Good afternoon, I was wondering if you could help me with something. You see, I'm sitting here trying to figure out what the stranger sensation is. Was it watching an NFL game on a late Wednesday afternoon, or is it staring at a Thursday night without an NFL game?
My initial instinct is to lean toward the Wednesday game being stranger, but I'm not sure. It almost makes it feel like this isn't a real Thursday.
Anyway, while we don't have any NFL action, we do have two college football games and more college basketball. Also, earlier today, the NBA announced its schedule for the first four days of the season, beginning on Dec. 22. Not surprisingly, the season's first game will be a battle between Kevin Durant's old team (the Warriors) and his new team (the Nets). The Battle of Los Angeles will follow that.
What's more interesting to me is that we're only three weeks away from a new NBA season. That means we're only three weeks away from having NBA games to bet. Oh, what a holiday season it will be!
Elsewhere in the news today:
- Yesterday it was LeBron's. Today it's Anthony Davis' turn to sign a new deal.
- BYU is stepping in for Liberty to face Coastal Carolina on short notice.
- The MLB free agent pool expanded yesterday. Here are the most interesting new additions.
- Gary Parrish released his new Top 25-and-One rankings.
OK, let's make some money.
All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Louisiana Tech at North Texas, 6 p.m. | TV: CBS Sports Network
The Pick: Under 66.5 (-110): I've written before about the power of the wind, and tonight, in Denton, Texas, we shall all claim witness to the wind's power. Current forecasts for tonight's game at Apogee Stadium call for temperatures in the mid-to-low 40s, with steady winds between 10 and 14 mph blowing through. This causes offenses problems, as it affects a team's ability to throw the ball downfield with accuracy. It also wreaks havoc on special teams units. And all of that tends to lead to lower scoring affairs.
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The wind is not the only reason for this play, however. Louisiana Tech will be playing for the first time since Halloween, which could work for or against it. Its offense was not running the ball well, and a two-QB system made it difficult to find consistency in the passing game. North Texas has a two-QB system as well, but has had more success with it. Still, while the Mean Green are stronger offensively, they're a team that likes to run the ball. That'll keep the clock moving and will help keep us below the number.
Key Trend: The under is 6-2 in North Texas' last eight conference games.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: What's the Advanced Computer Model have to say about this matchup? Why don't you ask it? I'm not some sort of go-between! Take some personal responsibility!
💰 The Picks
🏈 College Football
Air Force at Utah State, 9:30 p.m | TV: CBS Sports Network
The Pick: Air Force -11 (-110) -- The good news for Utah State is that its defense has really struggled against passing attacks this season, and it's facing an option team in Air Force. The bad news is that just because Utah State's run defense is better than its pass defense, that doesn't mean it's good. The Aggies defense ranks 116th nationally in success rate against the run, allowing 5.15 yards per carry (102nd). The yards per carry don't worry me as much as the success rate does, because an option offense is built around "successful" plays (getting enough yards to move from a 1st and 10 to a 2nd and 5 to a third and short, etc.). The Aggies haven't shown an ability to keep many offenses from doing that, and offensively, they rank 123rd nationally with 1.15 points per possession. Air Force isn't a juggernaut, but it's hard to imagine the Aggies keeping up here.
Key Trend: Air Force has covered in four of the last five meetings.
🏀 College Basketball
Omaha at Drake, 8 p.m | TV: ESPN3
The Pick: Omaha +8.5 (-110) -- What? Weren't you expecting to bet this game today? Well, you are! One of the things I look for in college basketball are favorites who move slowly, and we have one here in Drake. According to KenPom, Drake's adjusted tempo of 69.7 possessions per game ranks 307th nationally. They milk the clock on offense and force you to do so on defense as well. That limits overall possessions and makes it difficult to pull away from teams. As does the fact that Drake isn't very efficient on offense itself. Omaha likes to move at a much quicker pace, and while it's not a great offensive team, they're sturdy enough defensively to present Drake enough problems in this spot to hang around.
Key Trend: Drake is 2-5 ATS in its last seven games as a favorite.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Legendary NFL handicapper Hank Goldberg is on a 41-24 run with his best bets. Here are his top three plays for Week 13.
💸 The DFS Rundown
Brad Roberts, RB, Air Force -- We're laying the points with the Falcons tonight because Utah State hasn't shown an ability to stop the run. Well, it only makes sense that we'd want to be on Air Force RB Brad Roberts then, doesn't it? While the Falcons spread the ball around in their option attack, Roberts has been the focal point. Last time out against New Mexico, he had 28 carries for 177 yards and three touchdowns. I don't know if he'll match that output tonight, but he'll get plenty of opportunities.
Matthew Murla, RB, Air Force -- Yep! We're doubling down on Falcons backs. In Air Force's last two games, Murla has had 16 carries for 87 yards and two touchdowns. He's going to get some carries tonight as well, and at his price point, he should prove to be an excellent value play.
Full lineup advice
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🏀 College Basketball parlay
A four-leg parlay paying +186.