Zach LaVine’s absence is affecting the Bulls-Kings line too much, plus other best bets for Tuesday


Welcome to the first day of a wild week in sports. Honestly, it feels like everything is happening right now. We’ve got the NCAA Tournament (fill out your brackets!) beginning on Tuesday, MLB spring training starting up and NFL free agency kicking off. Oh, and there’s Champions League action this week, along with all your standard NBA and NHL regular-season games.

It’s almost too difficult to keep track of. Thankfully, you subscribe to a newsletter like this one that’s more than happy to help you do so. Want to know all the latest rumors and moves in the NFL? We’ve got a tracker for that. How about MLB signings and trades? They’re all right here!

And if Tom Brady decides to retire and then un-retire at any point, we’ll be here for that. While we wait for that to happen, here are some of the biggest stories from Monday.

Now let’s bet some games.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook


🔥 The Hot Ticket


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🏀 Bulls at Kings, 10 p.m. | TV: NBA League Pass

Latest Odds:

Chicago Bulls
-3.5

  • Key Trend: The Bulls have covered four of the last five meetings
  • The Pick: Bulls -3.5 (-110)

Zach LaVine is not expected to play for the Bulls tonight, and it’s impacting the line. The Bulls opened as four-point favorites, but it’s dropped to 3.5, and I’d have been happy taking Chicago at -4, so to get the Bulls at -3.5 is fine with me too. LaVine is an impactful player, sure, but he’s missed plenty of games this year while tending to a sore knee. The Bulls are used to playing without him.

They’ve also done pretty well without him, going 8-5 in the 13 games he’s missed — including a 125-118 win over the Kings in Chicago last month. That game was played not long after the trade that sent Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield and Tristan Thompson to the Pacers for Domantas Sabonis, Justin Holiday and Jeremy Lamb. Oddly enough, Tristan Thompson will be suiting up for the Bulls tonight. It’s a trade that was questioned at the time, but the Kings have improved slightly since. Sacramento had a net rating of -4.9 before the deal, and that number has climbed up to -4.4 since.

So, worth it! Seriously, though, this Kings team is not good, and the Bulls recently got Alex Caruso back from his broken wrist, which will do wonders for a defense that had fallen off a cliff without him (remember our Bulls Overs?) This is the start of an important three-game road trip for the Bulls, and it’s easily the most winnable game of the three (the next two are against Utah and Phoenix), so they should come out with their best effort as they try to hold onto the No. 4 seed in the East.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Projection Model doesn’t like anything in this game, but not everybody can see the vision.


💰 The Picks


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🏀 NBA

Hornets at Thunder, 8 p.m. | TV: NBA League Pass

Latest Odds:

Charlotte Hornets
-11.5

The Pick: Hornets -10 (-110) — Yes, I know; taking the Charlotte Hornets as a double-digit favorite on the road against another NBA team is a ridiculous premise, but I swear it’s the smart move tonight. Aside from Portland, the Thunder have been the worst team in the league for the last month, going 3-12 in their last 15 games with a net rating of -12.4.

All sorts of dudes you’ve never heard of are getting significant minutes as the Thunder have dealt with a rash of injuries, including ones to Lu Dort and Josh Giddey. While the Hornets are weak defensively, they’re lighting it up right now on the offensive end. In March, the Hornets have an offensive rating of 121.4 points per 100 possessions. That’s the second-highest mark in the league behind Milwaukee. That’s not great news for an Oklahoma City team that ranks last in the NBA in March, allowing 123.4 points per 100 possessions.

Key Trend: The Hornets are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven road games. 

🏀 College Basketball

Indiana vs. Wyoming, Tuesday, 9:10 p.m. | TV: truTV

Latest Odds:

Wyoming Cowboys
+4

The Pick: Wyoming +4 (-110) — I’m off tomorrow, but I couldn’t send you into Tuesday night without giving you a pick for one of the two NCAA Tournament play-in games. Not only was I surprised to see Indiana get put in a play-in game (I thought wins over Michigan and Illinois would be enough to secure a spot), but I was more surprised to see the Hoosiers favored this heavily over Wyoming. I’m assuming it’s brand value swaying the line because while I think the Hoosiers should be favored, I wouldn’t have them favored by more than 1.5 points.

The Cowboys bring plenty of size to this fight, with five players who are at least 6’7 seeing regular time in the rotation. That size is why the Cowboys can get to the free-throw line so consistently (their 37% free-throw rate ranks 33rd nationally) and why they shoot so well on the interior (their 54.5% shooting percentage inside the arc ranks 32nd). That could cause problems for an Indiana team that is sound defensively but lacks size on the interior after Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson. This feels like a tough, lower-scoring game that will come down to the final possessions, so I’ll happily take four points with Wyoming.

Key Trend: Wyoming is 11-4 ATS in its last 15 as an underdog.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: While the Projection Model likes one side of the spread in tonight’s game between the Utah Jazz and Milwaukee Bucks, its favorite play of the night is on the money line.


⚽ Tuesday Champions League Parlay

A simple two leg parlay for Tuesday’s Champions League matches. It pays +135.

  • Atlético Madrid or Draw (-145)
  • Ajax (-255)





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