Thursday, January 27 2022

It’s a monumental day for the HQ PM Newsletter because we’re about to make history. Congratulations to you on being here for it. Tonight will be only the 25th time in the history of humanity that MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL are all playing games on the same day. And, as if that weren’t enough, we also have college football tonight and (depending on when you’re reading this) Europa League action in Europe.

It’s a veritable sports bonanza!

So, in honor of this historic day, I’m changing things up slightly. Instead of the customary three game picks followed by props or a parlay, we’re getting four game picks tonight — one for each of the four major professional sports. And, because I love you, I’m even throwing in a parlay at the end. So let’s make a vow to settle in tonight and bet on all four sports together as a family. But before we get together, let’s catch up on our reading, so we have something to talk to each other about during commercials.

And now it is time for the planets to align and deliver us THE SPORTS EQUINOX.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook (except for Dodgers vs. Braves)

🔥 The Hot Ticket

Broncos at Browns, 8:20 p.m. | TV: FOX
The Pick: Under 40.5 (-110)
: This is one of those times where I don’t want to overthink things. While I’d prefer to take the Broncos and the points if I were to bet the spread, I liked it a lot more earlier in the week before the line shrunk to where it is now following the news that Baker Mayfield won’t be playing for the Browns. The problem I have with the Broncos is that they aren’t very good, which makes them difficult to trust on the road, even against Case Keenum.

Instead, I’ll rely on what both of these teams have excelled at all season long: defense. The Broncos enter the week ranked second in the NFL with a defensive success rate of 62.4% and fifth in points allowed per drive at 1.63. Cleveland ranks fourth in defensive success rate (60.7%), but while it’s only 22nd in points allowed per drive, that’s primarily due to it not being incredible in the red zone so far this season. So it’s a good thing it’s facing a Broncos offense that ranks 28th in red-zone efficiency this season and 31st in goal-to-go efficiency (the Broncos have only scored touchdowns in 50% of their goal-to-go situations). Oh, and have I mentioned that Cleveland’s offense stinks in the red zone too? Yep, it’s just ahead of the Broncos in 27th in red-zone efficiency.

So, in short, neither of these teams finishes drives offensively, and both have been better defensively. And a Cleveland offense that’s been by far the better offense between the two will be missing Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. It doesn’t sound like it’s going to be a high-scoring game, does it?

Key Trend: The under is 5-2 in Denver’s last seven road games.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: Emory Hunt is 10-2 on ATS picks involving the Browns and just revealed his picks for Thursday Night Football.

💰 The Picks



Braves at Dodgers, 8:08 p.m. | TV: TBS
The Pick: Braves (+124) — 
We don’t know who is starting for the Dodgers tonight, and odds are we won’t know until as late as possible because the Dodgers seem to be playing for their lives with a bullpen game. If I could bet on the starter, I’d bet on it being Corey Knebel, but I don’t think it matters much. I wrote in yesterday’s newsletter that it felt like Atlanta had lost control of the series when the Dodgers came back to win Game 3. I was so damn wrong. It turns out that the Dodgers comeback was more of a fluke than anything because it looked like a team on life support last night.

Now it’s in a must-win situation for the Dodgers with a tired pitching staff and having to rely on a bullpen to cover nine innings after it already needed to cover nine innings the last two days. Meanwhile, the Braves are hitting everything in sight, as Freddie Freeman has overcome a slow start to the series and Eddie Rosario is suddenly Ted Williams. Also, Atlanta is sending Max Fried to the mound, who looked terrific in Game 1 of the series. Everything seems to be pointing to Atlanta wrapping this one up tonight, so if I can get it as a dog, I’m taking it.

Key Trend: The Braves are 9-3 in their last 12 road games.


Clippers at Warriors, 10 p.m. | TV: TNT
The Pick: Under 227.5 (-110) — 
I had the under in Tuesday night’s opener between the Warriors and Lakers, and if the Lakers had been willing to accept they were going to lose late in the game and didn’t extend the game with fouls, it would’ve won easily. I like it again tonight because I think this Clippers team will need time to figure out who is playing which role without Kawhi Leonard. It’s one thing when it happens in a playoff series, and there’s a clear goal in mind, and guys are probably more willing to sacrifice themselves to achieve it.

But to start the regular season? Now is when a lot of players on that roster realize they need somebody to fill in those shoes for a while and see an opportunity for it to be them, so I wouldn’t be shocked if the Clippers offense is a bit murky early in the season. With the Warriors already having a game under their belt — and one in which it looked solid defensively — I think we’re in for something of an offensive clunker tonight.

Key Trend: There is no trend that supports this play, but let’s pretend that the under has hit in 1,500 straight games between these two.


Flames at Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN+
The Pick: Over 5.5 (-115) — 
OK, so I’ve hit you with two unders already and have told you about how boring the biggest games on the schedule tonight are likely to be. I owe you some fun, and I found some on the ice. It’s early in the season, and the Red Wings have shown plenty of firepower on the offensive side of the ice. After losing to Tampa Bay 7-6 in a slugfest to start the season, the Wings have followed it up with a 3-1 win over Vancouver and a 4-1 win over Columbus. What’s most important to me here is that of the 13 goals Detroit has scored in three games, only two have been on the power play. The other 11 have all been in 5-on-5, which suggests it’s not just dumb luck.

Tonight the Wings will host a Calgary team that’s yet to win because it’s been a mess defensively. The Flames have allowed eight goals through two games. Now, three of those eight goals have come while on the penalty kill, but the Flames have only been on the kill six times. So they might be exceptionally terrible short-handed (it’s way too early to know), which is fine with me too, seeing as I’m on the over. Also, I do think the Flames have been a bit unlucky. They’ve been outscored 13-4 despite taking 61.9% of the shots in their two games. Only Boston has a higher shot-attempt rate in the NHL so far. They have to start going in at some point.

Key Trend: The over is 6-1-4 in the last 11 meetings.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: The SportsLine projection model has simulated Heat vs. Bucks 10,000 times and revealed its NBA picks.

🏈 College Football Parlay

I couldn’t leave college football out of the equation tonight, so let’s have some added fun with a parlay paying +151.

  • SMU (-550)
  • Louisiana (-900)
  • Charlotte +6.5 (-110)



Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Betting Picks, Prediction, and Preview


Ben Simmons treated for back tightness, not expected to play for undetermined period of time, per reports

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