We had a little Friday news dump this afternoon. When the offseason began, it was no secret that the Arizona Cardinals were buying DeAndre Hopkins and were hoping to trade him. As the offseason wore on, the deal became expected and many rumors circulated about the draft that it could be imminent.
But then came the news that the Cardinals weren’t going to trade him during the draft, so the draft came and went, and Nuk was still with the Cardinals. A month has passed and Hopkins is no longer a cardinal, he just hasn’t been traded. He was released.
While all teams in the league are free to sign Hopkins, taking him down ain’t free for the Cardinals.
Hopkins is capped at $29,988,890 in 2023 and $25,453,886 in 2024, the final two years of an extension he signed when he was traded to the Cardinals in 2020. space.
I don’t think anyone else wanted to pay him that money either.
OK, let’s make some money.
All Eastern times and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Rangers in Orioles, 7:05 pm | TV: MLB.TV
- key trend: Jon Gray has struck out 19 batters in his last three games.
- The Pick: Gray 4.5+ eliminations (-111)
In his first start of the season, Texas’ Jon Gray lasted more than six innings against the Baltimore Orioles, striking out seven batters. Unfortunately, he also allowed two solo shots, and those were the only runs the Orioles needed as they won the game 2-0. Then things got a little messy for Gray.
Over the next five starts, he pitched just 24 1/3 innings and had a 4.81 ERA. He also struck out just 12 batters in that span, which looks even worse when you find out he walked the same number. Anytime you’re hanging out with as many guys as you’re taking out, something isn’t working and you need to adjust.
After throwing his fastball about 50% of the time in his first six games, Gray has not bowled it more than 40% of the time in his last three games. He intensified the use of the slider while mixing in some more curves and changes. The results have been promising.
Jonathan Coachman joins Mike McClure, Chip Patterson and Matt Snyder to make Friday’s best bets!
After striking out just 14.5% of the batters he faced in his first six games, he has struck out 25.3% of the batters since then. He struck out eight in seven innings against Seattle, five in eight innings against Oakland, and six in five innings in his last outing against Colorado.
Simply put, he’s losing more bats now than he did at the start of the season, and his support hasn’t realized it yet. Also, you know, he he did eliminated seven Orioles when he saw them earlier this season. All of this makes a total of 4.5 seem a bit low, doesn’t it?
Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: While there is no A-rated play in this game, the SportsLine Projection Model has B grades in total, moneyline, and spread.
Celtics on Heat, Saturday, 8:30 pm | Television: TNT
The Pick: Al Horford Over 9.5 points and assists (-120) — We don’t have the NBA or NHL playoffs tonight, which is a terrible way to spend a Friday, but I can’t send you out all weekend without playing. I have no idea how this series will end. Before Game 5, I had a strong feeling that Boston would win, but even so, I didn’t think it would affect the final result. But watching the Celtics dominate from start to finish makes me wonder if Miami will finish the job.
Part of the reason the Celtics dominated is that they look like the Celtics all over again. The team that played the first three games was unrecognizable, and one of the players who found their form again is Al Horford. Horford averaged 12.8 points and assists in the regular season and averaged 11.1 in the first 10 playoff games. Then his shot disappeared. From Game 5 of the Philly series to Game 3 against Miami, Horford shot 27% and averaged just 4.2 points per game. He’s bounced back in the last two games, and I predict we’ll see that continue into Saturday. He was never as bad a shot as he was on that stretch. Additionally, he finished with at least 10 points and assists in 24 of 36 road games this year, including five of eight this postseason.
Borussia Dortmund v Mainz, Saturday, 9:30 am | TV: ESPN+
The Pick: Borussia Dortmund 1st half (-240) — It’s all so simple for Borussia Dortmund. Beat Mainz on Saturday and you’re Bundesliga champions, ending Bayern Munich’s 10-year run. A draw probably won’t do it because it’s hard to imagine Bayern losing to Cologne knowing they have to win. But can Dortmund do it? You would think so, but Dortmund have been one of the hardest teams in the world to figure out this year. Fortunately, they come into this match playing well in the last month. Dortmund lost to Bayern 4-2 in early April and followed that up with a 2-0 loss to Leipzig in the DFB Pokal. That’s when I assumed I was ready for the year.
Haven’t lost since. That’s five wins and two draws, outscoring opponents 24-7 during that period. Although this run of games was not against great teams, Mainz is not a great team at the moment! Mainz defeated Bayern Munich 3-1 last month and had a chance to clinch one of Germany’s European berths. Instead, they decided to lose the next four matches and allowed at least three goals in each one, going down 13-3. To make matters worse for Mainz, it’s been a lot worse away from home all year, and Dortmund have been much better at home. I think this one ended quickly, but I also fear that Dortmund will close it down once they take control, so I’m doing something I’ve never done in this column. I bet on Dortmund in the first half, as it has more value there than in the full game.
Aston Villa x Brighton, Sunday, 11:30 am | TV: Peacock
The Pick: Aston Villa (+102) — Although Manchester City won the Premier League again, there was more parity in the league than usual. Newcastle United finished in the top four and Brighton – the small club from a resort town on England’s south coast – clinched a Europa League place earlier this week. And it is from this achievement that we are taking advantage here. Brighton manager Roberto De Zerbi admitted there would be a bit of celebration rather than practice after Wednesday’s match, which makes you wonder how seriously Brighton will take the season finale against Aston Villa.
Meanwhile, Villa has plenty of motivation. A win here guarantees a place in the Europa Conference League, and playing in Europe would be a big deal for a club that has struggled to establish itself in the league since returning from relegation. Furthermore, although they haven’t received much attention since the calendar shifted to 2023, Manchester City are the only Premier League team to average more points per game than Aston Villa’s 1.85.
🔒 SportsLine pick of the day: The only A on the board tonight is a moneyline play between the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies.