Alabama vs. Florida College Football Week 3 Preview and Best Bet

 

 Emory Jones #5 of the Florida Gators rushes for a touchdown. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images/AFP

Emory Jones #5 of the Florida Gators rushes for a touchdown. Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images/AFP

 

They rolled in Week 1, but the Alabama Crimson Tide are the wrong NCAAF pick for Saturday’s game against the Florida Gators.

 

Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Florida Gators

at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

 

Well, here we go again. Fading the Alabama Crimson Tide can seem like an exercise in futility; they were giving up 20 points in their season opener against the Miami Hurricanes, who were ranked No. 14 in the nation heading into Week 1, and Alabama ended up winning 44-13. The Tide were up 41-3 in the middle of the third quarter before they took their foot off the gas. Epic. But then Alabama came up a bit short in their 48-14 drubbing of the Mercer Bears, who were 54-point road dogs on the NCAAF odds board. Maybe they just need a better opponent to motivate them – like the No. 11 Florida Gators, who welcome ‘Bama to the Swamp this Saturday. Once again, it seems the Tide are giving up way too many points as 15.5-point road faves at Caesars Sportsbook. It will take even more intestinal fortitude to fade them after what they did to the Hurricanes, but fade them I shall.

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Giants vs. Washington NFL Week 2 Thursday Night Football Picks

Taylor Heinicke #4 of the Washington Football Team in action. Patrick Smith/Getty Images/AFP

Taylor Heinicke #4 of the Washington Football Team in action. Patrick Smith/Getty Images/AFP

 

The NY Giants and the Washington Football Team kick off week 2 of the NFL as they collide at FedEx Field for primetime Thursday night football. Both the Giants and WFT lost their season opener. As a result, they’re sitting at the bottom of the NFC East standings, along with the Dallas Cowboys, with a 0-1-0 record. However, according to online betting sites and the NFL odds, Ron Rivera’s side has a real shot to gain some ground in the standings this week.

The WFT is priced at -175 on the money line and at -3 (-110) in point spread betting markets with William Hill sportsbook. The total is trading at a low 41 points.

 

 NY Giants vs. Washington Football Team

Thursday, September 16, 2021 – 8:20 PM EDT  at FedEx Field

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Jazz vs. Celtics NBA Preview

Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena on February 24, 2021 in Salt Lake City, Utah

Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena on February 24, 2021 in Salt Lake City, Utah

Utah Jazz vs. Boston Celtics

Tuesday, March 16, 2021 – 7:30 PM EST TD Garden

The Celtics are currently two games over .500 and now have a home game against the Utah Jazz to continue their solid stretch in their last five games of 4-1.

The Jazz, on the other hand, have lost three of their last four games, with two coming in close games and one being a double-digit loss. The Jazz are averaging 118.9 points per possession this season and have a 57 percent effective field goal percentage. Both of those numbers are top three in the NBA. But they’ve been average at holding onto the basketball and don’t get to the line very frequently.

Of course, the Jazz are very good under the glass and have had plenty of second chances this season with an offensive rebounding percentage of 27.8 percent. They’ve been able to work the glass thanks to Rudy Gobert who averages 14.4 points and 13.5 rebounds with 3.4 of them coming on the offensive end.

This team is led by Gobert, Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley, who are all NBA All-Stars this season. Mitchell averages 24.8 points per game along with 5.4 assists and 4.6 rebounds while Conley averages 16.4 points and 5.6 assists per game. Jordan Clarkson is the second leading scorer on this team but hasn’t started a single game this season. Off 25.8 minutes per game, he’s scoring nearly 18 points which is quite admirable.

On the defensive end, the Jazz have also been terrific, allowing teams to score just 108.1 points per 100 possessions. They’ve also limited teams to a 51 percent effective field goal percentage and have done very well on the defensive glass, limiting opponents to 23.3 percent offensive rebounds. The one area where the Jazz have struggled is forcing turnovers but by forcing tough shots and rebounding on the defensive end while also limiting fouls, it has helped minimize the damage of not getting turnovers.

The Celtics are scoring 114.3 points per 100 possessions this season and have a 54.1 percent effective field goal percentage. They’ve been average at holding onto the basketball but against the Jazz, they’ll at least get shots up. The Celtics will have their hands full on the offensive glass. They’re fourth in the league in offensive rebounding percentage but have to take on the Jazz, who are fourth in the league in defensive rebounding. Also, don’t expect to see the Celtics at the line very often.

