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Happy Fourth of July! This year’s Fourth hits different, as the United States faces both a public health crisis and a crisis of conscience. It’s up to us to move our country forward, so I encourage folks to be cautious when enjoying this weekend’s celebrations. Wear a mask and make good decisions.
Speaking of good decisions, if you’re going to bet on some of this weekend’s events, you’d be wise to heed my advice! Here are my best plays for some of this weekend’s big events.
1. Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest
It wouldn’t be the Fourth of July without hot dogs and overeating, and Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest will provide audiences with both despite the pandemic. Thank goodness.
On the men’s side, Joey Chestnut (-1000) is the heavy betting favorite. You can buy the field at +550, but you can also bet on how many frankfurters Chestnut will consume. His record is 74, but he ate just 71 last year, so DraftKings has a pair of over/unders available here: one sits at 72.5 and the other at 74.5. Chestnut has expressed optimism that the event will have better conditions since it’ll be indoors this year, and he expects to break his record. I trust the man, and I’m tapping the over 74.5 at +140.
For the women, Miki Sudo (-835) is also heavily favored over the field (+500). As with Chestnut, the more competitive line is on how many hot dogs she can eat. With the over/under set at 40.5 — one below her record of 41 set in 2017 — I’m comfortable playing the under. In the past six years, Sudo has only broken 40 once, and she only ate 31 in 2019. Even if the conditions are better, she’s still got an uphill battle to break the over, so tap the under at +115.
2. Motorsports Triple-Header
If you’re a motorsports fan, this weekend must feel like Memorial Day, as you get a full slate of high-stakes action in Formula One, IndyCar, and NASCAR. That said, instead of the Monaco GP, Indianapolis 500, and the Coca-Cola 600, you’ll get the Austrian GP, Indianapolis GP, and the Big Machine 400. The weekend also marks F1’s first event since the coronavirus pandemic began.
IndyCar’s GMR Grand Prix kicks off the weekend. The event, which runs at Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course, was inaugurated in just 2014. Only two drivers have won the six races here, as both Will Power (+400) and Simon Pagenaud (+500) have three wins apiece. Power has only won when starting on the pole, however. In contrast, Pagenaud has won from first, fifth, and eighth. I’ll roll with Pagenaud to win or to finish top-3 (+125) on Saturday through DraftKings.
Next, Formula One’s Austrian Grand Prix will run on Sunday morning. The pandemic has hit this sport hard, as a positive COVID-19 test derailed March’s Australian Grand Prix. Max Verstappen (+175) is the favorite at DraftKings because he’s won the last two races here. In his four Austria GPs with Red Bull, he’s finished second, last, first, and first. I expect him to score his third consecutive win on Sunday.
NASCAR will race on Indianapolis’ flat oval circuit on Sunday afternoon. Kevin Harvick (+400) dominated this race from the pole last year, and he’s one of the better drivers at Indy. The sport’s new high-downforce, low-horsepower package produced the most green-flag passes for the lead ever at the track in 2019, so we can expect some competitive racing on Sunday. I’m high on both Harvick and Denny Hamlin (+500) this weekend, as both drivers did well at the similarly-flat Pocono Speedway last weekend. On DraftKings, I like Hamlin to finish top-5 at -115, and you can read about my other suggested picks here.
3. Korean and Japanese Baseball
While baseball is America’s pastime, the coronavirus pandemic has suspended Major League Baseball’s season. Fortunately, baseball fans can tune into the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) or the Nippon Professional League (NPL) instead.
Both leagues will play games each day this weekend, and you can lay action on them through FanDuel.
My series of choice for this weekend is in the KBO, as the seventh-place Lotte Giants take on the ninth-place SK Wyverns. Neither club has done much offensively this year, as the Wyverns have scored only 3.62 runs per game, and the Giants’ 4.7 runs per game sits below the league average. Since their offenses combine for just 8.32 runs per game — and because the Wyverns have only scored four runs since last Saturday — I’m playing the under 8.5 runs at -110.
4. PGA: Rocket Mortgage Classic
The PGA heads to Michigan for the Rocket Mortgage Classic this weekend. It’s a Donald Ross-designed course, which makes for undulating greens that require careful skill with the putter.
After Thursday, Doc Redman, Scott Stallings, and Kevin Kisner all shared the lead at seven under par. Betting favorite Bryson DeChambeau sits T4 at six under par, and he kicked off the tournament he’s expected to dominate with a sarcastic apology to Mr. Ross himself.
I’d just play the favorite here. DeChambeau is already leading the field in strokes gained: putting, so he’s demonstrated skill on Ross’ complicated greens. Punch him in as soon as you can — as of publication, he’s at +275 on both BetMGM and DraftKings.
5. English Premier League
Yes, Liverpool have locked down a title, but there are still games left in the English Premier League (EPL) season. Soccer isn’t my cup of tea for the Fourth of July weekend, but to each their own.
The sixth-place Wolves (+130) play eighth-place Arsenal (+220) on Saturday, and with both lines in the plus money, you can find some value betting in this spot.
While the Wolves won all three of their post-shutdown matches, all of those games came against unimpressive teams. Arsenal have had a tougher go of things, as they’ve won three of their five post-shutdown games. Since the Wolves could only scrape together four total goals (1.33 GPG) since their return to action, compared to Arsenal’s nine (1.8 GPG), I’ll take Arsenal to win at +125 in a “tie no bet” option at FOX Bet.