In the meantime, let's discuss where the action is flowing for several MLB games tonight...
6:35 p.m. ET: Chicago Cubs (67-89) at Pittsburgh Pirates (58-98)
Both of these NL Central rivals have long been eliminated from the playoffs. Both are also struggling down the stretch. The Cubs just got swept by the Cardinals to fall to 1-10 over their last 11 games. Meanwhile, the Pirates are 2-6 over their last 8 and own the 4th-worst record in MLB. In tonight's series opener, Chicago hands the ball to righty Alec Mills (6-7, 4.83 ERA) and Pittsburgh counters with fellow righty Mitch Keller (5-11, 5.96 ERA). This line opened with the Pirates listed as a short -115 home favorite and the Cubs a + 105 road dog. We've seen respected money hit the Cubs, dropping the line to a virtual pick'em at -105 both sides. The Cubs enjoy a schedule edge in this one. Chicago is coming off a day off while the Pirates played yesterday, losing 13-1 to the Reds. Rested teams in this spot are 72-45 (62 percent) this season. Chicago is also 12-4 against Pittsburgh this season. We could also be looking at a lower scoring game here. The total is 9 with the under juiced to -120, signaling a possible fall to 8.5.
7:45 p.m. ET: Milwaukee Brewers (94-62) at St. Louis Cardinals (87-69)
This NL Central matchup features one team who has already clinched a playoff spot and another looking to punch their ticket officially. The Brewers have already won the Central and the Cardinals are looking good for the second Wild Card spot, leading the Reds by 5.5-games. In tonight's series opener, the Brewers start righty Brandon Woodruff (9-10, 2.52 ERA) and the Cardinals rebuttal with veteran righty Adam Wainwright (16-7, 3.05 ERA). This line opened at a pick'em with both sides listed at -105. The public is riding the red-hot Cardinals, who have won 16 straight games. But sharps seem to think tonight is the night the streak ends. They've hit the Brewers, steaming Milwaukee up from -105 to -120. The Brewers just swept the Mets. Short road favorites -150 or less are 181-117 (61 percent) this season. The total opened at a low 7. Some respected money seems to be leaning over as the over is juiced up to -120 at most shops, signaling a possible rise up to 7.5.
8:10 p.m. ET: Tampa Bay Rays (97-59) at Houston Astros (91-65)
These division leaders may wind up playing each other in the postseason. But for now they're trending in opposite directions. Tampa Bay has clinched the East and won four straight. Meanwhile, the Astros lead the AL West but haven't clinched and have lost four straight. In tonight's opener, Tampa Bay taps righty Michael Wacha (3-5, 5.49 ERA) and Houston sends out fellow righty Jose Urquidy (8-3, 3.56 ERA). This line opened with Houston listed as a -140 home favorite and Tampa Bay a + 130 road dog. Sharps have pounced on the Rays as a decent plus money dog payout, steaming Tampa Bay from + 130 down to + 120. The Rays have value as a road dog with a high total (9). High totals benefit dogs as the more expected runs scored, the more variance and upset opportunities. We could see some runs scored in this one. The over 9 is being juiced up to -120, indicating a possible rise up to 9.5. Both of these teams have been good "over" bets this season, with the Rays 82-66 to the over and the Astros 83-66.