Bills will keep pace in race for top AFC seed, plus other best bets for Monday
Happy New Year! I hope your 2023 is off to a good start, or at the very least, you’ve held firm on your New Year’s resolutions. You have to give those things at least a week before ditching them. A week shows that you tried. Anything less than that is selling yourself short.
I don’t want you selling yourself short. I believe in you. You can change for at least seven days if you try your hardest. You can also read the following stories before we get to tonight’s picks.
My 2023 New Year’s Resolution is to never get another pick wrong. Let’s see if I can go a week!
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Bills at Bengals, 8:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN
- Key Trend: The Bills are 8-2 against the AFC this season.
- The Pick: Bills (-120)
It’s a new year, but this is the same newsletter, and I believe we’ve built up trust with one another these last couple of years. I feel as if I can tell you anything. We’ve got ourselves a Trust Tree where we can share our feelings without judgment.
Like many of you, I woke up Sunday morning tired and with a headache. Not because I was out partying on New Year’s Eve, but because I was up late working Saturday night because of the College Football Playoff. When the dust finally settled, it was time for NFL games to kick off, and I was overcome with a sense of, “seriously? More football?” I couldn’t believe there were still two weeks of the NFL regular season left, which meant there were two weeks of everybody pretending a bunch of 7-8 teams fighting for playoff spots is exciting.
The NFL season is too long. The nature of the league is built on parity, and the longer the season, the more mediocre the teams get. Anyway, I like the Bills tonight. I love Joe Burrow, and this Bengals team is far from mediocre, but if the NFL is a land of parity and regression, the team that’s 12-3 ATS has to fail to cover at some point. Tonight, at home against a great Buffalo team, seems as good a time as any. Still, taking Buffalo to win straight up seems the safer play. I’ll pay a little extra to lose the point.
Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: Looking for a little more? SportsLine’s RJ White is 48-31-2 in his last 81 ATS picks involving the Bengals, and he has a play on tonight’s game too.
💰 The Picks
Hawks at Warriors, 10 p.m | TV: NBA TV
The Pick: Hawks +1.5 (-110) — The Warriors are getting healthier and have won four straight, but they’re not at full strength. Stephen Curry is still out with a shoulder injury, and the Warriors will be without Andrew Wiggins, JaMychal Green, James Wiseman and Jonathan Kuminga tonight. Of course, the Hawks will be without Clint Capela and De’Andre Hunter, who are two significant parts of what they do defensively, so there’s a reason the Warriors are still favored despite everyone they’re missing.
I’m just not convinced they should be favored this much. The winning streak has increased the inflation of the already overvalued Warriors ever so slightly. Plus, while the Hawks have lost three straight, they haven’t played that poorly during that stretch, and the Warriors haven’t been as good as the four-game win streak suggests. There’s a better chance the Hawks win this one than the line suggests, but we’re taking the added security of the points.
🏀 College Basketball
Arkansas Pine-Bluff at Alabama A&M, 8 p.m | TV: YouTube
The Pick: Arkansas Pine-Bluff +7.5 (-110) — Don’t give me that look. Don’t sit here, read this newsletter, and pretend betting on a college basketball game shown on YouTube between Alabama A&M and Arkansas Pine-Bluff is beneath you. In this newsletter, we go where the value is, and tonight, the value is with the Golden Lions of Arkansas Pine-Bluff.
Sure, they’re the 355th-ranked team in the country, according to KenPom, and there are only 363 D-1 teams, but Alabama A&M is ranked 324th! But while Alabama A&M has slightly better metrics and the same 4-9 record as Pine-Bluff, there’s one pivotal difference: A&M has played a schedule ranked 160th nationally by KenPom. Pine-Bluff’s is ranked first. The toughest in the country.
Six of the Lions’ 13 games have come against top-100 teams, and four against top-50 teams. They’ve lost to TCU by a point and hung with Oklahoma on the road. This is the first team the Lions will have faced this season that’s on their level, and they’re getting far too many points on the spread.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: The Projection Model’s favorite play of the night is in the Texas battle between the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks.