There wasn’t much worth playing on Thursday, but we’re back to it today after a fairly successful Wild Card Wednesday that saw the picks go 3-1 with a plus-money cash on New England. With a good mix of soccer, baseball and preseason football available to us today, we should be able to find a few good opportunities on this Friday. Here are my best bets for August 20.
RB LEIPZIG TO NIL, +150
Backing Leipzig burned me in the Bundesliga’s opening week as they got beat by Mainz, but I’m willing to give Die Roten Bullen another chance here against Stuttgart. I’m not yet sure if Stuttgart are a genuine contender or if newly-promoted Greuter Furth are just that bad, but I do know that the Reds struggled big time against the Red Bulls last year, losing 1-0 at home and 2-0 away. Stuttgart have never beaten Leipzig (0-5-1), and I’ll back the Red Bulls to keep it rolling with a shutout.
CHIEFS-CARDINALS UNDER 41.5, -125
Arizona knows what it’s doing as far as its passing attack is concerned; it’s the running game that the Cardinals want to get sorted out. Kansas City wants to get the timing down between Patrick Mahomes and his new targets, which could be trouble for this number, but the Chiefs are likely to do that via shorter completions rather than home-run plays. Look for the Chiefs to nickel-and-dime the Cardinals down the field while Arizona attempts to chew up clock on the ground, which should keep this under the number.
GALAXY-EARTHQUAKES UNDER 2.5, +120
San Jose has an incredible seven draws in its past nine matches, and six of those featured two goals or less, with a seventh match also going under in a 1-0 win over Seattle. With the Galaxy attack also having problems (Los Angeles has one goal exactly in four consecutive matches), I’m not expecting a repeat of the fireworks that happened earlier this year when L.A. beat San Jose 3-1 in northern California. If you want to get risky, the draw is awfully tempting at +275, and the 1-1 scoreline at +675 is even more so.
PHILLIES ML, +190
This one’s a big risk, but it could become a solid payout because Matt Moore has actually been pitching pretty well away from home. The Phillies have won four straight road games with him on the slab, and the Padres seem to have a bit of a deer-in-headlights look to them as far as the playoff chase goes. San Diego is not meeting the moment, and the conditions are right to take a shot with the Phillies.
DODGERS -1.5 F5, -110
Just because something seems obvious doesn’t mean it’s not the right play. Walker Buehler has been money whenever he takes the mound, and Carlos Carrasco is still trying to find himself at the moment. The Dodgers shouldn’t have too many problems getting the early lead, as I doubt the Mets can put more than a run past Buehler, if that.