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Hello and Happy Thursday. I don't know how your day is going so far, but mine has been pretty fantastic. Anytime you can have a winning bet in the books before noon on a Thursday is a good day, in my opinion, so shout out to Duquesne for beating Richmond in the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament this morning.

I only wish I'd have taken the Dukes on the money line instead of the spread.

Anyway, we're reaching an interesting part of the 2021 sports schedule. Conference tournaments have begun in college basketball, which means we've got a lot of college basketball to watch and bet on coming up over the next couple of weeks as we head into the NCAA Tournament. The bad news is, tonight is the last night of the NBA's first half before the All-Star Break. After tonight we won't have any NBA games aside from Sunday's All-Star Game until Wednesday.

So I guess what I'm saying is that you should prepare yourselves for a lot of college basketball picks in this newsletter over the next few days, as well as some NHL and possibly some future plays. Speaking of the future, you should know that with the MLB season approaching, I plan on having a daily MLB futures bet for you to make in the final week leading up to the start of the regular season. Just something to get the juices flowing for the start of the season.

And speaking of getting the juices flowing, how about these stories?

And now we go and get the loot.

All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook


🔥 The Hot Ticket

Kings at Blazers, 10 p.m. | TV: NBA League Pass
The Pick: Blazers Over 120.5 points (-105)
: Portland and Sacramento have played twice this season, and both times we took the Blazers team total over in this very newsletter. We did so on the principle that Portland has an excellent offense and that the Kings play little to no defense. We won both times, with the Blazers scoring 125 points in the first meeting and then 132 in the second meeting a few days later. We're going back to the well tonight, kids.

Tonight's situation is slightly different because the game is in Portland. The first two were in Sacramento. The change of scenery isn't likely to hurt our chances. The Kings not only rank dead last in the league in defensive efficiency (by roughly three points per 100 possessions than New Orleans), but they allowed 123 points to a Lakers team without LeBron James and Anthony Davis last night. In fact, over their last 12 games (of which they've only won two), Sacramento is allowing an average of 124.25 points per game and has allowed at least 121 points in eight of them.

Jonathan Coachman is joined by Mike McClure, Zack Cimini and Larry Hartstein to dish out their favorite basketball bets for Tuesday. Download and subscribe to The Early Edge on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.  

Key Trend: Portland is averaging 128.5 points in two games against Sacramento this season.

Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Advanced Computer Model has a slight lean on the total for tonight's game, but SportsLine's hottest NBA handicapper, Larry Hartstein, has a play in on the spread


💰 The Picks

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🏀 NBA

Heat at Pelicans, 8:30 p.m. | TV: TNT
The Pick: Pelicans -2 (-110) -- 
I'm getting this line at two points, but I wouldn't be surprised to see it grow before tip-off. The reason for this is that both Miami's Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo are listed as questionable. You often see this in the final game before the All-Star break when players seek to get some additional rest or buy themselves an extra day or two to recover from any nagging injuries.

If Butler and Adebayo are out tonight (or only one of the two), the line will grow. So if you're reading this, check to see any injury updates, and then get this bet in as soon as possible. If both teams are at full strength, I'd be comfortable taking the Pelicans up to -4. If both Butler and Adebayo are out, I'm good with them up to -6.

Key Trend: Miami is only 6-10-1 ATS following a loss this season.

🏀 College Basketball

Iowa State at No. 18 Texas Tech, 7 p.m. | TV: ESPN+
The Pick: Iowa State +17 (-110) -- 
This is one of those times when you have to just hold your nose and get the bet in whether you like it or not. It's not fun betting on Iowa State because Iowa State stinks, but this is something of a trap spot for Texas Tech. It's not difficult to imagine the Raiders looking past the Cyclones tonight with Baylor looming on Sunday. Plus, Texas Tech just hasn't been good against the spread this season. The Red Raiders are only 8-13 ATS as favorites and 4-11 ATS in conference play.

Key Trend: Texas Tech is 4-11 ATS in Big 12 games this season.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine MMA analyst Kyle Marley is up more than $21,000 over the past 25 months with his UFC selections. He just released his picks for UFC 259 in Las Vegas.


💸 The DFS Rundown

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Indiana Pacers
USATSI

Star Plays

PG: Damian Lillard, Blazers
SG: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Thunder
SF: Khris Middleton, Bucks
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks
C: Nikola Jokic, Nuggets

Value Plays

PG: Brad Wanamaker, Warriors
SG: Lu Dort, Thunder
SF: Justin Holiday, Pacers
PF: Isaiah Roby, Thunder
C: Nerlens Noel, Knicks

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


 🏀 College Basketball Parlay

With so many question marks about who will and won't be playing in the NBA tonight, it's difficult to get a handle on player props. Instead, we'll go with a simple college basketball money line parlay that pays +100.

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  • Michigan -800
  • West Virginia -1100
  • Cincinnati -330
  • Colorado -550
  • Iowa -1700