Luka Garza will be difference-maker in No. 7 Iowa vs. No. 19 Illinois, plus other best bets for the weekend


Hello, everyone, I have returned from the dentist, and I’m here to bring you some winners before you head into the weekend. Before I do that, though, I’d like to thank Sam Quinn for filling in for me on such short notice. It’s very much appreciated, and as I’ll be going over soon enough, you may have to do it again next week too!

So, yeah, I had a root canal yesterday, and it reminded me of Brussels sprouts. You see, when I was growing up, I feel like there was a marketing campaign against Brussels sprouts on television. Whether it was in sitcoms or cartoons, Brussels sprouts were always brought up as disgusting food that made the character cringe. So, as a child with a malleable brain, I grew up thinking Brussels sprouts were awful. Then I ate them! And they’re fantastic! Legitimately one of my favorite vegetables.

I got the same sense about root canals. Now, I’m not going to say root canals are as good as Brussels sprouts, but the way I’ve heard them talked about my entire life had me dreading the trip to the endodontist yesterday. But it was fine. I barely felt anything. I have to go back next week to get it finished, but I’m no longer worried about it.

Root canals, like Brussels sprouts, get a bad rap. Don’t fall for the propaganda! Fall for these delightful articles instead.

Now let’s start the weekend off right.

All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook


🔥 The Hot Ticket

No. 7 Iowa at No. 19 Illinois, 9 p.m. | TV: FS1
The Pick: Iowa +2.5 (-110)
: I am very much looking forward to this game as it is one of the better basketball rivalries in the Big Ten. There were plenty of heated moments between them last season, and it doesn’t hurt that they’re two of the better teams in the conference. Of course, while I’m looking forward to it, that doesn’t mean I’m excited about the pick I’m making. As an Illini fan, it hurts to pick against them in this spot, but this isn’t a great matchup for the Illini.

Have you seen the trailer for Godzilla vs. Kong yet? Well, tonight’s battle between Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn and Iowa’s Luka Garza is a bit of a sneak preview. They’re two of the best big men in the country, but I give Garza the edge. As good as Cockburn is, he’s struggled against players who can match his size. He’s only been playing basketball since his freshman year of high school, and he wasn’t running into many Luka Garza’s in high school. Garza is the more polished player and can drag Cockburn away from the paint and make him defend on the perimeter, which is not where he’s at his best.

And, in a game that is likely to be close, it’s that one matchup that could prove to be the difference-maker. So, as much as it might hurt me to do so, I have to take Iowa and the points.

Key Trend: Iowa is 15-6 ATS in its last 21 overall.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Advanced Computer Model has a few strong inklings about tonight’s game that you should check out.


💰 The Picks


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🏀 NBA

Bucks at Pelicans, 7:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Over 230 (-110) — 
Judging by the early line movement in this game, a lot of people are on the Bucks tonight. I’m not joining them, because the Bucks just aren’t good enough defensively to earn my trust as this heavy a road favorite. But they are just bad enough defensively for me to want to take the over in this spot.

The Bucks rank 10th overall in the NBA in defensive efficiency, but they’re worse on the road. At home, their defensive efficiency of 1.044 ranks seventh. On the road, they rank 15th in the league at 1.078. Then there’s New Orleans, which is average to bad on the defensive end no matter where you put it. So, when I look at this matchup, I see two teams likely to put up points, which makes the over a far more attractive option than the spread.

Key Trend: The over is 7-1 in the last eight meetings.

Kings at Raptors, 7:30 p.m. | TV: League Pass
The Pick: Raptors Over 117.5 (-105) — 
We’ve got a winning formula, and we aren’t messing with it. The Kings are the worst defensive team in the league by a wide margin, and they love to allow points. We love betting on them to allow points, too. The Raptors got off to a slow start this season, and we took advantage of that while we could, but they’re starting to figure things out now. The Kings will help them discover themselves a bit quicker. The Raptors only rank 19th in the NBA in offensive efficiency, but those numbers should improve tonight!

Key Trend: The Kings allow 120.4 points per game.

⚽ Premier League

Arsenal vs Manchester United, Saturday 12:30 p.m. | TV: NBC
The Pick: Manchester United (+150) — 
There’s more gut feel to this pick than I’d generally like, but I have a sneaking suspicion about Arsenal. They are without a doubt playing better, having won five of their last six Premier League matches, but I’m not sure if that’s Arsenal or Arsenal’s schedule. While there was the 3-1 win over Chelsea, looking at expected goals, Chelsea was slightly better in that clash. The other four wins have come against Brighton, West Brom, Newcastle and Southampton. Southampton’s the only win worth being proud of. 

Meanwhile, United are coming off a shocking loss to Sheffield United, but I don’t take too much from that result. United won the xG battle 1.7-1.0 and got a bit unlucky. Also, there’s a good chance that United might’ve just expected to win the match and didn’t take Sheffield United as seriously as they should’ve. That won’t be the case against Arsenal. I like United’s chances of getting revenge for the 1-0 loss at Old Trafford earlier this season.

Want more of my Premier League picks for this weekend? I have two other matches as well as a four-team money line parlay in Corner Picks.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine’s Advanced Projection Model, which is up almost $7,900, has 20 strong player prop bets for Super Bowl 55 between the Chiefs and Buccaneers.


💸 The DFS Rundown

Star Plays

PG: Malcolm Brogdon, Pacers
SG: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Thunder
SF: Khris Middleton, Bucks
PF: Domantas Sabonis, Pacers
C: Nikola Jokic, Nuggets

Value Plays

PG: Reggie Jackson, Clippers
SG: Terance Mann, Clippers
SF: Nic Batum, Clippers
PF: Aaron Gordon, Magic
C: Cody Zeller, Hornets

Full lineup advice

Get winning NBA DFS picks from SportsLine pros Mike McClure and Jacob Gibbs. McClure has won almost $2 million in daily Fantasy, while Gibbs crushed the NBA last season, cashing around 65 percent of the time in cash games and nearly 45 percent of the time in tournaments. See their DraftKings advice and FanDuel lineups here


 🏀 NBA Player Props


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  • Domantas Sabonis Over 12.5 rebounds (+110)
  • Brook Lopez Over 0.5 assists (-120)
  • James Harden Over 6.5 rebounds (+115)
  • Isaac Okoro Over 1.5 assists (-140)





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