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College football Week 13 opening odds and early action: Ohio State big favorite over Penn State

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Week 13 of the college football season features a key Big Ten clash, though the point spread indicates it might not be a competitive contest. Covers checks in on the opening odds and early action, with insights from Matt Chaprales, head of content for PointsBet USA in New Jersey.

No. 9 Penn State Nittany Lions at No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes (-18)

Ohio State is steamrolling through the season at 10-0 SU (8-2 ATS), through its eight-game point spread streak came to a halt in Week 12. The Buckeyes drubbed Rutgers 56-21 but fell well short as massive 52-point road favorites.

Penn State needs to pull off an upset if it hopes to get back into the College Football Playoff discussion. The Nittany Lions, who lost at Minnesota in Week 11, held off Indiana 34-27 as 15-point home faves in Week 12.

“Penn State still technically controls its own destiny for the Big Ten title, and by extension the College Football Playoff,” Chaprales said. “But the market clearly has no faith in the Nittany Lions’ chances to go into Ohio State and knock off a Buckeyes team that’s yet to break a sweat this season. The first few bets have reflected that.”

No. 24 Texas A&M Aggies at No. 4 Georgia Bulldogs (-13.5)

Georgia wrapped up the Southeastern Conference East Division in Week 12 and now must guard against a letdown to keep its CFP hopes on track. The Bulldogs (9-1 SU, 6-4 ATS) went to Auburn as 3-point favorites and emerged with a 21-14 victory.

Texas A&M kicked into gear in the second half of the season, winning its last four SU and three of four ATS. The Aggies (7-3 SU, 6-4 ATS) stumped South Carolina 30-6 laying 10.5 points at home in Week 12.

“Georgia looks to be gaining steam at the right time, but the first few bets have actually come in on Texas A&M,” Chaprales said, alluding to the line ticking down to Bulldogs -13. “Either way, this should be one of the higher-handle games of the week.”

Texas Longhorns at No. 13 Baylor Bears (-4)

Baylor had a huge opportunity to sway the opinion of the CFP committee and held a huge lead over Oklahoma to go with that, at 28-3 early in the second quarter Saturday. But the Bears (9-1 SU, 6-4 ATS) imploded from there, scoring just a field goal the rest of the way in a 34-31 home loss catching 11 points.

Texas won four of its first five this season, with the lone loss more than respectable, at home against Louisiana State. However, the Longhorns (6-4 SU, 5-5 ATS) have been up and down ever since, losing at Iowa State 23-21 as 7-point road ‘dogs in Week 12.

“Despite its collapse against Oklahoma, Baylor still covered as a big home ‘dog, while Texas, on the other hand, has been trending down of late,” Chaprales said. “It wouldn’t be a surprise to see this number increase.”

In fact, it quickly did just that, jumping to Baylor -5.5 by Monday afternoon.

No. 21 Southern Methodist Mustangs at Navy Midshipmen (-3)

Southern Methodist had its perfect season halted in Week 10 at Memphis, then struggled to win against a subpar East Carolina outfit in Week 11 before a bye this past week. The Mustangs (9-1 SU, 6-4 ATS) led ECU 28-10 in the second quarter, they were in a dogfight the rest of the way, landing a 59-51 victory as 23-point home favorites.

Navy was a popular play in Week 12, thought to be a live underdog as it rode a 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS run into its road game against Notre Dame. However, the Midshipmen (7-2 SU, 6-3 ATS) got boat raced 52-20 as 7.5-point underdogs.

“Navy was quietly becoming an under-the-radar bet-on team until Saturday’s rout in a trendy ‘dog spot against Notre Dame,” Chaprales said. “The public tends to have a short memory, so we’ll have to see if they fade the Midshipmen as short home favorites against an SMU team that’s regressed a bit of late, relative to market expectations.”

The line ticked up to Navy -3.5 Monday.

