Good afternoon gambling aficionados, it's Chris Bengel back with you on this Wednesday.
The NFL offseason is really kicking into high gear as free agency is set to open next week. On Tuesday, the Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on quarterback Lamar Jackson, which means that Jackson can negotiate a new deal with other teams. However, the Ravens can match any offer he receives.
It's truly insane to me that the Ravens still haven't come to terms on a new contract with Jackson. Are Jackson's demands that insane or are the Ravens just not willing to pony up the money? In terms of outside teams, the Jets would make a ton of sense. The Jets reportedly flew to California to meet with Aaron Rodgers this week, but I'd be trying to convince Jackson that they're a good fit for him.
Anyway, enough about the pigskin. Let's get to Wednesday's picks.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Hawks at Wizards, 7 p.m. | TV: NBA.TV
- Key Trend: The Wizards are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games.
- The Pick: Hawks -4 (-110)
These are two teams that have been struggling as of late, but I'm more than happy to take the more explosive offense in this spot.
Hawks star Trae Young poured in 31 points the last time these teams met, but didn't have an extremely efficient performance as he connected on just 11-of-shots. Still, in his last nine games against the Wizards, Young is averaging 31.1 points-per-game and has scored at least 25 points in eight of those contests. The Wizards are a middle-of-the-pack defensive team that surrenders a 36 shooting clip from three, so it won't be a huge surprise if Young splashes home a few long-range shots in this one.
While Young is electric, it isn't all about him. This is a group that ranks sixth in the NBA in scoring with 117.1 points-per-game. Dejounte Murray has proved to be a huge pickup. The dangerous part about Murray is that he goes with the flow of the game. He's able to score a boatload of points if necessary, which was evident by his 41-point game against the Trail Blazers last week. However, he's also just as comfortable being a facilitator.
With a fairly small spread, I'm taking the Hawks to bounce back on the road.
💰 More Picks
Minnesota at Nebraska, 9 p.m. | TV: BTN
The Pick: Nebraska -5.5 (-110) -- Since Jan. 12, Minnesota has won just one game. When a team is that brutal, you don't overthink it. The Golden Gophers only have eight wins on the season and just two of those have come during Big Ten play. In the Cornhuskers' most recent meeting against the Golden Gophers on Feb. 25, Nebraska was a 7.5-point favorite and ended up coming away with a 78-67 victory. In addition, Nebraska owns a 4-1 mark ATS over its past five games with the only blemish coming against Michigan State.
Minnesota is the second-worst defensive team in the Big 10 as they yield 70.9 points-per-game. Opponents are also knocking down 35.9 percent of their shots against Minnesota on the season. Their 16-15 record may not show it, but the Cornhuskers are a pesky team that can easily cover this number.
Key Trend: The Golden Gophers are 5-14-2 ATS in their last 21 games following a ATS win
Raptors at Clippers, 10 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Paul George Over 23.5 Points (-111) -- The Clippers have had their fair share of struggles lately with five losses over their last six games. Despite the rough patch, Paul George has had no problem finding the bottom of the net.
He has netted at least 24 points in four of his last six contests. The Clippers star is also coming off of a 42-point performance in which he connected on 12-of-23 shots in a 135-129 win over the Grizzlies. It's all great news for George, Toronto is allowing the opposition to shoot 37.7 percent from deep, which is the second-worst mark in the league. George should have no problem hitting this number, especially with Kawhi Leonard on the floor to take some of the attention off of him.
Key Trend: George has scored at least 24 points in four of his last six games