I'm sorry to report that, compared to yesterday, it's been a pretty dull day in the wide world of sports. Aaron Rodgers hasn't made any announcements, nor have any more franchise quarterbacks been traded. Well, unless you consider Carson Wentz to be a franchise quarterback. I do not, but apparently more than one NFL team does!
Last year, the Colts made the move to acquire Wentz from the Philadelphia Eagles, and, after one season, decided it wasn't worth it. Now the Washington Commanders -- going to take a while to get used to that -- are giving Wentz a shot.
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Now, Wentz is an upgrade on Taylor Heinicke... probably. Is he enough of an upgrade to give up draft picks and pay more than $20 million a year for? Probably not, but, hey, if it doesn't work out, they'll probably be somebody else willing to trade for him a year from now.
- The Titans have signed a key member of their defense to an extension.
- Heavy is the head that plays alongside the one who wears the crown.
- Fernando Tatis Jr. and Big Papi are not fans of the proposed international baseball draft.
- Bracketology Bubble Watch!
To the picks!
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
- Key Trend: There aren't many trends that support this play, but Virginia Tech is 3-1-1 ATS in its last five against winning teams, so let's go with that.
- The Pick: Virginia Tech -5 (-110)
While there's no proven method of finding winners during the college basketball season, when it comes to conference tournament games, there are a few things I look for. Primarily, I look for good defensive teams that can shoot free throws. Another area I look to exploit is tired legs.
Tonight, we have a Virginia Tech team that ranks 54th in KenPom's defensive efficiency, shoots 74.6% from the free-throw line, and has been off since Saturday facing a Clemson team that beat NC State 70-64 yesterday. The Tigers rank outside the top 100 defensively and shoot 73.7% from the charity stripe. It's almost a perfect storm of reasons to take Virginia Tech.
Now, that's not to say there aren't concerns. These teams played on Saturday, and Clemson won 63-59 at Clemson. While the win wasn't a fluke, Clemson was at home, and it did benefit from a hot night from beyond the arc, making eight of 20 threes. Clemson does shoot the three well, but with tired legs in an environment like tonight, I like the Hokies to bounce back. They shot only 30% from three over the weekend, which is out of character for a Hokies team that ranks fourth nationally with its 38.8% rate from three this season.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Projection Model doesn't see any value on the spread, but holy cow does it love one side of the total.
🏀 College Basketball
The Pick: Kansas State -1.5 (-110) -- These might be the two worst teams in the Big 12, but the two worst teams in the Big 12 are better than many teams in the other power conferences. Kansas State and West Virginia split their regular-season games, with the home team winning both contests.
In fact, Kansas State's win over West Virginia on Valentine's Day was the last time the Wildcats won. They enter tonight on a five-game losing streak, and that streak is impacting the line a little too much. First of all, three of the five losses were on the road, and the only one of the five losses to come by more than seven points was the 102-83 road loss to Kansas. Defensively, while they have different approaches, there are similar results.
Kansas State's defensive efficiency ranks 63rd while West Virginia's at 65th. What separates the teams is offense, and Kansas State's is more reliable. To be blunt, West Virginia cannot shoot. If they were actual mountaineers living off the land, they'd be vegetarians. WVU ranks 304th nationally in eFG% and shoots only 45.9% (318th) inside the arc. They rely on getting to the free-throw line to score but aren't great there either. While nobody will confuse Kansas State's offense with an elite unit, I trust it a hell of a lot more than I do West Virginia's.
Key Trend: West Virginia is 3-11 ATS in its last 14 as an underdog.
The Pick: Penn State -3 (-110) -- As an avid viewer of Big Ten basketball, I hope tonight is the last time Minnesota plays this season. The Gophers went 4-16 in conference play to finish in last, and while they picked up a surprise win over Michigan in December, their other three wins came against Rutgers, Northwestern and this Penn State squad.
That win over Penn State was in Minneapolis by six points, but the return trip to Penn State didn't go nearly as well, as the Nittany Lions crushed the Gophers 67-46.
I don't think Penn State wins by 21 points again, but I expect this rubber match to look more like that meeting than the first. Penn State is not a good team, but they're very good at sticking around. This is mostly due to their glacier-like pace on offense, but they're tough defensively. They do a great job of denying easy buckets and making you work for a shot. The Gophers are also horrible on the glass, while Penn State is solid in that department despite a lack of size. They're also the better free-throw shooting team. We're getting Penn State -3, but I'd comfortably take the Nittany Lions anywhere up to -5.
Key Trend: Penn State is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 games.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: OK, I don't have any NBA plays for you tonight, but I know many of you prefer the NBA to the college game. Luckily for you, the SportsLine Projection Model has an A-graded play on the total in tonight's game between the Clippers and Wizards.
🏌 The Players Championship Top 10s
We were so close to getting two in the top 10 last week! For the uninitiated, we're betting on the following golfers to finish in the top 10 this weekend.
- Louis Oosthuizen (+500)
- Russell Henley (+550)
- Paul Casey (+600)
- Chris Kirk (+700)
- Luke List (+1200)