DOUG’S BETTING CARD – January 2024

Below are bets that I actually make. My approach entails aggregating conversations with extremely respected oddsmakers and bettors, along with my own handicapping. I want to share that insight and intel.

Sportsbooks prefer you wager solely on marquee games and make multiple parlays. I do not oblige. That may entail taking days off or passing on exciting matchups. Winning takes occasional discipline but the good opportunities will present themselves – if one is mildly patient.

MAIN BETS – Dollar amounts differ for each person but unit sizes (1x through 5x) are an effective method. 5x represents my largest and most confident wager.

LEANS – These represent mere opinions on other games where my conviction is not high enough to place a wager.

completed plays / results

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 31 (+2.93 units)

4x Indiana/Maryland under 151.5 and 3x Indiana -5.5 (women’s basketball) – The Terps are really struggling right now (0-4 ATS in last four games) and their leader in points and assists, Shyanne Sellers, will miss this game. There does not seem to be anyone who can guard Indiana’s McKenzie Holmes so I’m laying it. 1.4x LOSS

4x Penn State -3.5 at Minnesota (women’s basketball) – This is the Gophers’ first game without Mara Braun, who leads the team in minutes, shot attempts and points. The Nittany Lions are playing extremely well since activating Virginia Tech transfer Ashley Owuso and the market has yet to catch up. WIN

.5x Virginia -13 vs. Notre Dame and .5x under 114 – This will be a gross game but I still think UVA handles their business. The total is ridiculously low but that’s what we get with these two teams. The Irish have gone under in 15 of their 20 games and will struggle against this Virginia defense that ranks seventh in KenPom. The Irish offense ranks 315th, which is amazingly awful. Covering a double-digit spread and hitting the under 114 sounds absurd until the game starts. LOSS

.5x Kentucky -7.5 vs. Florida – We missed the best number of 6.5 but I still the Wildcats cover. They had an impressive second half in Gainesville in a game where the Gators probably could not have played any better. I also like how U.K. responded in the second half of their last game. After losing to South Carolina a week ago, I feel the Cats recognize they cannot mess around with inferior opponents. LOSS

.25x Auburn -18.5 vs. Vanderbilt and .25x 1st Half -10.5 – The Tigers are off back-to-back losses and now return home where they are undefeated. This is a pretty simple handicap. I expect them to explode out of the gates but also should run away with this. .025xLOSS

.5x New Mexico -10.5 vs. Boise State – the Lobos are 9-1 ATS at home and there may be a tax to back them right now but I still think it’s worth it. They have trucking most teams at The Pit and it probably happens here. The Broncos will do their best to slow down the pace and avoid the blowout but I am unsure they have the capability to do that. LOSS

1x Mavs 1st Quarter +4 at T’Wolves – Dallas is playing with a shell of its regular roster, given Luke Doncic, Kyrie Irving and others will miss this game. What typically happens is the opponent will lack the necessary intensity and the reserves will play with much more energy. I think we see that with the Mavericks, given Minnesota is off a monster win at the Thunder. WIN

.5x Nets 1st Quarter +1 vs. Suns – Since their main three stars started playing together, Phoenix has been a slow-starting team when coming off wins. However, there will be a little emotion tonight with Kevin Durant playing his first game back in Brooklyn so I have a little caution but I still the Nets have the firepower to cover this. I think this is the right play. WIN

.25x Blazers 1st Quarter Team Total over 27.5 and 2nd quarter Team Total over 28.5 – the building should have unique energy with Damian Lillard returning to Portland for the first time since his offseason trade. I think the Blazers will have a huge effort and they actually do have a decent lineup at full strength. I also think they’ve been playing quite well lately. So given Milwaukee’s suspect defense, I trust Portland’s offense more than anything. WIN

LEANS: Baylor -3.5 W, Clippers/Wizards over 235.5 L, Heat -2.5 W, UConn -13 L, Pistons/Cavs over 231.5 W, Pelicans +2 W, Spurs +6 L

TUESDAY, JANUARY 30 (+1.83 units)

.75x Colorado State -2.5 vs. San Diego State – like most conferences, it’s tough to win on the road. That difficulty is amplified with the altitude in the Mountain West. The Rams have lost two straight but now return home, where they are tough. Meanwhile, the Aztecs already have lost at New Mexico and Boise State so they certainly are not the same away from home. WIN

