Houston Astros v Los Angeles Angels
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Once again, I am reminded it is legal for a baseball team to fire its manager during the season without being sentenced to life in prison. The latest manager to be shown the door: Toronto's Charlie Montoyo.

The Blue Jays announced Wednesday that Montoyo is out, and bench coach John Schneider will serve as the interim through the end of the season. The Blue Jays entered the 2022 season with high hopes, but they're not even a certainty to make the postseason at the moment. The Jays are 46-42 and sit in fourth place in the AL East, with the Baltimore Orioles just over their shoulder. Of course, it's not Charlie Montoyo's fault that the Yankees are on pace to win 113 games, but the Jays are clinging to the final Wild Card spot, a half-game ahead of Seattle.

Clearly, ownership feels the team needs a jolt. If only a specific team in Chicago had somebody in charge who felt the same way about their team.

Now let's win some money betting baseball games so I can use the winnings to buy the White Sox and fire Tony La Russa.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

The Hot Ticket

Astros at Angels, 9:38 p.m. | TV: MLB Network

Latest Odds: Houston Astros +100
  • Key Trend: The Astros have won 51 of their last 74 games against the Angels.
  • The Pick: Astros (+100)

It's once again time for The Tungsten Arm O'Doyle Principle. Tonight is just incredible timing for it. Not only is Shohei Ohtani starting for the Angels -- and the Angels are always overvalued when Ohtani pitches -- but he's pitching against a Houston team that has dominated the Angels in recent years, yet the Angels are favored.

The Angels (who are only 8-6 when Ohtani starts) have lost eight of 11 games to Houston this season (they're 1-1 in Ohtani starts) after going 6-13 against them last year, and they're favored to win the game. Meanwhile, Ohtani's career ERA of 4.75 against Houston is his highest against any team he's faced more than twice.

Oh, and the Angels, after going 10-18 in June to fall out of the AL West race, have started July 1-9. Three of those July losses came at the start of the month in Houston when the Astros swept the Angels and outscored them 21-4 over three games. Ohtani can only do so much. Plus, it's not like Houston starter Cristian Javier is a pushover. His strikeout rate of 34.1% is right behind Ohtani's 34.4%, but Javier is facing an Angels offense with the highest strikeout rate in MLB (26.3%). Ohtani will face a Houston offense with the third lowest rate (19.9%).

Take the Astros.

Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Projection Model is leaning Houston's direction too, but SportsLine senior analyst Larry Hartstein thinks the better bet is on the total.

The Picks



Phillies at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Under 8 (-115) -- 
We've all heard of the New Manager Bounce when a team begins playing better after its coach is fired, but how does it affect betting totals? I have no idea, nor do I think Charlie Montoyo cares, so I'm not letting it impact this bet. Simply put, this total seems a bit too high to me. 

Philly's Zack Wheeler allows hard contact at a level 16% below league average, and his HR/9 is 57% better than average. Toronto's Ross Stripling allows a lot of hard contact, but nearly all of it is the groundball variety. If I have a concern, it's the bullpen, particularly Philadelphia's. The Phillies pen has pitched well lately but had to cover a lot of innings last night. The good news is Wheeler can usually be counted on to work deep into games. Eleven of his last 13 starts have gone at least six innings, with seven going even longer.

Key Trend: The under is 6-0 in Philadelphia's last six and 4-0 in its last four road games.

Athletics at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Athletics (+158) -- 
I love taking advantage of blind spots in the betting market, and we've got one here. The Athletics have the worst record in baseball at 30-59, so of course they're underdogs, but they shouldn't be this large of a dog against the Rangers. Texas is a 40-45, including a mark of 20-22 at home.

Furthermore, Oakland has the advantage on the mound. Paul Blackburn doesn't get a lot of strikeouts (19.4%), but he limits walks and gets plenty of groundball contact while avoiding the fat part of the bat. That's how he's been able to post an ERA of 3.36 over 91 innings. Texas' Jon Gray has an ERA of 4.03, but while he strikes out more hitters (26.5%), he walks a lot more (7.8%) and allows more hard contact. I'd feel good about taking the Athletics anywhere down to +145.

Key Trend: The Rangers are 15-16 as favorites this year.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine's Mike McClure has revealed all his best bets for this weekend's Open Championship at St. Andrews.

The British Open Top 10s

I hope you're ready to wake up early, because we're betting on each of the following golfers to finish in the top 10 this weekend at St. Andrews.

  • Justin Thomas (+220)
  • Patrick Cantlay (+275)
  • Sungjae Im (+550)
  • Corey Conners (+700)
  • Chris Kirk (+1600)