Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman

Scott Cunningham - Getty Images

It's crazy to think the MLB regular season has just a few weeks left.

As the calendar has turned to September, some players have hit their stride, while others haven't been able to handle the pressure of baseball's stretch run. Even though there are only a few weeks left, we are going to try and steer you in the right direction for DFS, identifying who's hot and who's not.


Who's Hot?

Right now the hottest hitter in baseball is Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman. Over the last week, Freeman has 12 hits in 25 at-bats, with four of those hits being home runs. Freeman, who celebrated his 31st birthday on Saturday, has been a monster at the plate so far in September, registering eight multi-hit games already this month. Entering Tuesday night's action, Freeman is riding a nine-game hitting streak.

One of Freeman's teammates is having an incredible run on Wednesday's in September. Not only did Adam Duvall crush three home runs and drive in nine runs in a 29-9 win over the Miami Marlins last Wednesday, but Duvall also cranked three homers and drove in five runs against the Boston Red Sox on the first Wednesday of this month. Duvall already has nine homers and 18 runs batted in during September and we are only halfway through the month.

Eloy Jimenez MLB: Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Spor

Currently the Chicago White Sox are on top of the AL Central and a big reason for their success this year has been because of Eloy Jimenez. The left fielder has four straight multi-hit games, and it's no coincidence the White Sox have won each of those games. Jimenez's biggest hit came on Friday night when his three-run homer in the sixth inning against Detroit gave Chicago the lead for good in the game. Jimenez also has six doubles so far this month and is hitting .347.

New onto the scene is Jared Walsh of the Los Angeles Angels. Prior to this season, Walsh had just 79 career MLB at-bats. If Walsh keeps hitting like he is now, he'll see plenty of playing time going forward. Walsh has hit safely in all but one of the ten games he has played in during September, including notching two hits in each of the last four games. The first baseman also had a stretch of four straight games in which he hit a homer before failing to leave the yard on Sunday. Walsh already has five homers in September.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have the worst record in the National League, but you can't blame Josh Bell for their struggles of late. Since last Sunday, Bell is riding an eight-game hitting streak with three homers in the last six games. Bell has been able to raise his batting average for the season to .242 after it sat at .194 prior to his hitting streak starting.

Alec Mills Cincinnati Reds v Chicago Cubs Getty Images

Shifting gears from the batters box to the mound, the biggest pitching story over the last week has been Chicago Cubs pitcher Alec Mills, who threw the second no-hitter of the season on Sunday. Mills held the Milwaukee Brewers hitless on Sunday, and in his prior start tossed six scoreless innings of four-hit baseball.

Another pitcher who has been electric over his last two starts has been Trevor Bauer of the Cincinnati Reds. Bauer has struck out 22 batters over his last 14 innings pitched and during that span has just a 0.64 ERA. Cincinnati is currently on the outside looking in on the playoffs, but a couple more strong starts from Bauer could be the difference in the quest for the playoffs for the Reds.

Aaron Nola Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Aaron NolaJohn Bazemore - Associated Press

One team who currently has a grasp on a playoff spot is the Philadelphia Phillies. The ace of Joe Girardi's staff is Aaron Nola, who has given up just eight earned runs in his eight starts since August. Nola was credited with a complete game shutout in his last start, but it is important to note the 11-0 win over Miami was just a seven-inning game since it was part of a doubleheader. he righty from Baton Rouge has struck out at least 10 batters in each of his last two starts, and now has four double-digit strikeout games this year.

Our final sizzling pitcher is Dinelson Lamet of the San Diego Padres. Lamet was impressive on Monday night, striking out 11 Dodgers in San Diego's 7-2 victory over Los Angeles. In September, Lamet has struck out 28 batters in 21 innings of work, as the Padres inch closer to the Dodgers in the NL West standings.

Who's Not?

Christian Yelich Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian YelichGene J. Puskar - Associated Press

One of the biggest surprises of the 2020 season is how much MIlwaukee outfielder Christian Yelich has struggled. Yelich has just two hits in his last 23 at-bats and has struck out 13 times during that stretch. After hitting .329 last year, Yelich is currently below the Mendoza Line, as he is batting just .195 this season.

Nick Castellanos started the season like a house of fire, seeing his batting average rise to nearly .400 in early August. Castellanos has been dreadful lately, notching just seven hits in 50 at-bats in September. While Castellanos is still a threat to homer in any plate appearance, he is coming up short when Cincinnati needs him most.

Out west, two hitters have a front row seat on the struggle bus. Rookie Jo Adell of the Los Angeles Angels is hitless in his last 17 at-bats, while Seattle Mariners first baseman Evan White has just one hit in his last 20 at-bats. With the Angels and Mariners separated by just two games in the standings, something has to give or both teams could find themselves watching the playoffs from home.

Framber Valdez Houston at Texas TNS

On the mound, three pitchers have already given up at least 10 earned runs this month, with Houston starter Framber Valdez giving up 16 earned runs in three starts. Valdez likely won't want to pitch in Los Angeles anytime soon after giving up 13 runs in starts against the Angels and Dodgers last week.

Milwaukee Brewers starter Adrian Houser actually has given up more runs this month than Valdez, but of the 17 runs Houser has allowed, only 12 were earned runs. Houser was the losing pitcher in Sunday's game against the Cubs, where Milwaukee was no-hit by Alec Mills.

After starting the season by giving up two earned runs or less in his first six starts, the wheels have started to come off for Miami Marlins pitcher Pablo Lopez. Following a loss to the Tampa Rays in his first start of the month, Lopez was crushed by Atlanta on Wednesday, giving up seven earned runs in just an inning and two-thirds of a 29-9 loss to the Braves. Lopez did rebound in his last start to beat Philadelphia on Monday night, but steer clear of Lopez for now.

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

Tom Pennington, Getty Images

In Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Bam Adebayo's 31-point and 10-rebound double-double led the Miami Heat to a 109-103 victory over the Celtics on the road. That was followed by a dominant second-half performance by Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins who led the Warriors to a 3-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals.

Tonight, we'll get the first of these two matchups. Boston will look to come back in their second home game against a Heat team that is clearly not at 100% healthy. Tyler Herro has been ruled out for Game 4 while Kyle Lowry remains questionable. Here are some of the best bets for tonight's and tomorrow's big Game 4s.

Please note that all odds and lines are from FanDuel Sportsbook and were accurate at 3:30 PM EST. Be sure to check for line movement or odd changes.

ECF Game 4: Miami Heat at Boston Celtics -7 (MIA Leads 2-1)

In Game 4, the Celtics rallied back from double-digits to make things interesting in the fourth quarter. However, Boston conceded Game 3 to the Miami Heat 109-103. On Sunday, Bam Adebayo was getting everything he wanted down low. He finished with 31 points, 10 boards, six assists, four steals, and one block. Ime Udoka will need to boost the presence of his big men down low, perhaps by extending Daniel Theis’ minutes or having him share the floor more with Al Horford. The major reason for which the Heat are considered the seven-point underdogs for tonight’s game is injuries. Tyler Herro has already been ruled out for Game 4, and the Heat have four or five other players in their lineup currently listed as questionable. This includes Max Struss, Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler, and P.J. Tucker. Butler is dealing with knee inflammation which sidelined him for the second half of Game 3.

Even if all of the players in the Heat’s rotation are good to go tonight (outside of Herro), Boston has not lost back-to-back home games since late October. Plus, Jaylen Brown is shooting much better than he did earlier in the postseason. In fact, he’s elevated his shooting to 50% from the field through the 2021-22 playoffs through 14 games played. Expect Boston to bounce back big in Game 4, with multiple players on the Miami Heat not at full strength.

The Pick: Boston Celtics -7 (-110)

WCF Game 4: Golden State Warriors at Dallas Mavericks -1 (GSW Leads 3-0)

Well, it’s looking like the Golden State Warriors are returning to the NBA Finals. With the emergence of Jordan Poole late this season and into the postseason, Andrew Wiggins’ First-Team All-Star season, and Klay Thompson’s return to basketball, Golden State has been simply phenomenal. Golden State is simply that good this year, with anyone on the team capable of stepping up. Stephen Curry erupted in Game 3, while it was Andrew Wiggins that caught fire in the second half of Game 4. Any given night, the Warriors have one or two guys who they can count on for scoring approximately 25+ points. Considering the Mavericks' struggles this round, particularly behind the three-point line, bettors should go with the Warriors as the slight underdog. Teams get swept sometimes. Just ask the Brooklyn Nets. The Warriors will bring out the brooms and sweep the Mavericks as they punch their ticket to the NBA Finals Tuesday night.

The Pick: Golden State Warriors ML -104

NBA Player Props

Golden State Warriors at Dallas Mavericks -1 (GSW Leads 3-0)

Prop #1: Stephen Curry, Over 27.5 Points

Stephen Curry has scored 31 points and 32 points over the last two games. He’s done so by converting at least 50% from the field in each contest. It makes sense that he would score at least 28 points in a series-clinching victory tomorrow night. Curry is averaging 27.1 PPG on 45.9% this postseason but has certainly put up more points and done so more efficiently over the last few games.

