Tue, Jan 21, 2020

Dear reader, welcome to Basketball Season. Yes, yes, I’m aware that basketball season began a few months ago. The NBA is just about at the halfway point of its regular season, and conference play has begun in college. But that’s basketball season.

I’m talking about Basketball Season, which is different, and not just because I capitalize it. You see, basketball season is when basketball is played. Basketball Season is when we make plays on basketball because there’s no more football on weekdays, and we have enough data about basketball teams this season to make real judgments.

Got it? Cool. Here are my three favorite picks for Wednesday night. All odds are via William Hill.

1. Heat at Pacers: Under 210

Anybody who has followed my picks for any length of time knows that I’ve always been partial to the Under in Heat games, but this season has provided an existential crisis of sorts. The Under is only 14-21-1 in Miami games this season, which is one of the lowest rates in the NBA. It should be pointed out, though, that there are two obvious splits. The Under is 6-12 when Miami is at home and 7-14-1 when it’s favored. On the road, it’s a more palatable 8-9-1, and as an underdog, it’s 7-7. So it’s clear that the Heat are a different entity outside of Miami, and in this matchup against an Indiana that ranks 10th in the NBA in defensive efficiency, I think this total is a bit too high. Miami, after all, is right behind Indiana in defensive efficiency.

DFS millionaire Mike McClure got out to a blazing hot start during the NBA season, and he’s back with more winners for Wednesday’s slate. See McClure’s tournament lineups for multiple DFS sites only at SportsLine.

2. Nuggets at Mavericks: Nuggets +3

Truth be told, I like the Nuggets to win this game outright, but taking the points is the smarter play. The Mavs have been bad at home against the spread, going 7-11-1. They also beat Denver earlier this season in Denver, but that Denver team was different than the one Dallas will face Wednesday night. The Nuggets come to Dallas having won 11 of 14. I do have some concern about the Nuggets playing their fifth straight on the road, but I believe that’s been accounted for in this spread. Possibly a bit too much.

Legendary NFL handicapper Hank Goldberg is a white-hot 17-4 on his best bets the past seven weeks, part of a stunning 44-24 run. He’s back with three more locks for the divisional round; see which sides Goldberg loves only at SportsLine.

3. Seton Hall at Xavier: Xavier -3

Do you believe in regression to the mean? Do you have to? It’s not really a theory as much as it’s a mathematic principle, so saying you believe in it is akin to saying, “I believe in the sun.” Even if you can’t see it, it’s still there whether you believe it to be or not. Anyway, Xavier is only 4-10-1 ATS this season and, quite simply, the Musketeers are way too good of a team to be performing that badly against the spread. Tonight, in a tough matchup against Seton Hall, I like Xavier’s ATS record to start moving back toward the mean. The fact the Musketeers are 9-0 at home straight up, as well as 11-1 straight up when favored, doesn’t hurt my confidence either.

SportsLine MMA analyst Kyle Marley is up more than $19.000 in the past year on his MMA selections. He has just released his picks for the much-anticipated UFC 246 card, and you can see them all over at SportsLine. 

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