Saturday, June 3 2023

You may remember that before the World Cup began, I gave out five futures plays for the tournaments. Among those five bets, I gave two picks to win it all: Argentina at +500 and France at +650.

If you listened, you’ve already won, because both those teams will meet in the final on Sunday. We’re rarely afforded sure things when it comes to betting on sports, so let’s make sure to appreciate this moment while we can.

As for tonight, it’s a limited slate. Neither the NBA nor college basketball seems interested in going up against the NFL, and I’m terrible at betting hockey, so there wasn’t a lot of value on the board. Thankfully, bowl season begins Friday morning, so I’ve included a pick for one of tomorrow’s bowl games today. Just a little something to help you get through Friday afternoon and to your weekend. Consider it an early Christmas gift.

OK, let’s make some money.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket


49ers at Seahawks, 8:15 p.m. | TV: Amazon

Latest Odds: Seattle Seahawks +3

  • Key Trend: The Seahawks have covered 8 of the last 11 meetings in Seattle and 15 of the last 22 meetings overall.
  • The Pick: Seahawks +3 (+100)

Last weekend I told you to take the under in San Francisco’s game against Tampa Bay because I had no faith in a bad Tampa offensive line being able to hold up against San Francisco’s defense. Nor did I think Brock Purdy and the San Francisco offense would manage much in Purdy’s first career start. I was half-right. The Bucs — you know, the team with the greatest QB of all time — didn’t do much of anything, finishing with seven points.

Brock Purdy and San Francisco did not stick to the script. Purdy threw for only 185 yards but had two touchdowns, and the Niners ran all over Tampa. They scored 35 points and nearly went over the game total (37) on their own.

So what am I supposed to make of this team tonight? I’m fading the Niners. Purdy was impressive, but I wonder if there’s too much of an overreaction to San Francisco whomping a bad Tampa team. Also, it’s a short week, and while Purdy will play tonight, he did suffer an oblique strain, so he won’t be at 100%. Oh, and this is a road start in one of the most difficult road environments for any QB to play in, let alone a guy making his second career start on a short week.

Plus, the Niners lost Deebo Samuel last week. At some point, the injuries on offense will begin to catch up, and Christian McCaffery can only do so much on his own. That said, the Seahawks’ defense has been awful in the red zone all season long, so this is far from a sure thing. We’ll certainly need Geno Smith and company to cooperate.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: SportsLine’s Josh Nagel is 19-6 in his last 25 ATS picks involving the Seahawks and he’s posted a play for tonight’s game.

💰 The Picks

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Heat at Rockets, 8 p.m. | TV: NBA League Pass

Latest Odds: Miami Heat -2.5

The Pick: Heat -3.5 (-110) — It’s been a while since I issued this reminder, but I’ve received some messages about it lately (even when I’m not writing the letter that day!), so it feels like a good time for a refresher. When you bet on NBA games early, you assume some risk. When players are given the night off for rest or an unexpected injury, NBA teams don’t make those announcements until shortly before tip. This newsletter is written in the afternoon. So my advice is to wait it out to see what happens before placing your bet or understand the risk of getting it in early.

Every NBA pick I make is done with the most complete information available at the time, and from what I know right now, Miami seems like a good play here tonight! They’ve won the first two games on their road trip, and while this is the second of a back-to-back, Jimmy Butler sat out last night’s game. That tells me he’s more likely to play tonight, which makes the Heat attractive at this number against a Houston squad that’s been awful defensively this season.

🏈 College Football

No. 24 Troy vs. No. 25 UTSA, Friday, 3 p.m. | TV: ESPN

Latest Odds: UTSA Roadrunners -1

The Pick: UTSA +1.5 (-110) — The second game of the bowl season also happens to be the No. 4 bowl in my rankings. You don’t get a lot of bowls outside the New Year’s Six and College Football Playoff that pit conference champions against one another. This is one of those rare spots as Sun Belt champion Troy takes on Conference USA champion UTSA.

While I was impressed with what I saw from both teams this season, I don’t understand why UTSA is the underdog. If QB Frank Harris had opted out of the game, it would make sense, but Harris has already announced his intention to return to the Roadrunners and play in this game. The Sun Belt is a tougher league than C-USA, but the Roadrunners would be a favorite in the Sun Belt alongside Troy. In fact, my power ratings would have UTSA as the slight favorite over the Trojans to win the league, and I would definitely do so here on a neutral field.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: The World Cup wraps up Sunday morning and SportsLine’s Martin Green is sharing all his favorite plays for the final between Argentina and France.



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