Sunday, August 14 2022
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I’m glad to see you’ve all woken from your turkey comas and made it to your inbox. While Thanksgiving is over, Thanksgiving weekend rages on. We’ve got an entire day full of college sports– I hope you’ve got some on while reading this — and NBA and NHL action. Saturday and Sunday will bring even more.

It is your duty to sit on the couch in comfortable clothes and watch all of it. Well, maybe not all of it, but a good portion of it. You’ve earned it. And if you want to spend some of that time catching up on everything going on in the wide world of sports today, all the better.

All right, grab a plate of leftovers and let’s dig into these picks together.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook


🔥 The Hot Ticket

🏀 No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 5 Duke, 10:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN

Latest Odds: Gonzaga Bulldogs -8.5

The Pick: Gonzaga -8.5 (-110): Listen, this game annoys me for a couple of reasons. The first is that it’s starting so late. I’ve got an entire day of college football to watch after spending all day yesterday watching football. Oh, and I’ve got another full day of football to watch tomorrow. So starting this game so late on a Friday night feels cruel. Second, as I just said, I have an entire day of college football to watch, so sneaking in an absolute banger of a game like this today feels wrong. But I’ll watch. How could I not? It’s a top-five matchup and a possible Final Four preview.

And should these two meet again in March, I think Duke will be better equipped to handle Gonzaga by then. Tonight, I’m rolling with the Zags. I know it’s incredibly courageous of me to bet on the best team in the country, but that’s just the kind of person I am: fearless.

These teams are young and working in new players, but Drew Timme‘s experience gives Gonzaga an edge here, as does Gonzaga’s overall size. Timme and Chet Holmgren will present matchup problems for Duke defensively and should also limit the damage Paolo Banchero can do. Also, while Duke beat Kentucky to open the season, it hasn’t played anybody since. Meanwhile, Gonzaga has beaten Texas by 12 and just obliterated UCLA by 20 earlier this week. Their size, shooting and rebounding will prove to be too much for Duke over 40 minutes.

Key Trend: Gonzaga is 12-4 ATS in its last 16 neutral site games

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: Am I not good enough for you? That’s fine, you can always check out what SportsLine’s Projection Model has to say about tonight’s game instead.


💰 The Picks

Getty Images

🏀 NBA

Raptors at Pacers, 8 p.m. | TV: NBA League Pass

Latest Odds: Under 209.5

The Pick: Under 209.5 (-110) — Both of these teams are better defensively than they’ve played so far. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself and what I’m counting on tonight. The Pacers rank 13th in the NBA in defensive rating, while Toronto is 24th, yet both have the kind of personnel that suggest they should be better. Thankfully, for our needs tonight, the improvement I expect doesn’t need to begin tonight for us to win this bet.

Neither team has been spectacular on the offensive end, either. The Pacers rank only 17th in offensive rating at 107.9. Toronto ranks seventh in offensive rating at 110.6, yet cannot shoot, as it ranks 24th in true shooting percentage. Throw in the slow pace both teams move at (Indiana ranks 22nd in pace, Toronto 28th), and there won’t be as many chances for these two inefficient offenses to be inefficient. That means we’re likely in for a low-scoring affair tonight. And if they want to start playing better on the defensive end, that will only help matters.

Key Trend: The under is 9-3 in Indiana’s last 12 games.

🏈 NFL

Steelers at Bengals, Sunday, 1 p.m. | TV: CBS

Latest Odds: Pittsburgh Steelers +3.5

The Pick: Steelers +4 (-110) — Following a 24-10 win earlier this season, the Bengals have won two straight against division-rival Pittsburgh, a remarkable feat for Cincinnati. The Bengals had lost 11 straight and 19 of 22 before picking up that win last December. If they win again this week, it’ll be the first time they’ve won three straight against Pittsburgh in too long of a time that I could find! Seriously, I was able to go back to 2003 but couldn’t find one.

Anyway, while I think the Bengals can win this game, and I respect what they’ve accomplished so far, I have this spread being closer to a field goal than 4.5 points. The Steelers haven’t won either of their last two games, but they’ve looked more dangerous offensively lately, and I think this is a matchup they can exploit.

Key Trend: The Steelers are 19-7-1 ATS in their last 27 games as road underdogs.

Rams at Packers, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. | TV: FOX

Latest Odds: Over 47

The Pick: Over 47 (-110) — The Rams offense has been in a funk. After lighting the NFL up for the first two months of the season, they managed only 26 points in two games against the Titans and 49ers before last week’s bye. Well, I think the bye will do a lot of good for this Rams team that has had to work in new players on both sides of the ball and now faces the Packers in what will be a massive game for NFC playoff seeding.

Of course, the Packers offense is humming itself. Green Bay ranks 12th in the league in points per drive at 2.29, but it had its best performance of the season last week in a 34-31 loss to Minnesota. I think this game will look a lot like that one, and while it might not get up to 65 total points, it should reach the 50s, which is more than enough to get us over the total.

Key Trend: The over is 5-2 in Green Bay’s last seven games as an underdog.

