Each week TheLines previews what will likely be the most discussed (and wagered-on) events in the sports world. Here is a look at what’s on tap for the week of Monday, Oct. 5 through Sunday, Oct. 11.
ALDS and NLDS
With a new feel to the MLB playoffs in 2020, the Wild Card round lacked the same energy that’s expected in the postseason. Now, it’s onto neutral sites and five-game series’ and the intensity should pick up even without fans. It took the A’s and Padres three games to win their respective Wild Card matchups, but the other six teams took care of business in just two. The Yankees (-128) are favored over the Rays (+110) in their series at FanDuel Sportsbook despite Tampa Bay being the AL’s top seed. The Astros (+116), the first sub .500 team to win a playoff round, are an underdog against Oakland (-136). The Dodgers (-280) are heavy favorites over the Padres (+225), and the Braves (-300) are the biggest favorites of the Divisional Round in their matchup against the Marlins (+245).
Patriots vs. Chiefs (Monday, Oct. 5)
Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19 and this matchup was put in jeopardy until the Patriots had zero additional positive tests. The Patriots are an underdog by 7-points or more for just the third time in the past 18 years. Kansas City is looking to follow up a complete decimation of the Baltimore Ravens by taking out another AFC heavy-hitter. The story here is that Bill Belichick is 2-0 against the spread as a 7-point or more underdog (in the past 18 years) and the Pats head coach is historically great ATS overall. Can he do it again? He’s going to have to pull out his full bag of tricks to get it done with Brian Hoyer at quarterback.
Laker vs. Heat: Game 4 (Tuesday, Oct. 6)
Games 1 and 2 of the NBA Finals saw the Los Angeles Lakers run through the Miami Heat with absurd runs and total dominance from Anthony Davis. Game 3 was a different story. Miami was again without Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic, but Jimmy Butler (40-13-11) willed them to victory. Game 4 is now everything for both teams. Should LeBron James and Davis win Tuesday night, they’d take a commanding 3-1 lead and the last team to give up a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals was, well – you know. Should Miami take Game 4, the Finals comes down to a best-of-three sprint.
No. 7 Miami vs. No. 1 Clemson (Saturday, Oct. 10)
The Hurricanes are living up to preseason expectations and then some; they ran over their last ranked opponent, No. 18 Louisville, in primetime but now face the top team in the country. Miami’s D’Eriq King has been making a run at the Heisman Trophy so far (+600, t-second at FanDuel Sportsbook) and now faces his toughest test of the year. Clemson has been tearing through an early-season schedule that’s included ACC foes Wake Forest and Virginia. Miami brings a different caliber offense than the Tigers have seen so far this year, scoring 43.3 points per game (seventh). Trevor Lawrence is making his final mark on college football before heading to the NFL, and this is his first big-time test of the season. Clemson opened as 15-point favorites in this one.
French Open: Finals
It’s the final tennis major of the season and the quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals all happen over the course of a three-day spread. The usual suspects are still in the mix on the men’s side: Rafael Nadal (+140 to win) and Novak Djokovic (+140) are tied as the favorites heading out of the fourth round. On the women’s side, Iga Swiatek (+260) is the slim favorite followed by Elina Svitolina (+275) and Sofia Kenin (+1100).