Dearest reader, the word of the day is "value." As I perused the board looking for picks to include in tonight's newsletter, I was overwhelmed by the material presented to me. The hardest decision I've made all day was figuring out which three picks to include, and which to leave out.
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In the end I decided to include my favorite play for tonight's NFL game because, duh, and I've got a college football bet as well as a college basketball game. Before we get to any of those, though, let's check out words written by other people for a little bit.
- Week 11 Fantasy Starts, Sits, Sleepers and Busts!
- It looks like Matt Stafford will be back this weekend.
- The 2024 MLB All Star Game will be played deep in the heart of Texas.
To the value!
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Titans at Packers, 8:15 p.m. | TV: Amazon
- Key Trend: The Titans defense ranks first in the NFL with a success rate of 70.5% against the run
- The Pick: Aaron Jones Under 55.5 Rushing Yards (-117)
Everybody is wondering if the Packers are BACK after they beat the Cowboys 31-28 last week to end a five-game losing streak. Aaron Rodgers had his best game in a while. Still, while Rodgers received a lot of attention for his touchdowns, the engine of the Green Bay offense remained Aaron Jones.
Jones carried the ball 24 times for 138 yards and caught two passes for 18 yards. It was an impressive performance, seeing as Jones had been limited in practice with a shin issue during the week. That's an issue that lingers and one that won't have nearly as much time to recover in a short week. I suspect we'll see a greater share of responsibilities between Jones and A.J. Dillon tonight because of it.
That, and the fact the Tennessee defense is one of the best in the league against the run, leads me to believe Jones won't have nearly as much success on the ground. Tennessee ranks first in the league by a wide margin in success rate against the run at 70.5%. That's the biggest reason I'm avoiding taking the Packers against the spread, though I lean that way, especially if you can get it at Green Bay -3 or better.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: SportsLine's R.J. White is 55-19-1 in his last 75 ATS picks involving the Packers and he has a play listed for Thursday Night Football.
💰 The Picks
🏈 College Football
SMU at No. 21 Tulane, 7:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Under 65 (-110) -- In its last two games, SMU has put up 77 points against Houston and followed it up with 41 points last week against South Florida. So why would I bet an under in a game involving SMU? It's simple! The Houston defense the Mustangs put 77 on was already missing a couple of starters before the game and lost four more during it. As for the South Florida team it put 41 on, it's one of the worst teams in the country and had fired its coach the week before.
The same cannot be said of Tulane. The Green Wave are competing for a conference title in the American and the New Year's Six bowl bid that would come with it. Tulane also happens to have one of the best defenses in the league. The Wave play a lot of bend-but-don't-break, but they're very good at it and tackle well. Keeping things in front of you is precisely what you must do to stifle an SMU offense that's overly reliant on big plays in the passing game.
🏈 College Basketball
No. 20 Michigan vs. Arizona State, 9:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN2
The Pick: Arizona State Under 67.5 (-115) -- I'm always a fan of taking unders in neutral site games, but both these teams played in the Barclays Center last night and will have familiarity with the surroundings. But just because I won't bet the full game under doesn't mean I won't take us to the truly degenerate land known as an early-season college basketball team total.
This is a first for this newsletter, but I assure you it's not the first time I've done it.
Long story short, Arizona State's offense stinks. The Sun Devils rank 153rd nationally in offensive efficiency because they cannot shoot. They're shooting 29.4% from three (236th) and 44.0% from two (277th). Tonight they're facing a Michigan team that's been excellent defensively inside the three-point line and should fluster the Sun Devils with their size advantage. Oh, and when Arizona State isn't missing shots, it's often turning the ball over. Its turnover rate of 21.0% ranks 251st nationally.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: The World Cup begins Sunday and SportsLine's Brandt Sutton is sharing all his favorite bets for the biggest tournament on Earth.