Former Pro Bowl pass-rusher joining Chicago on one-year, $10.5 million deal

Yannick Ngakoue has finally found his next NFL home. The former Pro Bowl pass rusher is signing a one-year, $10.5 million deal that includes $10 million guaranteed, according to his agent, Drew Rosenhaus. ESPN reported the signing Thursday night.

Ngakoue, 28, broke into the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars, where earned his first Pro Bowl nod in 2017 after leading the NFL with six forced fumbles. He was part of a Jaguars defense that season that spearheaded the team’s run to the AFC title game.

Ngakoue played for four teams from 2020-22. He spent parts of the 2020 season with the Vikings and Ravens before recording 10 sacks during his lone season with the Ravens. As a member of the Cotls last season, Ngakoue tallied 9.5 sacks in 15 games.

Chargers’ Austin Ekeler reveals temporary solution to help fix issues surrounding NFL’s running back position

Once football’s glamour position, running back is currently under attack by a system that has diminished their monetary value. Austin Ekeler — with his and his peers’ livelihoods being challenged — has offered a temporarily solution that could lead to better days for him and the league’s other top-tier running backs.

The solution was formed during a private meeting between organized by Ekeler that included some of the league’s top backs, including Ekeler, Tennessee’s Derrick Henry, San Francisco’s Christian McCaffrey, Cleveland’s Nick Chubb, New York’s Saquon Barkley, Las Vegas’ Josh Jacobs and Pittsburgh’s Najee Harris. The issue at hand was the financial hit that the running back position has taken recently, as many of the league’s best backs are playing well below their market value.

“All the running backs out there, what we can do in the short term is to continue to make an impact,” Ekeler said during a one-on-one interview with CBS Sports. “I’m going to go out there and try to score as many touchdowns as I can, play my game, be consistent, make a big impact. And also, when we get asked about it, have some type of narrative. For us, we need to have some consistent messaging when it comes to that. … That’s why we had to have those calls. Things like that are things we can do in the short term to help ourselves out.”

Ekeler is among the league’s top backs who are grossly underpaid. While his current market value is $12.82 million per season (via Spotrac), Ekeler’s 2023 salary includes a $6.5 million base salary and a $1.5 million signing bonus. He requested a trade this offseason over his salary before accepting the Chargers’ offer of an extra $1.75 million in incentives for what is his final year under his current contract.

Former MLB player Raudy Read runs into crowd to confront fan after completing double play

It was quite the scene on Thursday when an independent league baseball player made his way into the stands to confront a fan. Spire City Ghost Hounds first baseman Raudy Read, who spent time with the Washington Nationals, ran into the crowd midway through the 10th inning of Thursday’s game against the Long Island Ducks.

Read had just completed a double play to finish off the top half of the 10th inning. The 29-year-old then ran into the stands and chased someone all the way up the concourse.

Former MLB player Raudy Read completes a double play then immediately runs up into the crowd to confront a fan

— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) August 4, 2023
It’s unclear what exactly angered Read to the point that he raced into the crowd. Immediately after turning the double play, he threw his glove down, and before anyone could even react he was running up the concourse.

According to a fan who claimed to be in attendance, a man and his daughter had been calling Read “barbaric” names during the top half of the 10th inning.

Independent baseball Twitter account Indy Ball Nation reported that Read wasn’t ejected from the game. The fans that Read was chasing “took off running” once they noticed Read chasing after them. Indy Ball Nation also reported that Read may have been following another player into the stands, potentially to restrain them.

Read appeared in 14 games with the Nationals in 2017 and 2019, and he’s hitting .303 with Spire City during the 2023 season.

This four-way parlay returns over 7-1

With the exception of the NL East, which the Atlanta Braves lead by 11.5 games, every division in baseball is tight entering the first weekend of August. The 14-game Friday MLB schedule features only a handful of division matchups, but teams still have a chance to make up some ground. The tightest race is the NL Central, where the Milwaukee Brewers lead the Cincinnati Reds by just half a game. The Brewers host Central foe the Pittsburgh Pirates, while the Reds take on the NL East’s Washington Nationals as part of the Friday MLB schedule. The Houston Astros head to New York to face the Yankees, and they trail the Texas Rangers in the AL West by 1.5 games. The Rangers host the Miami Marlins in a three-game interleague series starting Friday night.

The Yankees are in last place — but five games above .500 — and could build some confidence if they can find success against Houston. Astros vs. Yankees is set for first pitch at 7:05 p.m. ET at Yankee Stadium. Houston is a -154 favorite (risk $154 to win $100), while the Yankees are +131 underdogs in the SportsLine consensus MLB odds. The over/under for total runs scored is set at 9. The 14-game Friday MLB schedule is short on big matchups, but there are plenty of opportunities for wagers. If you combine your favorite picks into a parlay, you can cash in big.

Before making any MLB picks or parlays, be sure to check out the MLB predictions and betting advice from SportsLine’s proven simulation model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every MLB game 10,000 times. It went 331-285 on top-rated MLB money-line picks (+357) over the past two seasons. It entered Week 19 of the 2023 MLB season 49-39 on all top-rated MLB picks this season and has excelled on top-rated run-line picks, going 11-3 (+504). The model also hit on Wednesday’s parlay at +548. Anyone following it has seen big returns.

For Friday, the model has locked in four confident MLB best bets for games that begin at 7:05 p.m. ET or later. If you successfully parlay the picks, you’d be looking at a payout of over 7-1. You can see the model’s best bets at SportsLine.

Top MLB picks today
After simulating every game on Friday 10,000 times, the model is taking the White Sox +1.5 (-152) against Cleveland. Mike Clevinger is expected to start for Chicago, while Logan Allen is the scheduled starter for the Guardians. It’s the same pitching matchup as last Saturday’s meeting between the teams, and Chicago won that one 7-2. White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson led the game off with a home run, his only one of the season, and Allen gave up eight hits and five runs. The left-hander has yielded 15 hits and nine earned runs in his past 13 innings.

Both pitchers are 4-4, with Clevinger’s ERA at 3.59 and Allen’s at 3.70, but the White Sox righty has been better recently. Clevinger hasn’t allowed a run in his past two starts, giving up five hits in 9⅔ innings. Andrew Vaughn also homered off Allen in last weekend’s victory and has 13 for the season. Luis Robert took the day off Thursday, and he’ll look to add to his 29 homers. Chicago lost its fourth in a row as the Rangers finished a three-game sweep with a 5-0 victory on Thursday. But the Guardians were just swept by Houston and have lost five of their past six. See more picks at SportsLine.