Each week TheLines Lookahead previews what will likely be the most wagered-on events in the coming days. Here is the weekly sports betting preview for Monday, Aug. 31 through Monday, Sept. 7.
Rockets vs. Thunder: Game 6 (Monday, August 31)
Oklahoma City was counted out from the start of the season after taking on a tough Chris Paul contract and losing what was assumed to be all of their firepower. However, this young Thunder team has proven to be resilient and it secured the 5th seed in the West. Now, the Thunder (+200) are down to their last strike. The Rockets (-250) have been playing some solid defense (something rarely uttered before the bubble) as they held OKC to under 100 in both of their wins. Houston is looking like strong favorites to take the series Monday night, but never count out a scrappy team with their season on the line.
White Sox vs Twins (Monday, August 31–Wednesday, September 2)
The AL Central has a grouping of some of the hottest teams in baseball right at the top– the Indians (21-13) and White Sox (21-13) are tied for the top, closely followed by the Twins (20-15). A three-game series between the top couple of teams could really shake up the order. With nearly two-thirds of the season in the books, the pressure is mounting for teams looking ahead to the MLB playoffs. Chicago has been playing with their hair on fire, accumulating an 8-2 record in their last 10 games and sitting at an MLB-best 10-4 record on the road. If Minnesota hopes to defend their turf and remain in the immediate hunt for the AL Central, they’ll have to fend off the best.
South Alabama at Southern Miss (Thursday, September 3)
Weeknight Group of Five betting? Yes, please. South Alabama (+14) at Southern Miss wouldn’t normally be a major highlight of the week, but this game marks the first FBS vs. FBS matchup of the football season. With few major games happening the rest of the weekend, this has the potential to break revenue records on Group of Five betting (if such a stat was kept). The Golden Eagles are early 14-point favorites, indicating this game might not be a nail-biter. But with the small taste of college football given to us by Central Arkansas and Austin Peay on Saturday, bettors are itching to get after it. Another number of note: the over/under sits at 52.5, meaning there should be enough scoring in this one to keep you close to the TV.
NASCAR: Cook Out Southern 500 (Sunday, September 6)
The Round of 16 in the NASCAR playoffs kickoff Sunday at Darlington in South Carolina. William Byron was able to break up the tear from Kevin Harvick (winner of three of the last five races) with a major victory at Daytona last weekend. Just 10 points separate Harvick’s lead from second-place Denny Hamlin. The rest of the pack doesn’t fall far behind as only nine points separate third from fifth place and the standings are crowded beyond that. The (literal) race is on for the Cup Series title, and the pressure begins to mount as the playoffs progress.
The Tour Championship (Friday, September 4–Monday, September 7)
The top of the PGA standings read as so: 1. Dustin Johnson, 2. Jon Rahm. But the final from Sunday’s BMW Championship saw Rahm edge out Johnson in an extra hole playoff, putting out the flame of a come-from-behind victory. Rahm shot 6-under on the final day to keep himself within striking distance of Johnson in the standings. However, the final tournament of the season will decide who takes home the FedEx Cup this year – be it Rahm, Johnson, or third-place Justin Thomas. There’s no asterisk on this title – the PGA was not only one of the first sports to return, but golfers have been able to keep themselves on track throughout nearly all of the quarantine period. The field is ready and conditioned for an explosive finish to the season. If the Tour Championship ends close to anything like last weekend’s BMW Championship, we’re in for a treat.