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All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

Cubs at Padres, 9:10 p.m. | TV: ESPN+

  • Key Trend: The Padres have the eighth-highest strikeout rate in baseball.
  • The Pick: Kyle Hendricks Over 3.5 Strikeouts (-141)

Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks has never been a strikeout pitcher. His career strikeout rate sits at only 20.1%, and he hasn't cracked 20% in a season since 2020. Last year, before he got hurt in June, Hendricks was striking out 18.5% of the hitters he faced.

However, there's a difference between not being a strikeout pitcher and not getting strikeouts. In his 16 starts last season, Hendricks finished with at least four strikeouts in nine of them. There was a stretch during the middle of the season where he managed to do so in only one of eight starts, but in his final five starts before being shut down with a shoulder injury, Hendricks struck out 29 hitters. That includes at least four in all five starts.

In his first start back against the Mets, he struck out five. He struck out three in his last start against a Rays team that rarely strikes out. The Padres are not the Rays. San Diego's strikeout rate of 24% is the eighth-highest in the league, and they've been a bit more swing-happy lately, striking out 26% of the time in the last week.

A pitcher like Hendricks, who doesn't overwhelm hitters, but instead relies on command to nibble around the edges of the zone, could have success against the Padres. San Diego rates well overall when it comes to not swinging at pitches outside the zone, but Juan Soto and his preternatural understanding of the strike zone skews those numbers. Guys like Xander Bogaerts, Fernando Tatis and Manny Machado are much more willing to bite at the apple.

Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Projection Model isn't high on anything here, but SportsLine expert Micah Roberts has a money line play.

💰 The Picks

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Tigers at Phillies, 6:40 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Nick Castellanos Over 1.5 Total Bases (-121) -- 
There's a drive into deep left field by Castellanos, or at least, we're hoping for one tonight. Castellanos has always crushed lefties, and tonight he and the Phillies will see one in Tigers starter Joey Wentz.

Wentz has been abysmal for the Tigers this season. His 11 starts with the Motor City Kitties have resulted in an ERA of 7.28 over 47 innings. Batters have a hard-hit rate against him of 45%, which is how they've posted an OPS of .882 against him. Righties have been even more ruthless, as they have an OPS of .937.

So we have a guy who has crushed lefties his entire career in Castellanos, going against a guy who righties have destroyed. It seems like a solid bet based on that, but when you add that Castellanos is on a bit of a heater at the moment (he's 11/17 with 2 dingers over the last four games), the proposition becomes even more attractive.

🏒 Stanley Cup Final

Panthers at Golden Knights, 8 p.m. | TV: TNT
The Pick: Goal In First 10 Minutes (-175) -- 
Yes, I'm doing it. I'm including a hockey bet tonight, even though it's well-documented I know nothing about betting hockey. My record in NHL picks in this newsletter is 0-for-every single damned one. But it's going to be different this time!

Before Game 1, I asked Twitter to give me a bet for the game because I wanted to have some action. That's when ESPN's Stanford Steve told me to take a goal being scored in the first 10 minutes. When Stanford Steve is telling you to make a bet, make it. I did. It won. Then I dug in further because I wanted to know why Steve was adamant about it, and here's what I learned:

There has been a goal scored in the first 10 minutes of 15 of Las Vegas' 18 playoff games this year. It's happened in 12 of Florida's 17. Combined, it's 26/34. That's 76.5% of the time. Of course, now that I'm including it here, it's bound to lose... unless it doesn't!

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Jody Demling has nailed the Belmont winner four of the last five years and just revealed his Belmont Stakes 2023 picks.