Hello, valued reader. I hope many of you are spending your Tuesday celebrating your fantasy football league championship. I am not. I lost my title game, and it's a feeling I'm more than familiar with.
I've been playing fantasy football for 20 years. The first decade I was in one league. It was a big-money league, and I co-owned a team with one of my best friends, Billy. We left that league a while ago and have spent the last 10 years running our own leagues. I run mine, he runs his, and we're both in each other's league. So, in my 20 years and 30 total seasons as a fantasy football manager, I have reached 13 championship games. I am now 0-13 in those games.
What makes it worse this year is that it ruined my perfect season. I went 14-0 during the regular season and won my first round playoff game. It was the first time I have ever seen any team go 14-0 in a regular-season in any league I've ever played in. But the dream died on Monday night, and it was Josh Allen plunging the knife in it over and over again. It would have been the crowning achievement of my lifetime (OK, top five). But it didn't happen. It likely never will.
But there is a silver lining to all of this. Want to guess who I lost the championship game to? That's right. Billy's team. I guess if I'm going to have my heart broken in a title game again, it's best to have it broken by the person whose heart was broken so many times alongside yours.
Now, let's catch up on our daily reading while I begin 2021 fantasy football draft prep.
- Is this good news for Cleveland Browns fans, or just setting up a back-breaking defeat?
- Speaking of Cleveland, this is definitely bad news.
- Who won the Yu Darvish trade? Well, according to all the Cubs fans I know, it definitely wasn't the Cubs!
- PETE PRISCO POWER RANKINGS. They're too powerful to follow proper style guidelines!
OK, let's make some money
All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
No. 18 Miami vs No. 21 Oklahoma State, 5:30 p.m | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Miami +1 (-110): As the spread suggests, this is a fairly even matchup, which naturally pushes me towards the underdog. I'm pushed even further in that direction when considering that Oklahoma State will be without star running back Chuba Hubbard, who opted to begin preparations for the 2021 NFL Draft.
However, the good news for the Cowboys is that receiver Tylan Wallace currently plans to play. Still, the offense isn't what has made the Cowboys successful this season -- it's their defense. But while the Cowboys rank 22nd in the country in points allowed per drive at 1.55, I'm not sure this is a great matchup for them.
Against the run, Oklahoma State's defense ranks 47th nationally in success rate and 50th in yards allowed per carry. Not elite, but still pretty good. When we look at how Oklahoma State does against mobile QBs like Miami's D'Eriq King, they aren't nearly as successful. The success rate drops to 47.1%, and that ranks 96th nationally. I think King will prove to be the difference here.
Key Trend: Miami is 4-1 ATS in its last five as an underdog.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Advanced Computer Model has been simulating the Cheez-It Bowl all day, and amazingly, all the cheese dust hasn't destroyed it. I can't say the same about my personal computer. So, the way I figure, if the Advanced Computer Model can survive the cheese dust, there's no way it can be wrong.
💰 The Picks
🏈 College Football
No. 20 Texas vs. Colorado, 9 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Texas -7.5 (-110) -- Different coaches take different approaches to bowl season, and that's certainly been the case with Tom Herman. Herman thinks bowl games are big games. That's part of the reason why he's been able to go 4-0 both straight up and ATS when coaching in bowls (Herman's Houston team lost the 2016 Las Vegas Bowl, but he'd already left for the Texas job). So that's part of the reason why I like the Longhorns here.
The other reason is I'm just not sure what to make of Colorado. The Buffs went 4-1, but I'm not sure how impressive a 4-1 season it was. They didn't blow anybody out, and their offense has been one-dimensional. The Buffs ran the ball 59.7% of the time this year (ranking 15th nationally), but they weren't especially good at it. They ranked 43rd in yards per carry at 4.75, but their overall success rate of 39.9% ranked 88th. In other words, they were dependent on big plays in the run game.
Well, while Texas has plenty of problems defensively, it's been solid against the run, ranking 42nd nationally in success rate and 26th in yards per carry. I'm not sure how much room the Buffs will find on the ground, and that will make it difficult for them to cover.
Key Trend: Tom Herman has gone 4-0 ATS in bowl games he's coaches.
Orlando at Oklahoma City, 8 p.m. | TV: League Pass
The Pick: Over 218 (-110) -- This total feels low to me. I do understand that both teams have been pretty solid defensively to start. Orlando ranks 13th in the league in defensive efficiency, while Oklahoma State's been even better, ranking eighth. I'm just not convinced that Oklahoma City's defensive performance so far is something that will continue, even though the Thunder were solid defensively last season as well.
I also see an Orlando team that's been terrific on the offensive end to start the season, ranking fifth in efficiency. So, while I wouldn't expect this game to fly into the 230-point range with ease, it does feel like both teams will finish around that 110-point range we need to get over this total.
Key Trend: The over is 6-1 in OKC's last seven home games and 23-5 in Orlando's last 28 overall.
Bulls at Wizards, 7 p.m | TV: League Pass
The Pick: Russell Westbrook Triple-Double (+200) -- Shout out to SportsLine's Mike Barner for this tip on today's Early Edge podcast. Russell Westbrook wanted out of Houston because he felt like he couldn't do what he wanted there. What Russ wants to do is have the ball in his hands all the time. That's why he averaged a triple-double per game for three consecutive seasons with the Thunder. Now that he's with the Wizards, Russ has returned to those triple-doubling habits. Tonight he'll be going against a Bulls defense that has been incredibly friendly to all three teams it has played. At these odds, it's impossible to pass up the value.
Key Trend: Westbrook has had a triple-double in each of his two games with the Wizards this year.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: CBS Sports analyst Barrett Sallee shares his three college football best bets for today's two bowl games with SportsLine.
💸 The DFS Rundown
Giannis Antetokounmpo, PF/C -- It's a full slate tonight, meaning there are options available to us, so please consider me a genius when I choose the most expensive player on the slate. Yes, I'm just that smart. Seriously, though, Giannis is a great choice tonight. It's a good matchup against Miami, and while he's had three good games to start the season, he hasn't had that supernova performance yet. Tonight could be the night, and with so many options available, he might not be as highly-owned as he'd usually be.
Elfrid Payton, PG -- Against Milwaukee on Sunday, Payton finished with 27 points, seven assists and three rebounds. It was a monster performance, and it's one he's not likely to repeat. That said, he's still in line to get plenty of minutes tonight, and while he's not likely to approach 27 points again, he will see a high usage and fill the box score in other areas. For his price, he's an excellent player to slot into your lineups tonight.
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.