Best Bets of the Day: Monday, October 12th
Previous Day’s Record: 1-2
Overall Record: 16-11
The NBA season is over with the Los Angeles Lakers as brand-new NBA champions, and Monday didn’t have much action besides Game 1 of the MLB National League Championship Series between the Braves and Dodgers, and the Monday Night Football game I picked here.
However, this Tuesday is jam-packed with games worth considering in multiple sports across various continents. Let’s start in Tennessee, where we get to enjoy a rare Tuesday Night Football feature with two undefeated teams trying to consolidate their hold as division leaders.
NFL - Week 5
(TUESDAY) TENNESSEE TITANS (3-0) vs. BUFFALO BILLS (4-0)
The Titans are a slight underdog at home, and for good reason. Two of their best receivers, Corey Davis and Adam Humphries, are on the COVID-19 reserve list. Their actual best receiver, A.J. Brown, is coming back from a knee bruise he suffered in Week 1 and it’s uncertain if he is 100% healthy.
Add the lack of practice time and the uncertainty that reigned around the organization as the positive tests piled up for players and coached alike along with loud public criticism for ignoring league protocols during the past couple of weeks, and the recipe for success is less than ideal.
Meanwhile, the Bills are rested and healthy with one of the best quarterback-wide receiver duos in the NFL: Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs. Allen ranked third in the league in touchdowns (12) and second in yards (1,326) and QB rating (88.0) through the first four weeks of action, while Diggs led the league in yards (403) thanks to their deep connection.
The Titans’ defense is fourth worst in the league in yards allowed, and that will be their downfall.
My pick: Titans 21-27 Bills (-3)
MLB PLAYOFFS – NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES. GAME 2.
ATLANTA BRAVES VS. LOS ANGELES DODGERS
It is Kershaw day for the Dodgers, and their veteran ace has been outstanding as he attempts to get rid of the ghosts of postseasons past that have haunted him throughout his career.
The 32-year-old southpaw is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA and back-to-back quality starts against the Milwaukee Brewers (8.0 IP, 0 ER, 13 K’s) and San Diego Padres (6.0 IP, 3 ER). Granted, he did give up two homers in that 6-5 win over the Padres in Game 2 of the NLDS.
Braves rookie starter Ian Anderson has also been superb with a 0.00 ERA in 11.2 combined innings against the Cincinnati Reds and Miami Marlins. Anderson allowed three hits against the Reds and two against the Marlins, and only one of them went for extra bases.
As impressive as he is and as potent as both offenses are, I have to go with experience in this case.
My pick: Dodgers 4-3 Braves
CONMEBOL WORLD CUP QUALIFYING - MATCHDAY 2
Upset pick of the Day!
BOLIVIA VS. ARGENTINA
I never mentioned this before, but I was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina before moving to Miami in 2002. And as an Argentine, I am keenly aware of how deeply traumatizing it is for my fellow countrymen to play in the dreaded city of La Paz and its suffocating altitude of 3640 meters.
Bolivia got blown out by Brazil on the road, a 5-0 rout last Friday night, but they also saved some of their best starters like striker Marcelo Martins for the match that they considered as more likely to end with a better result.
Argentina is 27-7-5 all-time over Bolivia, but they are 1-3-2 in La Paz since the current format of World Cup Qualifying took place in 1997.
Since then, Argentina lost 2-1 in ’97 during a match that included a chaotic bloody melee between players, rescued a miraculous 3-3 draw with two goals in the last five minutes in 2001, won 2-1 with a young and athletic “B” team in 2005, got humiliated 6-1 with Diego Maradona as manager in 2009, tied 1-1 in 2013, and was unceremoniously defeated 2-0 in 2017.
Bolivia didn’t qualify for any of those World Cups, their last one was in 1994, but Argentina struggles more than any of the other nine South American teams when it can’t...well, breathe.
They tried to mitigate that by traveling on Sunday instead of arriving just hours before kickoff, but I don’t think that will make a difference. Argentina squeaked by Ecuador with a 1-0 win in their opener and doesn’t have the cohesiveness needed to prevail against their opponents’ fuller lungs.
My pick: Bolivia 3-1 Argentina