1x Warriors -3.5 vs. Sixers – This is a bit of a gamble, as Joel Embiid is a game-time decision for Philly. He’s nursing a legitimate injury so there is no guarantee he is the MVP version of himself if he does play. Plus, Tyrese Maxey will sit out so that’s a giant win for Golden State. I think the Warriors are starting to figure out some things, now that Draymond Green is back and Jonathan Kuminga is finding himself. It’s been a long road trip for Philly, which has lost three straight. They’re also playing the second night of back-to-backs so I’ll roll with the home team. WIN

.5x Georgia Tech +8.5 vs. North Carolina and .5x Georgia Tech 1H +4.5 – We are missing the best of the number but it still feels like the right side. UNC has won all but one conference game by double digits and that came this past weekend. The market might finally have caught up to the Heels. Plus, UNC has Duke on deck so this could be a classic lookahead spot, and I will break up the play between first half and game. WIN

.5x South Carolina +14 at Tennessee and .5x 1H +7.5 and .75x over 135.5 – Similar mindset as Georgia Tech. The Vols have Kentucky on Saturday so maybe the Gamecocks catch them looking ahead. I also like the idea of breaking up the play because U.T. can have scoring lulls and maybe we gain some line value in that regard. I also feel the over is a decent play, given all the factors mentioned above. If Tennessee’s offense is clicking and South Carolina pushes pace to avoid the Vols’ halfcourt defense, we should cash the over. .175x WIN

1x Kansas State -2.5 vs. Oklahoma – Both teams are coming off consecutive losses but the Sooners lost both at home. Now they hit the road in a tough spot. Ultimately, this is about an OU team that is seemingly fading and the Wildcats are really tough at home. LOSS

LEANS: Pacers +8 W, Lakers +6.5 L, Knicks -4.5 W, Raptors +6.5 W

MONDAY, JANUARY 29 (-2.10 units)

.5 Celtics 1Q -2.5 over Pelicans, .5x Celtics 1H -4, and 1x 1H Team Total over 59.5 (+100) – Boston is coming off a home beatdown to the Clippers. The Celtics have now lost consecutive home games after starting the season undefeated. I expect a monster effort, even without Kristaps Porzingis. I realize New Orleans is coming off back-to-back blowout losses but I am unsure this team has the goods to respond. If so, I still like Boston’s ability to score points, which is why I am backing the team total. LOSS

LEANS: Knicks -9 W, Celtics -8 L, Jazz -1 L, Spurs -3.5 L, Lakers -1 L, Thunder -2.5 L, Grizzlies +10 W, Magic +4.5 W, Nuggets -3.5 W, Sixers -8.5 L, Duke -3.5 W, Texas +5 W

SUNDAY, JANUARY 28 (-2.48 units)

1x Moneyline Parlay: Ravens and 49ers (-110) – It’s not the sharpest wager for Sunday but it gives you action on both games. I am unwilling to lay points against Patrick Mahomes, particularly more than a field goal, but I do think the Ravens get the win. They are healthier and have a wide range of offensive weapons. I also do not think Detroit has the right ingredients to beat San Francisco. I could be wrong but I think the Niners have a big day. LOSS

1x Brock Purdy over 275.5 passing yards – The Detroit defense has been a leaky unit, allowing at least 345 passing yards in five straight games. Purdy is not a gunslinger but that is Detroit’s vulnerability, and I expect Kyle Shanahan to exploit it and utilize all his weapons. LOSS

.25x George Kittle over 58.5 receiving yards – For the same reasons mentioned above, the 49ers will attack the Lions through the air. I expect Kittle to be a key weapon and he is a beast with the ball, racking up yards after the catch. The short and intermediate throws are a great way to neutralize Detroit’s pass rush, and that is Kittle’s wheelhouse. LOSS

LEANS: Suns -1.5 L, Hawks -6.5 L, Blazers +7.5 L, Nevada +8.5 L

SATURDAY, JANUARY 27 (+.4 units)

1x Nets 1st Half -2 vs. Rockets – Brooklyn is 2-12 in its last 14 games and a large reason for that is collapses down the stretch. I also think we get a stronger start, after Houston cruised to a blowout win in Charlotte last night. For whatever reason, the Rockets are much worse on the road (5-15 as opposed to 16-8 at home). Both teams are well-coached so I do not see the advantage that Houston typically has with Ime Udoka. I think the first-half spot favors Brooklyn. WIN

