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All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
- Key Trend: Smart has gone over this total in 10 of 14 playoff games.
- The Pick: Marcus Smart Over 16.5 Points & Rebounds (-117)
The Celtics are in a familiar position. They lost the first game of their previous series against Philadelphia. While a loss tonight wouldn't eliminate them, going to Miami down 0-2 would be a deep hole to climb out of. So, I declare this a must-win for the Celtics, meaning it's their third must-win in their last four games.
And while he's not the biggest name on the roster, few Celtics have been more reliable in big situations than Marcus Smart. In 13 games during the playoffs, Smart's averaging 19.5 points and rebounds. He's exceeded the 16.5 mark set for tonight's game in 10 of Boston's 14 playoff games (he also does plenty of important things on the court that aren't recorded in the box score).
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Now, he hasn't gone over it in either of the last two, but that's somewhat misleading. The Celtics blew the 76ers out in Game 7 of the last round, and Smart played a secondary role as the world stood and watched Jayson Tatum go supernova. In Game 1 of this series, he only had one rebound, but based on what I can tell, it was a random outlier more than any specific matchup problem. I mean, Smart averaged 4.3 rebounds per game against Miami in three regular season games.
Smart's performance in games after a Celtics loss adds another layer of fun to this, though. In short, he steps up. While he's averaging 19.5 points and rebounds overall, in five games after Boston lost this postseason that number has jumped to 23.8. With the Celtics needing a win tonight, expect another big performance from Smart.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: Not only have our SportsLine experts shared a bunch of different player props for tonight, but the Projection Model's leaning toward one side of the total too.
💰 The Picks
Cubs at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Seiya Suzuki Over 0.5 Hits (-218) -- This is heavily juiced, and I don't normally include plays like this in the newsletter, but I've made the executive decision to do so tonight. You see, over the last few weeks I've been tinkering with a formula trying to find an edge on MLB hit props. Long story short, it's working. As in it's cashed over 90% of the time.
Now, when you're paying heavy juice like this, every loss hurts, and you're not going to make a bunch of money doing so, but you'll make some. Also, now that I'm sharing the picks publicly, I'm sure it'll go into a rut, but I'm willing to take the chance. Seiya Suzuki is swinging the bat well right now, and tonight he's facing a lefty in Phillies starter Ranger Suarez. That helps our case further, because in his short MLB career, Suzuki has hit .299 against lefties compared to .255 against righties.
Bayern Munich vs. RB Leipzig, Saturday, 12:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN+
The Pick: Over 3.5 (-110) -- I was wrong. Earlier this season, I wrote how I didn't believe the Bundesliga would have a title race. At the time, Union Berlin was in first, but I didn't think it was possible it would hang on. In that aspect, I was right. I was wrong in believing Bayern Munich was good enough to pull away from everybody. It's not, and that, combined with Borussia Dortmund only losing one of its last 17 matches, means we enter the final two weeks with Bayern holding a one-point lead in the standings.
Leipzig is in third, and while it has no shot of winning the league, it hasn't clinched a Champions League place yet. So it has no reason to relax this weekend, and this should lead to a high-scoring affair. While Leipzig's defending has been just as good on the road as at home, Bayern's attack is devastating at home. Bayern has scored 3.25 goals on 2.69 expected goals (xG) per home match compared to 2.31 goals on 1.81 xG per match on the road. With everything to play for and this being Bayern's final home match of the season, it will go all out and could get four on its own. However, we will rely on a Bayern defense that's been leaky all year (the reason this race is so close) to give Leipzig opportunities as well.
Napoli vs. Inter Milan, Sunday, 12 p.m. | TV: CBS Sports Network
The Pick: Inter Milan (+150) -- As a Napoli fan, I'm thankful the season is ending now rather than starting because if you were to restart the season with teams in their current condition, I'd pick Inter to win Serie A and be concerned about Napoli even finishing top-four. While Napoli has already won the scudetto, the truth is this team had the life ripped out of it when it lost to AC Milan in the Champions League. It's been playing at half-speed since. While it managed 1-0 wins over Juventus and Fiorentina, it's also dropped points to Salernitana, Udinese and Monza. It's also allowed opponents far more chances in recent weeks than it had been all season.
Then there's Inter, which is absolutely flying right now. It just knocked AC Milan out of the Champions League, winning its semifinal by an aggregate score of 3-0. It's on to the Champions League final against Manchester City, and it has won eight straight by a combined score of 22-3. Two of the three goals it allowed came in the 4-2 win over Sassuolo played between the Champions League legs against Milan, so it could've been a bit distracted. I have some concern about the Coppa Italia final that looms, but Inter hasn't clinched a top-four spot yet, so it needs a result here. It will get it.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: The Projection Model has an A-graded play on tonight's baseball game between the Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees.