Kittle or Kelce, and Super Bowl LIV bets you need to make this Friday

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We are coming down the home stretch to Super Bowl LIV! With just two sleeps to go we’ve been compiling the best betting angles for the Big Game – for player props, derivatives and everything in between – and today we dive into the odds for the first play of the game so you can start the Super Bowl off with a winning bet.

FIVE YARDS FOR A WINNER

Looking to diversify your player prop portfolio for Sunday’s game? Well, Jimmy Garoppolo’s rushing total sits at an unheard of 4.5 yards. That’s basically one small jump for a winner. There is obviously a reason why his total is so low as the San Francisco quarterback is averaging just 3.6 yards rushing a game thanks to a 1.4 yards per carry.

The G-man has gone over 4.5 rushing yards in just six of his 18 games this year but is 2-1 O/U in the 49ers three losses. A trend that sits in the QB’s favor is that KC has allowed opposing quarterbacks to top 4.5 yards in six of its last seven games including a 20-yard rushing performance from Tom Brady in Week 14.

If Brady can do it, so can Garoppolo. This one is more fun than anything else, but we are still adding Garoppolo’s Over 4.5 rushing yards to our championship plays.

BETTING ON THE LAST PLAY

The Super Bowl brings us a plethora of game props that aren’t usually available during the regular season. When Over/Under shortest touchdown of 1.5 yards is a standard game prop for you, then you need some weird action to tickle your fancy.

One such play caught our attention: last play of game QB rush (yes -167; no +136). If you’re taking the “no” you will be hoping for a comeback as the victory formation is your greatest enemy and if you’re backing the yes, a quarterback kneel is considered a rushing attempt.

Looking back on each teams’ last five wins, three losses and the last play of the previous seven Super Bowls gives us these results:

San Francisco last five wins — 3-2 Y/N
San Francisco last three losses — 0-3 Y/N

Kansas City last five wins — 5-0 Y/N
Kansas City last three losses — 1-2 Y/N

Last 10 Super Bowls — 4-6 Y/N

This is another bet that you can add to the “fun list” of props as cheering for the plus-money “No” keeps you hoping for the trailing offense to keep possession. We see this closer to a 50/50 bet than the odds suggest and are happy to take the No for +136.

WAITING FOR THE FIRST

We don’t know much about chronological order as we are segueing from the last play of the game to the contest’s first TD. If you’re in the boat that thinks the 49ers won’t have any difficulty rushing the ball against the Chiefs’ No. 29 DVOA rush defense, there are many special bets out there.

The one that took our attention was regarding how the first TD will be scored. Passing TD – First TD of the Game is a big favorite as it sits at -156 while Any Other TD – First TD of the Game is a tempting +120.

The 49ers had the league’s third-best rushing touchdown percentage at just under 50 percent and that number jumps to 85 percent over their last five games. The Chiefs could also help us out with a winner as they have scored rushing TDs at a 42-percent rate of their total offensive TDs, but we like the Niners to get the first crack at an easier touchdown with their defense making life more difficult than the K.C. offense is used to.

We like the Any Other TD – First TD of the Game at +120

KITTLE VS. KELCE

Super Bowl 54 features arguably the two best tight ends in the NFL. Travis Kelce and George Kittle finished first and third respectively in receiving yards this year as Kelce averaged nearly ten yards more than the 49ers TE.

With San Francisco committing to the run, Kittle has stayed in and helped with the blocking as he has been targeted six times in the playoffs and just once in the Conference round. Kelce, on the other hand, put up 134 yards on 10 grabs and a trio of touchdowns in the Divisional game and sputtered a bit versus Tennessee gaining just 30 yards on three grabs.

With the K.C. offense’s motor being driven by the passing game, we will take Kelce to get the most receiving yards between him and Kittle. Kelce pays -120 to outperform the San Fran TE.

College basketball odds, picks and predictions: Bet on big first half from Oregon

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Baylor aims to stay at the top of the NCAA men’s basketball rankings as they take on a reeling West Virginia squad on Saturday, while Oregon looks to crush visiting Utah on Sunday night. We break down the college basketball odds for those games and much more as we bring you the best betting notes, picks and predictions across the NCAA this weekend.   

WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS AT BAYLOR BEARS

Things don’t get any easier for No. 14 West Virginia as they come off back-to-back losses. The Mountaineers fell to Oklahoma on the road last Saturday before losing at home to Kansas on Wednesday. They scored an average of just 54 points per game in those two contests and now take on No. 1 Baylor who has held foes to 58.3 ppg on 38.4 percent shooting this season.

Generally the best way to attack the 1-1-3 zone defense that Baylor employs is to attack with a pair of guards that can dribble and drive, as well as knock down the occasional jumper. Unfortunately for WVU, while they have strong players down low, they lack scoring punch in their backcourt. Look for the Bears to hold the Mountaineers Under their team total. 

PURDUE BOILERMAKERS AT OHIO STATE BUCKEYES

Anyone who has been following the Big Ten this season knows that most schools are killing at home and just getting shredded on the road. Purdue and Ohio State represent this trend probably better than anyone, especially during the first half of games.

The Buckeyes have an average first-half scoring margin of plus-12.2 ppg at home (fifth-best in the country) but that drops to minus-1.8 on the road. The Boilermakers have an average first-half margin of plus-11.7 ppg at home and that falls to minus-1.7 on the road.

With Purdue putting up just 27.6 first half ppg on the road, and Ohio State holding opponents to 25 first half ppg in Columbus, take Ohio State on the 1H spread.

GONZAGA BULLDOGS AT PEPPERDINE WAVES

The Zags have the No. 2 team in the country but they might not have the best betting value when they face Pepperdine on the road on Saturday night. Gonzaga is coming off a 30-point rout of Saint Mary’s but prior to that game they failed to cover in three straight contests.

Pepperdine is 25th in the country in scoring with 77.2 ppg and is 7-3 SU over their last 10 contests. They also played well against Gonzaga in the last meeting between the two squads, falling by a score of 75-70 on the road on January 4. A matter of fact, the Waves are 3-1 ATS in the last four games of the head-to-head with the Zags.

With Gonzaga usually a massive favorite, laying at least 10 points in 13 of their last 14 contests (and laying at least 20 points in seven of those), the underdog Waves have value on the spread.   

UTAH UTES AT OREGON DUCKS

Utah is 0-6 SU and 1-5 ATS on the road in Pac-12 play, losing by scoring margins of 39, 19, 19, 16, 14 and 4 points. A common theme for Utah in those losses has been ice-cold shooting, far too many turnovers and a tendency to fall behind early. In three of those games, including Thursday night against Oregon State, the Utes were down at least 16 points by halftime.

On Sunday the Utes wrap up their Oregon road trip as they face the No. 17 Ducks. The Ducks are tied for first place in the Pac-12 after a come from behind win against Colorado on Thursday.

Led by guards Payton Pritchard (19.3 points and 6 assists per game) and Chris Duarte (14 ppg), the Ducks rank 19th in the country in offensive efficiency. And Pritchard and Duarte are especially effective at home where they shoot a combined 49 percent from the floor and 41 percent from deep. Bet on Oregon to cover the first half spread.  

MID-MAJOR TO WATCH: BRIGHAM YOUNG COUGARS (19-7, 17-9 ATS, 15-11 O/U)

BYU received 43 votes in the latest AP Top 25 Poll and is currently riding a five-game winning streak. Over their last 17 games the Cougars have gone 14-3 SU and 13-4 ATS. BYU has the best group of outside shooters in the country, connecting on 10.9 made 3-point shots per game while shooting 42.5 percent from deep.

On Saturday, BYU heads to the Jenny Craig Pavillion (seriously that’s what it’s called) to take on the San Diego Toreros. The Toreros are at the bottom of the West Coast Conference standings and shoot just 41.2 percent from the floor. That’s right: San Diego shoots worse from the field than BYU does from beyond the arc.

