The sports equinox is upon us, with opening NBA games, key NFL matchups, and the Major League Baseball finale all on TV this weekend.
This is one of the best weekends of the year in the world of online sports betting.
World Series, Game 1: Diamondbacks vs. Rangers
Friday, Oct. 27 | 8:03 p.m. ET | FOX
MLB World Series 2023 is set, and it could be a historic matchup. The Diamondbacks and Rangers will play for a championship, and since neither club has much playoff history to lean on, one fan base will be walking away very happy, indeed.
The Diamondbacks have won one World Series, back in 2001, in just their fourth season as a Major League expansion franchise. In a division dominated by the Dodgers and Giants, they had only made the playoffs once in the last 10 years.
The Rangers are much older, with roots in Texas back to 1972, but they’ve never won a World Series. Their playoff success is mostly limited to back-to-back AL pennants in 2010 and 2011.
BetMGM’s MLB odds price the Rangers and their big bats as favorites, with the series price listed at Texas -175 as of Thursday. The Diamondbacks are +145. Game 1 prices are similar, with Texas available at -165 and Arizona at +140.
Bettors who don’t want to pay the stiff number with the Rangers can always bet the run line: Texas -1.5 (+120).
Games 2 and 3 will be Saturday and Monday, respectively.
No. 20 Duke at No. 18 Louisville
Saturday, Oct. 28 | 3:30 p.m. ET | ESPN
College basketball season might be right around the corner, but it’s still football season at some historic basketball schools. Duke and Louisville find themselves in the AP Top 25 on the eve of the first College Football Playoff rankings.
Duke has thrived under second-year coach Mike Elko, following last year’s surprise 9-4 campaign with this year’s season-opening win over Clemson. The defense has allowed only 4.69 yards per play, which ranks 17th in FBS.
Louisville is also an ahead-of-schedule surprise. Jeff Brohm has his alma mater at 6-1, coming out of last week’s bye with top-25 marks for both total offense and total defense.
Florida State is a near-lock to play in the ACC Championship Game at this point, but the Seminoles’ final opponent is still up in the air. With North Carolina losing to Virginia last week, this clash has major ACC Championship Game implications.
For now, the college football futures market favorites Louisville (+750) over Duke (+1100) as an ACC contender. An upset this weekend would dramatically flip those odds.
Louisville is currently a 4-point favorite.
Browns at Seahawks
Sunday, Oct. 29 | 4:05 p.m. ET | FOX
A Week 8 battle between the Browns and Seahawks should feature plenty of defense. The question is whether or not the offenses can break out.
The NFL betting world got a glimpse of what Cleveland’s best is capable of back on Oct. 15 when the Browns dealt the 49ers their first loss of the season. It was also the first regular-season loss of Brock Purdy’s career as a starting quarterback.
At the heart of Cleveland’s success this year has been its pass rush, which rates No. 1 in the NFL, per PFF. Seattle is not far behind at No. 8.
Geno Smith grades out as a solid middle-class quarterback this year, but Seahawks coach Pete Carroll hasn’t asked him to do as much this year, so the raw stats aren’t there.
By comparison, Cleveland’s Deshaun Watson has been among the least effective starting quarterbacks in the NFL, at least according to passer rating and EPA/play.
Seattle (-3.5) is the favorite this weekend, but both teams really need this game to keep pace in competitive divisions. That’s especially true for the Browns, who could fall from second to fourth with a loss, depending on what else happens in the AFC North.