The Celtics are led by a tandem of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Combined, they’ve averaged just under 50 points per game and get about 34 minutes per game each. Tristian Thompson is the main rebounder for the Celtics and has his hands full along with Daniel Theis. Their rebounding will be crucial if they want to stay in this game.

Defensively, the Celtics are allowing 112.5 points per 100 possessions and have also allowed an effective field goal percentage of 54.2 percent. On top of that, the Celtics are no real threat in forcing turnovers. We’ll see turnovers about 14 percent of the time from the Jazz in this game on average. While the Celtics dominate on the glass offensively, they haven’t nearly been the same on the defensive glass but also don’t foul very often which is a good sign.

Prediction

The Jazz haven’t been perfect recently but this is a match-up where they should shine getting better shots and cleaning the glass. Neither team will get to the foul line often and turnovers will be about the same but the Jazz have better numbers in many of the four factors. I’ll take the Jazz, on the road, to cover.

NBA Pick: Jazz -4.5 (-110) at Bet365

Blues vs. Kings NHL Preview

Dustin Brown #23 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrates his goal with Anze Kopitar #11 during the second period against the San Jose Sharks at Staples Center on February 9, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images/AFP

Dustin Brown #23 of the Los Angeles Kings celebrates his goal with Anze Kopitar #11 at Staples Center on February 9, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images/AFP

 

A pair of West Division rivals will face off on Friday night when the Blues skate into Los Angeles to take on the Kings. Let’s analyze this matchup and keep cashing our NHL picks!

 

St. Louis Blues vs. Los Angeles Kings

Friday, March 5, 2021 – 9:00 PM ET at Staples Center

The Blues are picking up momentum after dropping three straight at home to the Sharks and the Kings (twice). Since then, St. Louis has hit the highway and the results have been just what the doctor ordered with a win over San Jose and then a double-dipper against the Ducks in Anaheim.

Entering tonight’s game, the Blues sit in second place in the West, trailing the Golden Knights by just a point. In their last outing on Wednesday night, St. Louis’ anemic power-play unit caught fire and converted on all three of their man-advantaged situations with Oskar Sundqvist, Brayden Schenn, and Zach Sanford all lighting the lamp for the Blues in their 3-2 win over Anaheim.

Jordan Binnington was back between the pipes on Wednesday and was sharp in turning aside 27 of 29 shots in the win over the Ducks. The 27-year-old was pulled in the first game of this current road trip after allowing four goals on 19 shots and went after several Sharks before exiting the game. Backup Ville Husso would come on in relief and hold down the fort in a come-from-behind 7-6 St. Louis victory on Sunday.

Coach Berube decided to give Binnington a breather in the following game after his uncharacteristic outburst in the previous game and Husso picked up a 5-4 win against Anaheim on Monday night.

Kings Getting Crowned

It’s been a rollercoaster season for the Kings with more valleys than peaks, and right now they are desperately trying to shake off the funk of a three-game skid after winning six straight. LA allowed only 1.16 goals per game during that six-game stretch but has allowed 3.33 goals per game over their current slide.

After defeating the Coyotes in two consecutive games on Phoenix’s home ice just a few weeks earlier, the Kings bowed 3-2 on Wednesday, victimized by a pair of power-play goals.

“Obviously our penalty kill let us down tonight,” coach Todd MacLellan said. “We made two critical mistakes, and they capitalized on the mistakes that we saw last year in our penalty kill. We think we’ve corrected them, and they’re creeping back in, so we’ve got work to do there.”

It should be noted that the Kings outshot the Coyotes, 42-23, and had a big edge in faceoffs, winning 30 of 48 draws.

Wanna Make a Bet?

It’s hard not to notice the Blues’ gaudy record away from the Enterprise Center, having won nine of 11 on the highway, which makes them the second-best road team in the league, with the Maple Leafs holding the top spot at 9-1-1.

However, we should also note that the Blues have lost three of four this season to the Kings, but all of those games were held in St. Louis where they are a disappointing 4-6-2 at the Enterprise Center. It’s a bit ironic giving a checkmark to the road team based on the venue but the numbers don’t lie.

Speaking of numbers, the early NHL odds on this game over at SugarHouse reveal the Blues as -120 chalk and that’s not all that surprising considering they have been such a dominant force away from home this year. But just because they have been beasts on the road this season doesn’t mean we blindly tail them. We have to consider the Kings’ domination over the Blues, having won their last three meetings this season and outscoring them 11-4 in those contests.