.5x Clippers +7 at Celtics – Boston is scary when the offense is clicking, as they rank first in efficiency and three-point attempts per game. However, the Clippers are super talented since the midseason acquisition for James Harden and can hang with the Celtics offensively. Defense is another story but this feels like too many points, especially with Kristaps Porzingis missing this game. WIN

1x Kentucky -6 at Arkansas – Conventional wisdom suggests Eric Musselman will turn this Arkansas season around but I am unsure it happens. The Razorbacks are 1-5 in conference play and all five losses have come by double digits. I think we see a blowout with U.K. getting back on track, following its blowout loss at South Carolina. I am not crazy about the back-to-back road games for the Wildcats but I think they have too much firepower for the Hogs. PUSH

.5x Texas A&M -8 vs. Ole Miss and .5x Texas A&M 1st Half -4 – The Rebels have been trucked in their two conference road games and it seems as though we are headed for a third. Ole Miss is coming off a feel-good blowout win over Arkansas and I believe it is ripe for a convincing loss. In a perfect scenario, the Aggies would be off a loss but I am still willing to back them  against an inferior opponent. LOSS

LEANS: Nets -4 L, Pelicans +5 L, Lakers +1.5 W, Kings -4 W, Oregon +4, UCLA/USC under 134 W, Utah PK L, UNLV -3.5 W, Pacific +25 W

FRIDAY, JANUARY 26 (-.50 units)

.5x Moneyline Parlay: Magic and Wisconsin (+136) – When healthy, this Orlando team has outperformed the market all season. The Grizzlies have done some nice things lately despite the injuries to their main weapons but this is a mismatch. I also like the Badgers to get the win. The revenge angle favors Sparty but they still have limitations. I’ll roll with the home team to get the win. LOSS

THURSDAY, JANUARY 25 (+0 units)

LEANS: Wizards +7.5 L, Sixers -4.5 L, Celtics 1st Half -4 W, Nuggets -2.5 L, Kings -2 L, Gonzaga -9 L, ASU +9.5 L, Arizona -18 L

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 24 (+1.31 units)

.75x Rockets -10.5 vs. Blazers – LOSS

1 Dejounte Murray over 13.5 Assists + Rebounds and .2x over 2.5 made three-pointers – .78x WIN

.2x Giannis over 32.5 points – WIN

.5 Iowa -5.5 vs. Maryland – LOSS

TUESDAY, JANUARY 23 (+6.43 units)

.5x D’Angelo Russell over 2.5 Rebounds (-120) – WIN

.75x Nuggets -5 at Pacers – PUSH

.75x Oklahoma -4.5 vs. Texas – LOSS

.75x Moneyline Parlay: Oklahoma + Nuggets (+120) – LOSS

4x UCF +6.5 at TCU (women’s basketball) – WIN

3.5x UConn -16.5 at Marquette (women’s basketball) – WIN

MONDAY, JANUARY 22 (-5.45 units)

3x Kansas -9 vs. Cincinnati – LOSS

.5x Grizzlies/Raptors over 225.5 – LOSS

3x Kings -8.5 vs. Hawks, 1x Kings 1st Quarter Team Total over 31.5, 3x Kings 1st Half Team Total over 63.5 (+100), .5x Kings Team Total over 124.5 (+110) – 1.6x LOSS

SUNDAY, JANUARY 21 (-2.8 units)

3x Colorado -4.5 vs. USC (women’s basketball) – LOSS

.5x Travis Kelce over 61.5 receiving yards – WIN

SATURDAY, JANUARY 20(-17.95 units)

1x Cavs -2.5 at Hawks – WIN

4x Grizzlies/Bulls 1H over 105.5 – LOSS

.5x Dricus Du Plessis to win Inside the Distance (+130), 2x Du Plessis/Strickland to not go the distance (-300) – LOSS

1x Mayra Bueno Silva Inside the Distance (+115), .25x Bueno Silva via Submission (+800), .5x Pennington/Bueno Silva under 4.5 rounds (+105) – LOSS

1x Evloev over Allen (-185), .25x Evloev via Submission (+800), Evloev/Allen under 2.5 rounds (+250) – .25x WIN