NATIONAL TITLE ODDS

Dayton has been flying up the NCAA futures odds board and is currently listed as high as +1,600 at some books. The Flyers are fifth in the country in scoring (81.6 ppg) and first in shooting percentage (52.3), and haven’t lost a game since December. While detractors might point at the lack of stiff competition in the Atlantic 10 Conference, it’s worth noting that the Flyers only two losses this season occured in overtime and one of them was against No. 3 Kansas.

On Saturday, Dayton is on the road against the Massachusetts Minutemen. The Minutemen allow 72.9 ppg on 46.5 percent shooting (328th in the country) and lost by 28 points to Dayton on January 11.

BETTING TRENDS

• The Toledo Rockets are just 1-10 ATS at home this season. On Friday they host the Buffalo Bulls who are 4-0 SU and ATS in the last four games in the head-to-head. The Rockets look like a good fade as 2.5-point favorites.  

• Over the last ten days SEC conference games have gone 13-4 O/U. If you’re looking for a solid Over bet in SEC play this weekend, the matchup between Mississippi State and Arkansas looks good. Arkansas has cashed the Over in eight straight games while Miss State is 7-1 O/U in its previous eight contests.

• The top ATS team in the country are the North Florida Osprey who are 19-6 ATS, including 7-1 ATS over their last eight games. On Saturday, the Osprey host the North Alabama Lions. North Florida is 4-0 ATS in four games against North Alabama dating back to last season.

2020 NBA All-Star Skills Challenge odds to win and betting picks: Don’t fade the big men

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The NBA skills challenge might not be the flashiest event at the All-Star Game, but it has proved to be very profitable for bettors who like to wager on underdogs. We take a look at the odds to win the NBA skills challenge for this year’s field and break down our betting picks for the 2020 event.  

WHAT ARE THE RULES FOR THE TACO BELL SKILLS CHALLENGE?

The skills challenge features eight NBA players going through an obstacle course which tests their dribbling skills, passing ability, agility and shooting.

Two players face off next to each other on identical courses on the court. For the first leg, they run down the court while dribbling between five obstacles, before throwing a pass through a target. Then they turn around and dribble back the full length of the court for a lay up. Then they head back up the court before hitting a 3-pointer from the top of the key. The first player to sink his shot from beyond the arc wins.

It’s a single elimination format with three rounds and the brackets won’t be chosen until Saturday.

ODDS TO WIN NBA SKILLS CHALLENGE

PLAYER TEAM ODDS
Spencer Dinwiddie Brooklyn Nets +350
Khris Middleton Milwaukee Bucks +410
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Oklahoma City Thunder +460
Jayson Tatum Boston Celtics +550
Pascal Siakam Toronto Raptors +550
Domantis Sabonis Indiana Pacers +850
Patrick Beverley Los Angeles Clippers +900
Bam Adebayo Miami Heat +1,200

NBA SKILLS CHALLENGE BETTING PREDICTION

This year’s event features three former winners: Patrick Beverley (2015), Spencer Dinwiddie (2018) and Jayson Tatum (2019). While Dinwiddie has the best odds to win at +350, if recent history is any indication this is one contest where underdogs have a good chance of coming out on top.

Since the event started including big men in 2016, two players have won with the worst odds (Dinwiddie and Karl-Anthony Towns) while another took home the title with the second-worst odds (Kristaps Porzingis in 2016). Last year, Tatum won with the fifth-best odds at +600.

That said, we’re not taking the player with the worst odds this year. Adebayo is having a terrific season but he’s only connected on one 3-point shot all year (on 11 attempts), so the final step in this event could prove to be a challenge.

We like the +550 payout for Tatum to repeat, but our money is on the player tied with Tatum in the odds department: Raptors forward Pascal Siakam. Siakam is quicker and has better handles than many give him credit for, and he’s really improved his shot from beyond the arc this season (connecting on more than two 3-point shots per game at a clip of 36 percent).

Siakam also seems to play at his best when the pressure is on, so expect him to thrive under the spotlight in Chicago this weekend. We’re betting on the Raptors’ big man.