Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Why the Bucks will really miss Jrue Holiday vs. the Warriors, plus other best bets for Thursday

Things change quickly in the NFL. Only a few weeks ago, the Indianapolis Colts had won three straight and six of seven to get back into the playoff picture, and people were talking about how Carson Wentz looked like the MVP candidate of old. Then Indy lost its final two games, including an embarrassing loss to Jacksonville in Week 18, and we don’t even know if the Colts plan to bring Wentz back next season. When asked about the possibility, general manager Chris Ballard was non-committal.

“When we made the decision to make a move on Carson, at the time of the decision, we felt good about it,” said Ballard. “And I still don’t regret it. … I won’t make a comment on who’s going to be here and who’s not going to be here. That’s not fair.”

Now, considering the Colts traded a first- and third-round pick for Wentz, I don’t imagine they’ll just move on, but I wouldn’t blame them if they gave strong consideration to it. Wentz is one of those quarterbacks who will always trick a team into thinking he can be the guy. He has almost all the physical qualities, but something is missing. One play, he looks brilliant, and the next, he’s doing something you’d expect from a college freshman making their first career start, not an NFL veteran.

The truly great quarterbacks don’t do that. At this point, NFL teams should fully understand that Wentz is a guy who can win games for you and help you compete for a playoff spot, but he’s not a difference-maker at the Super Bowl level. At least, not in a positive direction. That’s why the Colts would be doing themselves a disservice not to consider other options that might become available.

OK, let’s make some money.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook


🔥 The Hot Ticket

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USATSI

Warriors at Bucks, 7:30 p.m. | TV: TNT

Latest Odds: Golden State Warriors +1

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The Pick: Warriors +1.5 (-110): Am I free to say that I just think Golden State is a better team than Milwaukee? I understand that their records and the metrics reflect that, but I don’t think this spread is accurate. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in your inbox trying to tell you that the Bucks are bad, but they haven’t been as good this season as they were last year, and Golden State is looking like it’s trying to get the dynasty back together.

While the Suns are ahead of them in the standings, the Warriors’ net rating of +8.5 is the best in the league, well ahead of Milwaukee’s +3.7. The most significant difference between these two is on the defensive end, and as many of you have picked up on by following my NBA picks, I prefer betting on strong defenses than strong offenses. Golden State just happens to have both.

Now, the Warriors will be without Draymond Green tonight, and that’s not an absence we can ignore, but Milwaukee won’t have Jrue Holiday, and Green is easier for the Warriors to replace now that Klay Thompson is back. And Holiday is somebody Milwaukee would love to have available to defend Thompson and Steph Curry.

I think Golden State goes to Milwaukee and gets a win tonight, but there’s not enough value on the money line, so instead, I’ll just take that point and a half.

Key Trend: Milwaukee is 6-13 ATS in its last 19 home games

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: The SportsLine Projection Model likes a play on the spread as well, but not as much as it likes one side of the total.


💰 The Picks

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🏀 College Basketball

Oklahoma State at No. 19 Texas Tech, 7 p.m | TV: ESPN+

Latest Odds: Oklahoma State Cowboys +7.5

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The Pick: Oklahoma State +7.5 (-110) — I’m buying low on Oklahoma State. The Cowboys have not adjusted well to life without Cade Cunningham, entering the night with a record of 8-6 and the losers of five of their last seven games. It’s that streak that’s putting a little too much value on the Cowboys in this spot. The Cowboys are not a great shooting team, as they rank 226th nationally with an eFG% of 48.6%, but they’ve been even worse of late. In three Big 12 games, that number has dropped to 42.5%. They aren’t that bad, and we could see some progression toward the mean tonight.

Texas Tech is undoubtedly the better team and wins this game far more often than not, but the Red Raiders turn the ball over too often on offense and are too poor at the free-throw line to trust as this large of a favorite. Also, Oklahoma State is solid defensively, and it’s capable of keeping a Texas Tech offense that prefers to move slowly within range.

Key Trend: The underdog has covered four of the last five meetings.

Southern Miss at Louisiana Tech, 7 p.m | TV: CBS Sports Network

Latest Odds: Southern Miss Golden Eagles +19

Powered by Caesars Sportsbook

The Pick: Southern Miss +19 (-110) — Who wants to bet on an awful basketball team with me? Because, seriously, Southern Miss is a bad basketball team. The Golden Eagles are ranked 302nd by KenPom and are 5-9, and none of their five wins have come against teams ranked higher than 237th by KenPom. So why the hell are we betting on them against a 13-3 Louisiana Tech team? Good question! It’s because they aren’t 19 points worse than the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs might be 13-3, but it’s not as if their resume of wins is significantly better than any Southern Miss has, and they’re not particularly great at anything. They don’t shoot well from three, and they’re a poor rebounding team. Things that make it difficult to trust them as nearly 20-point favorites. So you’re just going to have to trust me on this one. No, it’s not fun sweating out a 19-point dog in a mid-major college basketball game, but sometimes we have to do things because they’re right, not because they’re fun.

Key Trend: The road team has covered four of the last five meetings.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: The SportsLine Projection Model’s favorite college basketball play tonight is on one side of the total between Weber State and Idaho. Big-time basketball!


🏀 Tonight’s Parlay

A nice, easy four-leg parlay paying +108.

  • Old Dominion (-700)
  • South Dakota (-300)
  • UCLA (-550)
  • Cal State Fullerton (-650)

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