.25x Katona/Armfield goes the distance -165 – WIN

.75x Robertson/Viana under 2.5 rounds, .25x Viana to win in Round 1 (+1400) – .5x WIN

1x Lainesse/Patterson Round 3 won’t start, 1x Lainessee Inside the Distance (-110) – .1x LOSS

.5x C.J. Stroud over 8.5 rushing yards (-120), .5 Stroud over 2.5 rushing attempts (+120), Stroud alternate over 24.5 rushing yards (+400) – .85x WIN

3x Ravens -9.5 vs. Texans – WIN

2x Jaden Ivey over 30.5 Points + Assists + Rebounds (-120) and Ivey over 26.5 Points + Assists (-105) – LOSS

1x Purdue/Iowa over 165.5 – LOSS

2x ASU 1st Half -2 over USC and 1x -3.5 for game – WIN

2x UCLA/Arizona under 143.5, 1x 1st Half under 68, 5x UCLA Team Total under 62.5 (-105) – 6.45x LOSS

FRIDAY, JANUARY 19 (-1.20 units)

1x Moneyline Parlay: Celtics + Colorado State (-120) – LOSS

THURSDAY, JANUARY 18 (-6.60 units)

3x Kings 1st Quarter -2.5 vs. Pacers and 1st Quarter Team Total over 32.5 Points – LOSS

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 17(-.90 units)

.25x Jaden Ivey over 26.5 Points + Assist + Rebounds – WIN

1x Mavs 1st Quarter Team Total over 30.5 (-115) – LOSS

TUESDAY, JANUARY 16 (+2.2 units)

1.5x New Mexico ML over Utah State (-250) – It would be a lot to ask the Aggies to win this game. They just pulled out a miraculous win on Saturday at UNLV, scoring on a five-point play in the final seconds when trailing by four points. Meanwhile, the Lobos are undefeated at The Pit and have an excellent backcourt. They probably cover the six points but I feel much more comfortable asking New Mexico just to win the game. WIN

.5x Sixers -1.5 vs. Nuggets – While this is a fun matchup of championship contenders, it’s also the season’s first meeting between the last two MVP winners. The Sixers always seem to take these faceoffs more seriously and frankly, Philly is playing a lot better right now and has this game at home. WIN

.5x Kings/Suns 1st Half over 124.5 – Sacramento just allowed 65 points to Philly and 68 to the Bucks in the first half. This is a team that wants to push the pace and also end their current two-game skid. That means scoring and not necessarily defense. Meanwhile, Phoenix recently got their big three playing together and while the offense still needs to work out some kinks, it’s pretty lethal having Kevin Durant, Devon Booker and Bradley Beal. I anticipate an up-and-down game with both teams scoring easily. LOSS

.75x Clippers -6 vs. Thunder – This is a tough back-to-back scenario for OKC, after losing to the Lakers last night. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is playing through injury and may miss this game. Either way, the Thunder should be overmatched by a Clippers squad coming off a loss and looking to get back on track. WIN

LEANS: Cincinnati -3 W, Indiana +9.5 L, Syracuse +6.5 W, Georgia +7 L, Boise State -5.5 L

MONDAY, JANUARY 15 (+3.4 units)

1x Eagles/Bucs under 43 – The rationale is pretty simple. Both offense are shaky, especially with A.J. Brown out for the Eagles. Philly’s defense has been a shell of itself the past few weeks but I think Todd Bowles and Tampa approach this conservatively. We should see a low-scoring tight game. WIN

1x Warriors -7.5 at Grizzlies and .5x under 226.5 – I have a hard time visualizing how Memphis maintains pace with Golden State. The Grizzlies are without Ja Morant, Marcus Smart and Desmond Bane. They are beyond limited. Golden State should have a good vibe with Draymond Green returning from suspension. 1x LOSS, .5x WIN

3x Jaden Ivey over 26.5 Points + Assists + Rebounds (FanDuel) – The market is slowly reacting to Ivey’s increased usage as the Pistons’ playmaker. With Cade Cunningham out of the lineup, Ivey has gone over this mark in all three starts. Detroit coach Monty Williams conceded he should have leaned on Ivey in this capacity earlier this season. Plus, the Pistons are facing the Wizards, who have a terrible defense and this game has a total of 242. WIN

LEANS: Rockets +7 L, Pelicans -4 L, Magic +7 W, Bills -10 W, Jazz -7 W, Thunder -3 L

