January 2020

Basketball picksJanuary 31, 2020

Prepare yourself for an emotional roller coaster Friday night. The Los Angeles Lakers play their first game since the tragic accident that claimed the life of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others on Sunday. The Portland Trail Blazers travel head south for a showdown at Staples Center, the house that Kobe built.

Tip-off is scheduled for 10:30 pm ET, after what should be an emotional pregame. The Lakers are 3-3 in their last six games. Philadelphia, Boston, and Orlando have all beaten the Western Conference-leading Lakers in the last couple of weeks.

Portland is also 3-3 in its last six games, as the Mavericks have gotten them twice, and they also lost to Oklahoma City on the road. Portland is currently on the outskirts of the playoff picture, but it only trails the Grizzlies by three games. The Trail Blazers can’t afford to get much farther away from the eight spot.

Here is a betting preview of a game that will likely take a backseat to the celebration of Bryant on Friday.

Blazing, Kind Of

The Blazers seem to be in the same position each season, good enough to make the playoffs, not good enough to win a championship. Rodney Hood and Jusuf Nurkic have been ruled out indefinitely, so the Blazers have to move forward without them.

Carmelo Anthony made his return to the NBA with the Trail Blazers and has played well in his 33 starts, averaging 15.6 points and 6.7 boards per game.

Hassan Whiteside has brought the intensity from Miami to Portland this season. The big man is averaging 15.6 points and 14 rebounds on the season. He may not have Nurkic’s shooting ability, but he can bang with the bigs down low with the best of them.

More Than Basketball

For the Lakers, Friday night’s game means so much more than just basketball. I’m sure there won’t be a dry eye in Staples Center. The question becomes, will they play great in Kobe’s honor, or will they be too overcome with emotion to remain focused on basketball.

It honestly wouldn’t surprise anyone if LeBron James put this team on his back the rest of the way in honor of his fallen hero.

James and Anthony Davis have led the Lakers to 36 wins already, with a three-game lead in the Western Conference. They combine for over 50 points, 17 rebounds, and 14 assists a game.

Davis and fellow big man Javale McGee are both day-to-day headed into Friday night, so it’s up in the air if Davis’ production will be available.

The Night of Remembrance

It’ll be a night of remembering and honoring a legend at Staples Center. A night you won’t want to miss.

Only two teams in the league have covered the spread less than the Blazers. They’ve only covered 18 times this season. The Lakers haven’t been extremely proficient at covering either, as they are 24-21-1 against the spread this season.

The Lakers are favored by 13 with an over/under of 230 in this showdown. Personally, I was hoping for a spread of 8 or 24, but 13 works. Be sure to tune in for a once-in-a-lifetime tribute.

For more on this matchup, check out our matchup page. For more action from around the league, check out our NBA Public Consensus page.


Basketball picksJanuary 28, 2020

The Zion Williamson show finally goes on the road on Tuesday. The New Orleans Pelicans head to Cleveland for a game with the Cavaliers. An away crowd will finally get a look at the phenom that is Zion, and vice versa. The Pelicans have lost two of his three starts at home. Tip-off is set for 7:30 pm ET at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Zion mania was running rampant until the recent news of NBA legend Kobe Bryant’s passing overtook the news cycle. Williamson will look to capture some of that mania back, and maybe a little of that Kobe magic on Tuesday night.

The Cavaliers will need every ounce of their home crowd to thwart the excitement around this kid. New Orleans is an eight-point favorite, with an over/under of 233.

Staying In Contention

New Orleans sits 13th in the Western Conference standings, coming in with an overall record of 18-29. Williamson has only played three games on the season so far, but did the Pelicans do enough to stay in contention for the playoffs while he was out?

They sit only 4.5 games in back of the eighth spot, and much of that has to do with the improved play of Brandon Ingram.

Ingram is averaging 25 points per game this season, up from 16 and 18 in his previous two seasons. Unfortunately, the Pelicans don’t seem to be going the way Ingram goes, as they are 3-7 when he scores at least 30 points.

Offensively, they will figure it out. Defensively, well, hopefully, Zion was that missing piece, because the Pelicans’ defense currently ranks 28th in the league and is far from a postseason defense.

