Happy Thursday! Today is not a great day if you're a Seahawks fan, but I can tell you from personal experience that it's the best day to be a Chicago Bears fan in a long time. Why? Well, the relationship between the Seahawks and quarterback Russell Wilson doesn't seem to be getting better. As our Tyler Sullivan went over today, a report from The Athletic states that while Russell Wilson hasn't demanded a trade, his camp has "broached" the subject with the team. All of which backs up the reporting of our Jason La Canfora from earlier this month.
The same report also mentions Wilson storming out of a team meeting. It was before Seattle's Thursday night game against the Arizona Cardinals. Wilson reportedly made it clear he wanted more influence within the organization regarding what the team did offensively, as well as the players surrounding him. Apparently, his coaches didn't want to hear it, which led to Wilson leaving the meeting.
So, yeah, the relationship doesn't seem great at the moment. But why is it a great day to be a Chicago Bears fan? Well, ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted on Thursday that while Wilson has not demanded a trade, his agent Mark Rodgers says that if he were to be traded (wink, wink, nudge, nudge), the only four teams he'd consider are the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders, and, that's right, the Chicago Bears.
So, while I go pre-order my Russell Wilson Bears jersey, you can read these other stories from today, and then we'll reunite in time to make some picks for tonight.
- We don't know where J.J. Watt will sign, but it sounds like he won't need to accept any veteran minimum deals.
- Tom Brady is having knee surgery that will sideline him for a while.
- Sam Quinn on some serious flaws with the Lakers.
- The MLB Offseason Awards. Casual attire, and pine-tar accepted.
OK, now let's go pay for this Russell Wilson jersey.
All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
No. 9 Iowa at No. 3 Michigan, 7 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Over 154.5 (-110): Why not root for some fun? This is a fantastic matchup tonight, and it's one I'm more interested in watching than anything on the NBA slate, and I'm hoping to enjoy myself while watching it. Fortunately, that desire coincides with a total I see being a bit too low. These are two of the best offensive basketball teams in the country. Iowa has the most efficient offense in the nation according to KenPom's adjusted efficiency, and Michigan isn't far behind in sixth. If there's a difference between these two, it's on the defensive end, where Michigan is much stronger than the Hawkeyes. That's the reason why, if I were to bet the spread, I would lean toward the Michigan side more than Iowa, but I don't see a lot of value on it right now. Maybe if it got to four points or lower.
I'd go over as long as the total doesn't get any higher than 158. Michigan might be one of the country's best defensive teams, but Iowa has seen plenty of good defenses. The Big Ten has six teams that currently rank in the top 30 of KenPom's defensive efficiency. Iowa has averaged 77.8 points per game in six games against them. There aren't many teams that can stop the Hawkeyes from scoring. And I know Iowa can't stop Michigan from scoring because Iowa has trouble stopping most teams from scoring. I think we are in for some good times in Ann Arbor tonight.
Key Trend: The over is 17-8-1 in Iowa's last 26 games as a road underdog.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: I was texting with the Advanced Computer Model about this game all morning, and it's just as excited for it as I am. It also has a strong lean on tonight's total, but does it agree with me or were we sending angry emojis back and forth?
💰 The Picks
Magic at Nets, 7:30 p.m. | TV: NBA League Pass
The Pick: Over 229 (-110) -- At some point, you have to stop questioning the validity of a trend or its sustainability and instead embrace it. That's what I'm doing here. Yesterday I was dumb enough to get in the way of the Utah Jazz Machine, but I'm not doing it tonight. The over has gone 23-10 in Brooklyn games this season. It's 17-5 when the Nets are favored, 12-5 when the Nets are at home, and 8-3 when the Nets are home favorites. Since James Harden joined the team, the over is 15-4 when he's played. On a night when there's not much on the NBA slate I like, I'm riding this wave.
Key Trend: The over is 17-5 when the Nets are favored this season.
The Pick: Real Madrid to win La Liga (+300) -- I'm taking a bit of a punt here. As things stand, Atlético Madrid leads Spain's La Liga by three points over Real Madrid, having played one fewer match. It's not a big lead, but it's not a small one, either, considering the game in hand, and I have some questions about Atlético's ability to hold on. If we look at underlying metrics, both Madrid clubs have been roughly the same with expected goal differential (xGD) per match, with Atléti at 0.56 and Real at 0.55 (xG is based on how many shots a team takes, where they come from, and the likelihood of them being goals. xGD is point differential, but for xG).
Barcelona blows both out of the water at +1.12, but as I went over when taking PSG over Barcelona in the Champions League last week, Barcelona are bumslayers. They run up their numbers against bottom-feeders and struggle against quality. My concern with Atlético is that while it's terrific defensively, I'm not sure it creates enough chances to hold onto the lead. It has scored 45 goals on an xG of 31.1, and 34-year old Luis Suarez is responsible for 16 of those 45 goals (35.6%) and 10.0 of the 31.1 xG (32.2%). I don't think it's crazy to think a 34-year old player might not be able to keep up that pace over the final 40% of the season. And if Atléti does fall, Real Madrid is the most likely to benefit from it.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Mixed martial arts expert Ian Parker makes his SportsLine debut with his top selections for Saturday's event in Las Vegas.
💸 The DFS Rundown
Full lineup advice
Get winning NBA DFS picks from SportsLine pros Mike McClure and Jacob Gibbs. McClure has won almost $2 million in daily Fantasy, while Gibbs crushed the NBA last season, cashing around 65 percent of the time in cash games and nearly 45 percent of the time in tournaments. See their DraftKings advice and FanDuel lineups here.