SUNDAY, JANUARY 14 (-5.33 units)

3x UCLA -3.5 at USC (women’s basketball) – USC’s Rayah Marshall is out and that’s a big loss for any game, but even more so against UCLA. The Trojans do not really have anyone to defend Lauren Betts, who leads the Bruins in points, rebounds and blocks. She will impose her will on this game and prove to be the difference-maker. For context, Marshall grabbed 13 rebounds in their earlier meeting that UCLA won by seven points. LOSS

1x UCLA Team Total under 68.5 (men’s hoops) – I have been riding this train for a while. The Bruins own one of the worst offenses, ranking 239th in efficiency at They are 1-8 in their last nine games and only scored over 60 points twice during that stretch. LOSS

.5x Rams/Lions over 53 and .5x Rams Team Total over 25.5 points (+100) – There really isn’t a reason this should be a defensive battle. The Lions have a leaky pass defense, unless Aidan Hutchinson can pressure Matthew Stafford. Detroit also has a potent aerial attack and perhaps Sean McVay knows the secrets to Jared Goff but I still think Detroit finds a way to score. LOSS

.25x Nuggets -10.5 vs. Pacers – This is a tough matchup for Indiana, who is still playing without Tyrese Haliburton. The Nuggets can run with the Pacers and their bench is evolving. I think Denver rolls. LOSS

.25x Kings 1st Half +2.5 at Bucks and .25x Kings 1st Half Team Total over 62.5 (-105) – Milwaukee is coming off a lethargic win over Golden State in which Steph Curry did not play. When that happens and the team wins, the lack of energy usually spills over to the next game. Plus, the Kings are coming off a blowout loss in Philly and should be ready to light up this weak Bucks defense. WIN

1x 6-pt Teaser Texans +8.5 and Cowboys -1 (-120) – this is a common postseason play, where the lines tend to be tighter – outside of wild weather games. The public money is pouring in on Cleveland but I think it’s overreacting to the narrative. Joe Flacco’s return is an awesome story but he has turned the ball over and the offense isn’t exactly flawless. These two teams recently played but Houston quarterback C.J. Stroud missed that game. I think the Texans keep this within a score and probably win. Meanwhile, the Cowboys in a teaser is going to be a popular play. We just need them to win the game, although Mike McCarthy is capable of botching anything. LOSS

LEANS: Lions -3 L, Washington/UCLA under 138 W

SATURDAY, JANUARY 13 (+3.0 units)

2x Chiefs ML vs. Dolphins (-240) – There are a few ways this game can go, given the weather. But I really do not see many scenarios where the Dolphins get the win. I understand KC is not the same team as we are accustomed to seeing but the Fins are down six defensive starters, coming off a demoralizing loss that would have led to the 2-seed and now face the Chiefs in arctic temperatures with a shaky QB that’s possibly nursing a shoulder injury. Give me Andy Reid off a pseudo-bye, given the Chiefs rested starters last week. WIN

.5x Wizards +7 at Hawks – It’s not often you want to back a team with a 6-31 record but they have plenty of firepower to keep this inside the number against an Atlanta team that ranks fourth-worst in defensive efficiency. The Wizards are dead-last but this is about whether Washington can cover and I believe they can. Atlanta is in a funk, having just been blown out at home by Indy without Tyrese Haliburton. WIN

.5x Jazz +1 vs. Lakers – I have to bet Utah again, given how well they are playing. The Jazz have won four straight and are 10-2 in their last 12 games. The Lakers have much more size than Utah’s opponent on Friday but I still think this team is playing too well not to bet. WIN

LEANS: Rockets +15 L, Knicks -10.5 W, Magic +12 P, Warriors/Bucks over 243 W, Arlovski/Cortes-Acosta over 1.5 rounds W, Brunno Ferreira -135 W, Ricky Simon -180 L, Miller/Benitez over 1.5 rounds W

FRIDAY, JANUARY 12 (+.5 units)

.5x Jazz -2 vs. Raptors – I’ll take the bait and back one of the league’s hottest teams. They’ve won three straight as underdogs of at least six points and are 9-2 in their last 11 games. Meanwhile, Toronto is wrapping up a six-game road trip and has only played one home game since before Christmas. They also have such limited height, starting Thaddeus Young at center. Utah’s size will present a huge advantage. WIN

