Thursday, January 20, 2022

Why the Raptors will stay hot against a depleted Spurs team, plus other best bets for Tuesday

Good afternoon gambling aficionados, it’s Chris Bengel back with you for the first time in 2022. We have one more college football bowl game on Tuesday, then everyone’s attention turns to next week’s national title game between Alabama and Georgia.

Maybe I’m crazy, but there’s no way I’m betting against the Crimson Tide in a spot where they’ve consistently excelled. You can get Alabama at +3 or at fairly decent juice on the moneyline. Just some food for thought.

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Despite having pigskin on the brain, we’re going to the hardwood and the rink for tonight’s picks (if you really want to bet on tonight’s bowl game, here’s Tom Fornelli’s pick from yesterday).

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

🏀Spurs vs. Raptors, 7 p.m. | TV: NBA.TV

Latest Odds: Toronto Raptors -6.5

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The Pick: Raptors -6.5 (-110): The Raptors were one of several NBA teams that were hit hard by recent COVID-19 outbreaks. However, Toronto is now completely healthy and the proof has been in the pudding. The Raptors have won three of their past five games while covering the spread over their last six contests. Since returning to the lineup last Tuesday against the 76ers, star forward Pascal Siakam has been playing like a man possessed. Over those three games, Siakam has put together averages of 24.3 points and 13 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the floor.

Meanwhile, the Spurs have lost three straight games and will be without point guard Dejounte Murray for the fourth consecutive game. Murray has cleared COVID-19 protocols, but is still working on getting his conditioning back to where it needs to be. Now, the Spurs do have the fifth-best scoring offense in the NBA … but they’re clearly missing a guy like Murray that leads the team in points (17.8), assists (8.8) and steals (2.0). With Murray continuing to sit, I’m more than comfortable taking the Raptors in this spot.

Key Trend: The Raptors are 6-0 ATS in their last six home games

💰 The Picks


Getty Images


Suns vs. Pelicans, 8 p.m. | TV: NBA.TV

Latest Odds: New Orleans Pelicans +7

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The Pick: Pelicans +7.5 (-110) — This is another situation in which we’re attacking the COVID-19 protocols storyline. The Pelicans recently got back Jonas Valanciunas and Brandon Ingram after the duo missed time due to being in the league’s protocols. While Ingram struggled missing 15 of his 18 shots, Valanciunas didn’t miss a beat at say the least. The Pelicans star center scored 25 points on 9-of-18 shooting while also grabbing nine rebounds in 30 minutes.

On the other hand, the Suns are being negatively impacted by the COVID-19 situation as they’re going be without Deandre Ayton, Jae Crowder and JaVale McGee for Tuesday’s game. Without Ayton and McGee in the game, Valanciunas should be able to feast on the Phoenix frontcourt. A 30-point, 15-rebound type of performance honestly wouldn’t shock me. In addition, the Pelicans have excelled in back-to-backs this season as they’ve accumulated a 7-3 record ATS. Obviously, the Pelicans will still have to slow down the Suns star backcourt of Chris Paul and Devin Booker, but seven points is a nice cushion.

Key Trend: The Pelicans are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games as a home underdog


Sharks vs. Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. | TV: NHL.TV

Latest Odds: Detroit Red Wings -120

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The Pick: Red Wings (-120) — It’s rare that you side with an NHL team that has been outscored 8-2 over their past two games, but here we are. This matchup is just too juicy for the Red Wings in this spot. Sharks goaltender James Reimer has been the definition of brutal this season. Over his last three games, Reimer has surrendered a grand total of 15 goals. Yes, you read that correctly. In addition, the veteran netminder gave up seven goals to the Arizona Coyotes, who have the worst record in the entire league. On Sunday, Reimer yielded six goals to the Pittsburgh Penguins, all of which came in the first period before being pulled from the game.

The Red Wings aren’t exactly the most dominant offense in the NHL, but they have enough playmakers to take advantage of Reimer’s struggles. Dylan Larkin (15 goals) and Tyler Bertuzzi (13 goals) continue to lead the way for a Red Wings team that are in the middle of the pack in the Atlantic Division. If Reimer’s recent history is any indication, any team has the potential to light the lamp with regularity against him.

Key Trend: The Red Wings are 4-0 in their last four games as a home favorite

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