It’s Kentucky Derby day, so time to make our pick: Best Bets for May 6

Kentucky Derby hopeful Derma Sotogake, from Japan, works out at Churchill Downs Tuesday, May 2, 2023, in Louisville, Ky. The 149th running of the Kentucky Derby is scheduled for Saturday, May 6. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

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, May 6:


The play: Kentucky Derby, Derma Sotogake to show

The odds: Odds will vary pre-race and depending on exact finish

The book: Caesars Racebook

Time/TV: Post time 6:57 p.m. (NBC)

Our take: The most fun you’ll have betting on horse racing is similar to golf betting or parlays or craps or anything else where you can win a lot of money for a small stake — betting on the winner.

And we’re not here to stop you from doing that. It’s Derby Day — place your $2 bets and have some fun as you sip your mint julep.

But if we’re trying to turn a profit here — and despite our recent numbers, I promise you we’re trying to do just that — a safer bet is to pick a horse to place or show. For the uninitiated, a “place” bet wins if that horse places first or second. A “show” bet wins if the horse finishes in the top three.

We’re going with Derma Sotogake, a Japanese horse who won the UAE Derby. Speed rankings have him as the fastest horse in this race, and though his workouts have been a little shaky and his No. 17 post position isn’t ideal, we’ll take the chance that pure speed can get him to the top three — and he might even become the first horse from Japan to win the run for the Roses.

Taking the fastest horse, you say? It is a race, after all. Sometimes the best bet is the obvious one.


The play: MLB, Houston Astros money line over Seattle Mariners

The odds: +100

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Time/TV: 9:40 p.m. (

Our take: This pick brings me no joy as a Mariners fan, but when the line doesn’t make sense, let’s hop on the profit train.

The Astros have called up rookie J.P. France to start this one, and it’s the perfect spot for a guy who has dominated the minors with his stuff and has run into trouble only when he’s walking too many along with his strikeouts. Lucky for France and the Astros, the Mariners have been atrocious at the plate over the last couple of weeks, striking out 125 times over their past 11 games, an average of about 11.5 per game.

On the other side, Houston has been scuffling a bit at the plate, but this lineup is too good to keep down for long and they’re facing Marco Gonzales, a pitch-to-contact specialist who has a career 4.89 ERA against the Astros.


Friday’s best bets

NBA playoffs: Suns -4 over Nuggets (WON)

NBA playoffs, Celtics -2 over 76ers (WON)

Friday’s record: 2-0

Total for the week: 6-3, 1 pending

Total for May: 6-3, 1 pending

Total for 2023: 94-108, 1 pending

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, $100 would bring in $140 (or $10 to win $14).


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