It was reported this week that the NBA is considering possible changes to the regular season schedule. It’s considering shortening the regular season from 82 games as well as possibly implementing a playoff play-in tournament of some sort. I’m not sure what the latter would consist of, though I assume it would be similar to what MLB does with its wild-card game. Whatever it is, I don’t have a lot of interest in it unless it’s accompanied by a reduction in teams that make the NBA Playoffs.

As things currently stand, 53.3 percent of the NBA qualifies for the playoffs every season. Teams are more likely to reach the playoffs than miss them, which seems to go against the spirit of having playoffs, but the true spirit of a postseason is additional revenue, so I would doubt we’ll see a reduction.

One proposed idea that I could fully get on board with was the idea of a cup tournament during the regular season, similar to what European soccer leagues do every season. If the NBA goes that route, they’d likely “shorten” the regular season, but replace those games with cup tournament games.

I like the idea because it gives fans of teams who have nothing to play for something to root for. If you’re a fan of the Phoenix Suns, and you’re in what feels like an endless rebuild, your playoff hopes are typically dashed by December. Maybe you can compete for the cup though, as title contenders may not take it as seriously and choose those games to rest players. That’s typically how it works in soccer where the top clubs tend to play reserves in earlier rounds of the tournament, and then bring on their A-team when the games become meaningful.

Jason Concepcion had an idea for the cup tournament proposal that could make it not only more meaningful for the players, but more entertaining for fans as well.

As Jason goes on to say in the thread, imagine the excitement for the players at the end of the bench as they approach what could be the biggest paydays of their NBA careers. It would be awesome. I’m skeptical any of this will happen, but I hope it does in some form.

All odds are via William Hill.

1. Atlanta Braves at New York Mets: Over 8

As always, when Jacob deGrom is on the mound, I like to go against conventional wisdom. If you bet against the Mets in each one of deGrom’s starts since the beginning of the 2017 season, you’d be 40-31 overall and up 22.2 units. I’m not betting on the Braves here, though, because I like the value on the over a bit better. My projections have there being just over 10 runs scored in this matchup, which provides a lot of value on the total.

SportsLine senior analyst Larry Hartstein has nailed 17 of his last 23 MLB picks, and he’s back with three best bets for Friday, including one in the Braves-Mets matchup. Get Hartstein’s best bets only at SportsLine.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies: Rockies +180

If you’ve been following my picks for a while, you also know that I like to go against the Dodgers a lot because they’re often overvalued. This is one of those times. This game is at Coors Field, and the total is set at 12.5. It’s hard to predict what will happen in games with totals this high, and that’s even more apparent in the environment at Coors Field. The Rockies are just a much better offense at home. At Coors, the Rockies have a team wOBA of .382, which is the best mark of any home team in the league. On the road, the Rockies have a team wOBA of .281, which is the worst of any road team in MLB. Dodgers starter Hun-Jin Ryu has been phenomenal this year, posting an ERA of 1.27, but that ERA is going to come up eventually. Tonight’s game is a good place for it to start.

DFS millionaire Mike McClure is off to a hot start in 2019, and he’s building his best tournament lineups for Friday’s action over at SportsLine. Head over to see who you should add before locking in your lineups.

3. Arizona Diamondbacks at San Francisco Giants: Over 8

So far this season we’re finding that the over is the smarter play when it comes to MLB totals. Entering Friday night’s slate, if you’d blindly bet $100 on the over in every single MLB game this season you’d be up roughly $1,100 depending on where you were betting. Sure, that’s a horrible ROI, but that’s not the point. The point is the over is winning this season thanks in large part to a baseball that flies out of parks with a higher frequency than ever before. The over has been even better in games with totals of eight runs or lower, but I’m not picking this game solely for those reasons. I’m picking it because I think the total is too low for a game between two pitchers with low strikeout rates, average groundball rates, and xFIPs above 4.50. Oracle Park will always be friendlier to pitchers, but I still think this total is too low for this matchup.

Wimbledon is slated to begin Monday, and famed women’s tennis expert Gavin Mair, who called Osaka’s 2018 U.S. Open championship at 32-1, has shared his thoughts on the best bets for the prestigious tournament. Head over to SportsLine to see Mair’s picks.

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