NCAA Football (0.5 Unit) Auburn/Alabama Over 49.5 (-110): 2:30 PM CT on CBS
Not much beats the Iron Bowl, even if the stakes this season aren’t what they often are. But we should get a lot of points in this one, given what we’ve seen from both teams this season. I’m especially looking at Auburn and their defense, which is getting too much credit for holding down an awful Texas A&M team and then Western Kentucky the past couple of weeks. They’ve been gashed against the better SEC offenses this season, allowing 38.2 points across 5 games.
Alabama should take advantage and unleash their offense here to send a statement. They might well approach this number on their own since Auburn has allowed 40-plus points 4 times this year. But the Tide defense has struggled against this kind of matchup where the opponent has a strong zone read offense. Tigers quarterback Robby Ashford has really progressed and is the kind of athlete that has given Bama trouble. These teams are a combined 11-6 over this total in games against power conference opponents, and this should be no different.
NCAA Football (0.5 Unit) Michigan St. @ Penn St. -19 (-110): 3:00 PM CT on FS1
You can’t help but feel bad for Penn State, as it’s no fun being the third-best team in the Big 10, especially in the east division. The Nittany Lions have steamrolled everyone they’ve faced except Michigan and Ohio State, which is nothing to be ashamed of. Their average margin of victory outside of those losses is 25.8 points overall, and 24.7 in conference games. I see them handing out another one of those beatings here to an overmatched and distracted Michigan State squad.
The Spartans blew an excellent chance to gain bowl eligibility last week, surrendering 39 points to a bad Indiana team. That deflating loss, plus the distracting headlines of their players being charged for the fight with Michigan, put MSU in a bad spot here. Penn State wants to rack up dominant wins to get a high-quality bowl bid and market itself in recruiting, so there’s plenty of motivation here. With head coach James Franklin always aware of the point spread, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them notch a 30-plus point win for the fourth straight week.
NCAA Football (0.5 Unit) Tulsa/Houston Over 67 (-110): 6:30 PM CT on ESPNU
It’s purely a handicap of the defenses in this game, or rather the lack thereof. Tulsa ranks 118th in points allowed, and 122nd for the more in-depth metric of yards-per-point allowed. Houston is better, but only minimally. The Cougars are 112th and 107th in those categories, respectively. That’s why Tulsa has allowed an average of 34.3 points in conference games, with Houston allowing 31.7 of their own in AAC play.
But both teams can sling it and are obviously no strangers to shootouts. Houston, in particular, is finally looking like the dangerous team it was supposed to be this season, topping 40 points in 4 straight weeks. They should torch Tulsa again here in the home finale. But don’t discount the Golden Hurricane and quarterback Davis Brin, who are excellent at scoring in garbage time. That should create the conditions necessary to get over this big number tonight.
NBA Dallas Mavericks -2.5 @ Toronto Raptors (-110): 4:00 PM CT on Bally Sports SW
I have to lean to the Mavericks in this game given the injury report for Toronto. Neither team has looked great recently, but the explanation for the Raptors is their laundry list of key injuries. Because there are so many of them, I’m being a little more cautious with this, so be sure to monitor the injury report before jumping in on this line.
Dallas has been pretty bad on the road, just 2-4 ATS and 1-5 straight up. So there has to be a good reason why they’re laying points to a good Raptors team that’s been strong at home. Luka Doncic has been doing exactly what you’d expect of him at this point, and he should be the difference in this game against a short-handed Raptors squad. I’ll wait for the afternoon injury report, but my sense is that Dallas comes out on top here, so I’m laying the points.
Tiny Nick is 959-799 ATS (+87.6 Units) on his Locks since joining Zone Coverage.
Every day he will offer his Locks and Degenerate picks. Locks are the games he’s confident in. Degenerates are entertaining but riskier picks.