Zach went over the Kings/Pacers trade in this morning's newsletter, and if you haven't read about it yet, do so now. However, I had a different reaction than nearly everybody else did to the deal when I saw it. My thought wasn't that the Pacers did great or that the Kings were clueless.
More than anything, I was suddenly reminded that the Sacramento Kings exist.
I mean, I know they exist, but they seem to exist in the black hole portion of my brain and can only come out to see the light of day when they do something dumb. This then got me thinking about if there's another major professional sports franchise in the United States that feels as irrelevant to me as the Sacramento Kings do, but I couldn't think of one. Of course, that could be because there's another team so irrelevant that I forgot they exist at all, so I can only say with 99% certainty that the Kings take the crown.
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But I've been following the NBA since I was a kid, and there have only been four seasons when the Kings mattered in that time. The most significant thing they've done in my lifetime is get absolutely hosed by the officials in the 2002 Western Conference Finals, and getting screwed by the refs is an awful legacy to have. If you're a Kings fan reading this, I'm sorry you've had to deal with this team your entire life, and I hope you're not taking this personally.
As for the rest of you, what's the most irrelevant franchise you can think of in major American sports? And why is it the Sacramento Kings? Think about that as you read these stories and get back to me.
- NFL scouts are confident Kenny Pickett will go to the Carolina Panthers.
- Our Chris Trapasso has Pickett going to Carolina in his latest mock, and he's also traded Aaron Rodgers somewhere.
- Larry Fitzgerald has shared his thoughts about Kyler Murray's social media activities.
- The USA finally won a gold medal!
To the picks!
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
The Pick: Over 236.5 (-110): Is tonight the night our Bulls Overs Are Back principle finally fails? Maybe, but we certainly hope not! For those of you who haven't been on the ride, Bulls games have been going over at an incredible rate since the team lost Alex Caruso to a broken wrist and Lonzo Ball to a meniscus tear. They can't stop anybody. Not only has the over hit in seven straight games and eight of the last nine, but the average Bulls game has seen 237.7 points scored.
Now, the difference is that the total for tonight's game is higher than any of the previous nine. Other than a game against San Antonio, where the total was 232 (the game finished with 253 points), none of the other totals have cracked 230, let alone reached 236.5. But there's still plenty of reason to be optimistic!
First of all, the Bulls defensive rating of 119.5 in 10 games since losing Caruso ranks 27th in the league in that span. Furthermore, the Bulls rank fourth in the league in offensive rating, and Charlotte is 11th (and 24th defensively). The Hornets also move quickly, ranking second in the league in pace, and they should be able to run tonight at home against a struggling defense. Finally, Bulls rookie Ayo Dosunmu has been one of the team's best defenders since Caruso and Ball have been out, and he won't be playing tonight due to a concussion.
Friends, there will be points scored.
Key Trend: The last seven Bulls games have finished an average of 13.3 points over the listed total.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: The SportsLine Projection Model sees a ton of value on the total tonight, but are the two of us in agreement?
💰 The Picks
🏀 College Basketball
The Pick: Louisville +7 (-110) -- It's been an odd season for Louisville. The Cardinals got off to an 11-10 start to the season, managing only two wins against top-50 teams. That's when the school decided to "part ways" with coach Chris Mack, but things haven't improved since. The Cardinals are 0-3 since kicking Mack to the curb, with losses to Duke, North Carolina and Syracuse. It's been ugly, and it's impacting this line too much by my calculations. The Cardinals aren't at the level we typically expect from the Louisville program, but Notre Dame is not what I'd call a juggernaut, either.
The Irish are 16-7 overall, but while they're 7-4 in nonconference, they've torn the ACC apart, going 9-3 through 12 games. That's got the Irish tied with Duke atop the conference standings, which is great for the Irish, but it's also misleading. The ACC stinks this year.
While the Irish are only 6-7 ATS as favorites this season and have only covered a spread larger than five points three times (-5.5 vs. NC State, -21.5 vs. Western Michigan and -20.5 against Chaminade). In other words, they're winning games and beating the teams they should beat -- which is great! -- but they aren't dominating anybody, and I don't see them dominating the Cardinals tonight, either.
Key Trend: Notre Dame is only 6-7 ATS as a favorite.
The Pick: Oklahoma +3 (-110) -- Oklahoma is a team that's not nearly as bad as its overall record suggests. The Sooners are 13-10 and only 3-7 in the Big 12, but they're ranked 48th by KenPom and the NET rankings. Basically, the Sooners are something of a bizarro Notre Dame (65th by KenPom, 62nd by NET) in that they suffer for playing in the toughest conference in the country, while the Irish are taking advantage of a weak ACC (I'd have Oklahoma favored by about 3 points against the Irish at a neutral site). OK, so I feel like I'm piling on Notre Dame when the Irish don't deserve it, so I'll move on.
This line is underestimating Oklahoma for two reasons. The first is that Texas Tech is a top-10 team, which boosts its stock in the eyes of the market. The other reason is that the Sooners have lost three straight and eight of 10, but those eight losses have all come to good teams (four of the losses have come against teams currently in the top 10), and five have been on the road. At home, the Sooners have fared much better. Meanwhile, all five of Texas Tech's losses have come on the road or a neutral site. Don't be shocked if the Sooners do more than just cover tonight.
Key Trend: Texas Tech is 1-7 ATS in its last eight as a road favorite.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine's R.J. White is 40-28-2 ATS in his last 70 picks involving the Bengals, and his Super Bowl pick is up and ready for you to read it.
⛳ Waste Management Phoenix Open Top 10s
We're betting on each of these golfers to finish in the top 10 this weekend.