Tom Brady has left the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Don't worry; he'll be back. Consider it another temporary retirement if you want. Tampa announced the 45-year-old QB will be gone until after the team's second preseason game on Aug. 20. Bucs coach Todd Bowles said after today's practice that this was something decided upon before camp began because Brady has to "deal with some personal things."
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If I'm a Bucs fan, I'm not too concerned. He's Tom Brady. There probably isn't much he will learn about playing football in the next 10 days of training camp, and it won't hurt to allow Tampa's backups to get more reps in practice if they're needed to fill in during the regular season. In fact, I recommend that we all take the next 10 days off. It's cool. I talked to your boss, and they're fine with it. They'd like the time off, too.
- Maybe it was the NFL's plan to reduce roughing the passer penalties that spurred Brady's decision.
- Running back (and the man who should've won Super Bowl LI MVP) James White announced his retirement.
- A look at some other fun places MLB could host games.
- We've got college football bowl projections!
Let's head to a cornfield and place some bets.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Cubs at Reds, 7:15 p.m. | TV: Fox
- Key Trend: Last year's Field of Dreams Game saw 17 runs scored and eight home runs hit.
- The Pick: Over 9 (-115)
It's the Field of Dreams Game, and it will be played in the middle of a cornfield in Dyersville, Iowa. Last year's game between the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees was fantastic. Tim Anderson hit a walk-off homer, and the atmosphere was incredible all night. Both teams went on to the playoffs. That will not be the case this year.
The Cubs and Reds stink, but it's still baseball played in a cool environment, and there isn't much else on tonight, so I'll watch. As for my pick, this one is far more based on vibes than a typical play in this newsletter. Considering I've gone 1-5 in my MLB picks this week using the math, perhaps the vibes will provide better results.
While we've only seen one game played in this park, it's hard to ignore what happened last year. The White Sox and Yankees scored 17 runs and hit eight dingers. The ball seemed to jump all night, and we could see more of that tonight. Cubs starting pitcher Drew Smyly has a below-average strikeout rate (18.5%) and allows a lot of flyballs. He's also allowed a lot of dingers this season. Cincinnati's Nick Lodolo has an outstanding strikeout rate (29%) but a terrible walk rate (10%) and also allows a lot of dingers.
Put them together in the middle of a cornfield, and we'll probably lose a lot of baseballs to the next harvest.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: My pick for this game is strong on vibes, so we could use more cold mathematical analysis. Thankfully, SportsLine's Projection Model is there for us.
💰 The Picks
Orioles at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m | TV: MLB.TV
The Pick: Over 10 (-105) -- I don't make a habit of betting overs on totals this high, but I'm making an exception tonight. Both the Red Sox and Orioles offenses have had success with the longball recently, and conditions at Fenway tonight favor balls carrying in the air. The pitching matchup provides benefits to us, too.
Baltimore's Dean Kremer has an ERA of 3.42, but his strikeout rate of 17.8% is well below average. Kremer also allows more flyball contact than the average starter, and those who elevate against him tend to succeed. Boston's Josh Winckowski is much better at keeping the ball on the ground but has an even lower strikeout rate (14.5%), and nearly everything put into the air against him goes a long way.
Key Trend: The over is 11-5 in Boston's last 16 home games and 4-1 in Baltimore's last five road games.
🏈 NFL Preseason
Titans at Ravens, 7:30 p.m | TV: NFL Game Pass
The Pick: Ravens (-170) -- NFL preseason games are typically nothing more than scrimmages in NFL stadiums instead of at practice fields. Teams aren't looking to win games as much as they're trying to figure out who should be on their roster. But then there are the Ravens. Sure, they are still evaluating their roster in the preseason like everybody else, but they're doing so with the mentality that they want to win the game too.
That's why Baltimore has won 20 straight preseason games. Yes, that's right. The Ravens have won 20 straight preseason games. It's incredible what can happen in the preseason when you care about the final score. Sure, the Ravens will eventually lose, but until it happens, there's no reason to bet against them.
Key Trend: The Ravens have won 20 straight preseason games.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: There's another preseason game tonight between the Giants and Patriots, and SportsLine's R.J. White has everything you need to know about betting it right here.
⚾ Field of Dingers
If we're expecting there to be home runs hit into the corn tonight, we might as well bet on who will hit them there.
- Patrick Wisdom (+350)
- Joey Votto (+390)
- Aristides Aquino (+440)
- Kyle Farmer (+450)