals past the Fire this season, they shouldn’t have any issue scoring here.
NIGERIA +11.5, -110
The Tigeresses are good enough to stick close with Japan and make the hosts work. All the Japanese need is a win to advance in second place from their group, so margin of victory means nothing to them as long as they win. Expect Nigeria to push Japan for 3 1/2 quarters before succumbing in a single-digit loss.
FRANCE +14.5, -140
For once, a team cares just as much about the spread as bettors do. Why? The Olympic qualifying format means the two best third-place teams reach the knockout stage, and with no ties in basketball, the tiebreaker is point differential. If France covers against the United States, it advances to the knockout stage. If it fails, Australia can knock the French out by beating Puerto Rico by at least 24, and considering Puerto Rico has lost its first two games by an average of 37.5, France wants no part of that possibility. Expect Les Bleus to go all out for the cover.
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