Prop #2: Luka Doncic, Over 3.5 Threes

Luka has drained nine three-pointers over the last two games. He’s knocked down at least four threes in three of his last four contests. Facing elimination and hoping to not let down the home crowd in back-to-back home playoff games, Doncic will convert at least four baskets from downtown in Game 4.

Tyler Herro (Left), Bam Adebayo (Right), Miami Heat

Getty Images

Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, and the Miami Heat held their own against the Celtics in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Likewise, Andrew Wiggins and Stephen Curry led the Warriors to a 112-87 blowout over Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks. Tonight, the Celtics play their second game on the road against the Heat. On Friday night, the Mavericks will look to bounce back after shooting horrifically in Game 1.

Let’s take a look at the best bets for the two NBA Conference Final Game 2 matchups set for 8:30 PM EST. tonight and 9:00 PM EST. tomorrow night.

Please note that all odds and lines are from FanDuel Sportsbook and were accurate at 4:30 PM EST. Be sure to check for line movement or odd changes.

Best Bets of the Night

Game: Boston Celtics at Miami Heat -2 (MIA Leads 1-0)

After a nail-biting series with the Milwaukee Bucks that the Celtics won in grandiose fashion, Boston conceded Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Miami Heat. Tonight, they play Game 2 of the series at the FTX Arena and hope to bounce back from Tuesday’s 11-point loss. One of the principal reasons for their defeat in Game 1 was the absence of Marcus Smart (foot sprain) and Al Horford (health & safety protocols). It remained a relatively close game until the third quarter in which the Celtics were outscored 14-3 to begin the second half. Derrick White filled in for Marcus Smart and was terribly inefficient from the field. He scored three points (1-4 FG) and had four assists in 29 minutes filling in for the Defensive Player of the Year. In contrast, Max Struss and Gabe Vincent did a terrific job of filling in for Kyle Lowry, combining for 28 points on 9-of-19 shooting. In addition, Tyler Herro had a good night with a pivotal 18 points (7-15 FG) off the bench. Fortunately for the Celtics, both Smart and Horford are expected to return tonight.

Head Coach Ime Udoka indicated to reporters today that Smart was probable to play this evening. Horford was cleared of health and safety protocols today making him available for tonight’s contest. For those of you who have watched the Celtics this postseason, Horford and Smart have upped their play and have been absolutely integral to the team’s success. Tonight, let’s take the Boston Celtics to take a game on the road in the same fashion that they took two road games from the Bucks in the last series.

The Pick: Boston Celtics ML +108

Tonight's Best NBA Player Props

Game: Boston Celtics at Miami Heat -2 (MIA Leads 1-0)

Prop#1: Gabe Vincent Over 9.5 Points
In Game 1 without Kyle Lowry, Gabe Vincent scored 17 points in 34 minutes on 50% shooting from the field. As Kyle Lowry is out again for Game 2 tonight, expect Vincent to score at least 10 points. Vincent has performed admirably while filling in for the veteran. Even when Lowry returns, it's quite possible that Erik Spoelstra will give some of Lowry's minutes to Vincent.
Prop#2: Al Horford Over 9.5 Points
After five straight double-digit scoring performances, Al Horford scored eight points or fewer in the last three games of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Bucks. He missed Game 1 of the Celtics' series against the Miami Heat after entering Health & Safety protocols. Since he was only out for one game, he shouldn't face any minute restrictions tonight. Horford should score at least 10 points in 30+ minutes on the floor.

Tomorrow Night's Best NBA Bet

Game: Dallas Mavericks at Golden State -6 (GSW Leads 1-0)

Dallas was annihilated by Golden State in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. This comes after the Mavs blew out the Phoenix Suns on the road in impressive fashion, punching their ticket to the next round of the playoffs for a series against the Warriors. Golden State shot an impressive 56.1% from the field in the opening game and finished with 112 points. Just as important as the offensive production, Golden State clamped down on defense. The Warriors contained Luka Doncic, who converted just six of his 18 field goals on his way to 20 points. Andrew Wiggins did an excellent job guarding the young playmaker. Luka's teammates didn't help out much either as the Mavericks shot 36% from the field in Game 1, and 22.9% from downtown (11-48 3PT FG) for just 87 points on the night.

