People of PHL Sports Nation, welcome to the world of sports betting. While many of you have surely seen the commercials, maybe even have the apps and place the occasional wager, prepare to have your scope on sports changed. While we will surely focus in on the NFL games as we get into the NFL playoffs, I will be dishing out picks for your average football-less weekday that will have you locked into A10 basketball at 6:30, AAC at 8:30, and staying up far past your bedtime to make sure your last parlay leg hits watching PAC-12 basketball into the wee hours… Welcome all, and as always, Trust the Picks.
7 PM EST – (8-6) Butler vs (6-6) Georgetown: Butler ML -125
What better way to kick this off than some good ol, middle of the pack, Big East basketball. Neither of these teams have done anything special this entire season, but it’s Georgetown that has been especially bad. The Hoyas just had a three week stretch of COVID cancellations that prevented them from playing a single game, and when they returned to action they got blown out at home by Shaka Smart’s Marquette 92-64. To add on to that, Georgetown’s legendary coach Patrick Ewing will not be on the sidelines against Butler due to COVID. Looking at the other side with Butler, they haven’t had an easy time getting back to their typical winnings ways, however they’ve simply beat the teams they’re supposed to beat and lost to the teams that are better than them. The one outlier to that rule is when they travelled to Oklahoma and beat them 66-62, not an easy feat by any means. One thing many college basketball bettors should always remain wary of is home court advantage, however Georgetown’s has been non-existent this season, dropping games to Dartmouth and St. Joe’s at home this year. Sure, you can take Butler -1.5 if you want, but I’d prefer to stick with the ML at such great value.
9 PM EST – (12-3) Indiana vs (11-4) Iowa: Indiana +5
This should be a fun one, and in my opinion, is a great spot for the Hoosiers. Iowa may have one of the best scorers in the entire country in Keegan Murray (#1 in the nation currently with 24.7 PPG), but with 11 wins on the year, Iowa as a whole is without a signature win, infact only 2 out of their 11 wins are against Power 5 schools. On the other side, Indiana is yet to win on the road this year, losing at Syracuse, Wisconsin, and Penn State. However in those losses, Indiana lost by 2, 5, and 3 respectively. While the ML at +180 is tempting, Indiana getting 5 as dogs in this game is too good to pass up and should make for an entertaining BIG 10 battle wire-to-wire. I do believe Indiana is the better team in this game that has the star power (Trayce Jackson-Davis) and all around physicality to match a potential Keegan Murray onslaught. I wouldn’t be surprised if Iowa wins, but this stacks up to be a tight knit affair.
(LATE NIGHT TEASER) 9:30 & 11 EST – UCLA -5, Gonzaga -10, San Francisco -4, USC -9.5: +300
First and foremost, if you are unfamiliar with a teaser, I highly recommend clicking on this link to familiarize yourself with the term. A teaser is one of the most effective bets in all of sports gambling that is seldom used. For tonight I selected 4 west coast favorites in the college basketball landscape that I really liked, but just didn’t feel comfortable taking at their original point spread.
First off, the Zags at home are always a great bet, and like the last few years, the Zags are once again one of the best teams in the nation. Tonight they welcome in a decent opponent in BYU, however when the Cougars have played away from home they haven’t looked nearly as strong as they’re capable of. Oddsmakers have this game as Gonzaga -15, which I don’t hate, but due to BYU being the strongest team to enter “The Kennel” this season, I much prefer to tease it down to -10. Simply put I know BYU does not have an answer for Chet Holmgren (not many do), and I anticipate a Gonzaga double digit win, which the teaser covers.
UCLA is ALSO one of the best teams in the country with their lone loss coming against the recently mentioned Zags. Tonight the Bruins host an Oregon team who have been nothing but disappointing this season, failing any and all of their tough tests and I don’t anticipate tonight to be any different. I actually like UCLA -10, but UCLA -5 in this teaser is simply the better play.
