Celtics @ Heat 7 PM ET (TNT) Line: Celtics -2 (1st Half Celtics -1) O/U 212
Pick: 1st Half Heat +1
Michigan @ Illinois (CBB) 8 PM ET (FS1) Line: Michigan -9.5 O/U 136
Pick: Michigan -9.5
Washington @ Utah (CBB) Line: Washington -2 O/U 141.5
Pick: Washington -2
Clippers @ Nuggets 9 PM ET Line: Nuggets -5.5 O/U 225.5
Pick: Over 225.5
Four basketball games for you today, two NBA and two college. Let’s start things off in the Big 10 where Michigan, the Number 2 team in the nation, is heading to Champaign to take on a disappointing Illini team. Having attended the University of Illinois, I know firsthand how frustrating their team can be every year (They lost to FAU last month, in case you need convincing). I don’t see any scenario where they keep this within single digits, even with the impressive point guard play. Michigan could realistically hold them under 55 for the game. Rolling with the Wolverines -9.5 on the road.
In a ‘PAC-12 After Dark’ matchup (Shout out SVP), Washington travels to whatever city Utah plays in for what seems like a pretty forgettable matchup. I don’t anticipate a lot of people watching this game, but that doesn’t mean people won’t gamble on it. Washington’s four losses are against teams ranked 1, 11, 13, and Minnesota in a game played in Canada. They don’t really have impressive wins, but neither does Utah. I think playing against good teams, even if you lose, benefits you in the long run. The Huskies get their chance to show their 10-4 start isn’t a fluke, and I think they’ll do just that. Washington -2.
Now onto the NBA. The Celtics are coming off an offensive explosion last night, dropping 135 on a usually-solid Pacers defense. It seems like the shooting will regress a bit tonight, and they are traveling from Boston to Miami with no days rest (Miami was off last night). I think it’ll take a couple of quarters to find their legs, so the Heat should have the advantage early on in the game. I’m staying away from the full-game line because I think the game is a toss up, but I like the Heat to cover +1 in the first half.
The last game on my slate is a West Coast (ish) game in Denver. The Nuggets had high hopes coming into the season centered around Nikola Jokic in the middle being an offensive threat in a league continuing to abandon the center position. Denver is actually a pretty good defensive team for NBA standards, unlike the Clippers. Combining the last 5 games each for these teams, only 3 of the 10 failed to hit this total. Rooting for points, points, points tonight in the Mile High City. (Side note: why doesn’t the altitude affect shooting like it does passing in football and hitting/pitching in baseball? Maybe it’s different indoors…) Back on topic, smash that over at 225.5. Go win some money.