Taking Aaron Judge to hit No. 61, plus a college football pick: Best Bets for Sept. 24

New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Judge runs to the dugout during the first inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in New York. The Yankees won 5-4. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Each day, one of our experts will offer up a best bet (or two or three) that mobile sportsbooks are offering. It might be a traditional spread bet, a player prop or one of the various odds boosts that books offer.

Here are our best bets for Saturday, Sept. 24:


The play: College football, Cincinnati -16.5 vs. Indiana

The odds/bet: -110 ($33 to win $30)

The book: Caesars Sportsbook

Time/TV: 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)

Our take: We’re borrowing this one from my college football weekly picks column, which was 5-1 both straight up and against the spread last week. The one straight-up loss was when Indiana managed to rally past Western Kentucky, ruining my upset pick.

But that underscores just how lucky the Hoosiers have been in starting 3-0 this season. In both the WKU overtime win and a victory over Illinois to start the season, they had win expectancy of much lower than 50% according to the SP+ method from ESPN’s Bill Connelly (essentially, that means that according to the raw stats, Indiana could have expected to win those games only 35% of the time against Illinois and 10 PERCENT of the time against WKU).

Sometimes winning when you’re not at your best builds confidence in a team, and that’s certainly a possibility. But when those teams eventually do lose, it can get ugly fast. Think Turnover Chain-era Miami when it finally stopped getting turnovers and lost (as a 12-point favorite) to Pitt and ended the 2017 season on a three-game losing streak.

Which brings us to Cincinnati. The Bearcats average 7.24 yards per play (Indiana is 5.50) and allow 4.33 (Indiana is 5.56). They’ve been significantly better against a more difficult schedule, so unless turnovers get in the way, this smells like a blowout. Don’t be afraid to lay the points.


The play: MLB, Aaron Judge to hit home run No. 61 vs. Red Sox

The odds/bet: +230 ($10 to win $23)

The book: FanDuel

Time/TV: 1:06 p.m. ET (MLB Network)

Our take: It’s been three long days since Aaron Judge clubbed home run No. 60, and now that Albert Pujols has his career No. 700 milestone out of the way with two homers on Friday night, it’s time for Judge to tie the Yankees/American League record.

If you believe in the power of baseball, it has to happen this weekend, right? Yankees at home (they leave for Toronto on Monday) and are facing their rival Red Sox.

If you believe in the eye test, Judge struck out a couple of times Friday but hasn’t been pressing — he also hit a deep fly ball and laced a line drive single to left field. He hit another ball to the warning track Thursday and walked three times, and on Wednesday he knocked two doubles. Those aren’t the results of a guy who’s stressing out about being stuck on 60.

Finally, if you believe in the numbers, Saturday makes as much sense as any time. Judge is 5 for 9 with two homers this year against Boston starter Nick Pivetta, and he’s actually homered at a slightly faster rate during day games.

Today’s the day.


Friday’s best bets

MLB, Mariners-Royals under 7.5 (WON $30)

Friday’s profit/loss: +$30 (1-0)

Total for the week: -$35.50 (4-5)

Total for September: -$217.90 (16-26)

Total for 2022: -$266.70 (239-275)

NOTE: If a line or odds are minus, it considers the juice one must lay to place the bet. Ex: Team A is -160 on the money line, one would have to bet $160 to win $100 (or $16 to win $10). OR Team B is a 5-point favorite at -110, one would have to bet $110 to win $100 (or $11 to win $10.)

Conversely, on positive lines, if Team C is +140 on the money line, a $100 would bring in $140 (or $10 to win $14).


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