Why a lot of points will be scored in Suns vs. Bulls, plus other best bets for Monday


Happy Monday, everyone. I hope your day has been going better than mine. Nothing’s wrong that I know of, I’m just an idiot, and my brain has decided to take the day off. Seriously, I’m going to be giving you gambling advice here shortly, and if my picks are anything like me this morning, I’d avoid them.

The day started normally enough. I woke up, let the dog out, fed the dog, and then walked the dog. Upon returning from the walk, I eagerly went to make myself a cup of coffee. Both to get the day going and shake off the 20-degree temperatures I was just walking in. So I set everything up, turned the coffee maker on, and then sat at my laptop to begin the day’s reading and research. A few minutes later, I got up to pour a cup of coffee, only to notice there was nothing in the pot.

I forgot to put water in the coffee maker, which is a pretty essential part of coffee.

So after calling myself a moron, I put in the water and made coffee. The next time I went to pour a cup, the coffee was made. I poured it into my cup, added some cream and sugar, and then took the coffee pot and went to put it back in the fridge. Yes, the fridge. Thankfully, I realized what I was doing before setting the pot down, so I’m not too far gone, but I’m still very far gone.

So, yeah, that’s been my brain today. The fact I was able to type these words is nothing short of a miracle. And while not miraculous, these stories were all written by people much smarter than me.

You read these picks, I’m going to take a nap.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook


🔥 The Hot Ticket


USATSI

🏀Phoenix Suns at Chicago Bulls, 8 p.m. | TV: NBA TV

Latest Odds:

Over 227.5

The Pick: Over 227.5 (-110): Bulls overs are back! I told you to take the over in the Bulls/Pacers game on Friday because overs had been hitting like mad ever since the Bulls lost Alex Caruso to a cheap shot by Grayson Allen. At that point, the over had hit in five of Chicago’s last six games, with an average of 233.3 points being scored in those six games. Well, the Bulls/Pacers game finished with 237 points and went over. On Sunday, the Bulls lost to Philadelphia 119-108.

That means the over has hit in seven of Chicago’s last eight and six straight. Tonight, the Bulls host one of the best teams in the NBA as Phoenix comes to town, and they’ll be exhausted. Due to games being rescheduled due to COVID, the Bulls are playing their sixth game in nine days.

Tired legs aren’t likely to help a Chicago defense with a defensive rating of 118.7 during this over streak against a Suns offense that ranks third in the NBA with an offensive rating of 112.8. I fully expect the Suns to beat the Bulls, and they’ll probably cover the spread too, but whatever happens, a lot of points will be scored. The over is the best play in any Bulls game until further notice.

Key Trend: The over has hit in six straight and seven of the last eight Bulls games.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: SportsLine’s Projection Model has a strong lean on one side of the total as well.


💰The Picks


USATSI

🏀 College Basketball

Pitt at Virginia Tech, 7 p.m. | TV: ACC Network

Latest Odds:

Over 127.5

The Pick: Over 128 (-110) — This is tricky because these two teams played on Saturday, with Virginia Tech winning at Pitt 76-71. Now, if you do the math on that, you know the game finished with 147 points, and that’s 19 points more than tonight’s total. So of course we should take the over, right? Well, we are, but not strictly because of that. I have tonight’s total being a few points too low in my projections, but that first meeting was an outlier.

The Hokies and Panthers combined to hit 23 of their 44 threes in the game, and I’m skeptical they’ll do it again. Well, I’m skeptical Pitt will. The Hokies have shot 41.8% from three on the season, trailing only South Dakota State for best in the country, and Pitt is awful defending the perimeter. Still, even if those numbers come back to Earth tonight, Virginia Tech’s defense hasn’t been nearly as solid in conference play as it was in the noncon, so even if Pitt’s awful on offense, its performance on Saturday wasn’t a total accident.

Key Trend: The over has hit in Virginia Tech’s last six games. 

UTSA at Middle Tennessee, 7 p.m. | TV: ESPN+

Latest Odds:

Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners
+12.5

The Pick: UTSA +12.5 (-110) — I bet on a lot of Conference USA basketball, and let me tell you, it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s not a great league! The basketball can be sloppy and difficult to watch, and if you don’t believe me, just watch tonight’s game. UTSA is one of the worst offenses in the country. There are 358 D-1 teams, and the Roadrunners rank 358th in eFG%, 356th in three-point percentage and 353rd from two. Thankfully, they’re much better at the free-throw line, where they rank 266th.

And that’s the team I have you betting on tonight!

No, I don’t hate you; I love you and want you to thrive. Sometimes we have to crawl in the muck to do so, though, which we’ll be doing tonight. While Middle Tennessee is a lot better than UTSA, it’s still a middling C-USA team that hasn’t been great defensively. Nor is it a great shooting team or outstanding on the glass. In other words, it’s not the kind of team you want to trust to cover spreads this large. Not even against teams like UTSA.

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

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Duke is hosting Virginia in one of the biggest college games of the night and SportsLine’s Projection Model has a heavy lean on the total.


⚽ Futures Market

The Pick: Tottenham to finish top 4 in the Premier League (+163) — The Premier League returns from a break on Tuesday, and for the most part, there isn’t much drama in the title chase. Manchester City has a nine-point lead over Liverpool and a 10-point lead over Chelsea. It’s likely to win the league. Liverpool and Chelsea will battle for second.

The only drama is fourth place: the final Champions League spot. Manchester United holds it with 38 points but could be without Mason Greenwood for the rest of the season and did absolutely nothing in January to improve the team. West Ham is in fifth with 37 points but still has the Europa League to play and doesn’t have the same kind of squad depth the other top clubs have. It’s reasonable to expect it to fade.

If I were to bet on a team to finish fourth, it’d be either Arsenal (currently in sixth) or Tottenham (seventh), and I’m rolling with Tottenham. In January, Arsenal didn’t address any of its significant issues (namely, a goal-scorer) while Tottenham did. While neither Dejan Kulusevski nor Rodrigo Bentancur are household names, both are solid players and great fits for what manager Antonio Conte wants in his team. Then there’s Conte himself. Conte just won Serie A with Inter Milan last season, won it three times with Juventus and won the Premier League with Chelsea in 2017. He’s far more accomplished than any of the other managers he’s fighting with for that spot and knows how to get the job done.





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