LEANS: Sixers -1 W, Hawks -5.5 L, Blazers 1H +9 L, Warriors/Bulls over 228 W, Clippers -8.5 W, Pelicans +6 L, Spurs -1.5 W, Indiana (CBB) -4 W

THURSDAY, JANUARY 11 (+1.5 units)

.25x Julius Randle over 9.5 Rebounds (+110) – This shapes up to be a good situation for the Dallas native. Without Luka, there should be more ball movement and shots for Dallas, which theoretically leads to rebounding opportunities. LOSS

.25x Bucks -2 vs. Celtics – At first glance, this play lacks conventional wisdom. However, betting in the NBA entails leaps of faith and assessing the situation. Boston is coming off a monster OT win and now travel to Milwaukee to face a Bucks squad that has lost consecutive games. I expect a resounding performance. WIN

.5x Utah -8.5 vs. UCLA and 1x under 139 – This is a straight fade of the Bruins, who have been horrendous this year. They are 1-7 in their last eight games, and that includes losing as a 17.5-point home favorite to Cal State Northridge. ranks UCLA 216th in adjusted offensive efficiency, which does not bode well when facing a Utah defensive that ranks 56th. I will mainly play the game total under, since the Bruins rank 36th in defense. WIN

LEANS: Mavericks +4 W, Suns -1 W, Michigan State 1H +2 L

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 10 (+3.0 units)

3x Celtics -6.5 vs. T’Wolves – Boston has had two opportunities to avenge a loss from earlier this season and won both rematches by double digits. Plus, Minnesota is reportedly experiencing flight delays after their win in Orlando and will not arrive in Boston until about seven hours before tipoff. On top of that, the Celtics are coming off a loss. I think Boston rolls. WIN

LEANS: Wizards +8.5 W, Spurs/Pistons over 238.5 L, Pelicans -2 W


LEANS: Pistons +11 L, Magic +5 L, Grizzlies +9 W

MONDAY, JANUARY 8 (-5.90 units)

.5x Michael Penix over 4.5 rushing yards – College football props are pretty unique. So much of a player’s stats are accumulated against inferior competition and thus rendered useless. However, when the stakes are high, game plans change and players do whatever it takes. That fits with Penix, who will run for yards if the situation calls for it. For example, he rans for 31 yards against Texas. The one caveat is that sacks do count against rushing yards so this has to be a net positive of five yards or more. If Michigan did not have a good defensive front, I would make this a 5x play. However, I trust Washington’s offensive line and Penix will look to gain yards with his legs when he can. (FanDuel) LOSS

.5x Jack Westover over 27.5 receiving yards – This tight end is an underneath option for Penix, if Michigan’s game plan takes away deep threats, which I think will be the case. This is far from guaranteed, as he did not produce much against Oregon. However, he did against Texas, Oregon State and Utah. I feel there are more ways to win this wager than lose it, which is what you want with unknowns. (DraftKings) WIN

1x Celtics/Pacers under 244, 2x Pacers Team Total under 119.5 (+105) and 1x Celtics -3 – As Celtics play-by-play man Sean Grande pointed out on X, the Pacers have been held to one point per possession or less in just two games this season. Boston was the culprit for both. That means the Celtics have schemed a way to limit the most statistically potent offense in NBA history. Now, Rick Carlisle is an excellent coach and will make adjustments but this seems like a tough matchup for Indy. LOSS

1.5x Thunder -11.5 at Wizards – Laying double-digits on the road is not a recipe for sustained success but certain situations do call for it. OKC has lost consecutive games for just the third time this season. In the previous two instances, the Thunder won and covered the next game. I think we get maximum focus and effort, despite the inferior opponent. Plus, Washington is an undisciplined and loose team and typically finds a way to get blown out. They’ve actually lost three straight by at least 16 points. LOSS

LEANS: Dillon Johnson over 37.5 rushing yards L, Bucks 1H -4.5 L, Clippers -5.5 W

SUNDAY, JANUARY 7 (+.95 units)

5x Clippers -4 at Lakers – This line baffles me. The Lakers are in a tailspin right now, losing four straight and nine of their last 11 games. Meanwhile, the Clippers are the polar opposite, since transitioning James Harden into their offense. They have won five straight and 14 of 16. Now, you have to be careful of recency bias but there is nothing that suggests the Lakers are ready to turn things around. The Clippers are now clearly one of the NBA’s best teams and the market has not adjusted. LOSS 

Keep in mind that I expect this line to go up and will then play a unit or two back on the Lakers to try to middle the game with a portion of my original wager. Stay tuned for that but I always think it’s best to grab the best number and then work off that.