🏈 College Football

No. 2 Ohio State at No. 5 Michigan, Saturday, 12 p.m. | TV: FOX

Latest Odds: Ohio State Buckeyes -7

The Pick: Ohio State -7.5 (-110) — If I were picking this game with my heart, I’d bet on Michigan. Not because I’m a Michigan fan, but because I want to see a competitive game. It’s a top-five battle between two of the biggest rivals in the sport with everything on the line. The winner clinches the Big Ten East and will play for a conference title and a College Football Playoff berth. Of course you want it to be an epic game! Furthermore, this is the most complete and well-balanced team Jim Harbaugh has had at Michigan since 2016, when both teams were ranked in the top-five and the game needed double overtime to decide a winner.

Unfortunately for Michigan, I don’t make picks with my heart, and my head tells me to lay the points with the Buckeyes. Yes, this is the best Michigan team since at least 2016, and possibly of the Harbaugh era, but it doesn’t matter. A couple of weeks ago, Ohio State flipped a switch, and now it’s a fully operational weapon of mass destruction. It’s not just that the Buckeyes completely dismantled Michigan State last week — it’s that they did it the week before this game, convincing me nobody outside of Georgia can stop them. This won’t be as easy as last week’s win, nor will it be as dominant, but it’s going to be another Ohio State win. And a cover too.

Key Trend: Ohio State has covered six of the last eight meetings in Ann Arbor.

Navy at Temple, Saturday, 12 p.m. | TV: ESPNU

Latest Odds: Navy Midshipmen -13

The Pick: Navy -12.5 (-110) — One of the things you need to keep an eye on at this point in the season is which teams still care and which ones have quit. Friends, I am fairly confident that Temple has quit. It enters the weekend having lost six straight in blowout fashion. In those games, the Owls have been outscored 261-45, never allowing fewer than 34 points or scoring more than 10. Now they’re being asked to face an option offense, and nobody likes facing option attacks when they want to play. It’s just three hours of large humans diving into your knees. It’s tiresome.

If Temple has already shown plenty of signs of quitting on the season, what do you think will happen on Saturday? Of course, if you’re not comfortable relying on this quit narrative, the Temple defense ranks 109th in EPA against the run and 104th in success rate. Even when trying to stop the run, it hasn’t shown much of an ability to do so.

Key Trend: Temple has been outscored 261-45 over its last six games, losing all of them by at least 20 points.

You can find all of my college football picks for the weekend in The Six Pack.

⚽ Soccer

Juventus vs. Atalanta, Saturday, 12 p.m. | TV: Paramount+
The Pick: Juventus (+114) — 
Juventus got off to a slow start this season. Selling Ronaldo to Manchester United left the club in a bit of disarray as everybody had to learn what their new roles were now that they weren’t “get the ball back and give it to Ronaldo as quickly as possible.” While things aren’t running as smoothly as Juve or Max Allegri would like, there are signs of improvement, and Juve has been much stronger defensively at home in league play.

While Juve has scored only seven goals in six home Serie A matches, it’s allowed only six on an expected goals (xG) allowed of 5.0. Compare that to seven away matches where the xG allowed is 8.7. On the other side, while Atalanta has won five of six away matches and outscored opponents 14-6, those numbers are misleading. The five wins have come against Torino, Salernitana, Empoli, Sampdoria, and Cagliari. Not a single one of those teams is in the top half of the Serie A table, and three of them are squarely in a relegation battle. Atalanta has also been quite lucky to allow only six goals in those matches, considering their xG allowed of 8.9. I think this match will resemble Atalanta’s trip to San Siro when it drew Inter 2-2 but was extremely lucky to do so, considering Inter had an xG of 3.9 that day.

Key Trend: Juventus has allowed only six goals in seven matches at home.

Manchester City vs West Ham United, Sunday, 9 a.m. | TV: Peacock
The Pick: Manchester City Over 2.5 (+100) — 
West Ham is good, and it’s been good for a while. It’s not good enough to win the Premier League, but it’s certainly good enough to compete for a Champions League spot and possibly even win the Europa League this season. But West Ham is not a deep squad, and despite the team’s hot start, I worry about how playing in European competitions could catch up to them as we head into the busiest part of the season. I suspect we might start to see some of that impact this weekend.

This season, West Ham has been excellent away from home, picking up 13 points in six matches, but its situation isn’t that different from Atalanta’s. Its four road wins have come against Newcastle United, Leeds United, Everton, and Aston Villa. There’s also a scoreless draw against Southampton and last week’s 1-0 loss to Wolverhampton. Now it’s going to the Etihad to face Manchester City, and I do not like its odds of coming home with any points. Unfortunately, there’s not much value to be found on the money line, but I do think there’s plenty of value to be found on Man City’s team total. Man City is averaging 3.3 goals per game during 10 home matches across all competitions this season.

Key Trend: Manchester City is averaging 3.3 goals per match at home.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Some guy named Tom Fornelli has gone 9-4 ATS in his last 13 picks involving Alabama, and he has a pick for Saturday’s Iron Bowl clash against Auburn.


 🏀 Tonight’s Parlay

Let’s finish the day with a four-leg college basketball parlay. After all, it’s Thanksgiving weekend. You’re supposed to be stuffed. Tonight’s parlay pays +145.

Source: CBSSports.com

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