suns

Matt York / AP

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) and Dallas Mavericks forward Reggie Bullock, right, react after Paul was called for a foul during the first half of Game 2 Wednesday, May 4, 2022, in Phoenix.

The glory days of the sports betting calendar are starting to disappear.

With the fields in the NBA and Stanley Cup Playoffs diminishing, betting boards are slightly less packed on a daily basis. There’s still plenty of action to be found — a lot more than a couple months from now in the summer — but as recently as last week, Weekend Wagers could have found multiple betting options in 10 different sports.

That’s not the case this week. I’ll continue to try to cover everything major in the column but the NBA, for instance, had only one game sure to go this weekend as of publication time Friday — Sunday’s Game 7 showdown where Phoenix is a 6-point favorite over Dallas.

I lean the Suns, but already have enough long-term exposure on them and would rather not bet more on a do-or-die game. So the NBA will be a reluctant pass this week, and I’ll instead handicap bets in six other sports.

It’s nice to still have that much variety, at least for a few more weeks before summer takes over and preparation for football season becomes the betting focus.

Read below for this weekend’s plays. Records are attached for each individual sport since the column restarted for 2022 post-football season with a cumulative tally at the bottom of the page. Lines are the best available in Las Vegas at publication time.

MLB (5-0, $900): San Francisco Giants -105 at St. Louis Cardinals (Wynn)

$210 to win $200

Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson’s traditional statistics look a lot better than his advanced numbers. That makes him a fade candidate going forward. Saturday’s game looks like a golden spot to put that into action against a Giants’ team that has quietly had one of the best offenses in the National League. They’ve scored 155 runs and are certainly a lot more potent at the plate than the Cardinals. Giants starter Jakob Junis is no Ace himself, but he’s been solid through one start and two relief appearances this year. San Francisco had won five in a row entering Friday night’s action, and should keep up the recent hot streak Saturday afternoon.

NHL (2-4, -$250): Edmonton Oilers -1.5 puck line +125 vs. Los Angeles Kings (William Hill)

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Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) skates around Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore (27) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, in Las Vegas.

$200 to win $250

The Kings put up a valiant effort in this series, but after blowing a chance to eliminate the Oilers with the score tied at 2-2 in the third period of Game 6 in Los Angeles, it feels all but over. The Oilers should roll in a Game 7 in Edmonton, right? So much so that I don’t mind laying the puck line considering it’s this highly priced. Edmonton -1.5 closed at +110 in Game 5 at Rogers Place, and this one should also drift downwards in that direction. Edmonton has outperformed Los Angeles by about three expected goals at even-strength through the series, and that’s with the latter playing to their peak in a couple instances. It’s never comfortable to lay the 1.5 in the NHL, but this feels like an Oilers’ win with at worst a chance for an empty-net goal to cover the spread late.

UFC (5-10, -$960): Katlyn Chookagian by decision +120 vs. Amanda Ribas at UFC Fight Night (BetMGM)

$200 to win $240

Two straight controversial heavyweight decisions have broken against me to tank this category, so let’s swing to the other extreme as far as weight classes with women’s strawweight. Size should still play a significant factor in this fight, though. Chookagian is a former bantamweight (135) while Ribas has only recently moved up to strawweight (125) from flyweight (115). In other words, Chookagian is much bigger. So much bigger that it’s hard to ignore in what otherwise looks like a pretty even matchup from a skills perspective. Ribas will need to get Chookagian down, and it’s hard to see her doing that consistently with the size discrepancy.  Chookagian has won three straight, and four of her last five, by decision. It’s been a profitable method-of-victory prop bet in the past, and can hopefully keep up here.

USFL (3-1, $320.50): Philadelphia Stars +6.5 vs. Birmingham Stallions (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)

$165 to win $150

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Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Case Cookus (14) hands the ball off to wide receiver Dillon Stoner (16) during Raiders Training Camp at the Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center in Henderson Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021.

The Stallions are the lone undefeated team left standing in the USFL, but I’m going to continue betting against them. Their statistical profile just doesn’t match their win-loss record. They’re third in the league with a +0.4 net yard per play and have greatly benefitted from fumble luck. Birmingham is better than Philadelphia but not by much. The Stars’ offense didn’t miss a beat in a win over the Michigan Panthers last week despite well-named backup quarterback Case Cookus having to take over for the injured Bryan Scott. I made the number Birmingham -3.5 in this Week 5 matchup, leaving more than enough value to bet on Philadelphia at this price.  

NASCAR (5-3, $240): Ross Chastain -110 head-to-head vs. Martin Truex in Adventhealth 400 (SuperBook)

$220 to win $200

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NASCAR Cup Series drivers Kyle Busch (18) and Ross Chastain (1) during the 25th annual Pennzoil 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sunday, March 6, 2022.

Chastain has been unstoppable at the cookie-cutter, 1.5-mile tracks on the NASCAR circuit this year. He’s got to be thrilled to be returning to another in Kansas City this weekend. He’s been so good that he should be a bigger favorite in matchups to all but the very best intermediate drivers such as Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott. Truex once belonged in that group, but he doesn’t this year as Joe Gibbs Racing hasn’t really kept up with Hendrick Motorsports on the 1.5-mile tracks. There will surely be better matchups around town by Sunday, but the SuperBook is currently the only shop with lines posted so this is the best available. Chastain should contend while Truex’s prospects are murkier.  

Golf (1-2, $292.50): Justin Thomas to win PGA Championship 18-to-1 (Circa Sports)

$100 to win $1,8000

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Justin Thomas celebrates after a birdie on the 13th hole during the final round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at the Quail Hollow Club Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017, in Charlotte, N.C.

Thomas may not win the AT&T Byron Nelson this weekend because of a rough start in Thursday’s first round, but he’s in position to come close at -10 through two rounds. That means his price for next week’s second major tournament on the calendar may crash. And it should crash. Thomas doesn’t have a win this season, but he’s arguably playing better than anyone outside of Masters champion Scottie Scheffler. He’s crushing the ball off the tee and lapping the field in terms of approach shots. Both areas will be of the utmost importance at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Okla. Thomas, Scheffler and Jon Rahm should all roughly be co-favorites to emerge victorious. Being able to get Thomas at this high of a price is a steal, and an opportunity that won’t be around long.  

Weekend wagers column year to date: 26-27, $278

Weekend betting column all-time: 368-357-1, $6,796.43

Previous pending future wagers: Philadelphia Union 16-to-1 to win MLS Cup ($125 to win $2,000); Seattle Mariners +650 to win AL West ($100 to win $650); Devin Booker 5-to-1 to win NBA Finals MVP ($250 to win $1,125); Chris Paul 8-to-1 to win NBA Finals MVP ($150 to win $1,200); New Orleans Breakers 5-to-1 to win USFL title ($200 to win $1,000); Milwaukee Bucks +185 series price vs. Boston Celtics

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or





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