Happy Halloween! It's my first Halloween in my new home, and I don't know what to expect. At my old house there was a steady stream of trick-or-treaters throughout the evening, but I've no clue how many kids I can expect to show up and ring the doorbell tonight.
As a result, we overloaded on candy to give away because we don't want to run out, but as the person put on door duty tonight, I realized I don't have a costume. Instead of running to the store to find one, I came up with a better idea. I'm going to put on a suit and tell kids that I'm dressed as The Taxman. When they come to the door, instead of giving them candy, I will take candy from them as part of the candy tax. All of which will ensure that, no matter what happens, we will have candy leftover at the end of the night.
Because while I told the wife that we should overbuy to make sure we don't run out, the truth is I wanted to make sure there was some left for me. I'm a genius.
Now let's hope there are more treats than tricks in tonight's picks.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
- Key Trend: Noah Syndergaard's strikeout rate of 16.8% is well below average
- The Pick: Astros Over 4.5 Runs (+110)
I don't know why they've got the games starting at 8:03 instead of 8:05 or even 8:00, but I know that's when I will stop answering the door for trick-or-treaters. I'm sorry, kids, but it's the World Series, so I'm going to leave the bowl of candy out front and trust you'll behave. I like the full game over at 8, but not as much as I like the over 4 in the first five innings. However, what I like more than anything is the idea that the Houston offense is in line to have a big night, so my favorite play is the over on their team total.
Noah Syndergaard starts for Philadelphia tonight, and he does not have the most appealing matchup against this Astros lineup. Syndergaard is no longer the fireballer he was with the Mets. A fastball that once resided in the upper 90s now sits at 94, and Syndergaard's strikeout rate has dropped to a career-low 16.8%. His previous low was 24.1%. He's now a pitcher who relies on location, guts and guile.
Well, I'm not trying to locate against Houston. Especially now that Jose Altuve seems to have shaken out of his slump. Syndergaard is a pitcher who pitches to contact against a Houston offense with the second-highest contact rate in baseball this season, the fourth-highest HR rate and the fourth-highest ISO. Oh, and Syndergaard is backed by a defense that's improved but still isn't very good. The Astros could fall victim to a terrific night from the Phillies' pen, but they could also plate five runs before they see the pen.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: Looking for a more traditional play? Check out how the Projection Model breaks tonight's matchup down.
💰 The Picks
🏈 Monday Night Football
Bengals at Browns, 8:15 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Tee Higgins Over 75.5 Receiving Yards (-130) -- With Ja'Marr Chase out, that leaves roughly 10.5 targets and 86 additional yards out there for other Bengals receivers to split amongst themselves. There's a chance the rest of Cincinnati's weapons could suffer without Chase drawing so much of the defense's focus, but I think Tee Higgins stands to benefit the most.
The Browns are great at getting pressure on quarterbacks, but when they don't get home quickly, their secondary is burnt to a crisp. Tonight they face a Bengals offense that's been better than you realize. While Joe Burrow has been sacked 25 times, that's on him more than an offensive line that ranks sixth in the league in pressure rate allowed. Burrow waits for Ja'Marr Chase and his weapons get open deep, unafraid to take a hit. With Chase out, Higgins is the Bengals receiver who has seen the most targets of 10 air yards or more and will likely be used as the team's big play threat tonight.
Grizzlies at Jazz, 9 p.m. | TV: NBA League Pass
The Pick: Under 229.5 (-110) -- The Grizzlies are one of the most entertaining teams in the league because they have Ja Morant, and when you have Ja Morant, you score lots of points -- and allow a bunch, too. The Grizzlies have the third most efficient offense in the NBA and the 28th most efficient defense. Given the high-scoring nature of Grizzlies games, it might surprise you that they don't move at the quickest pace, as they rank 17th in the league in that department.
Tonight, Memphis is on the road against a Jazz team that is no longer the best defense in the league without Rudy Gobert but still ranks in the top 10 in defensive efficiency. And while it's a small sample size, the Grizzlies' offensive efficiency drops from 121.5 at home to 116.2 on the road. That slight difference could prove the difference in this game staying under the total.