San Francisco -4
Start keeping an eye out for the Dons in January before they’re breaking your bracket in March. The Dons come into tonight’s contest at 14-2, with their two losses coming to Grand Canyon (IDK it happens), and their second loss coming to the king of the mid major, Loyola Chicago. Not only have the Dons taken care of the west coast small schools, they also traveled to Tempe and beat Arizona State, beaten Fresno State, UNLV, Nevada, and put a beat down on UNLV. Tonight Loyola Marymount (7-7) comes to San Francisco and I don’t anticipate this game being much of a fight. Loyla Marymount is respectable, so I’m not gaga for San Francisco -9, but love getting them teased down to -4.
Lastly, and far from least, we have the Trojans. USC was undefeated up until getting upset @Stanford a couple days ago, but that sort of thing happens in the PAC-12. Tonight USC is back at home and welcoming in one of the worst Power 5 schools in the country, Oregon State. Oregon State just recently snapped a 10 game losing streak, with notable losses to teams like Samford, Princeton, and UC Davis… Also the three losses I just named were at home. Oregon State is badddddd. I actually like USC at their original number -14.5, but adding them to the teaser gives it a bit more cushion, and much more fun.
Drew Bishop’s Picks:
OKC @ BKN U 218.5
Last night, the Brooklyn Nets scored 138 points in a victory against the Eastern Conference-leading Chicago Bulls. The elusive big three of KD, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving showed on national tv why they should be feared across the league.
Tonight will be a different story.
The Nets will return to the Barclays Center for the second half of a back-to-back facing a fiesty Oklahoma City Thunder squad. This means the unvaccinated Kyrie Irving will not be in attendance. On top of that, Brooklyn has announced Kevin Durant will be rested. Durant’s absence is deserved, as he is second in the league in minutes (37mpg).
But that’s not all.
Patty Mills (rest), Lamarcus Aldridge (foot), and Nic Claxton (hamstring) will also be unavailable. This leaves the Nets returning from a road trip down 5 potential starters.
On the other side, Oklahoma City boasts a strong defense with Lu Dort, Josh Giddey, and Darius Bazley. They are 13th in the league in points allowed. With the line fluctuating around +5, the Thunder (1-10 against team +.600) can’t be trusted to cover. However, betting on a slow offensive start from the tired Nets versus an upstart, young OKC team is a good bet. Take the under (218.5) or the first half under (112) tonight.
POR @ DEN (-11)
If you have a Portland Trail Blazers fan in your life, give them a hug, they deserve it.
Portland came into the season with a new coach in Chauncey Billups and a rejuvenated chance to make a deep playoff run in the Wild West.
Halfway through the season and it is clear the team’s biggest moment of 2022 will be the NBA draft.
Over a month ago, it was announced that CJ McCollum would be ruled out indefinitely with a collapsed lung. Fortunately, he has recovered and is ready to return, but he is ruled out tonight due to the birth of his first child this week.
Earlier this week, Damian Lilliard decided to undergo surgery on his abdomen that will sideline him for at least six weeks.
To put the cherry on top, the Blazers will be without Norman Powell (health and safety protocols) Anfernee Simons (personal) and Larry Nance Jr. (knee) tonight.
On the other side, the Denver Nuggets are coming off a brutal 87-85 loss to the Clippers in which they blew a 20+ point lead.
11 is a large number, but this is the best spot for a blowout on the entire NBA slate. Lilliard, McCollum, Powell, and Simons are the top four shot creators on the team and without them, the Blazers might struggle to put up 100. Denver on the other hand, is fully healthy (besides from the constant absence of Jamal Murray and MPJ) and primed for a bounce-back spot after blowing a lead to a lowly Clippers unit.
Neither of these teams are front runners in the Western Conference, but one is clearly undermanned while the other has an MVP candidate in Nikola Jokic.
Don’t overthink it, take the Nuggets and take them big on Thursday night.
Photo: Hoosier State of Mind