We’re mere weeks away from the return of American sports. The MLB, NHL, and NBA are all scheduled to resume play before the end of July, so bettors have only a handful of weeks to top off their bankrolls. Here are a few good bets for this weekend of action!
1. UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal
The UFC heads to the long-awaited Fight Island this weekend, and we’ve got three title fights in store: the men’s welterweight, featherweight, and bantamweight crowns are all up for grabs.
The headliner, between Usman (-250) and Masvidal (+210), seems like a safe play. Masvidal hasn’t had much time to prepare after it was announced that he’d replace Gilbert Burns, and he just signed a new contract — that gives him less to prove on Saturday.
You can take FOX Bet’s moneyline of -250, but if you’re looking for more value, there are multiple special offers for the event. You can win $5 for each knockout at FOX Bet, you can bet $1 and win $100 in free bets if Usman wins at BetMGM, and you can bet $20 on either side and win $100 at DraftKings.
2. PGA: Workday Charity Open
After Bryson DeChambeau’s dominant performance last weekend, the PGA Tour heads to Dublin, Ohio’s Muirfield Village Golf Club. The Tour will play back-to-back tournaments at the course, so conditions for this weekend are a bit different than usual — for instance, the rough is shorter, as it will grow in for next weekend.
The Jack Nicklaus-designed course will force golfers to scramble and handle undulating greens. Hideki Matsuyama (+850) won here in 2014, and he’s my bet for this weekend. Not only is Matsuyama in good form, but he has also posted three top-15s here in the last five years.
Matsuyama currently sits at T3 on the leaderboard, so he just has to maintain his strong start to the tournament to pay off in this spot. Punch him in at FanDuel.
3. NASCAR Racing at Kentucky
The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Kentucky Speedway this weekend. It’s a 1.5-mile, D-shaped oval that compares well to Kansas Speedway, so I’m weighing the results at both tracks.
Brad Keselowski has the most wins at Kentucky of all active drivers at three, and Kyle Busch and Martin Truex, Jr. follow with two. Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth are the only two other winners. When we look at Kansas, three drivers — Keselowski, Kenseth, and Truex — add two wins to their totals.
But my play for this weekend doesn’t involve any of those drivers. While his record at Kentucky is unimpressive, Chase Elliott has three-consecutive top-5s at Kansas, and that includes a win and a runner-up. Elliott’s second-best average finish and driver rating in 2020 prove he’s in good form, so I’m comfortable playing him to win (+800) or to finish top-5 (+140).
4. Korean Baseball
While the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) will fade from the American spotlight soon, it’s still got a few weeks left as a top betting option.
This weekend, the third-place Doosan Bears play the eighth-place Lotte Giants. While Doosan scores (and allows) an above-average amount of runs, Lotte finds itself below the league average in both. The two clubs combine to score 11.03 runs per game, and they allow a collective 10.61 runs per game.
So with the over/under set at 11.5 (-134) on FanDuel, I think it’s safe to tap the under. Doosan hasn’t been hot recently on offense, and this line would be 4-2 for their games since last Friday. Lotte’s games are 4-2 against this line as well.
5. Major League Soccer (MLS)
American soccer is back! Yes, the English Premier League and La Liga are higher-profile, but I’ll give MLS some love here.
I’m looking at the match between Atlanta United (-104) and the New York Red Bulls (+255). The Red Bulls lost a handful of stars in the offseason, so they’re at a disadvantage in this spot. Despite the limited amount of data to work with, I’m willing to play Atlanta because of those forced adjustments.
You can get them to win outright at -104, and you can get them to Draw No Bet at -205. Either of those should be safe plays.
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