New-look Padres get first shot at Dodgers, plus best soccer bets for the weekend

    Last night did not go as planned. What I thought would happen was that I’d watch the first few minutes of the Hall of Fame Game, grow bored, and then find something else to watch. Instead, the weather delay changed everything. Rather than watch the beginning of the game, I watched the last 10 minutes of the fourth quarter.

    When I turned the game on, Las Vegas led 20-3, and it looked like our Under 30.5 play was safe. The Raiders then went on a quick touchdown drive to make it 27-3. Soon after, the Jaguars — who had done nothing on offense all night — drove 86 yards in nine plays to score a meaningless touchdown to kill the under.

    One NFL game down, and we’ve already got our first painful loss of the season. Oh well, better to get it out of the way early, right?

    NFL Betting

    OK, so the NFL returned last night and the Premier League returns this weekend. Along with a couple of MLB plays tonight, I’ve got soccer picks to share to get you through the entire weekend. Let’s hope we avoid more painful losses.

    All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

    ? The Hot Ticket

    Padres at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. | TV: MLB Network

    Latest Odds:

    Los Angeles Dodgers

    • Key Trend: The Dodgers have won 40 of the last 55 meetings at Dodger Stadium.
    • The Pick: Dodgers (-160)

    When the Padres traded for Juan Soto and everybody else at the deadline, they did so realizing they aren’t going to win the NL West this season. It’s not impossible, but with the Dodgers 12.5 games up they’d have to play like the worst team in baseball for it to happen. No, the Padres made the moves because they know that the route through the National League to the World Series will go through the Dodgers.

    Tonight we’ll get our first glimpse. While it’s hard to argue that adding a player like Soto (and the others San Diego picked up) doesn’t make the Padres a lot better than they were, I still think the Dodgers are the better team. Also, the moves has the Padres being overvalued on the market.

    Tony Gonsolin isn’t a household name, but he’s been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season. He has excellent control, misses bats and avoids hard contact. The Padres are sending Sean Manaea to the mound, and while he strikes more hitters out than Gonsolin, he also walks a lot more, misses fewer bats and is prone to giving up the longball. That’s not great news considering the Dodgers have a wRC+ of 117 against lefties (5th in MLB), a wOBA of .333 (5th) and a home run rate of 3.44% (5th).

    The Padres have improved a lot, but it’s not likely to matter much tonight.

    Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: It looks like I’m not the only one who believes you should be firing on the Dodgers tonight.

    ? The Picks


    ⚾ MLB

    Red Sox at Royals, 8:10 p.m. | TV: ESPN+

    Latest Odds:

    Over 9

    The Pick: Over 9 (-120) — Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium is one of many parks in baseball that play differently depending on the weather. Overall, it consistently proves one of the more difficult parks to homer in (only Comerica Park is more difficult). But that all changes during the summer when The City of Fountains starts baking in the sun.

    When KC heats up, the balls fly, and tonight’s forecast calls for temps in the 90s. That’s great news for us because the pitching matchup features two pitchers who don’t miss bats. Boston’s Josh Winckowski has an ERA of 5.00 in nine starts and a strikeout rate of 14.1%. Kansas City’s wily veteran Zack Greinke has a strikeout rate even lower at 13.4%. Balls will be put in play tonight, and when they are, they will travel long distances. Runners will round the bases. Runs will score. We will cash tickets.

    Key Trend: The over is 14-5-2 in the last 21 meetings at Kauffman Stadium.

    ⚽ Soccer

    Getty Images

    Bournemouth vs. Aston Villa, Saturday, 10 a.m. | TV: Peacock
    The Pick: Aston Villa (+104) — 
    Some sportsbooks offer odds on the first manager to be fired, and Bournemouth’s Scott Parker could be worth a wager. Parker helped get Bournemouth back to the Premier League after failing to keep Fulham up two seasons ago, but he’s not happy with how the summer has gone for the club as it prepares for the Premier League. In short, Parker doesn’t think Bournemouth has nearly the talent and depth it needs to survive a season in the league and keep its place. Typically, a manager saying “we’re not good enough” before the season starts doesn’t go well.

    Meanwhile, Aston Villa continued to fortify its squad over the summer, striking early to address a couple of serious needs in the midfield (Boubacar Kamara) and upgrade at center back (Diego Carlos). Phillipe Coutinho also returns after a semi-successful loan spell last year, and manager Steven Gerrard plans to challenge for a European spot this season. It’s probably too much to ask, but Villa did finish ninth in the league last year if you only look at the standings after Gerrard took over for Dean Smith in December. While Europe might be a pipe dream, three points against Bournemouth on the opening weekend isn’t.

    Newcastle United vs. Nottingham Forest, Saturday, 10 a.m. | TV: Peacock
    The Pick: Newcastle (-150) — 
    We’ve got a bit of a theme: betting on mid-tier clubs with bigger ambitions facing newly-promoted sides in the opening week. Newcastle has not had the summer it or its fans hoped for. All the new money from new owners didn’t immediately result in superstars flocking to northern England to join the Toon Army, but it’s a much-improved team from where it was a year ago, and it should get off to a nice start.

    Nottingham Forest is a club with plenty of history, but this will be its first Premier League match since 1999. Forest has spent a lot this summer trying to ensure they stay for a while, but for the most part, this is an entirely new team than the one that won promotion from the Championship. A few preseason friendlies aren’t likely enough for the team to gel, and I can see Forest getting off to a slow start. That includes a likely loss away to Newcastle to begin the new era.

    Manchester United vs. Brighton, Sunday, 9 a.m. | TV: Peacock
    The Pick: Brighton or Draw (+135) — 
    Why do I get the feeling we’ll be fading Manchester United a lot this season? As you’d expect from United, the offseason was a mess. While I like the hire of Erik Ten Hag, he has a lot of work to do to get United to where United thinks it should be, and it’ll take a lot more than one summer to get it done. Toss in all the off-field drama about Cristiano Ronaldo no longer wanting to be there (so much for that happy reunion), and there’s already a bunch of drama and turmoil surrounding the club.

    Then there’s Brighton. Reliable, tricky Brighton. The team without any superstars, but one led by a good coach in Graham Potter with a clear vision. The club gets far more out of its team than it should. Honestly, these teams are mirror images of one another. United is full of stars that let you down, and Brighton is comprised of a bunch of nobodies who continually surprise you. I’ll be more surprised if Brighton doesn’t get a result than if it does.

    ? SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine’s Andrew Gombas has shared his favorite bets for Saturday night’s UFC event in Las Vegas.

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