Although it goes without saying, delays and schedule changes within the sports world due to Covid-19 have caused an unprecedented fall sports lineup. Earlier this month, we experienced the first equinox of 2019, where at least eight different sports lined up to create a day made for wearing out tv remotes. While tonight's schedule may pale in comparison, here's my pick for each of the three top leagues playing tonight.
All odds and line are according to the MGM Grand Sportsbook. All times are listed in EST
8 PM-Stanley Cup Finals Game 3; Lightning vs. Stars
Despite a pretty high-scoring playoff run so far from both teams, Dallas' first line has yet to record a goal in this series. However, I expect both teams to be firing from all cylinders as both look to take the series lead. Tampa's power play unit looks to be back up to speed, as they scored twice in Game Two after going 0-14 in their last four with an opponent in the box. Game 3 will also feature the heralded return of Steven Stamkos, who looks to make his first appearance in this year's playoffs. Star players returning in a finals series can often be hit or miss, but I can see Stamkos making an immediate impact both on the ice and in the locker room for his teammates more than any other star. His return is not confirmed yet, but participating in the pre-game skate was a pretty good sign.
I think Tampa has the edge in this game, but regardless, we're going to see a lot of goals tonight. Expect something like a 3-2 thriller.
My Pick: Over 5 (-139)
8:30 PM-NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game 3; Celtics vs. Heat
Speaking of returning stars, Gordon Hayward back in Boston's lineup seems to have completely shifted momentum for this series. I'm not necessarily saying the Heat should be packing their bags now, but their ticket to the finals just got a lot harder to punch. While Hayward didn't really connect in the scoring department with just six points, he stayed on the court for a full thirty one minutes, posting a statline of four assists, five rebounds, three steals, and one block. Overall, if I were Miami, I'd be concerned. Not to say that Miami has gotten lucky in both of their wins, but they were won by very small margins. In addition, the Celtics have led throughout the three games for 112 minutes, compared to Miami's 37. With a fully healthy roster, I think the Celtics have the slight edge needed to cruise through game four and head to the conference finals.
My Pick: Celtics -3 (-110)
9:40 PM-MLB Interleague Play; Athletics vs. Dodgers
It's hard to evaluate this game in terms of playoff stakes. Both teams have clinched the division, the Dodgers doing so in game one of this series last night after a 7-2 victory. While a trip to the postseason is no longer at stake for either team, and a win from LA, I could see the Dodgers using tonight's game to give some of the younger guys in their rotation some time to perform, which would bode well for Oakland starting pitcher Sean Manaea. His last time on the mound at Dodgers Stadium did not bode well, allowing two runs off of seven hits in the A's 4-0 loss, so he could be looking to bounce back.
When comparing these two teams to the spread so far this season, it actually swings in favor of the A's, who are 4-0 in Manaea's last 4 starts in game two of a three game series. The Dodgers on the other hand, are 1-5 as home favorites this season against the spread. Look for the A's to take this in a close one.
My Pick: Athletics ML +150