UPDATE: 2x Lakers +6 (buying half-point) vs. Clippers (-120) – I anticipated a market move. I still like the Clippers to cover but I want to hedge some of my original position. This was the plan all along. WIN

2x Lions -3.5 vs. Vikings – Minnesota will turn back to Nick Mullens at quarterback but it’s just the lesser of two evils between him and Jared Hall. Mullens is shaky and is only still in the NFL because he played well with Kyle Shanahan making him look that way. Meanwhile, the Lions have won and covered seven straight games following an outright loss. That makes sense. They’re a maturing team and it’s hard to sustain success throughout the course of a long season. But they have talent and that’s what responds off a loss. Plus, Dan Campbell is an intense guy who would not even consider resting players because Detroit has a playoff game next week. Sharp money is backing Detroit and I support it. WIN

1x 6-point Teaser: Bengals -1.5 and Jets +8 (-120) – All reports suggest that Cincy is looking to end the season on a high note, while Cleveland is playing Jeff Driskel at QB. The playoff-bound Browns have been ravaged by injuries this year so I would imagine the objective here is to get out of dodge healthy and focus on next week. As for the Jets, this is about being able to apply the Teaser price on a game with a ridiculous total of 29.5. Getting the Jets over a TD is pure line value. Additionally, reports surfaced this week that New England is battling a bug, including Bill Belichick. Plus, snow is in the forecast so eight points is significant all around. WIN

.5x Browns/Bengals under 37 – This is just an extension of the previous play. I do not expect much from Cleveland’s offense whatsoever. Cincy should approach this normally and score some points but overall this total feels way too high when you consider how the Browns are headed for the post-season. LOSS

.5x Rams/49ers under 41 – There is definitely some unknowns involved with both backup quarterbacks getting the call so we will play this for a half-unit. However, these teams are gearing up for the playoffs and the last thing they want to do is put anything creative on game film. I expect an extremely vanilla approach by both play-callers. This should be a giant dud of a game. In fact, part of me thinks the Rams will look to kick field goals because they just replaced their kicker and want to gauge what they have in Brett Maher. PUSH

1x Raiders -3 vs. Broncos (-105) – We know the storylines involving both these teams that have been eliminated from the playoffs. The Las Vegas locker room has rallied around interim coach Antonio Pierce and all signs point to a spirited effort in the finale. Denver won and covered last week in Jarrett Stidham’s starting debut with the club but it was a pretty mediocre performance. I have to back the team that I know will play hard, even though this should be a painful watch. WIN

1x Bills/Dolphins under 48.5 – This feels like it should be a tight, low-scoring game. Buffalo is running the ball more since changing its offensive coordinator and Tua Tagovailoa is nursing an injured shoulder. Not only has the Dolphins offense been kept in check against better teams but it looks as though both Jaylen Waddle and Raheem Mostert will miss this game. With the division on the line, I can see a conversative approach by both teams, hoping to avoid a big mistake. WIN

LEANS: Cavaliers -10 L, Suns -4 L, Raptors +2.5 W, Eagles -4 L, Commanders +13 L, Bucs -3.5 W, Bucs/Panthers under 37 W, Bengals -7.5 W Bears/Packers over 45 L, South Dakota St -14 (FCS) W

SATURDAY, JANUARY 6 (-5.75 units)

.5x Colts +1.5 vs. Texans – We’ve seen the favorite flip during the week but respected money arrived this morning on Indy, and I agree with it. The Colts have a shaky defense but overall they are the more polished team. The Texans are a roller-coaster and leaky on defense themselves. I will roll with the home team. LOSS

3x West Virginia +6.5 vs. Texas (Women’s Basketball) and .25x Moneyline +225 – This handicap starts with Texas starting point guard Rori Harmon, who will miss this game. She is their best player and only one who can handle the West Virginia pressure. The Mountaineers rank second in the country with 15 steals and third with 25.2 turnovers forced. This line opened at 9.5 but I still think it is a strong play at this price. LOSS

