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One of the aspects of sports fandom that makes it great is its irrationality. Sports wouldn't be near as fun and entertaining if we viewed it from a logical and rational viewpoint all the time, but some moments leave me scratching my head.

One of them took place last night. The USMNT beat Honduras 3-0 in a World Cup qualifier match in frigid temperatures. Seriously, the temperature at kickoff was 2 degrees, and there was a wind chill of -12. While it's #FootballWeather, soccer isn't the kind of football for that #FootballWeather. The USMNT cruised to an easy victory, but coach Gregg Berhalter was seen on television posing for a selfie with fans during the match. The match was in hand, and the officials were conducting a VAR review, so it's not like he did it during play. But people were still mad about it.

I have no idea why. Well, no, I do have an idea why. It's because some don't want Berhalter to have his job, so they'll find any reason to argue why the person shouldn't have their job, and this is just the latest unforgivable offense. I think it's great that Berhalter is posing for photos because, as he said after the match, those fans were braving the temperatures to support the team. Why wouldn't he thank them with a photo?

So maybe we should all just chill out a bit. Get it? Chill out. It was really cold. That's just solid wordsmanship right there. They didn't give me this newsletter by accident, folks. And if you like my writing, well, wait til you get a load of these other stories written by people even better at it than I am.

Now, let's hope that tonight's picks win so early that I'm able to pose for photos with my fans during them.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook


🔥 The Hot Ticket

🏀 Lakers at Clippers, 10 p.m. | TV: TNT

Latest Odds: Under 219

The Pick: Under 220 (-110): What an exciting matchup! It's the Clippers and Lakers battling for Los Angeles supremacy at the Bitcoin Center or whatever they call the Staples Center now. All the stars will be out to see these teams battling for that No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. If you're an influencer who wants to sell that exciting new diet juice made from the organic ashes of grass burnt in the latest wildfire on your Instagram account, you simply have to be seen at the Ponzi Scheme Designed To Dupe You Out Of Your Money Center tonight!

Unless you're LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard or Paul George, anyway. None of those three will be playing. Kawhi is no surprise, as he's been out all season, and Paul George hasn't played since before Christmas. This will also be the fifth straight game LeBron has missed while nursing a knee injury.

So, yeah, it's not as fun as it could be, and that's fine with me because I'm betting the under. As you'd expect, considering who they've missed this season, the Clippers are not a good offensive team. They rank 27th in the NBA in offensive rating and 21st in true shooting percentage. What's somewhat surprising given the defensive abilities of Kawhi and PG 13 is that the Clips are still one of the best defensive teams in the league, ranking sixth.

Then there are the Lakers, who aren't particularly good at anything. They rank 23rd in the league in offensive rating and 17th defensively. While that voice in the back of my head is whispering about how they'll still be a problem in the playoffs because they'll be going 100%, they aren't going 100% right now. And I just don't think the skeleton versions of these two teams will combine for a lot of points tonight.

Key Trend: The under is 5-2-1 in the last eight meetings.

Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: The SportsLine Projection Model is fond of the under play too, but it really loves one side of the spread.


💰 The Picks

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🏀 College Basketball

No. 3 UCLA at No. 7 Arizona, 8 p.m. | TV: ESPN

Latest Odds: UCLA Bruins +7

The Pick: UCLA +6.5 (-110) -- I haven't bet on UCLA much this season, which is a shame because the Bruins were a big winner for me last season. They helped salvage so many bad nights with a cover at the end last season that they were a Final Four team in my heart long before they became one in the tournament. My love and appreciation for last year's squad has nothing to do with this pick for me tonight, as two top-10 teams square off.

This is strictly the Bruins being underestimated by the market.

UCLA beat Arizona, 75-59, just over a week ago. The Bruins jumped out to an early lead and never looked back as they shot the lights out while Arizona struggled. I fully expect Arizona to perform better tonight -- it's at home and really freaking good! -- but I don't think it's 6.5 points better than the Bruins. These two teams are too similar to expect either to pull away from one another, but if there's one key difference, it's the size.

UCLA isn't small, but Arizona is one of the biggest teams in the country, thanks to Azoulas Tubelis and Christian Koloko. What's surprising about that, though, is that the Bruins have been the better rebounding team this season because, while they don't have seven-footers, everybody on the team save for Tyger Campbell is 6'7 and hits the glass. That's what the difference will be tonight, at least as far as the spread is concerned.

Key Trend: The underdog is 18-4 ATS in the last 22 meetings.

No. 19 USC at Arizona State, 11 p.m. | TV: ESPN2

Latest Odds: Arizona State Sun Devils +6

The Pick: Arizona State +5.5 (-110) -- Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley should be grateful the Arizona State football team is in some hot water these days, or else his boss might notice what's going on with the basketball team. The Sun Devils are 6-12 after going 11-14 last year and have one of the worst offenses in the country. So why not bet on them? Seriously, while the Sun Devils are truly painful to watch with the ball, they're good on the defensive end and can at least make most teams work to beat them.

That wasn't the case in the first meeting between these two, though. USC beat Arizona State, 78-56, at USC 10 days ago in a dominant effort. The Trojans hit nearly every shot they took and played against type by hitting 14 of 19 free throws (USC is only shooting 63.7% from the charity stripe this season). That result has impacted the line in this rematch more than it should have. The Sun Devils should make a much more competitive game of it at home tonight, but I'm serious about how painful the offense can be to watch. You might be better off betting this one and not watching.

Key Trend: USC has gone 2-5 ATS in its last seven games after an ATS loss (the Trojans did not cover in their win over Cal).

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Don't wait until the Super Bowl to place your bets on the game. Get the best value when you can! Here's what the SportsLine Projection Model likes about the lines now.


🏀 Tonight's Parlay

Tonight we're sticking with a four-leg parlay paying +119.

  • UCF (-700)
  • Rice (-650)
  • Santa Clara (-475)
  • Utah (-270)