Seven Out of Eight Is Bad

The Cavaliers finally pulled a win out on Monday night, beating the Pistons 115-100, avoiding what would have been their eighth straight loss. It’s another season reminiscent of years past for Cleveland, a reminder of the first time LeBron James left.

On a positive note, second-year guard Collin Sexton has played well this season, averaging over 19 points per game.

Rookie point guard Darius Garland has also played well, putting up 12.3 points and 3.2 assists per game. Predictably, the Cavaliers are led offensively by Kevin Love, the walking double-double. He’s averaging 17.4 points and 10 rebounds.

Much like their opponent, the Cavaliers have struggled on defense. Unlike the Pelicans, the Cavaliers’ offense also ranks in the bottom five league-wide.

Trending Backwards

It may seem like a time to take advantage of a lopsided spread for a team on the road. Maybe Zion mania has taken over Vegas too, but there is a reason that the Pelicans are favored by eight on the road. That being said, Williamson has only played three games, all at home.

The Cavaliers are 8-8-1 against the spread as home underdogs this season, but they are no strangers to being the dog at home. The Pelicans are 2-1 against the spread as road favorites.

They’re also 23-22-2 against the spread overall, while the Cavs are well below .500 overall.

For more info on this game, check out our matchup page. For more action from around the NBA, check out our NBA Public Consensus page.


Football picksJanuary 22, 2020

Here it is, the last one. Your last chance to win big in NFL football until September. It’s all come down to the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers, and if you’ve been following along with these playoffs, this is the way it should be.

You’ve got a team in the 49ers that has come out of the gates pounding in both of their games. On the other side are the Chiefs, who’ve had two bad first quarters, followed by six quarters of greatness.

The Chiefs’ slow starts haven’t hampered them from running the score up in the playoffs. Their bend but don’t break defense has held up well enough to skate past the Texans and Titans with ease.

The Niners have also made it look extremely easy. Jimmy Garoppolo was only forced to pass eight times against the Packers, and the San Francisco defense barely broke a sweat, holding Aaron Rodgers scoreless for the first 30 minutes of the game.

Let’s take a closer look at our betting preview for the big game.

Hail to the Chief

Kansas City’s success in the playoffs can be summed up in two words: Patrick Mahomes. That’s not to put down the rest of the team; only that the NFL hasn’t really seen anything like his past two performances.

Mahomes has nine total touchdowns in the playoffs. He’s completed 65.7% of his passes for 615 yards, has a 131.5 passer rating, and has rushed for 106 yards. Catch him if you can.

Damien Willams, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce have been astoundingly good complements to Mahomes. Even Sammy Watkins is flashing some vintage Watkins highlights in the playoffs. He leads the team with 190 receiving yards in the postseason.

Defensively, it seems like defensive back Daniel Sorensen has been all over the field. He leads the team in tackles and has a forced fumble in the postseason.

They’re Back

San Francisco is back in the Super Bowl after an eight-year absence. After suffering through a couple of rough seasons, GM John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan have returned the Niners to prominence.

Of course, the acquisition of Garoppolo, among others, has helped. The Niners defense is stout, not far off of the Patriots’ regular-season defense, but it’s been their running game that has been winning these playoff games.

In their first playoff win, the 49ers relied on dual-threat back Tevin Coleman. But Coleman went down early on Sunday against the Packers with an elbow injury. Raheem Mostert then completely took the game over, running for 220 yards and an amazing four touchdowns. Garoppolo only had to throw eight passes to secure a 17-point victory. Just as expected, right?

But Did They Cover?

Interestingly enough, these two teams have covered a lot of spreads this season. The Chiefs are the top-ranked team in the NFL at covering, and the Niners come in at third, with 12-5-1 and 11-6-1 records, respectively.

That should make things even more interesting when looking at the spread. The Chiefs are favored by -1.5 right now, with an over/under of 54. So go pick it correctly, maybe right some wrongs from earlier in the season, on your last chance.

For more on this matchup, check out our matchup page. You can also check out our NFL Public Consensus page.


