Mar 24, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Aaron Judge (99) flies out against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Dave Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
We’ve got an eight-game NBA slate tonight that has presented us with a pair of plays we like, along with another baseball future bet that offers tremendous value.
6:30 p.m. CT: NBA: Rockets at Knicks
The Pick: Over 229.5 (-115) at BetMGM
We’ve scored with Knicks overs on a couple of occasions of late, but those were numbers in the low to mid 220s. This total is approaching 230, which might cause some concern. Fear not. These recent vintage Knicks are not the hard-nosed defensive team that is challenged to score you typically think of when you think of Tom Thibadeau Knicks. Over its last 20 games, New York is ninth in points scored at 117.9 points per game and ranks third in offensive rating in that span. In turn, the Rockets are 24th in the NBA in their last 20 outing in points allowed at 119.8 ppg. They are an even worse 28th in defensive rating in this 20-game run. Throw in the tired legs of Houston on the second night of a back-to-back on the road in the fourth game of a five-game road swing, and this one has all the makings of a big offensive showing from a Knicks team looking to snap a three-game losing streak. In addition, while both of these teams play slower than the league average, they are far from the plodding-paced teams at the very bottom of the NBA in pace, so there should be enough possessions for both clubs to put up big scoring numbers. Look for New York to score north of 125 points in this one, quite possibly reaching 130, with Houston good for right around 110, allowing this one to slide over the total.
9 p.m. CT: NBA: Timberwolves at Kings
The Pick: Kings -4 (-110) at Caesars
As has been discussed many times previously in this column, betting NBA regular season games is often about spots, and that is the case here. The Timberwolves are in the second game of a three-game road swing and the second night of a back-to-back after last night’s win over the Warriors. The Kings, in turn, last played on Saturday at home in a winning effort versus the Jazz. Sacramento also looks poised to get De’Aaron Fox back in the lineup. Throw all these factors together, and this looks like a comfortable Kings victory making 4 a pretty comfortable number to cover.
Future’s Bet: Aaron Judge more home runs than Mike Trout for the 2023 season (-140) at DraftKings
Unless you believe Aaron Judge has a much higher risk of sustaining a season-altering injury in 2023 than Mike Trout, this number should be -200 or higher. It is no secret that Judge is coming off of an absurd MVP campaign that saw him hit 62 home runs while batting .311 and driving in 131. Trout hit home runs at an impressive rate himself last season, reaching 40 in just 119 games – but for his career, Trout’s 40 homers per 162 games played pales in comparison to Judge’s 49. If all else is equal, it is well established that while Mike Trout is considered the better overall player, Aaron Judge is the better-power hitter. While injury risk presents a possible liability for either player, Judge has been able to stay on the field more consistently than Trout of late, too. Mike Trout has not played more than 140 games in a season since 2016, while Aaron Judge has played 148 or more in each of the last two seasons. Judge also plays in one of the most home run-friendly parks in the major leagues at Yankee Stadium.