Time to take the under in Rockets vs. Thunder … again, plus other best bets for Wednesday

There have been a lot of earth-shaking moves in the world of college football coaching this week, with Lincoln Riley leaving Oklahoma for USC and Brian Kelly bolting Notre Dame for LSU. The reactions to both of these moves have been predictable.

Neither Oklahoma nor Notre Dame have much experience with coaches leaving for other jobs — especially other college jobs. They’re supposed to be destinations, not stepping stones, but the college football landscape is evolving quickly and it seems the way coaches view jobs is keeping pace with those changes.

Still, while the reaction was expected, a lot of it was over the top.

Brian Kelly was dragged on social media for holding a 7 a.m. meeting with his players to tell them he was leaving and only talking for a few minutes before leaving. Apparently, in the minds of many, this wasn’t enough. Which leaves me wondering how long Brian Kelly had to talk to the players to make it acceptable to you? Would a 15-minute speech do the job? Or do you need 20 or more?

Also, when was the last time you spoke to anybody non-stop for that long? I mean, what else is there for Kelly to say to his players that can’t be said in five minutes? If you leave your current job for another one, are you going to spend 20 minutes explaining to all your colleagues and subordinates why you’re leaving, or are you just going to leave?

I know it’s not quite the same because sports operate in a different realm from the rest of the “real world,” but sometimes we need to do a better job of remembering that football coaches are just people with jobs like the rest of us. A lot of the standards we hold them to we’d never impose on ourselves, so maybe let’s reign in the hypocrisy a bit, ok?

OK, let’s make some money.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

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

Latest Odds:

Under 216

The Pick: Under 215.5 (-110): I don’t know how your short-term memory is, but in case it isn’t great, let me set the scene for you. It was Monday night and you were still recovering from a weekend full of turkey and stuffing. You were at your computer reading this newsletter, and in it was a pick for a game between the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder. The author of that letter, an incredibly thoughtful, intelligent man with a raw sexuality that no living creature can resist, told you to take the Under 216.5 in that game.

His reasoning was simple. Both teams in the game had surprisingly effective defenses for teams that were so low in the standings, and both had awful offenses. Two of the worst offenses in the league, in fact, and Houston was without one of its best players in the rookie Jalen Green. That game finished 102-89, well below the total.

That brilliant, sexy man was right on Monday, and there’s no reason to think the same logic won’t apply tonight.

Key Trend: The under is 7-2 in the last nine meetings.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: The SportsLine Projection Model has a strong lean on tonight’s total as well, but does it agree with me, or are we going to have to step outside and settle this the old fashioned way?

💰 The Picks

🏀 College Basketball

Washington State at Arizona State, 7:30 p.m. | TV: Pac-12 Network

Latest Odds:

Arizona State Sun Devils

The Pick: Arizona State +2 (-110) — We’re reaching the point of the college basketball season when I get more comfortable handicapping the games, and tonight I’ve got two Pac-12 games offering value. The first game features an Arizona State team off to a terrible 2-5 start going against a Washington State team that is 5-1 but hasn’t played anybody good yet. It’s also a Cougars team coming off a 76-71 home loss to Eastern Washington, so you can imagine my surprise when I saw that Wazzu was favored here.

I mean, I get it. Arizona State is only 2-5, but it’s played a much more difficult schedule than Wazzu. The Sun Devils SOS ranks 52nd nationally right now, compared to Wazzu’s at 340th. Furthermore, while the Sun Devils have lost to San Diego State, Baylor, Syracuse and Loyola, they’re all top-50 teams, and only the Loyola loss was by double-digits. I think returning home to face a Washington State team that’s a little overrated will be good for the Sun Devils, so I’m putting my trust in the home dog.

Key Trend: Washington State is 3-8-1 ATS in its last 12 as a road favorite.

Colorado at No. 5 UCLA, 9:30 p.m. | TV: Pac-12 Network

Latest Odds:

Colorado Buffaloes

The Pick: Colorado +13.5 (-110) — I feel as though I’m turning my back on a life-long friend here. Last season, UCLA was a life-saver for me. I cannot tell you how many times I was chasing at the end of the night, and I bet on the Bruins, and they came through for me. When they hit their peak through the postseason and made that magical tournament run, I felt as if I was watching my children grow up and become successful adults. I love this team. I truly do.

But tonight, I bet against it.

Don’t get me wrong, the Bruins are the better squad and should be favored by double-digits, but they shouldn’t be favored by 13.5 points. This is one of those situations where that little number next to UCLA’s name inflates their value on the market because they’re a top-five team, so clearly they have to be a lot better than unranked Colorado! Well, yes, they are, but the Buffaloes are pretty solid themselves, and while this will be their toughest test of the season so far, they have enough size to cause the Bruins some problems and should keep this respectable.

Key Trend: There is no trend that supports this play. We’re going rogue.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: The SportsLine Projection Model’s favorite NBA play of the night is on one side of the spread between the Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks.

🏀 Tonight’s Parlay

A reminder that the best way to lose money gambling is to bet parlays, but it’s also important to remember that parlays are fun! Tonight’s is a three-leg NBA moneyline parlay paying +110.

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