Thunderstorms are in the forecast for tonight’s season-opening SEC showdown between South Carolina and Vanderbilt. There is a 30 percent chance of showers and winds blowing 7 mph at Vanderbilt Stadium.Who’s hot?
Oakland Athletics – The A’s have won five straight heading into Thursday’s matinee with Cleveland. Oakland has outscored opponents 27-10 during this streak and is priced at -102 for Thursday.Who’s not?
Phoenix Mercury – The Mercury have dropped 10 in a row going back before the WNBA Olympic break. Since returning to action earlier this month, Phoenix has lost four straight outings and has posted a 0-4 mark against the spread. The Mercury have covered just once during this 10-game slide.Key stat
.217 – Angels rookie sensation Mike Trout is hitting the wall, going just 5-for-23 (.217) with eight strikeouts in his last five games.Game of the daySouth Carolina Gamecocks at Vanderbilt Commodores
Injury that shouldn’t be overlooked
Angel McCoughtry, Atlanta Dream – While it’s not an injury, the suspension of McCoughtry for violating team rules hurt the Dream Tuesday night, losing 84-80 to Tulsa – one of the worst teams in the WNBA. McCoughtry, who leads Atlanta in scoring, steals, blocks and 3-point shooting, was rumored to be feuding with coach-GM Marynell Meadors, who was fired earlier this week. The Dream are 9.5-point home favorites versus Washington Thursday.Notable quotable"It's just a matter of time before they get you, basically. And that's unfortunate. I think (Jon) Lester knows that. I think Clay Buchholz knows that. Your time will come."
– former Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett bashing the Boston media and sports culture in Beantown.Betting news and notes
-- The St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers are two teams planning on playing their starters in Week 4 of the preseason. Most teams rest their starters in the final preseason tilt. St. Louis is a 5-point favorite hosting Baltimore while San Diego is 3-point underdog versus San Francisco Thursday.
-- UCLA went 1-4 against non-conference foes last year and 1-6 on the road. The Bruins take on the Rice Owls in their season opener as 16.5-point road favorites.
-- UNLV and Minnesota have never previously met. The Rebels are 2-10 against Big Ten schools and the Golden Gophers are 5-2 against schools currently in the Mountain West.
-- The Dodgers are 50-4 when scoring five or more runs this season. Los Angeles scored 10 runs in a 10-8 win over Colorado Wednesday and is a -200 fave hosting Arizona Thursday.
-- The first two games of the Tigers-Royals series have been one-run affairs in favor of the Royals, who are 22-16 in one-run games. Detroit is 17-19 in one-run contests. Kansas City is a +117 home underdog Thursday.
-- The Deutsche Bank Championship takes center stage from TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts on this holiday weekend event that runs from Friday to Monday. TPC Boston has been one of the easier stops in recent years and there is no reason to think it will be any different this week. The 7,214-yard, par 71 layout is fairly wide open but it is the large greens that are pretty straight forward that contribute to the low scores.