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What to bet on Friday, with pick on Astros-Rays (updated)

Updated October 16, 2020 - 10:52 am

World Series berths could be clinched, and two ranked college football teams go on the road.

Here’s the betting menu for Friday (odds at the Westgate, updated at 10:50 a.m.):

College football

No. 17 SMU (-6½, 66, -250) at Tulane (+210), 3 p.m. (ESPN)

The Mustangs will try to remain unbeaten in an American Athletic Conference road game at the Green Wave. SMU (4-0, 1-0 AAC) is coming off a bye following a 30-27 win over then-No. 25 Memphis. The Mustangs haven’t scored fewer than 30 points in a game this season. Tulane (2-2, 0-2) lost to Houston 49-31 last week.

Line movement: Total up from 64½.

No. 14 BYU (-4, 63, -170) at Houston (+150), 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)

This battle of Cougars is also a battle of unbeatens. BYU is 4-0 after surviving against UTSA 27-20. That close game followed blowouts of Navy (55-3), Troy (48-7) and Louisiana Tech (45-14). After a series of postponements, Houston won its season opener last week against Tulane 49-31.

Line movement: BYU down from -4½. Total up from 62½.


(Pitchers subject to change; listed stats from regular season)

(Note: xFIP is an advanced stat that is a more accurate measure of a pitcher’s performance than ERA.)

Championship Series

American League

Houston (+120) vs. Tampa Bay (-130, 8 under -115), Game 6, 3:07 p.m. at San Diego (TBS)

Probable pitchers: Houston’s Framber Valdez (LHP, 5-3, 3.57 ERA, 2.94 xFIP) vs. Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell (LHP, 4-2, 3.24 ERA, 3.06 xFIP)

Notes: Houston (+123) again stayed alive, beating Tampa Bay 4-3 to cut the Rays’ lead to 3-2 in the ALCS. The game stayed under 9½; every game in the series has gone under. The Astros won on Carlos Correa’s walk-off home run in the ninth inning. All but two runs in the game were scored on solo homers. After both teams cobbled together bullpen games in Game 5, the Game 1 starters return for Game 6. Snell and Valdez pitched effectively in a 2-1 Tampa Bay win. The Rays are -400 to win the series (Astros +330).

Line movement: Tampa Bay down slightly from -134.

Los Angeles Dodgers (-220, 9 over -125) vs. Atlanta (+200), Game 5, 6:08 p.m. at Arlington, Texas (FS1)

Probable pitchers: Los Angeles’ Dustin May (RHP, 3-1, 2.57 ERA 3.98 xFIP) vs. undecided

Notes: Atlanta (+190) pushed Los Angeles to the brink of elimination with a 10-2 victory to take a 3-1 lead in the NLCS. The game went over 9. The Braves bounced back strongly after being crushed 15-3 in Game 3. In his playoff debut, Bryse Wilson outpitched Clayton Kershaw, allowing one run on one hit in six innings with five strikeouts and a walk. Kershaw cruised through five innings, allowing one run, before the Braves put up six in the sixth, three off Kershaw and three off Brusdar Graterol. The Dodgers will try to stay alive behind May, who has pitched 4⅔ scoreless innings in the playoffs in three appearances (one start). Atlanta has not declared a starter and is likely looking at a bullpen game. The Braves are -370 to win the series (Dodgers +310).

What happened Thursday

College football

Arkansas State (-3½) pulled out a 59-52 home win over Georgia State. The game sailed over 72½. The teams traded scores the entire game, with neither team leading by more than seven at any point. The teams piled up 1,192 combined total yards.


Underdogs went 2-0, and totals split 1-1. Details on the games are included in the Friday preview above.

Hot Corner handicapper selection

Over 8 Astros-Rays (-105)

Dana Lane (@DanaLaneSports, 9-10, -1.67 units): The Astros will have their chances in Game 6 against Blake Snell. His walks-per-nine ratio has increased slightly, which could be because his fastball does not have its typical movement at times. When your walks are going up and you give up a homer every five innings, you can bet that the Astros will have plenty of men on base.

Look for the Rays to be aggressive early in the count against Framber Valdez. Opponents that swung at the first pitch are hitting 30 points higher than those who took the first pitch.

Take the over on the generous total.

Contact Jim Barnes at jbarnes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0277. Follow @JimBarnesLV on Twitter.

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