PointsBet USA unveils partnership with Detroit Tigers

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In the absence of MLB games until – hopefully – later this month, MLB betting made some news Thursday with the announcement that PointsBet USA is now the official gaming partner of the Detroit Tigers. It’s the first such arrangement between a sports betting entity and an MLB team, made possible by PointsBet USA’s recent agreement with MLB designating the sportsbook as an authorized gaming operator by the league.

“The PointsBet team is excited to announce our groundbreaking deal with the Detroit Tigers and Major League Baseball, becoming the first legal sports betting operator in U.S. history to partner with an MLB franchise,” PointsBet USA CEO Johnny Aitken said in a news release. “We offer the most betting options in the world on MLB games via our unique PointsBetting product, and we are excited to inject a unique and robust betting proposition into the great state of Michigan.”

Michigan legalized sports betting in December, for both brick-and-mortar and online operators, and books began taking bets in March. PointsBet USA is not only the first book to partner with an MLB franchise, but the first to partner with any Michigan-based professional sports team.

As part of the multi-year deal, PointsBet USA will have TV broadcast-visible branding at Comerica Park, a sponsored presence on the Tigers’ digital platforms, and will be integrated into The District Detroit app and the MLB Ballpark app.

“We are thrilled to welcome PointsBet as a gaming partner of the Detroit Tigers,” said Chris Granger, group president of sports and entertainment for Ilitch Holdings. “Our incredible fans will love the unique experiences and innovative offerings that PointsBet’s personalized platform provides. We look forward to the fan-friendly enhancements this will bring to the game-day experience in and around Comerica Park for years to come.”

NBA betting: Eight seeding games to bet when NBA returns

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NBA betting is back on the board with the NBA season restarting in Orlando after the COVID-19 shutdown. From July 30-August 14, the 22 remaining teams with NBA Championship aspirations will face off against each other to determine playoff seeding, so get ready for some exciting matchups.

We take a look at eight must-bet NBA seeding games to watch as the league returns to action.

Clippers vs Lakers (-1.5, 218.5), July 30, 9 p.m. ET

When the Los Angeles Lakers, led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, take on Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers, the NBA doesn’t get much better than this. Opening day and Christmas Day also featured this marquee matchup and the opening night of the restart in Orlando will mark the fourth time this season that these LA rivals have faced off.

The Lakers are third in the NBA in scoring defense, allowing 106.9 points per game, while the Clippers hold opponents to just 43.6 percent shooting from the field, also third-best in the league. With both teams coming in off lengthy breaks, there may be some rust on the offensive end of the floor making the Under 218.5 an intriguing play.

Betting trend to watch: The Clips won the first two meetings while the Lakers won the last one in March. The Under hit in each of those contests with an average score of 108.7-106.7 in favor of the Clippers.

Celtics vs Bucks (-5, 217.5), July 31, 6:30 p.m. ET

Barring an absolute collapse, the Milwaukee Bucks will wrap up the No. 1 seed in the East, but they will still likely want to play MVP front-runner Giannis Antetokounmpo in this one just to shake off the cobwebs after the break.

This could be a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals and it will be interesting to see how Boston Celtics point guard Kemba Walker looks after being hampered by knee issues following the All-Star break. Boston split the series with Milwaukee during the season and Walker torched the Bucks both times, scoring 32 points against them in November and putting up 40 on them in January.

Betting trend to watch: Milwaukee opened as a five-point favorite, with the total set at 217.5, but don’t count out the Celtics, who have gone an impressive 14-4 ATS as an underdog this season.

Rockets vs Mavericks (+1.5, 225.5), July 31, 9 p.m. ET

The battle between James Harden and Luka Doncic will be a treat for basketball fans, but the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks have plenty of firepower in addition to their All-NBA guards.

With the full game total for this contest opening at a reasonable 225.5, keep an eye on the first half total when it drops.

Betting trend to watch: Fast starts have been a trend for both squads, with Houston leading the league with 59.9 first-half points per game and Dallas second with 59.3 ppg. For good measure, the Rockets also rank 25th in the NBA in first-half scoring defense, surrendering 58.1 ppg.

