Updated October 23, 2020 - 11:14 am
Game 3 of the World Series matches two postseason aces, and Big Ten football is back.
Here’s the betting menu for Friday (odds at the Westgate, updated at 11:10 a.m.):
Jacksonville State (+300 ML) at Florida International (-10, 57½, -360), 4 p.m.
The host Panthers (0-2) are favored to pick up their first win of the season against the Gamecocks (2-1) of the Football Championship Subdivision. Florida International has lost tight games with Liberty (36-34) and Middle Tennessee (31-28). Jacksonville State led Florida State 21-7 before eventually falling 41-24. The Gamecocks have since defeated Mercer (34-28) and North Alabama (24-17).
Line movement: Florida International down from -10½.
Tulsa (-11½, 50½, -420) at South Florida (+350), 4:30 p.m. (ESPN)
The favored Golden Hurricane (1-1, 1-0 American Athletic) will be playing for the first time since knocking off then-No. 11 Central Florida on Oct. 3. Tulsa lost a tight game at Oklahoma State 16-7 in its opener. South Florida (1-4, 0-3) covered in a 39-37 loss last week at Temple, but the Bulls have had an awful start to the season with losses to Notre Dame (52-0), Cincinnati (28-7) and East Carolina (44-24). South Florida’s only win was 27-6 over The Citadel in the opener. The line has moved up from Tulsa -10.
Line movement: Tulsa up from -11.
Illinois (+800) at No. 14 Wisconsin (-20½, 51½, -1,400), 5 p.m. (Big Ten)
After several stops and starts, Big Ten football returns to the field Friday. The host Badgers will be looking for revenge after the Illini pulled off a 24-23 home upset last season, snapping Wisconsin’s nine-game winning streak in the series.
Line movement: Wisconsin up from -19½.
Louisiana (Lafayette) (-2½, 50½, -140) at UAB (+120), 5 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)
The favored Ragin’ Cajuns (3-1) will try to bounce back after their first loss of the season, 30-27 to Coastal Carolina. UAB (4-1) has won three straight since a 31-14 loss to Miami (Fla.) The Blazers blew out Western Kentucky 37-14 last week. The line has flipped after UAB opened as a 2½-point favorite.
Line movement: Louisiana down from -3. Total up from 50.
(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.)
Los Angeles Dodgers (-145, 7½ under -120) vs. Tampa Bay (+135), Game 3, 5:08 p.m. at Arlington, Texas (KVVU-5)
Probable pitchers: Los Angeles’ Walker Buehler (RHP, 1-0, 3.44 ERA, 3.93 xFIP) vs. Tampa Bay’s Charlie Morton (RHP, 2-2, 4.74 ERA, 4.01 xFIP)
Notes: The series is tied 1-1 after Tampa Bay’s 6-4 victory in Game 2. Both starters have stellar postseason records. Buehler is 2-1 with a 2.44 ERA (3.09 xFIP) in 10 career playoff starts; he is 1-0 with a 1.89 ERA (3.30 xFIP) in four starts this postseason. Morton is 7-2 with a 2.84 ERA (3.68 xFIP) in 12 career playoff appearances (11 starts); he has been stellar this postseason at 3-0 with a 0.57 ERA (3.82 xFIP) in three starts. Morton won Game 7 of the 2017 World Series for Houston in relief. The Dodgers are -200 to win the series (Rays +175). Look for more analysis and a handicapper’s pick on the game below.
Line movement: Los Angeles down from -150. Total now juiced to under after being over -115.
What happened Thursday
The New York Giants (+5) covered but let a late lead slip away in a 22-21 loss at Philadelphia (-240 ML). The game stayed under 44½ after the Eagles (2-4-1) missed two 2-point conversions in the fourth quarter. The Giants (1-6) took a 21-10 lead with 6:17 left in the fourth quarter, but the Eagles scored twice in the final 4:38 to pull out the victory. Philadelphia gained 6.1 yards per play to New York’s 5.9, and the Eagles outgained the Giants 442-325. The Eagles were also +2 in turnovers.
Appalachian State (-13½) rolled to a 45-17 home victory over Arkansas State. The game stayed under 69½. The Mountaineers (3-1, 1-0 Sun Belt) led 31-7 at halftime. The Red Wolves (3-3, 1-2) cut the deficit to 31-17 in the third quarter before Appalachian State put the cover away. The Mountaineers outgained Arkansas State 521-368, including 305-73 on the ground. Appalachian State was also 10 of 15 on third downs.
Hot Corner handicapper selection
Rays +1½ (-125)
Dana Lane (@DanaLaneSports, 10-11, -1.67 units): Looks like we’ll finally get a good old matchup with real starting pitching as Walker Buehler goes for Los Angeles against veteran Charlie Morton for Tampa Bay.
Morton has been sensational this postseason, giving up just one earned run in 15⅔ innings of work. Par for the course for Morton, who has given up just two earned runs in his last 25⅔ postseason innings.
With every postseason appearance this season the right-hander has appeared to get stronger, a fact backed up by an improving groundball-to-flyball ratio from Game 3 against the Yankees to Game 7 against the Astros. Morton has struck out more hitters (17) than he’s allowed to reach base (15).
“Uncle Charlie” typically enjoys run support in the regular season, but the postseason has been even better with Tampa giving five runs of support in his three starts.
I’ll give Morton the slight edge over Buehler, but I’m compelled to take the run line and lay the short price.