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Auburn’s run defense declawed, and Wednesday’s college football bets you need to make in Week 4

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The college football schedule starts up Thursday night, so we’re getting ahead of the curve with our best bets and predictions for the Week 4 odds. And we’re not just talking spreads and totals either. We dive into the props, team totals and derivatives that can make you money capping the college kids.

TROUBLE FOR SPARTANS?

The Michigan State Spartans will have to do without one of their standout offensive linemen until November. Kevin Jarvis suffered a knee injury in last week’s stunning loss to Arizona State and is expected to be out for six or seven weeks, according to Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio.

Jarvis and the rest of the Spartans’ offensive line had their hands full in last week’s loss, with Michigan State producing just 3.2 yards per carry while having five passes broken up and allowing a sack. Tyler Higby will take over for Jarvis at left tackle going into this weekend’s encounter with host Northwestern.

And while the Wildcats were torched 30-14 by UNLV last time out, they ranked 26th in run defense a season ago and held the Spartans to just 19 points in last year’s meeting at Spartan Stadium. We like MSU to come in below its team total of 24.5.

NOT SO FAST!

Don’t get too excited, Dillon Gabriel fans. Central Florida head coach Josh Huepel isn’t ready to name the sensational freshman as the starting quarterback for Saturday’s visit to Pittsburgh. This despite Gabriel going of

f in last week’s statement victory over visiting Stanford, throwing for 347 yards and four touchdowns.

Gabriel has the hot hand ahead of season-opening No. 1 Brandon Wimbush and the recently-returned-from-injury Darriel Mack, both of whom were expected to see action against the Cardinal. In the end, Wimbush saw just one snap while Mack didn’t play.

It would be foolhardy for UCF to pivot away from Gabriel, whose advanced level of play should allow the Knights to dominate the time of possession. That, combined with Pitt’s ugly offensive numbers (14.7 PPG, 2.8 YPC), make UCF a great pick ATS.

DOWN FOR THE COUNT

Collin Hill has suffered yet another devastating knee injury. The Colorado State quarterback suffered a torn left ACL in last week’s loss to the Arkansas Razorbacks and will miss the remainder of the season.

That could be it for Hill’s football career, as this is the third time he has torn the ACL in his left knee. Hill was enjoying a terrific season for the Rams, having completed better than two-thirds of his pass attempts for 840 yards with eight touchdowns and two interceptions. Patrick O’Brien will take over the starting role beginning with Saturday’s game against visiting Toledo.

This line has shifted three points in the Rockets’ favor since opening at -6.5, and that might be too much movement. O’Brien was impressive in relief last time out, while CSU went 2-0 ATS as home underdogs of 7-plus points in 2018. We like the home side here.

A GREAT UNKNOWN

Saturday’s tall task might have become a whole lot tougher for the Auburn Tigers as they prepare to open their SEC schedule against No. 17 Texas A&M at Kyle Field.

Senior defensive tackle Derrick Brown is considered questionable for the game after suffering an upper-body injury early in last week’s victory over Kent State. Tigers head coach Gus Malzahn considers Brown “day-to-day”. The projected first-round pick in next year’s NFL draft has seven tackles (one for loss) in three games, and has 22.5 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks in his three-plus years at Auburn.

Brown’s absence would be a devastating one for the Tigers’ defense – and a major boost to a Texas A&M rush attack averaging a robust 5.4 yards per carry. Look to either the Aggies ATS or the Over on their team total if Brown is ruled out.

VanVleet picks up where he left off in the playoffs, and the NBA bets you need to make Tuesday

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Opening day of the 2019-20 NBA season is here with the defending champion Toronto Raptors hosting the New Orleans Pelicans. The late matchup pairs the top two choices to win it all, according to the NBA betting odds, with the Los Angeles Lakers taking on the new-look Los Angeles Clippers. 

If you’re betting on the NBA openers, we have the best bets and prop predictions for Tuesday’s two games.

BIG CHANGES IN THE BIG EASY

The Pelicans sport one of the most overhauled rosters in the NBA after trading Anthony Davis to the Lakers in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and draft picks. New Orleans then selected Zion Williamson first overall in the draft, but unfortunately, his debut will have to wait as he is expected to miss the first couple of weeks with a knee injury. Some more big pickups include Derrick Favors and J.J. Redick.

Although Redick is playing for a new squad this year, while with Philadelphia he had success versus the Raptors in the playoffs, shooting 43.9 percent from the field, 41 percent from beyond the arc, and scored 15 or more points in four of those seven postseason games. With an increased role on the Pelicans and some good shooting numbers, back Over his points total of 16.5 on PointsBet.

NO HANGOVER HERE

The Raptors kick their season off playing a double-header with the first game at home to the Pelicans. The 2018-2019 season saw the Raptors set franchise records in points per game, assists per game, rebounds per game, and 3-point shots made. A regression is expected with Toronto losing both Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green but still finds itself a 7-point favorite in the season opener.

With the Championship banner being hoisted, rings handed out, and the Raptors looking to start the schedule strong, look for them to take care of business and cover at home as 7-point favorites.

RIGHT SAID FRED

With Toronto PG Kyle Lowry undergoing surgery on his finger in the offseason, don’t be surprised to see big numbers out of Fred VanVleet in the first few games of the schedule.

