I regret to inform you that today is not a Football Friday. I know, I’m sad about it too. The problem is that there is no college football left to be played, and Week 18 of the NFL slate is not one I’m interested in betting on, as there are too many variables in play.
For instance, a team might play its starters, but only for half the game. So if you’re going to bet on the NFL this weekend, I recommend doing it live rather than pre-game because you’ll have a lot more information at your disposal. So let that be your Football Friday tip for the weekend.
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Also, do not get confused and think we’re done with Football Fridays for the season. When the NFL playoffs begin next week, Football Friday will return with it. So you’ve got a few weeks left. Cherish them while you can. And cherish these stories, too.
- Jonathan Jones thinks the Browns will have a difficult time moving on from Baker Mayfield.
- Kansas City’s Chris Jones will be trying extra hard to get a sack this weekend.
- Gary Parrish’s Top 25 and 1 still doesn’t have Illinois in it because he hates me.
- A former Liverpool star is coming back to the Premier League.
And now, Basketball Friday! Basketball Briday? We need a day of the week that starts with B.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Latest Odds: Under 232.5
The Pick: Under 232.5 (-110): Ladies and gentlemen, we are dipping our toes back into NBA waters. While I’m still not excited about the prospect of betting NBA games right now (at least, not in the newsletter when I’m sending the picks a few hours before tip), we’ve got to bet on something, right? Thankfully, tonight we’ve got an old reliable: a Nets-Bucks game. There are so many of my favorite NBA principles in play with this one.
I love betting unders in games with two good teams, and I love betting the under when these two play. Seriously, the under is 8-1-1 in the last 10 meetings between them, and I think tonight’s total is a little too high once again.
Why do I like betting unders between good teams? Well, it’s simple. While you need superstars to win titles in the NBA, it’s no coincidence that the teams with the best records year in and year out are typically the league’s better defenses. And guess what? The Bucks and Nets are tied for eighth in the league with a defensive rating of 107.7! That’s part of the reason why the last 11 games between these two (one meeting this year and 10 last year between the regular season and playoffs) have averaged only 218 points per game.
Key Trend: The under is 8-1-1 in the last 10 meetings.
Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: Man, the SportsLine Projection Model and I are vibin’ lately. It also has a strong lean on the spread tonight if you’re looking to double up.
💰 The Picks
🏀 College Basketball
Marquette at Georgetown, 6:30 p.m. | TV: FS1
Latest Odds: Georgetown Hoyas +2.5
The Pick: Georgetown +2.5 (-110) — There’s value on Georgetown as a home dog tonight. The Hoyas are only 6-5 on the season and have some ugly losses against teams like Dartmouth, Saint Joseph’s and South Carolina, which is part of the reason the market isn’t very high on them. Another reason is they don’t shoot well.
The Hoyas shoot only 47.2% from inside the arc compared to 39.2% from three, but they don’t shoot a high volume of threes. Maybe they should! Or maybe the only reason they hit them at a high rate is they only take them when they’re wide open. Whatever the reason, it all adds to an offense that’s merely OK rather than good.
The reason I like them tonight is that Marquette isn’t much better offensively. The Golden Eagles are horrible from three and look to make up for it by playing pressure defense and getting buckets in transition (Shaka Smart does coach them, after all). The problem for Marquette tonight is that it hasn’t played as well on the road as it has at home. It’s only 1-2 in road games, with the lone win a one-point victory over Kansas State. That doesn’t mean the Golden Eagles can’t or won’t beat Georgetown tonight; it just means I’m not willing to bet on them to cover while doing so.
Key Trend: Marquette is 1-5 ATS in its last six games as a road favorite.
No. 22 Xavier at Butler, 8:30 p.m. | TV: FS1
Latest Odds: Butler Bulldogs +6.5
The Pick: Butler +6.5 (-110) — My thought process here isn’t all that different from the approach I’m taking with Georgetown. Butler is off to an 8-5 start, and it’s being undervalued against a Xavier team that’s 11-2. The difference between Butler and Georgetown is that the Bulldogs are terrible across the board on offense. Their adjusted efficiency of 101.9 ranks 180th nationally, and it’s only that high because they move at such a slow pace that it makes them look more efficient. Seriously, Butler ranks 244th nationally in three-point shooting, 231st from two, and 281st from the free-throw line. But they defend! Their defensive efficiency of 96.1 ranks 66th.
That will come in handy against a Xavier team that’s performed well offensively but from the comforts of home. The Musketeers have played only two road games this season. The first was a 77-71 win over Oklahoma State. The second was a 71-58 loss to Villanova, which took place on Dec. 21, and was also the last time the Musketeers played. I’m not worried about rust, but that long layoff plus playing on the road at Hinkle Fieldhouse could lead to difficulties for Xavier tonight, so I’ll take the home dog to keep this one close.
Key Trend: Xavier is 2-6 ATS in its last eight road games.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: I don’t have any NFL picks for you today, but the SportsLine Projection Model has shared all of its favorite plays for Week 18 right here.
🏈 Sunday Parlay
Oh who am I kidding!? I can’t send you into a weekend without some NFL action! Here’s a pretty simple three-leg moneyline parlay. It’s not exactly a scientific pick, but it’ll give us something to sweat on Sunday. It pays +147.
- Cardinals (-290)
- Bucs (-380)
- Rams (-220)