Heat vs Nuggets (-1, 212.5), August 1, 1 p.m ET

Both the Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets could see their seeding change dramatically based on how they perform in Orlando. Miami has an absolute gauntlet to run through with its first four games against Denver, Toronto, Boston and Milwaukee.

The Nuggets have long had a massive edge at home, due to the increased elevation at the Pepsi Center, and losing that advantage in Orlando could hurt. Then again, Miami could be in the same boat considering that they posted an average scoring margin of plus-9.3 ppg at home — and that plummeted to minus-2.7 in away contests.

Betting trend to watch: The Heat have been one of the highest-scoring teams in the league during the first quarter, but have really struggled to put the ball in the hoop at the end of games, averaging just 26 ppg in the fourth quarter. With Denver holding opponents to just 26.2 fourth-quarter points per game on the road, this is a trend you’ll want to consider when live betting in the final 12 minutes.

Bucks vs Rockets, August 2, 8:30 p.m. ET

It’s always a blast watching two MVP favorites face off against each other, and after Harden came up short against Antetokounmpo last year there seems to be a lack of respect between the two superstars. The Greek Freak took a potshot at Harden when he selected his team during All-Star weekend, with the Rockets guard responding with, “I wish I could be 7 feet and run and just dunk. Like, that takes no skill at all.”

Betting trend to watch: Unfortunately for the small-ball Rockets, defending in the paint is their biggest weakness, especially after trading away Clint Capela left them with the 6’5″ PJ Tucker often manning the center position. Houston allows 51.5 ppg in the paint, sixth-worst in the league, and Giannis is the most dominant inside scorer since Shaq, putting up 29.6 ppg this season.

Grizzlies vs Pelicans, August 3, 6:30 p.m. ET

Not only will this matchup feature the two best rookies in the league in Ja Morant and Zion Williamson, but it will also be a prime spot for the New Orleans Pelicans to gain ground on the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference.

New Orleans was impressive on offense even without Zion and have become even more unstoppable since the first-overall draft pick joined the team on January 22. Once Zion joined the fold the Pelicans averaged 120.1 ppg and played at the fastest pace in the league.

Betting trend to watch: Thanks in large part to Morant, Memphis also looks good on the offensive end of the floor, ranking seventh in the league in both possessions per game and shooting percentage. With both teams electrifying on offense – and terrible on defense – this should be a very fun game with the Over worth looking at.

Trail Blazers vs Nuggets, August 6, 8 p.m ET

There might not a more dangerous team currently outside a playoff spot than the Portland Trail Blazers, who arguably boast the second-best backcourt out of all 22 teams in Orlando and will also get center Jusuf Nurkic back from a broken leg. The Nuggets are third in the West but sit only 1.5 games behind the Clippers and 1.5 games ahead of the Jazz, so every game matters.

This is a rematch of last year’s Western Conference semifinals, where the Blazers upset the Nuggets in seven games. In three games head-to-head this year the Nuggets went 3-0 SU and ATS.

Betting trend to watch: Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard has struggled against Denver, averaging 21.6 ppg on 37.7 percent shooting over his last seven regular-season games against the Nuggets. Although he played better during the playoff series last season, it was CJ McCollum who carried the Blazers offense, especially in Game 7 when Lillard went 3-17 from the field.

Raptors vs 76ers, August 12, 6:30 p.m. ET

There might not be much on the line if the Toronto Raptors have already secured a seed by this time, but if their nerve-wracking seven-game playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers last year is any indication, this should still be a great game.

Betting trend to watch: It will be interesting to see how these teams play on neutral ground. Toronto has been one of the best teams in the league away from home, going 23-9 SU and 16-15 ATS and posting an average scoring margin of plus-4.2 ppg. On the other hand, the 76ers have been terrible on the road, going 10-24 SU, 9-23 ATS and posting a scoring margin of minus-5.3.