Kansas will roll against Oklahoma State | Keep riding the Bulls with their defense crumbling

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Happy Valentine’s Day, dear reader! I’ve long been a believer in the idea that the day after the Super Bowl should be a holiday so we can all take the day off. It’s a cruel twist of fate to have a holiday today, but not the kind we can skip work for.

We’re going to have to make up for it by doing even less work on the first Thursday and Friday of March Madness this season.

I hope you enjoyed the Super Bowl – you did if you followed the bets I’ve shared for the game here – and I hope you’re not too depressed by the end of the season of football. If you are, don’t worry. There will be yet another Spring Football League coming before you know it, and you can spend a few hours of this first week pretending to enjoy it before heading back to your daily life. If that doesn’t comfort you, just know that, football or not, this newsletter will be there for you every day with choices for other sports and great stories to read like these.

Now hopefully I’m as precise with these choices as Cupid was with his arrows.

All Eastern times and odds via Caesars Sportsbook


🔥 The hot ticket

Oklahoma State at No. 8 Kansas, 9 p.m. | Television: ESPN
The pick: Kansas -10.5 (-110)
: There’s only one college basketball game with a ranked team tonight, and that’s the one. Unfortunately for the casual observer, I don’t expect it to come close, even if Oklahoma State’s 12-12 record is misleading. The Cowboys are a much better team than their record suggests, but they suffer from playing in the best league in the country. That said, while the Cowboys would have a better record in any other league, that doesn’t mean they’re an elite team.

They struggle to score, which happens when you can’t shoot. It’s a pretty fundamental part of the game! The Cowboys rank 236th in eFG%, 326th in three-point percentage and 312th in charity stripe. Instead, they’re relying on a defense ranked 14th by KenPom, but that defense didn’t help much in the first meeting against Kansas. It was a 74-63 Jayhawks at Stillwater in early January. Kansas wasn’t spectacular that night — in fact, it was a lackluster performance — but Oklahoma State’s complete inability to get the orange ball through the orange cylinder killed it. .

I don’t expect Oklahoma State’s defense to be as effective at Allen Fieldhouse because most aren’t. The Jayhawks’ superior offense and solid defense should be enough to keep the Cowboys at bay for most of the night. I have some concerns about Kansas’ free throw shooting (it ranks 208th nationally at 70.3%), but Kansas has such a huge advantage on offensive glass that it probably won’t be a factor. Plus, Oklahoma State can be very happy, so Kansas’ overall free throw volume should help overcome setbacks.

Key trend: The favorite has covered seven of the last nine meetings.

Here’s what SportsLine has to say about the game: The SportsLine projection model is on the same side of the spread as me, but he doesn’t like much about tonight’s game.


💰Choices

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🏀NBA

Spurs at Bulls, 8 p.m. | Television: NBA TV
The choice: Over 234 (-110) —
You thought we were done betting on Bulls? I know we lost on Thursday, but the principle remains. The Bulls’ defense was just as awful, but they had a few bad offensive nights. That shouldn’t be the case tonight against a Spurs defense that ranks 18th in the NBA in defensive ratings and now features a bunch of new faces who don’t yet know each other. This will lead to errors and miscommunication, which will result in points.

Now, you could argue that San Antonio will suffer from the same issues offensively and that could lead to poor performance. It’s a valid point, but I reply by asking you, have you seen the Bulls defense lately? You don’t have to play well to score 115 points these days. Understanding the basic rules of basketball is all that is required of you right now.

Key trend: Over bets are 8-2 in the Bulls’ last 10 games.

🏀 College Basketball

Duquesne at Davidson, 7 p.m. | Television: ESPN+
The choice: more than 135.5 (-110) —
Don’t look at me like you’re too good to watch A-10 basketball on a streaming service. You are reading this newsletter on Valentine’s Day. If you had plans, you would live them. Instead, you’ll be at home sweating two teams you know nothing about, but don’t worry, I know enough about them to tell you that this total is too low. Now, there are reasons for that. None of these teams are moving fast. According to KenPom’s adjusted tempo, Davidson ranks 323rd nationally while Duquesne is 283rd. But don’t worry, Duquesne compensates for his slowness in attack by adding the ability not to score at the end. Seriously, the Dukes rank 322nd nationally in eFG% and 239th in adjusted offensive efficiency. They have lost nine straight in this game.

But we get the upper hand because Davidson is the best team in the Atlantic 10, but they didn’t get there defending. He got there by being ruthlessly efficient in attack. Davidson’s offense ranks 10th nationally in adjusted efficiency, and this is a team that not only takes a lot of threes, but hits them to a 38.3% clip (12th nationally). On the other side of the field, the Wildcats rank 224th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency. Thus, they move slowly in attack but then try to recover the ball quickly by not defending. It’s a weird lifestyle that suits the team well. My prediction is that Davidson builds a huge lead and heads for the finish line, allowing Duquesne to make the final score more respectable and help us to around 140 points.

Key trend: Over bets are 4-1 in Davidson’s last five games as a favorite.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine’s Alex Selesnick is an absolute beast when it comes to NBA prop betting, and he posted his favorite NBA props for Monday night.


⚽ Champions League pick

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The Champions League Round of 16 kicks off Tuesday afternoon on CBS and Paramount+, and I want to make sure you have my picks for all four games this week. If you want a full explanation of each choice, you can read them here. If you just want to take my word for it, the choices are below.

  • Real Madrid or Draw (-129)
  • Sporting/Manchester City Over 2.5 (-160)
  • Liverpool (+108)
  • Salzburg/Bayern Munich Over 3.5 (+105)
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