1.5x Kansas +3.5 at Texas Tech (Women’s Basketball) – The Red Raiders have a good record but have not passed any tests, as they’ve lost three straight games to Power 5 opponents. Meanwhile, the Jayhawks are coming off games against West Virginia and Iowa State. KU should win this game outright. LOSS

LEANS: Ravens +3 L, Texans/Colts over 47.5 L, Ole Miss +11.5 L, Cal/UCLA under 136 W, Celtics/Pacers over 249.5 L, Knicks/Wizards over 239.5 L, Sixers -8.5 L, Rockets +7.5 W

FRIDAY, JANUARY 5 (-3.85 units)

2x Pistons/Warriors over 239.5 and 1x over 116.5 1st Half – Detroit’s poor defense speaks for itself, ranking third-worst in defensive efficiency. Additionally, the offense has picked up recently with Cade Cunningham’s game evolving and then guys like Bogan Bogdanovich and Alec Burks knocking down three-pointers. That’s why they’ve cashed six straight overs and overall Detroit is 22-12 to the over, which is second-best to only the Pacers. As for Golden State, I also think the Warriors will look to light it up, salivating at the chance to face this defense after a crushing loss to Denver last night. LOSS

.5x Purdue -10.5 vs. Illinois – On paper this should be a tight game between teams ranked in the top ten. However, Purdue is an absolute beast at home. I also know sharp money has arrived on the Boilermakers and I agree with it. LOSS

LEANS: Cavs -10 W, Hawks/Pacers over 262 W, Jazz/Celtics over 240 L, Sixers -5.5 L, Clippers/Pelicans over 230 L, Mavs -9 W, Magic +9.5, Heat +3 L, Pistons +10.5 W, Grizzlies/Lakers under 225.5 L

THURSDAY, JANUARY 4 (+0 units)

LEANS: Bucks -11 L, Nuggets -3.5 L, Penn St +13 L, Arizona -12 W, Washington -4 L

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 3 (+.45 units)

.5x Donte DiVincenzo over 12.5 points – Since the Knicks made a trade with Toronto, DiVincenzo’s minutes have increased and will continue to do so. In his first game starting alongside OG Anunoby, DiVincenzo scored 15 points in 26 minutes – up from his regular 21 minutes prior to the trade. Plus, that was against Minnesota, which owns the NBA’s top defense. Tonight they face the Bulls, which rank 15th in defensive efficiency. LOSS

1x Clippers -4 at Suns – Kevin Durant will miss this game and that is why the line has steamed towards LA. I still do not think the market has adjusted enough. Phoenix just beat a depleted Portland squad without KD but this is a much different ask. The Clips have been playing great basketball over the past month. WIN

LEANS: Bucks/Pacers under 257.5 L, Thunder/Hawks over 248.5 W. Lakers -5.5 L, Kings -4.5 L

TUESDAY, JANUARY 2 (-.55 units)

.5x Grizzlies -11 vs. Spurs – This has all the makings of a good Memphis performance, given they have lost three straight games. Much like the Pistons on Monday, San Antonio and its awful defense can be a giant cure for a team riding a losing streak. LOSS

LEANS: FAU -16.5 L, Creighton -12.5 W, Maryland +6.5 L, Pelicans 1H -3.5 W, Thunder +3.5 W, Kings -15.5 L

MONDAY, JANUARY 1 (+1.35 units)

1x Rockets -9 vs. Pistons, 1x Rockets 1H -5, 2x Rockets over 118.5 points – the scheduling spot really favors Houston. The Rockets have lost three straight games and should be ready to rock, while I anticipate a bit of a flat performance from Detroit. The Pistons just snapped their NBA-record 28-game losing streak. They still play awful defense and Houston should exploit them. 3x WIN, 1x LOSS

.5x Alabama +2 vs. Michigan – this is a personal play, as I know professional bettors on both sides. I firmly believe the Big Ten was weaker than recent years. Plus, Michigan’s offensive line struggled against Iowa in the conference title game, and I think that translates to the Rose Bowl against the Tide. And while I like Jim Harbaugh, Nick Saban has excelled in semifinals, using that additional time to scout his opponent effectively. He will find a way. LOSS

LEANS: Wisconsin/LSU under 57 L, Tennessee -5.5 W, Liberty/Oregon over 68 L

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