All things must come to an end. I’ve been writing this column since early April, but the returns of the MLB, NBA, and NHL mean that bettors can find action elsewhere. We may miss betting on things like the NBA 2K Player’s Tournament, the Modus Icons of Darts, virtual NASCAR Racing, and Korean baseball, but leagues have determined that it’s time to get back to normal.
While that “normal” will be dramatically different than what we’re used to, we’ve still got a pandemic to fight. Here are your best bets for the last weekend without one of America’s major professional sports organizations!
1. NASCAR Racing at Texas
The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway this weekend for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500. After a disappointing All-Star Race on Wednesday night, the sport will look to rebound with a points-paying event. Texas is a 1.5-mile quad-oval, and it compares best to Charlotte Motor Speedway, where Chase Elliott dominated a few weeks ago.
How much did Elliott dominate? While he only led around 10 percent of the laps, he finished second and first in the two races. Only Martin Truex, Jr. finished with a higher driver rating in either of the races, and Elliott’s average rating of 120.95 topped the next-best driver (Ryan Blaney) by more than 10 points.
That said, Elliott (+800) doesn’t have a great record at Texas — he’s never won here, and he has an average finish of 13.17. Kevin Harvick (+300) has won three of the last six races here, and Blaney (+1100) trails him closely through that span. While I’m more confident in Elliott because of recent trends, Blaney could break through for a win here as well, and the two drivers’ long odds promise a healthy payout.
2. Korean Baseball
For my last foray into the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO), I’ll again suggest an over/under play. The third-place Kiwoom Heroes take on the ninth-place Wyverns this weekend, and FanDuel has set the over/under at 11.5.
That’s surprising to me, as neither squad has been super effective on offense. The two teams score an average total of 9.4 runs scored per game, and they surrender an average total of 10.3 per game. Both of those marks are well below the 11.5 mark. In the two clubs’ past 10 games, the under would have hit 80 percent of the time.
As you may expect, the under is quite juicy. It’s currently at -134, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see FanDuel drop the total to 10.5 for the rest of the weekend. While this line won’t give you a massive payout, it should hit.
3. UFC Fight Island
Deiveson Figueiredo takes on Joseph Benavidez in a fight for the men’s flyweight title. The two fought in February, before the shutdown began, but Figueiredo failed to make weight. So while he came away with the win, he was ineligible for the title.
Since then, Figueiredo had a false positive coronavirus test that called the bout into question.
Since he’ll have to fight at a lower weight than the one he did back in February, I think there’s more uncertainty than the current line suggests. Figueiredo is a strong favorite — FanDuel has him at -220 right now and Benavidez sits at +184. That said, new users at the site can buy either fighter at +2500. If you’re eligible, I’d cash in on the offer and play the favorite. If you’re not, I might sit this one out.
4. PGA: The Memorial
It’s been an interesting start to the Memorial Tournament. Even though the PGA is playing at the same course as they did last weekend, some of the top finishers last weekend have struggled in this one. For example, Collin Morikawa went from winning last weekend to a T95 showing so far this time.
Tony Finau currently sits atop the leaderboard with Ryan Palmer in second. That said, I’m a fan of Gary Woodland here. The veteran golfer is one of the best at Jack Nicklaus-designed courses, and he finished T5 here last weekend.
Woodland is currently T3 at four under par. You should buy him at +900 on BetMGM while you can.
5. Major League Soccer
Major League Soccer’s MLS is Back Tournament continues group play this weekend. Sunday’s match between the Seattle Sounders take and Vancouver Whitecaps draws my eye, as the Sounders (-167) are heavy favorites over the Whitecaps (+390) on DraftKings.
The Whitecaps put together a surprisingly strong performance last weekend. They scored three goals against San Jose, almost playing them to a draw. Meanwhile, the Sounders lost to the Chicago Fire in a 2-1 match, and they played San Jose to a draw.
Vancouver is playing this tournament without five of their players. Their unlikely momentum seems unsustainable, but that’s baked into their odds. You can play them to win on DraftKings, but I’d recommend waiting for the double chance to become available.