St. Louis is 1-4 in their last five Friday games and if LA’s goalie rotation remains intact, I believe we will be seeing Calvin Petersen tending the twine for the Kings. That would be a big boon to LA’s defense because Petersen has been outplaying Jonathan Quick this season. You might also recall he was superb in the last game played between these clubs when he stopped 35 of 36 shots in LA’s 2-1 win over St. Louis on February 24th.

As good as the Blues have been on the road, that won’t last forever and the Kings match up well against St. Louis. This is a good spot to bet the sharp side without laying a nickel in vig – take the Kings on Friday night.

Free NHL Pick: Kings +100 at SugarHouse

Five Teams Ready for a March Madness Explosion

It’s that time of year again where the terms “last four in,” “last four out” and “on the bubble” take on a very important meaning when it comes to determining the 68-team field for the NCAA Tournament. Using ESPN’s Joe Lunardi’s most recent projected bracket for this year’s tournament, I have come up with my Top-5 teams to watch as the actual field begins to come together.

No. 5: Xavier Musketeers (Big East)

Right now Lunardi has the Musketeers as the ninth seed in the West facing Memphis in their first game. A few weeks back after they posted four straight up losses in six games, it appeared that the only way they were even getting in the NCAA Tournament was with an outright win in this season’s Big East Tournament. That whole outlook has radically changed after back-to-back victories over St. John’s and then-No. 9 Creighton this past week.

Xavier is still just 10-6 SU in conference play. However, it will have another chance to play spoiler in the Big East regular season title race with a win on the road this Thursday over No. 6 Villanova. It could also be a good team to wager on with a 4-2 mark against the spread in its last six outings.

No. 4: VCU Rams (Atlantic 10)

This is the time of the year when Shaka Smart’s Rams usually start to shine, and this season has been no exception. VCU is currently penciled in as a No. 7 seed in the South, facing Colorado in its first game. It is coming off its biggest win of the year with a 67-56 victory over then-No. 10 Saint Louis to keep its regular season title hopes in the A-10 alive. This past Saturday’s win as 4.5-point home favorites lifted the Rams’ record to 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games.

It would take a minor miracle to win the regular-season title with the Billikens holding a two-game lead with two games to play, but the Rams are well positioned to win the conference tournament, which would only enhance their position for the Big Dance.

No. 3: Georgia State Panthers (Sun Belt)

The Panthers have already wrapped up the regular-season title in the Sun Belt with a conference record of 15-1 SU, and barring anything crazy happening in their last two games against Arkansas State and Western Kentucky, they should enter their conference tournament riding a seven-game SU winning streak. Not only have the Panthers rolled through just about every team they have faced since a stunning loss to Troy on Feb. 15 as 10-point road favorites, but they have covered in four of the five games.

Lunardi has Georgia State entering the NCAA Tournament as the No. 14 seed in the South, with Iowa State listed as its first opponent. If it can continue its dominance in the Sun Belt with an impressive run to conference tournament title, it can only help its seeding for the NCAA’s.

No. 2: Kansas State Wildcats (Big 12)

While the biggest shakeup in the projected NCAA bracket might be Kansas earning a No. 1 seed over fading Syracuse, my team to watch in the Big 12 is rival Kansas State. The Wildcats are coming off a huge 80-73 victory over then-No. 15 Iowa State this past Saturday as two-point home favorites. This followed and impressive 60-56 win over Texas Tech as 1.5-point underdogs on the road.

Kansas State has been put in the Midwest bracket as the No. 8 seed, with matchup against Pittsburgh right out of the gate. This position should only improve if the Wildcats knock off Oklahoma State and Baylor down the stretch and make a deep run in next week’s Big 12 Tournament.

No. 1: North Carolina Tar Heels (ACC)

This is another program that knows how to peak at just the right time with an 11-game SU winning streak that has elevated the Tar Heels all the way to No. 14 in the latest AP poll. They already have a SU victory over rival No. 4 Duke in their pocket heading into this Saturday’s season finale in Durham, and they would love nothing more than to close things out with the sweep. North Carolina’s winning streak ATS reached nine games before failing to cover in its last two outings.

Right now the Tar Heels are penciled in as the No. 5 seed in the South Region, with Harvard listed as their first opponent. However, there is a good chance that they can continue this run to end up in far better position than that when the actual bracket is released on Selection Sunday.

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