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USATSI

You'll have to forgive me if I seem a bit distracted today. As Pete told you about in this morning's newsletter, the Chicago Bears are "desperate" to land either Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson. Well, over the last 24 hours, there have been a lot of questionable rumors about a Wilson trade to the Bears getting closer. None of the rumors are based on anything I would consider reliable, so I'm not going to link to them here. But they exist. And they're loud.

And I'm paying attention to them against my better judgment.

It's a direct result of spending my entire life rooting for an NFL team that's been so horrible at the quarterback position that Jay Cutler is legitimately the greatest QB in franchise history. Think about that. Jay Cutler wasn't horrible or anything, but he spent his career gravitating between slightly below average to slightly above average, and that's the guy Bears fans can point to and say, "yeah, he was the best we've had."

How sad is that? So, if you need me, I'll be spending the rest of my day sweating my college basketball bets, as well as these Russell Wilson rumors. You should stick to the bets and reading these stories.

To the picks!

All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook


🔥 The Hot Ticket

No. 11 Kansas vs. No. 25 Oklahoma, 6:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Kansas -2.5 (-110)
: One of the nice things about the Big 12 having only 10 schools is that we end up getting some great matchups early in the tournament. This game is one of two Big 12 tournament matches between ranked teams tonight, and it's the one I like the most from a gambling perspective. The Jayhawks and Sooners met twice during the regular season, with the home team winning each meeting. Kansas beat the Sooners, 63-59, in Lawrence, and Oklahoma returned the favor with a 75-68 win a couple of weeks later in Norman.

But these two teams enter tonight's game having looked quite different from one another. That Kansas loss to Oklahoma was the Jayhawks' third-straight loss at the time. They've lost only three of 12 since and have won eight of nine coming into tonight. The lone loss was in overtime to Texas. Meanwhile, Oklahoma managed to beat a bad Iowa State team by six last night but finished the regular season on a four-game losing streak. Kansas is the better team right now, and it should win and cover tonight.

Key Trend: Oklahoma has failed to cover in six straight games.

Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Advanced Computer Model really likes one side of the spread in this matchup as well.


💰 The Picks

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🏀 College Basketball

UCF vs. East Carolina, 7 p.m. | TV: ESPNU
The Pick: UCF -5 (-110) -- 
Yes, of all the games available to us tonight, I'm choosing an AAC matchup between a 10-11 UCF and an 8-10 East Carolina. Maybe you don't want to watch it, but you can still make money off it. UCF and ECU met twice during the regular season, with UCF winning both matchups. The Knights won in Orlando, 71-64, and in Greenville, 64-60, last week.

Also, like the Kansas-Oklahoma game, this is a matchup of two teams heading in different directions. The Knights have won four straight and six of eight. The Pirates started their season 7-1 and are 8-10. Give me the Knights over a Pirates team that's likely ready to see the season end.

Key Trend: East Carolina is 2-8 ATS in its last 10 games.

Wisconsin vs. Penn State, 9 p.m. | TV: Big Ten Network
The Pick: Under 134.5 (-110) -- 
The Big Ten tournament is being played in Lucas Oil Stadium this year, and I couldn't help but notice how poorly Big Ten teams shot in Wednesday night's games and what I've seen early on Thursday. Apparently, shooting in a giant, empty football stadium with different sightlines has caused some adjusting for teams. So that is playing a role in this choice, but more than anything, I think this total is a few points too high.

When these teams met the first time, they scored 152 points, but things got slightly out of hand in the second half, with 87 points being scored thanks to an unending parade to the free-throw line for Penn State. The second meeting was a 72-56 Wisconsin win, and I think tonight's game will look a lot more like that one. Particularly when Penn State is playing for the second day in a row against a fresher Wisconsin team.

Key Trend: The under is 19-6-2 in Wisconsin's last 27 neutral site games.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: The Advanced Computer Model can't believe the opportunities it sees in tonight's game between the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics.


💸 The DFS Rundown

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Star Plays

PG: Luka Doncic, Mavs
SG: Paul George, Clippers
SF: Brandon Ingram, Pelicans
PF: Tobias Harris, Sixers
C: Karl-Anthony Towns, Wolves

Value Plays

PG: Ricky Rubio, Wolves
SG: Seth Curry, Sixers
SF: Danny Green, Sixers
PF: Jae'Sean Tate, Rockets
C: Kelly Olynyk, Heat

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


 🏀 NBA Player Props

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  • Steven Adams Over 1.5 assists (+105)
  • Danny Green Over 1.5 assists (-160)
  • John Wall Over 3.5 rebounds (+100)
  • Robert Covington Over 1.5 assists (-110)