Basketball picksJanuary 22, 2020

Just as we all expected a few weeks before the All-Star break, the Nuggets have four more wins and lead the Rockets by a few spots in the West. This makes Wednesday night’s matchup even more interesting. Denver heads to Houston to try and extend its lead over the Rockets and catch up with the Lakers and Clippers. Denver sits tied for third in the conference, while Houston sits at sixth.

Since losing to the Cavaliers, Denver has won three of its last four, dropping one game to the Pacers. The Rockets are on a nosedive, as they’ve lost four straight and five of their last six games. James Harden and company can’t afford to drop another one, so they better bring their A-game Wednesday night.

The Rockets are favored by 8.5 points in this one, with the over/under at 229.5. Let’s take a betting preview of this game.

Diggin’ For Gold

The Nuggets have been red hot this season. No one thought they’d be bad, but how many could’ve predicted 30-13 and third in the West at this point in the season? Led by Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, Denver doesn’t look to slow down anytime soon. Jokic is averaging 19.4 points and 10 rebounds per game, leading the team in both categories.

Murray has been showing why he was a high draft pick this season, putting up 17.6 points and 4.6 assists per game. Denver exemplifies the definition of team sport. It’s all five of the Nuggets players swarming you for four straight quarters. Fighting for every rebound and often winning the turnover battle.

Houston, We Have a Problem

The Rockets would like to forget these past few weeks, losing to teams they should beat with ease. Houston averages over 118 points per game, but that’s been cut down to around 109 in its last four. That’s not great when your defense is giving up nearly 118 over the last four.

Houston needs to improve the 15 turnovers per game it is committing. The Rockets rank 15th in the league in turnovers per game.

Harden and Russell Westbrook have been an interesting duo since being reunited, to say the least. Harden is averaging an astounding 36.9 points per game while putting up 7.4 assists. Westbrook is putting up 25.3 points and 7.3 assists, also adding over seven boards per game to the mix. And of course, that Westbrook tenacity.

More Than Expected

The 8.5-point spread is surprising to me. Even with the Rockets at home, Denver has just looked like the better team the past few weeks. Houston may have the talent, but it’s been Denver with the heart and soul to win close games. Wednesday night should give us an idea of just how good Denver can be down the stretch.

For more on this matchup, check out our matchup page. And for more from around the NBA, go to our NBA public consensus page.


Basketball picksJanuary 15, 2020

The Orlando Magic will head from their own coast to the West Coast Wednesday night to square off with the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers. Orlando has won three of its last four and sits seventh in the Eastern Conference.

The Lakers look for a 10th straight win, as they haven’t lost since their Christmas Day game against the Clippers. The Lakers’ Anthony Davis is questionable headed into the game, and they are in no rush to bring him back with the team winning.

The Magic come in with Aaron Gordon, D.J. Augustine, and Michael Carter-Williams all on the injury report and questionable to return Wednesday night. Gordon and Augustine combine for nearly 24 points per game that Orlando will have to replace in its rotation.

If Davis ends up sitting out another game, the Lakers will be missing their leader in points, rebounds, and blocks, but that hasn’t slowed LeBron James and company down yet. Check out our betting preview for this contest.

Uh Oh, It’s Magic

The Magic have played well this season under new head coach Steve Clifford; unfortunately, not quite well enough to be above .500. They come into the contest at 19-21, 16 games out of first in the Eastern Conference.

Starting center Nikola Vucevic has led the way for the team, averaging 18.8 points and 11.4 rebounds per game. The combination of Vucevic, Jonathan Isaac, and Mo Bamba as proven shot-blockers, has propelled the team to fifth in the league in shots blocked.

Orlando’s starting guards have played well all season, Evan Fournier leads the team in scoring, putting up 19.2 per game. Markelle Fultz has shown vast improvement since being moved to the Magic. Fultz is averaging 11.5 points and 4.5 assists per game.

He’s shooting over 46 percent from the field, which has to be even better than the Magic anticipated when acquiring him. It seems Fultz’s shot isn’t as broken as Philadelphia may have thought.

Man Down

Los Angeles has looked dominant at both ends of the floor all season. Although, one could say that Frank Vogel has had one of the easiest jobs in the league in coaching James and Davis together. Both have been outstanding offensively and defensively.