Last season, VanVleet averaged 27.5 minutes with 11 points, 4.8 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game. Although this is a revamped Pelicans roster with many new faces, New Orleans struggled to defend opposing point guards last year, allowing 23.3 points per game and the league’s highest assists per game average at 9.1 to that position. If he carries over his postseason play, VanVleet will be a major player and offensive contributor for the defending champs. Take Over his assists total of 4.5.

BATTLE: LOS ANGELES

The Lakers start their second season with LeBron James at the helm but has more support behind him with guys like Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, and Danny Green. The Clippers were also busy in the offseason, adding MVP talents in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

George will not be playing in the opening game (out until November while recovering from shoulder surgery), which plays a major role in shaping this spread, which sees the Purple and Gold as short “home” favorites in the war for the Staples Center.

LeBron and the Lakers have a lot to prove after a terrible finish to 2018-19 and we like them to cover as 2.5-points favorites Tuesday.

DOWN TO DEFENSE

With both Leonard and Patrick Beverly on the floor, the Clippers will be a difficult team to score on. With George out of action and this L.A. offense not firing on all cylinders, the Clippers certainly have the defense to keep things close.

The Lakers have plenty of scoring options but miss out on the services of Kyle Kuzma (18.7 ppg in 2018-19), who will be sitting out in the opening game with a foot injury. While it’s Game 1 of an 82-game season, this Los Angeles rivalry could have playoff intensity right out of the gate. We like a lower-scoring game and the Under 225.5 points Tuesday night. 

Lakers vs Clippers NBA betting picks and predictions: Davis will dominate down low on opening night

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The 2019-2020 NBA season starts off with a bang tonight as two revamped teams with some of the best players in the world take to the court in Los Angeles as the Lakers face the Clippers. 

Expectations are sky-high for both teams after the Lakers added Anthony Davis as a running mate for Lebron James, while the Clippers are led by last year’s NBA Finals MVP in Kawhi Leonard. These rivals will be highly motivated to begin the season with a win and stake an early claim as the best team in the league.

We break down the odds for the Battle of L.A. and give you five of our best bets and predictions.

QUICK HITTER

The biggest move the Lakers made in the offseason was obviously the addition of Anthony Davis. But he’s not the only new face with Danny Green, Quinn Cook, Dwight Howard, and Avery Bradley all in line to receive significant minutes in their rotation.

The Clippers have also gone through a makeover adding Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Maurice Harkless. While George won’t play until at least mid-November after undergoing shoulder surgery, the other two should log major minutes.

Playing together in practice and the preseason is no substitute for the actual defensive intensity of an NBA game. So expect both offenses to take some time to gell and back the Under on the 1Q total.

PICK: First Quarter Under 58 (-115)

FIRST HALF BET

The first quarter might see from offensive jitters from both teams but they should begin to settle down after 12 minutes. Lebron James, in particular, should have little problem facilitating the offense while the underrated additions of Green and Cook should improve their three-point efficiency which was among the worst in the league last year.

On defense, they match up well with the Clippers with Lebron able to switch onto Leonard while Bradley can give Lou Williams fits. Rajon Rondo is listed as questionable with a calf injury but if he’s good to go that will be yet another Lakers defender that can pressure opposing ball-handlers.

The Lakers also have a height advantage which should help them win the battle on the boards and get more second chances. Bet on the Lakers to cover the short first-half spread.

PICK: First Half Lakers -1.5 (-120)

TEAM/PLAYER PROP

Davis looks like a great fit in the Lakers offense next to Lebron. The Brow can run the pick and roll, attack down low and hit jumpers when he needs to. He gets to face a Clippers team that was among the worst at defending inside last season, giving up 50.7 points per game in the paint. Montrezl Harrell, Ivica Zubac and JaMychal Green will have a major mismatch on their hands against the Lakers star.

Last year Davis combined for 41.8 points, rebounds and assists per game but that includes a stretch towards the end of the season where New Orleans severely limited his minutes. Before the All-Star break, he combined for 45.2 points, rebounds, and assists per contest. Take the Over on his PRA total tonight.

PICK: Anthony Davis – Points, Rebounds and Assists Over 41.5 (-115)

 

FULL GAME TOTAL

The O/U for this game opened at 227 on Saturday and has already dropped to 224 and for good reason. The Clippers should be terrific at defending on the perimeter with Patrick Beverly and Leonard while the Lakers will miss Kyle Kuzma’s production on the offensive end of the floor. Kuzma averaged 18.7 ppg last season but the forward is still recovering from a foot injury.

The Lakers should be much improved at defending the rim with Davis and Howard, which will force Leonard and Lou Williams to carry the offensive load.

The Lakers added plenty of experience and size in the offseason. That might be a formula for winning but also means that they added older players and guys that prefer to set up in the half-court rather than running the floor all game. Expect them to play at a slower pace than last season and take the Under 224.

PICK: Under 224 (-110)

FULL GAME SIDE

As we enter this new era of “Super-Duos” in the NBA the Clippers could find themselves at a disadvantage without one half of their duo. Leonard will do his part on both ends of the floor but the Clippers will need a heroic display from Lou Williams and improved defensive play from their big men if they want to hang with the Lakeshow.

The Clips won’t have an answer for AD and Lebron will come out as healthy and as motivated as he’s been in years. As the season goes on, expect Lakers coach Frank Vogel to start resting his superstars, but he has said that there won’t be any minutes restrictions for Lebron or Davis at the start of the year. Count on the Lakers viewing this as a statement game and back them to pull off the win while covering.

PICK: Los Angeles Lakers -3.5 (-105)