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All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
- Key Trend: The over is 19-8-1 in Atlanta's last 28 home games.
- The Pick: Over 8.5 (-105)
I haven't included baseball in the letter often this year, but those of you who have subscribed for a while know how much the weather can impact a game and how we've used that to our advantage. No game tonight could be more impacted by the weather conditions (note that I didn't say air quality conditions) than this one.
Truist Park is relatively neutral overall, but it's one of the more homer-friendly environments in the league. That is magnified in certain weather conditions, like, say, when temperatures are in the mid-80s and the wind is blowing directly out to centerfield at 10 mph. Those are the conditions for tonight's game, so anything hit into the air should get plenty of help from the conditions.
Sure, the pitching matchup of Justin Verlander and Spencer Strider isn't ideal when you want runs scored, but while both miss a lot of bats, the contact they allow matters. The majority of contact both allow is of the airborne variety, which will be to our advantage given everything else going on in the park tonight.
The fact that Strider can lose the strike zone from time to time and hand out free passes may benefit us as well. As will having two offenses who are no strangers to the longball, as Atlanta ranks second in the league in home run rate and the Mets are 11th.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Projection Model has a slight lean toward the over tonight, but nothing higher than a C-grade on any play in this game.
💰 The Picks
Astros at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. | TV: MLB Network
The Pick: Framber Valdez Over 5.5 Strikeouts (+108) -- Houston's Framber Valdez is averaging seven strikeouts per start and has finished with at least six in eight of his 12 starts. Yet the total for him tonight is only at 5.5. I'm guessing this is due to Valdez not having much success striking out Blue Jays in his career.
He's only made three starts against them and has 15 strikeouts. Current Toronto hitters have only struck out in 13.5% of their plate appearances against Valdez, which is well below his career strikeout rate of 23.4%. But Toronto hasn't seen Valdez this season, and Valdez has made some changes to his approach that are paying dividends.
Valdez has a strikeout rate of 26.9% this year, the highest of his career. A big reason he's seen a jump is the effectiveness of his cutter and how he's using it as a put-away pitch. While the sinker is still his primary option, it's more of a setup pitch or used to draw contact when needed. This change, combined with the fact Toronto hasn't seen him since May 2022, may lead to more strikeouts than expected. Especially when considering Valdez has finished with at least seven strikeouts in five of his last six starts.
🏒 Stanley Cup Final
Golden Knights at Panthers, 8 p.m. | TV: TNT
The Pick: Goal in 1st 10 Minutes (-190) -- That's right, we're betting the Stanley Cup Final again tonight because there is no hotter newsletter in the world when it comes to betting hockey. We cannot lose! We have won one straight NHL bets! We are now hockey sharps. Sharper than the blades the players wear. See? That's a reference to hockey equipment. We know our stuff!
As I explained Monday, Las Vegas had seen a goal scored in the first 10 minutes in 15 of their 18 playoff games. For Florida, it was 12 of 17. After it happened in Monday's game, we've seen goals scored in the first 10 minutes of 27 of the combined 35 playoff games between them. When something happens 77% of the time, we bet it every time unless the implied odds say it needs to happen more often. But -190 odds say it only needs to happen 65.5% of the time. Math! Hockey! We know everything here!