If Davis sits Wednesday night, look for JaVale McGee to help the Lake Show dominate the paint on both ends. McGee has averaged 5.8 boards and 1.7 blocks per game this season.

Dwight Howard’s return to the Lakers should continue to help in the absence of Davis as well. Howard is averaging 7.7 boards and 7.5 points per game in his resurgence chasing a ring.

Not enough can be said about the play of James this season. He’s playing, well, like James always plays, showing the ability to distribute and score at will, while he locks you down on the other end of the floor. Even if Davis is out, James should have no trouble leading the team to its 10th straight victory.

West Coast Offense

The Lakers are ranked seventh in the league in scoring and third in points allowed. It will be a tough task for an injured Magic team to keep up. Orlando is 19-19-2 against the spread this season, while the Lakers come in 22-17-1 against the spread.

At home, the Lakers are 11-8-1 against the spread. The Lakers are favored by 9.5 headed into Wednesday, with an over/under of 211.5. Time shall tell who covers with a near double-digit spread.

For more on this matchup, check out the matchup page. And for other NBA betting action from around the league, check out our NBA Public Consensus page.


Football picksJanuary 14, 2020

The NFC Championship Game is all set after insane Wild Card and divisional round weekends. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are headed out west to square off with the San Francisco 49ers.

We’ll see how many doubters the Packers still have as they face the cream of the NFC crop. The only doubt for those taking the Niners is whether Jimmy Garoppolo and the passing game can keep up with their own elite running game and defense.

In these two teams’ previous matchup this season, the Niners ran away with it, 37-8. That was also the last time the Packers lost a game. The Niners lost two of their last three regular-season games to the Ravens and Falcons.

One of San Francisco’s defensive staples, Kwon Alexander, returned a week ago from injured reserve and played 25 snaps and looks to play more this week. We’ll see if the 49ers have what it takes to slow down a red hot Rodgers. Read on for our betting preview of this contest.

Rodgers’ Re-Mergence

Rodgers’ numbers may not dazzle you the way they used to, but the veteran still managed to throw for over 4,000 yards on the season while coming up with 26 touchdowns to only four picks. His numbers may seem a bit lower than usual, and they are, but much of this can be attributed to him finally having a running game with Aaron Jones, and a stout defense led by Za’darious and Preston Smith.

Since head coach Matt LaFleur joined the Packers this season, much had been said about the relationship between the coach and Rodgers, but one thing is certain: Winning cures all.

Whether LaFleur has leaned on Rodgers and his number one wideout, Davante Adams, or whether he’s relied on Jones, the team has seemingly gotten better as the season has progressed. Whether it’s improved enough to beat the Niners remains to be seen.

Ground and Pound

The 2019 49ers, the ground and pound Niners, the NFC West champs. Whatever the mantra, San Francisco has remained one for the best teams in the NFL all season. What the 49ers aren’t able to accomplish defensively, their running game makes up for offensively.

Moving the ball and controlling time of possession all season, they became the first team in NFL history to have three backs rush for over 500 yards in Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, and Matt Breida.

It was Coleman who led the pack for the runners last week over the Vikings, finishing with over 100 yards on the ground and a score to go with it. One thing the Vikings did well against the Niners a week ago was contain All-Pro tight end George Kittle. Kittle was held to 31 yards on Saturday.

Deebo Samuel has stepped up in recent weeks, becoming the 49ers’ secret weapon. Watch for Kyle Shanahan to get the ball in Samuels’ hands in space and let him go to work.

Down on the Upside

The 49ers are favored by 7.5 points headed into the weekend, with an over/under of 45. The upside to taking the underdog here is that you’ll be betting on Rodgers. Always a solid choice. Rodgers has become increasingly hard to bet against over the years.

But with the spread right, it’s not hard to imagine the Packers covering the 7.5. It’s also not hard to picture the Niners running away with this one.

These have been two of the best teams in the NFL against the spread all season. The Packers are 11-6, while the Niners are 10-6-1 against the spread. Green Bay is 3-1 when coming in as road dogs.

San Francisco is 4-4-1 at home when it is favored. Bettors have their work cut out for them this weekend.

For more on this matchup, check out our matchup page for the game. For more action from around the league, check out our NFL Public Consensus page.


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