While I think the Warriors will win again on Friday night, expect the Mavericks to keep things more interesting after such an abysmal night shooting from the field. Dallas will make the adjustments needed to make this a competitive Game 2 in the Bay area.

The Pick: Dallas Mavericks +6 (-110)

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Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Klay Thompson is coming off one of his signature Game 6 performances. Thompson dropped his second-highest point total of the postseason, punching Golden State's ticket to the Western Conference Finals after defeating the Memphis Grizzlies in six games. In the elimination game, Thompson led the team with 30 points (11-22 from the field and 8-14 from beyond the arc), eight boards, two assists, and three blocks. Considering the multitude of injuries he has fought back from and the adversity he has faced, it's quite amazing that the five-time All-Star has converted at least 50% of his three-point shots in three of his last four outings. He seems to be in great form entering this pivotal series with the Mavericks.

Dallas stunned the top-seeded Phoenix Suns and reigning Western Conference champs on the road in Game 7, 123-90, and earned a trip to the Western Conference Finals. Let's see if Thompson can remain scorching hot as Stephen Curry and the Dubs host Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals tonight. Now, let's take a look at some of the best bets and player props to consider for tonight’s big matchup!

Please note that all odds and lines are from FanDuel Sportsbook and were accurate at 3:30 PM EST. Be sure to check for line movement or odd changes.

Best Bets of the Night

Bet #1: Golden State Warriors -5 (-110)

Following a tough loss in Game 5 to the Grizzlies despite Ja Morant’s absence from the lineup, the Warriors bounced back and closed the series at home in Game 6. They take on the Dallas Mavericks, who’ve been absolutely unbelievable on defense. Changes made to the Mavs’ rotation by Jason Kidd worked flawlessly against Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and the Suns in the previous round. One surprise for Dallas this postseason has been former New York Knicks lottery pick, Frank Ntilikina. He's a player who has stepped up immensely this postseason, especially on defense. Throughout the series, Ntilikina held Chris Paul and Devin Booker to a combined 3-of-40 shooting from the field when he guarded them.

It will be interesting to see if Jason Kidd keeps his minutes up, or perhaps increases them after what was truly an astonishing defensive performance against the Suns. Unfortunately for the Mavericks, the Golden State Warriors have four efficient scorers who will need to be contained. The Warriors will cover the spread tonight and win by more than five points on their home floor.

Bet #2: Over 214.5 Total Points (-110)

Dallas scored an impressive 123 points in Game 7, and they did so on the road. I expect them to reach at least 110 points in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. The Warriors shot on and off throughout their series against the Memphis Grizzlies. Nonetheless, they averaged 111 PPG in their series against Memphis (666 total points scored by the Warriors over six games). Both teams play a style of basketball that stresses ball movement to find an open man beyond the arc. When Dallas or Golden State shoot 40%-45% from the field, they can score in the hundreds because of the high volume of shots they take. Dallas started taking more shots and playing at a faster pace in the second half of their series against Phoenix. By the half in Game 7, Dallas was up 57-27. In the game, the Mavericks went 19-of-39 from downtown (48.9%). Even more impressive was Dallas’ 56.8% shooting from the field. Although the Warriors are one of the best defensive teams in the league, a 214.5-point Over / Under for tonight’s game is quite low. Smash the Over.

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NBA Player Props of the Night

Prop #1: Jordan Poole Over 1.5 Threes (-174)

Jordan Poole has finally cooled down after a stretch of three 20-point games against the Grizzlies. Over the last three contests, Poole has only hit two or more three-pointers in one contest. Over those last three games, he shot a combined 3-of-17 from downtown. While Poole has been highly inefficient over the last few games, he’ll hit at least two three-pointers in Game 1 tonight. The odds of this prop reflect how likely it is to happen. Although Poole isn't seeing as high a usage rate as when Curry and Thompson were injured during the regular season, Poole should still see plenty of open looks in the 25+ minutes he should log tonight. Given that Dallas will most likely try to stop Curry and Thompson from beating them, Poole should see a few wide-open looks. He will knock down at least two from deep range tonight.

Prop #2: Klay Thompson Over 20.5 Points (-112)

Klay Thompson has averaged just about 20.5 points since he came back this regular season. Throughout the postseason, he’s played strong and for the most part, been efficient from the field. Through 11 games in this postseason, Thompson is averaging 20.4 PPG on 45% shooting from the field. I like him to hit the over here in his first Western Conference Final matchup in three years. After getting his swagger back and dropping 30 points to eliminate the Grizzlies last round, Thompson should have all. the confidence in the world heading into Game 1 in the bay.

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