Thursday’s sports docket brings another full four-game MLB postseason schedule. We also have a Thursday Night Football contest between the Bucs and the Bears, as well as a college football showdown between Houston and Tulane.
BetOnline is offering five odds boosters ahead of Thursday’s action, so get your bets in while there’s still time. Let’s try to figure out which option is the most worthy of your wager.
MLB: Braves and Yankees BOTH To Win (+230)
We had the same combination available yesterday, but the Yankees failed to hold up their end of the bargain. Today, the Rays will deploy a bullpen game, while the Yankees will counter with lefty starter Jordan Montgomery.
Montgomery posted solid numbers during the regular season, with a strikeout rate over 24 percent alongside a very low walk rate. Tampa Bay is a solid offense, but they don’t profile quite as well against lefties. Montgomery starting means the likes of Austin Meadows, Brandon Lowe, and Ji-Man Choi, three of the Rays’ most potent power hitters, won’t have the platoon advantage.
Montgomery will still have to navigate a couple of power-hitting righties in Randy Arozarena and Hunter Renfroe, but it’s still not an ideal matchup for Tampa Bay. The Yanks are sizable -133 moneyline favorites to even up the series at two games apiece.
The Braves will look to close out the Marlins after taking a 2-0 series lead with yesterday’s win. Atlanta will put Kyle Wright on the mound in Game 3, while the Fish will have rookie phenom Sixto Sanchez on the bump.
Wright was one of the worst regular starters in baseball all season long, so it’s interesting to see the Braves listed as -127 favorites here. Atlanta’s lineup is potent, and I suppose oddsmakers are assuming that the bats will carry the Braves to victory in this one. It won’t be an easy task against Sanchez, who dominated the Cubs in five shutout innings in the Wild Card round just last week.
NCAAF: Houston and Georgia Tech BOTH To Win (+310)
The Houston Cougars will be at home tonight against Tulane. The Coogs are currently favored by a touchdown, and they’re at -275 to win the game on the moneyline.
The Green Wave are off to a 2-1 start, but they haven’t faced the most daunting schedule thus far. Their lone loss came against a middling Navy team by three points at home, while their two wins have come on the road against Southern Miss and South Alabama. Tulane dominated on the ground against South Alabama, rushing for an incredible 427 yards with six rushing scores on their way to 66 points.
Houston will be playing for the first time this season after each of their first three games were postponed due to health concerns.
The Cougars have an experienced offense featuring returning starters at quarterback (Clayton Tune), running back (Kyle Porter), and wide receiver (Marquez Stevenson). Dana Holgorson wants to run a high-octane offense, and he has the horses to do just that.
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets will be at home against Louisville on Friday night. The Jackets are just 1-2 on the year after back-to-back losses to UCF and Syracuse following their narrow win over Florida State in Week 1. Louisville is also 1-2 after having lost to ranked foes in Miami and Pitt in each of their last two outings. The Cardinals are -200 favorites on the moneyline and five-point favorites on the road.
NFL: Green Bay Packers To Win NFC (+475)
We’ve got a futures bet popping up on the odds boosters today. The Green Bay Packers have been arguably the most impressive team in the NFL through four games. The Pack are a perfect 4-0 with a point differential of plus-51, which is the best mark in the league.
While the defense has been sturdy, the offense has been the story. Despite injuries to the likes of Davante Adams and Allen Lazard, Green Bay has scored at least 30 points in every game, and they have yet to turn the ball over. Aaron Rodgers is making a strong case to win MVP, with over 1,200 yards passing and 13 touchdowns already this season.
While the AFC has some pretty clear-cut contenders in Kansas City and Baltimore, the picture in the NFC is murkier. Green Bay made it all the way to the NFC Championship Game last season, where they were beaten by the 49ers. San Francisco is banged up early this season, so the preseason conference frontrunners are frontrunners no more.
The Packers are now listed just behind the unbeaten Seahawks as odds-on favorites to win the NFC this season. The Saints and Bucs aren’t too far behind, while the Rams have made some headway amid a 3-1 start of their own.
NFL: Bucs (-3.5) to Cover AND Over 44.5 Points (+330)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have won three straight following their loss in New Orleans in Week 1. They’ll head north to take on another 3-1 foe tonight in Chicago. The Bears may have an impressive record, but that’s a team many have pegged for regression. Mitch Trubisky was benched for Nick Foles in Week 3, but Foles was hardly impressive in last week’s discouraging 19-11 loss to the Colts.
Foles will remain the starter for tonight’s game, but if he struggles it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Trubisky again at some point.
The Bears’ defense has been carrying the freight thus far, as they have still yet to allow 30 points in a game so far in 2020.
Tom Brady threw five touchdown passes in last week’s come-from-behind win over the Chargers. Tampa Bay has injury issues, though. Chris Godwin, Leonard Fournette, LeSean McCoy, and OJ Howard will be sidelined for tonight’s game, while Mike Evans’ status is also in question. Scotty Miller is expected to play, but he’s not at full strength, either.
Tampa Bay and Chicago are both 2-2-0 against the spread so far this season. The Bucs’ games have hit the over in three of four weeks, while Bears games have split the over/under thus far.
NFL: Allen Robinson to Score 2 Or More Touchdowns (+750)
One of the few bright spots for the Bears’ mess of an offense is wideout Allen Robinson. Robinson’s relationship with the team may be frayed at this point, but he is still producing at a high level. Through four games, Robinson has 25 catches (41 targets) for 331 yards with a pair of touchdowns. He has topped 100 yards with touchdowns in back-to-back games coming into tonight, as well.
Robinson should be the most heavily-targeted option in the Chicago Bears offense, but the Buccaneers have been stingy against the pass. Tampa Bay currently ranks fourth in the league in DVOA vs. pass plays, behind only the Chiefs, Colts, and Washington. They did allow quite a few big plays against Justin Herbert and the Chargers last week, however.
Robinson scored a career-high 14 touchdowns in his second NFL season with the Jaguars in 2015, but he hasn’t topped seven scores in any of his other six NFL campaigns.
What’s The Best Bet?
We can go ahead and scratch the college football wager off the list. Houston should be able to get the job done at home against Tulane, but Georgia Tech looks to be in a dicey spot against Louisville. The Cardinals are sizable favorites here, so I’ll pass on this one at +310.
Robinson to score a pair of touchdowns is the kind of long-shot flier you can take with a low-dollar wager, but it’s definitely not something we can bet on with much confidence.
The Packers look like a legitimate Super Bowl threat this season, so I’d have a whole lot more confidence betting on them to win the conference than I did last year. Rodgers’ health, as always, will be the key. The team has shown that it can weather injuries at other positions, but if Rodgers can stay upright, Green Bay will make a run. You’ll have to wait several months, but I think Green Bay to win the NFC at +475 is a solid option.
The Braves are favored today, but I’m not sure they should be. Sanchez has the look of a future ace, while Wright still hasn’t figured it out at this level. Miami taking Game 3 wouldn’t be at all surprising, so Braves/Yankees BOTH to win at +230 looks like a pass.
The best option here is the Bucs to cover with the over on 44.5 points. Tampa Bay’s offense may be shorthanded, but they still put 38 points on the board last week without Godwin and Fournette, If Evans is in the lineup, Tampa shouldn’t have many issues offensively. I’m not as convinced that the Bears can keep this game competitive with their anemic offense, but 44.5 isn’t a particularly high total, especially given the high-scoring nature of this season thus far.
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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