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In Between the Lines: Chapter 3

Either the Tampa Bay Rays or the Los Angeles Dodgers will be your 2020 World Series Champions. The series is tied 1-1 going into Friday night’s game. Football is cruising right along with the NFL going into Week 7 and NCAA Football going into Week 8. However, it’s the first football weekend for the Big Ten.

With a stacked sports schedule comes fervent sports bettors. “In Between the Lines” gives avid fans and sports bettors exactly what they want. Looking ahead to the upcoming week in sports, “In Between the Lines” offers inside analysis on line movements and key stats.

Here’s what you absolutely can’t miss this upcoming weekend in sports:

1. MLB World Series – Los Angeles Dodgers vs Tampa Bay Rays (10/23/20 at 8:08 pm)

Game 3 of the MLB World Series on Friday night. The series is tied 1-1 following Tampa Bay’s 6-4 victory on Wednesday night. Walker Buehler and Charlie Morton will start on the mound for the Dodgers and Rays, respectively.

Buehler has been hot in the regular season, but even hotter in the postseason. In his four postseason starts as a pitcher, Buehler has a 1.89 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 19 innings pitched. Los Angeles also has a tremendous offense. Corey Seager has seven home runs, which is tied for the playoff lead. Dodgers right fielder, Mookie Betts is a threat to right handers like Morton. During the regular season, Betts scored all 16 of his homers against righties.

On the other hand, the Rays’ Morton has gone 3-0 with a 0.57 ERA and 17 strikeouts against four walks in three postseason games this season. Despite the Rays not having the same depth to their offense, they do have a top-six stolen base total (48) in the regular season. They are also above average on many fronts, including production in home runs, on-base percentage and runs scored.

The Dodgers are a 1.5-point favorite and the O/U is set at 7.5.

2. NFL – Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans (10/25/20 at 1pm)

This will definitely be a Week 7 game you won’t want to miss. The Steelers and the Titans are both undefeated at 5-0 so far this season, in which case one of these teams will give the other their first loss of the season. The Steelers opened the week as 1.5-point favorites. However, throughout the week, the line moved in favor of the Titans, now making them the 1-point favorite.

Two words for you: Derrick Henry. In last Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans, Henry finished with 212 rushing yards, 264 total yards and two rushing touchdowns. In addition to scoring the game-winning touchdown in overtime, Henry also scored a 94-yard rushing touchdown.

Yes, the Steelers are off to a hot start this season. This is their first 5-0 start since 1978. During last Sunday’s game against the Browns, the Steelers became one of the two defenses in NFL history (along with the 1985 Giants) to record at least three sacks and one interception during the season’s first five games. However, during Sunday’s game against the Titans, the Steelers will be missing inside linebacker, Devin Bush, who suffered a torn ACL that will require a season-ending surgery.

Will the underdog rise up? The underdog is 10-4 against the spread in the Super Bowl era when teams that are 4-0 or better square off.

3. College Football – No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes vs Nebraska Cornhuskers (10/24/20 at 12pm)

It’s Big Ten opening weekend. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Big Ten voted to postpone all sports, including football. Ohio State reached the College Football Playoff semifinals last year, and they enter this season as the Big Ten favorite.

Ohio State is a 26-point favorite going into their game against Nebraska on Saturday. Ohio State quarterback, Justin Fields, finished last season with 51 total touchdowns (41 passing, 10 rushing).

The Buckeyes have not only won the last seven of eight games against the Cornhuskers, but also the last five games. As far as covering the spread, Ohio State should have no problem. In their five-game winning streak, Ohio State has won by an average of 34.4 points. Since 1987, Ohio State is 23-8 against the spread in the past 31 season openers against FBS opponents.

4. College Football – No. 8 Penn State Nittany Lions at Indiana Hoosiers (10/24/20 at 3:30pm)

Another Big Ten matchup for the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Indiana Hoosiers. The Nittany Lions are coming off an 11-2 2019 season. Penn State has fared well against Indiana in the past. Since 2015, PSU is 5-0 against IU.

As of Friday night, the Nittany Lions are a 6.5-point favorite. They have covered four of their last five road games. And the Hoosiers are not so great against the spread. Their current record is 1-7-1 against the spread as a home underdog under head coach Tom Allen.

It’s also pretty safe to say that betting the under on this one would not be a bad idea. The under is 10-3 in the past 13 Penn State conference games. As of Friday night, the O/U for this matchup is set at 58.5.

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