Which fan base will Kyrie Irving be frustrating next season? It's looking more and more likely it won't be Brooklyn Nets fans. Following recent speculation that Irving and the Nets weren't excited about linking up long-term, a report surfaced today that Irving has asked for and received permission to explore sign-and-trade deals with other teams.
As our Jasmyn Wimbish goes over, there are six preferred destinations, including the Lakers, Knicks and even the 76ers. Still, while Irving might have some new homes in mind, why would a team want Kyrie Irving? I understand he's a talented player, and there aren't many players in the NBA capable of doing the things Kyrie can do on a basketball court. But he's so infrequently on the court.
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While his vaccination status kept him out of games last year, Kyrie has a long history of missing time during his career, and he's consistently been a distraction to his team off the court nearly everywhere he's gone. Is he truly worth it? I believe the Nets will get the worst end of the situation no matter what happens, but it's hard to blame Brooklyn for not wanting to make a long-term investment in Irving.
- Warren Sapp says Colin Kaepernick's workout with the Raiders was a "disaster."
- The Houston Texans have been named as defendants in a lawsuit for "enabling" Deshaun Watson's behavior.
I hope you like betting on baseball, because we'll be doing a lot of it over the next couple of months. Starting now.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
The Hot Ticket
Athletics at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
- Key Trend: The Yankees average 5.03 runs per game
- The Pick: Yankees Over 4.5 Runs (-150)
The Yankees were nearly no-hit in consecutive games this past weekend, yet still managed to split a four-game series with the Houston Astros. That happens when you have the most potent lineup in the game.
Tonight the Yankees face a much worse team than Houston, and after being held in check for most of their four games against Houston, I suspect Yankee bats will be making up for lost time. Paul Blackburn starts for Oakland and has been solid, posting an ERA of 2.97 even though his strikeout rate of 17.6% is 20% below league average. Instead, he relies on missing the fat part of the bat and inducing ground balls at a high rate.
The ground ball part might keep the Yankees from hitting a lot of homers tonight, but pitchers who don't miss bats don't fare well against this Yankees lineup. The team's groundball rate of 40.5% is the fifth-lowest mark in the league. They know how to elevate, and the ball goes a long way when they do. Even if Blackburn limits the damage, the Oakland bullpen has an ERA of 4.49 (25th in MLB) and a walk rate of 11.05% (27th). It's hard to believe Athletics pitching will hold the Yankees down long.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Projection Model's favorite play in this game is on the spread.
Twins at Guardians, 7:10 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Under 8 (-110) -- There isn't a good time to lose your pitching coach to a college program, but it's hard to imagine a worse time to do so than when you're in first place and about to start a series against the team two games behind you in the standings. That's where things stand for the Twins. But even without a pitching coach, tonight's matchup strikes me as one that won't see a lot of runs scored. Cleveland and Minnesota pitch well and play good defense, and tonight's pitching matchup of Sonny Gray against Triston McKenzie should see that continue.
Gray is having a fantastic season, getting plenty of strikeouts and groundballs while limiting walks. Triston McKenzie allows a lot more fly balls and home runs, but most are solo shots. McKenzie also has the better bullpen behind him, but it's not as if the Twins are bare in that department. All that, plus weather conditions that won't be overly friendly to the hitters, lead me to believe the winning team tonight won't need more than four runs.
Key Trend: The last four meetings in Cleveland have finished under the total.
White Sox at Angels, 9:38 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: White Sox (+120) -- It's a battle of disappointments! The Angels came into the season hoping to contend for a division title but are 35-40, 11.5 games out of first. The White Sox were expected to run away with their division but are 34-37 and in third-place, 5.5 games out of first.
All that being said, the White Sox are slightly undervalued tonight. Lucas Giolito has posted an ERA of 9.47 over his last five starts. But tonight's matchup is one he could take advantage of. Giolito gets in trouble when he walks opponents, but his strikeout rate of 27.2% is outstanding. The Angels' offense has the highest strikeout rate in baseball. Meanwhile, Los Angeles will start Noah Syndergaard, and his strikeout rate of 16.3% is well below league average. Chicago wins this matchup often enough to justify taking it at +120. I'd be cool with it anywhere down to +115.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: The Projection Model and two different SportsLine experts are on one side of the money line between the Cleveland Guardians and Minnesota Twins.
Home Run Props
It's not a large slate of MLB games, and there are no specific pitchers worth attacking, but there are a few matchups that tilt heavily toward a few lefties tonight. Let's take out some dinger props on the following hitters.
- Shohei Ohtani (+305)
- Freddie Freeman (+370)
- Anthony Rizzo (+410)