It's happening. The, and I'm one of the few who isn't excited about it. Don't get me wrong, I'm going to watch it, and not just because it's literally my job to do so.
What I will not do is accept the PR firm talking points as to why expansion is good. It will not lead to more meaningful games. It will only make some games more meaningful while making others less. Nor will it lead to "more parity." For years there was a demand for expansion to allow more teams a chance to win the national title, but have you seen the CFP Rankings?
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If the favorites win this weekend, the following two things will happen.
- The CFP will feature two first-timers for the second consecutive season
- It will be the first CFP in history not to feature one of Alabama, Clemson or Ohio State
The parity that everybody claimed doesn't exist is happening right before their eyes! Anyway, the point is, if you want another piece of cake, don't tell me you want it because it'll improve your digestive health. Just say, "cuz it looks good."
How about we expand our wallets with some winners?
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
- Key Trend: Buffalo has won four of five meetings since 2020 by an average of 17.5 points.
- The Pick: Bills -3.5 (-110)
There has been a lot of sharp action on the Patriots that has driven the line from an opener of Buffalo -5.5 to Buffalo -3.5. To these sharps, I say thank you. You dorks, and your analytics made this a much easier play for me. OK, you're not dorks, but seriously, you've all managed to push the market too far in one direction, and now it's time to buy back on it.
History time: For a long time, with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady in tow, the Patriots dominated the Bills. Things have changed in recent seasons. Not only has Buffalo won four of five meetings since the 2020 season, but it's also won those four games by an average of 17.5 points. The lone New England win was a 14-10 win in Buffalo, played in frigid and windy weather. You may remember it as the night Bill Belichick allowed Mac Jones to throw three passes.
In two other games last season, including a Wild Card game, Buffalo outscored the Pats 80-38. So in summary, as long as they weren't playing in hurricane-force winds, and Mac Jones wasn't asked to throw the ball, the Patriots could compete with the Bills. Tonight's forecast is 35 degrees with a light breeze. The Patriots are 6-5, but those six wins have come against Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland, Indianapolis and the Jets (twice). Those five teams are a combined 23-32-1.
The Bills are the better team in this matchup and will cover this short number tonight.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: Sportsline's Stephen Oh is 16-7 ATS in his last 23 picks involving the Patriots and he's got a play posted on the site for tonight's game.
💰 College Basketball Picks
No. 21 UCLA at Stanford, 10:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN2
The Pick: Stanford +6 (-110) -- It pains me to do this because I've won so much money betting on UCLA in recent seasons, and a few players remain on the roster from our magical NCAA Tournament run two years ago, but this line is off. UCLA should not be so heavy a favorite against Stanford tonight. It's a reflection of Stanford being 3-4 on the season, but the Cardinal have played a much more difficult schedule than the Bruins have.
UCLA is 5-2 on the season and has only played two teams in the top 150 of current KenPom rankings. Guess who the two losses were to? Yep, Illinois and Baylor. Now, Stanford isn't Illinois or Baylor, but UCLA hasn't been tested by anybody else on its schedule and has had things too easy. Stanford is battle-tested and has a massive size advantage over the Bruins. If the Cardinal dominate the boards as I expect, they might not win, but they'll cover.
Illinois State at Murray State, 8 p.m. | TV: ESPN+
The Pick: Illinois State +10 (-110) -- Murray State was one of the best mid-majors in the country last season. The Racers went 20-0 in the OVC and reached the tournament before falling to Cinderella St. Peter's. This led to coach Matt McMahon getting the LSU job. Steve Prohm, who had a nice run at Murray State that got him the Iowa State job, has returned to Murray State because that time at Iowa State was unsuccessful!
His second stint with the Racers is off to a bumpy start. They're only 3-3 on the season and have not been particularly great on the offensive or defensive end. Illinois State is only 2-5, and its wins over Eastern Illinois and Northwestern State aren't impressive. But it moves slowly and limits possessions which will help keep it from getting blown out. The spread in this game is giving Murray State too much credit for what it did last season and has not corrected for how the team is performing this year.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Larry Hartstein is crushing it betting the NFL this year and he's shared his favorite plays for Week 13.