MLB: AUG 15 Tigers at Guardians
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Good afternoon gamblers, it's Chris Bengel back with you on this Tuesday.

The 2022-23 NBA season tips off on Tuesday night, which means that all four major sports will be playing at the exact same time of the year. We've got a winner-take-all Game 5 between the Guardians and Yankees (which I'll have a pick on) in the American League Division Series at 4 p.m., while the Phillies and Padres will begin to do battle in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series later tonight.

There's just so much happening, so let's not waste any more time and dive right into the picks.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

Guardians at Yankees, 4:07 p.m. | TV: TBS

Latest Odds: Cleveland Guardians +135
  • Key Trend: The Guardians are 8-0 in their last eight games following a loss
  • The Pick: Guardians (+143)

If you've been following the days in which I've been writing this newsletter during baseball season, you know that I've been a huge Guardians backer all year. Did you really expect that to change with everything on the line?

The Yankees will be sending Nestor Cortes to the hill while the Guardians will be starting Aaron Civale. Give me the fresher arm, and that's Civale in this situation.

Cortes surrendered just two earned runs on six hits while striking out three batters across five inning against the Guardians on Friday in Game 2. Meanwhile, Civale hasn't pitched since Oct. 5 when he yielded just two earned runs on five hits in six innings against the Royals in his final regular season start. Since the All-Star break, the Guardians right-hander has conceded just two or fewer runs in seven of his eight starts. Civale has also been victorious in three of his last four outings.

This is likely going to be a low-scoring affair. Still, I like the Guardians' offense, which is actually swinging the bat better than the Yankees in the postseason, to do just enough to win.

💰 More picks

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets

76ers at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. | TV: TNT

Latest Odds: Philadelphia 76ers +3

The Pick: Sixers +3.0 (-110)-- Two of the Eastern Conference's best teams will go head-to-head to open the season with the Celtics hosting the Sixers. I'm riding with the underdog Sixers side of the spread and I also don't hate if you want to dabble in the moneyline with the positive juice.

I love the Sixers in this spot because the Celtics are going to be shorthanded in the frontcourt. Boston center Robert Williams is currently out of the lineup following knee surgery and will miss the first half of the 2022-23 season. With that in mind, a lot is going to fall on the shoulder of Al Horford on the defensive end and that's a recipe for disaster when facing one of the league's best players in Joel Embiid.

During the offseason, the Sixers added Montrezl Harrell to spell Embiid since the backup center position was a glaring weakness for Philadelphia in the playoffs a season ago. The Sixers also signed veterans P.J. Tucker, De'Anthony Melton and Danuel House to an already talented core that will be one of the top NBA title contenders this season. Oh, and James Harden looks to be in great shape for the first time in quite a while. Give me the Sixers to cover the small spread even in the hostile environment.

Key Trend: The Celtics are 1-4 ATS in their last five games

Phillies at Padres, 8:03 p.m. | TV: FS1
The Pick: Zack Wheeler Over 4.5 Strikeouts (-158)
-- I suppose you could say that Tuesday is a "Philly Special" of sorts. For my trusty strikeout prop bet, I like Zack Wheeler with a fairly low number against the Padres.

The Padres toppled the Dodgers and did it with their bats throughout the NLDS. However, it's also a group that has registered 76 strikeouts, which leads all playoff teams. Meanwhile, Wheeler has at least five strikeouts in three of his last four starts. The Phillies right-hander faced the Padres back on May 18 and fanned nine in a 3-0 win. Wheeler did surrender three runs in his last start against the Braves, but really just had one bad inning and wasn't picked up by the Phillies' offense. He should have no problem hitting this number in Game 1.

Key Trend: Wheeler has registered at least five strikeouts in three of his last four starts