Happy Wednesday, dearest reader! I hope everything's going well for you, but I come to you today seeking a favor. I'm here every weekday writing this newsletter for you, doing the research and giving out what I believe are the best bets on any given day. Typically, I ask nothing of you in return, but today I need your help.
I need somebody to explain to me what NBA Top Shot is like I'm five years old, but also like I'm a five-year-old with the attention span of a gnat. I don't want a long, complicated explanation using four-syllable words. I want it in the clearest, most concise manner possible.
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Like, what's the ultimate end game here? Because my honest reaction is that it's all the result of aging millennials trying to hold on to their youth, and NBA Top Shot is just the newest form of Pokemon cards. So, please, explain it all to me. Tweet me at @TomFornelli, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The best explanation will get a shout-out in the newsletter, and I'll personally send you a pick for Saturday that won't go to anybody else. It'll just be between you and me.
Before you rush to explain it all, though, check out these stories.
- I released my first NFL Mock Draft this week. I'm a multi-dimensional threat.
- Big Ben will be back in Pittsburgh next year.
- Tom Brady might be about to get an extension.
- Our Sam Quinn argues why it's time to expand NBA All-Star rosters.
Now, enough about Top Shot. It's time for some Top Picks.
All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Lakers at Jazz, 10 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Lakers +9 (-110): We're going slightly contrarian here. Not only does Utah come into this game having won a ridiculous 21 of its last 23 games, but it's covered in 20 of its last 23 as well. It's freaking nuts. So to take the Lakers in this spot, particularly a Lakers team without Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder, might strike some as insane, or maybe just stupid. Whatever option you choose, I still think the Lakers are the right pick with this spread. I mean, how often do you get a LeBron James-led team as nearly double-digit underdogs?
The Jazz's run is pushing this line too far, and as good as Utah has been against the spread this season, it's only 4-3 ATS when favored by nine points or more. I understand if you're scared, and I might look like a world-class moron by halftime, but it's a risk I'm willing to take. It's the right play.
Key Trend: The Lakers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games as a road dog.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Advanced Computer Model isn't a big fan of either side of the spread, but it does see one side of the total winning 63% of the time.
💰 The Picks
🏀 College Basketball
No. 6 Alabama at No. 20 Arkansas, 9 p.m. | TV: ESPN2
The Pick: Alabama +2 (-110) -- This is a very exciting matchup in the SEC tonight, and I think they've got the wrong team favored in it. Obviously, it makes all the sense in the world for an Arkansas team that's won seven of eight to be favored at home in this spot, but as good as Arkansas has been, I think Alabama's a better team. That was somewhat evident earlier this season with the Tide beat the Razorbacks 90-59 in Tuscaloosa.
Now, it needs to be mentioned that Arkansas' performance in that game was especially bad, and it's hard to imagine the Hogs shooting as poorly again tonight, but poor shooting alone doesn't explain a 31-point deficit. Both teams have quick, explosive offenses, but Alabama's defense has been elite this year. Arkansas is just very good. I think that's what makes the difference over 40 minutes.
Key Trend: Alabama is 9-3 ATS in its last 12 as an underdog.
Cincinnati at Tulsa, 9 p.m. | TV: ESPNU
The Pick: Cincinnati +2 (-110) -- As has been a theme in this newsletter during the college basketball season, I am fading a team that's had a long layoff. Tulsa will be playing its first game in over a week tonight against a Cincinnati team that, last we saw, was getting absolutely spanked by Houston over the weekend.
Tonight I'm looking for the Bearcats to bounce back from that performance against a Tulsa squad that isn't nearly as good. It's not likely to be pretty, as neither of these teams shoots the ball all that well, but I don't see much value in the total. Instead, I'm going to take a Cincinnati team that's slightly better overall and could provide Tulsa some problems with its size advantage on the wings.
Key Trend: Tulsa enters this game having lost six of nine.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Uncanny golf expert Rick Gehman releases his top 30 players for this week's event at The Concession Club.
💸 The DFS Rundown
PG: Dejounte Murray, Spurs
SG: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Clippers
SF: LeBron James, Lakers
PF: Jayson Tatum, Celtics
C: Jarrett Allen, Cavs
PG: Patty Mills, Spurs
SG: Lonnie Walker, Spurs
SF: Josh Hart, Pelicans
PF: Patrick Williams, Bulls
C: Al Horford, Thunder
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.
🏀 WGC Workday Championship Top 20 Props
We're betting on each of the following golfers to finish in the top 20.
- Daniel Berger (-110)
- Webb Simpson (-110)
- Sungjae Im (+110)
- Harris English (+150)
- Ryan Palmer (+188)
- Carlos Ortiz (+240)
- Billy Horschel (+240)
- Lanto Griffin (+333)
- Brendon Todd (+350)
- Lucas Herbert (+500)