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January 30, 2023

I’ve made no secret of my feelings for White Sox manager Tony La Russa, but I’m also sane enough to know that when a team isn’t playing well, it’s more about the players than any coach or manager. .

But Thursday has arrived. It was then that La Russa decided to intentionally walk Trea Turner to a 1-2 count. The count was 0-2 when Freddie Freeman stole second to open the first, and La Russa thought he would rather his left-handed reliever Bennett Sousa face struggling southpaw Max Muncy than Turner, on whom Sousa had already succeeded two strikes.

It was a decision that had no logical or statistical basis. Even the idea of 鈥嬧媑oing southpaw on southpaw makes no sense when you consider that Muncy hits southpaws better than Trea Turner hits anyone with two strikes, and, oh yeah, southpaws held up better against Bennett Sousa than the right-handers. As you’ve no doubt heard, Muncy hit a three-run homer, the White Sox lost by two runs (those three runs were significant!), and La Russa defended her decision afterwards and had the nerve to act like you were the idiot not to understand her.

Now I’m done. It’s one thing to see a team underperform; it’s quite another to watch it underperform when you don’t have any faith in the person who’s supposed to be steering the ship. Every day the White Sox don’t see Tony La Russa is an insult to the team’s fans and a message from ownership that they don’t matter.

You matter to me though, so I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t rub salt in the wound and read those stories.

Now let’s find things to bet on to distract me from a baseball team that makes me unhappy.

All Eastern times and odds via Caesars Sportsbook

The hot ticket

Warriors at the Celtics, 9 p.m. | Television: ABC

Latest odds:

Boston Celtics -170

  • Key trend: Boston has covered the last four meetings in Boston.
  • The pick: Celtics (-170)

If you were hoping for something different here today. The only thing that has changed is that we should be more confident in the Celtics than we already are. None of this is to say that tonight’s outcome is set in stone. The Warriors, fading star that they are, still have Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. If these two decide to have One Of These Nights, there’s nothing an NBA team can do, even one with a defense as strong as Boston’s.

Plus, there’s a disturbing trend with this Boston team in the playoffs. The Celtics have won 14 playoff games, but since sweeping the Nets in the first round, they’ve gone 3-6 on wins.

Still, Boston is the better team, especially at home. Golden State was just 25-24 on the road in the regular season, and it’s just 3-5 on the road in the playoffs. The Warriors aren’t the same team outside of The Bay as they are inside. Tonight, the Celtics are pushing them to the brink.

Here’s what SportsLine has to say about the game: If you’re looking for more in this game, SportsLine’s Ameer Tyree also posted his favorite picks for spread, total, and a player prop.




Brewers at the Nationals, 7:05 p.m. | Television: MLB.TV

The pick: Nationals (+160) — I would like to share an excerpt from an email I received from a reader named Justin. Don’t worry, Justin allowed me to share it here. I tweaked it a bit, as some of the language used was not intended for a family newsletter like this.

“You’ve recommended betting on the Nationals a few times this season and as a Nationals fan, I’m here to tell you that you need to quit. They’re terrible. They can’t hit, they can’t throw, and they can’t catch. In the rare case that they manage to do one of those three things, they get worse with the other two. I can barely bear to watch them, let alone bet them, so please stop telling me.

Sorry, Justine! The fact that they are so bad is what makes them a good value because no one thinks they are capable of winning any game, yet at the end of the season they will win around 40% ! Maybe one of those wins will be tonight!

Key trend: The Brewers have lost seven straight as favorites.

Dodgers at Giants, 10:15 p.m. | Television: ESPN+

Latest odds:

Under 9 years old

The choice: Under 9 (-120) — I love late nights watching the Dodgers and Giants. It’s a great rivalry that often leads to entertaining games. Tonight should be no different, but I don’t expect too many points to be scored. First off, Tony La Russa isn’t there to intentionally step on Dodgers hitters when they’re about to hit. Second, it’s a great pitching match.

Most people know Walker Buehler, but San Francisco’s Jake Junis isn’t a household name. Junis had been with the Royals for a while and showed flashes, but was inconsistent. He is now San Francisco’s latest recovery draft, as he posted a 2.51 ERA over 43 innings this year. While his takedown rate is average, he doesn’t step on anyone and induces ground balls. He’s pitched a lot like Buehler this year, and when you combine their profiles with Oracle Park at night, we should see a low-scoring affair.

Key trend: The under is 5-2 in the last seven meetings in San Francisco.

馃敀 SportsLine Pick of the Day: The projection model has A-rated play on the silver line in tonight’s game between the Phillies and Diamondbacks, and as if that weren’t enough, SportsLine pundits Matt Severance and John Bollman agree.

WNBA Underdog Parlay

Like my NHL bets, my WNBA bets are nothing more than numbers games, and it’s hard to find better money line values 鈥嬧媔n sports betting than you get on underdogs from the WNBA. Let’s try to cash in with two tonight in a bet that pays +530.

  • Indiana Fever (+110)
  • Dallas Wings (+200)

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