John P. Lopez: Just A Sprinkle – NFL Draft betting value, double-down on Suns and … fade the Astros?

Mar 1, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Texas Tech defensive lineman Tyree Wilson (DL49) poses during the NFL Scouting Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

John P. Lopez: Just A Sprinkle – NFL Draft betting value, double-down on Suns and … fade the Astros?

Bye-bye, Bryce. It’s been surreal.

Gamblers and Texans fans have been on quite the wild ride when it comes to Alabama quarterback Bryce Young’s draft stock, as the odds of him going No. 1 overall skyrocketed from plus-350 just a couple weeks ago to minus-1,350 by some books Monday afternoon.

Clearly, the huge swing in odds is much more than bookmakers simply trying to balance the money waged on top prospects. Prepare yourselves, Texans fans. Bryce Young is going No. 1 overall to the Carolina Panthers.

Ugh. But while we pause to dab away tears and come to grips with the one that got away, it’s a good time to find potential big-payday alternative plans at the sports book.

Don’t forget to swallow your pride, too. This is gambling, after all, and if there’s ever been a good reminder that gamblers never should bet with their hearts, this week is it.

As a Houston sports fan, I don’t like any of this week’s Just A Sprinkle wagers. Not at all.

But as a gambler, they might be the smartest plays this week, beginning with a tempting prop bet on what exactly the Texans will do now with the No. 2 overal pick.

Just A Sprinkle:

Tuesday: Texans to draft edge rusher Tyree Wilson (plus-800) at No. 2 overall.

Have I mentioned I don’t like these bets? As a gambler, I would sprinkle a bit on Wilson and cross my fingers the Texans do not trade down. There also now is reason to believe Wilson is high on the Texans’ board.

Then there’s the value. While Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud (plus-150) and Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson (plus-200), remain the favorites to land with the Texans, both seem to be losing steam. Reports have been mixed on just how much the Texans like Stroud, then Monday ESPN’s Adam Schefter told NFL Live of the Texans drafting a quarterback, “that’s not going to happen.”

It was the most definitive report yet and this close to the draft is more meaningful. Also, Young cancelled all his remaining pre-draft visits, which means he’s been told in no uncertain terms that he doesn’t need to take those trips.

Meanwhile, more insiders predict the Texans are more enamored with Tyree Wilson than Will Anderson because of Wilson’s natural pass-rushing skills. That’s a DeMeco Ryans kind of guy — see Nick Bosa.

The Texans could trade back in the draft, sure. But if they truly have Wilson that high on their board, why would they roll the dice on waiting for others to pick ahead of them, when they already have the No. 2 pick? Put a bit on the Texas Tech star.

Tuesday: Phoenix Suns (plus-550) to win the NBA Championship

Stubborn? Nah, smart. Last week, this space mentioned the value of sprinkling on the Suns because the path in the Western Conference was not as daunting as it normally would be for a No. 4 seed.

Yes, the Suns dropped Game 1 to a Russell Westbrook-inspired Clippers team. But Westbrook continues to shoot horribly and while Kawhi Leonard played out of his mind, the Suns have a ton of weapons equipped to come back from the deficit and take the series.

And as for the rest of the Western Conference bracket, the No. 1-seeded Nuggets cruised, Sacramento took out defending champ Golden State in Game 1 and the Lakers beat No. 2 seed Memphis, who also lost Ja Morant to injury.

After the Suns’ loss, their odds improved from plus-450 to win the title to plus-550. Don’t play with scared money. Stay on the Suns.

Wednesday: Toronto Blue Jays (ML) vs. Houston Astros

It pains me to say this, but the best bet in the Astros-Blue Jays series might be taking Toronto on Wednesday at Minute Maid Park. The sky is not falling, however, so don’t fret.

For now, Astros starter Luis Garcia is a mess, carrying an 0-2 record and 7.71 ERA into his upcoming start. Garcia, forced to change his delivery because of new MLB pitch-clock rules, has seemed rushed and out of sorts in his three starts thus far. The longer the struggles have lingered, the more he seems to rush and it could become a factor mentally, too.

Opposing Garcia will be the Blue Jays’ $131 million man, Jose Berrios, who also has struggled this season, but shown signs of the electric stuff that brought him to Toronto in 2021. After a rocky start to the year, Berrios was in the midst of his best start in his last outing. Before being replaced after taking a ground ball off his leg in the fifth-inning of his last outing (Berrios has been cleared and will pitch), he gave up just three hits and one run against the red-hot Tampa Bay Rays. Berrios has given up some tough well-placed RBI drives in his outings, but continues to strike out batters at a high clip and has given up just one homerun in three outings.

Thursday: Astros Under-95.5 wins

For a team that has struggled and faces a daunting next three series against the Blue Jays, Braves and Tampa Bay Rays, their season win total has not dropped in most books.

Now’s the time to take the Under, with fingers crossed the Astros catch fire again and make a post-season run despite winning fewer games. That’s a win-win for Astros fans.

After facing three of the best teams in baseball in the coming days, the win total figures to go down. Get in while you can.

Certainly, if the Astros get healthy another World Series run could be in the cards. But over 95.5 wins in a tougher division and struggles early almost across-the-board early, over 95.5 wins is a big ask.

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