Happy Wednesday, I hope this newsletter finds you well. Today is a bit confusing for yours truly, because I went looking for a football game to include in the newsletter today, and did you know that there isn’t one on the schedule? I know! I thought it must have been some sort of mistake at first, too, but I assure you that I double-checked and confirmed with multiple sources that there is no football tonight.
We can only hope that we — not as a country, but as a species — find the strength to get through the evening without one. Sure, we’ll probably spend some time wondering what to do with our hands, or who those other people in our homes are, and whether we should talk to them, but we’ll get through it.
Besides, we’ve got plenty of college basketball on tap, even if a couple of games — like the showdown between Michigan State and Virginia — have been called off due to COVID-19 issues. Also, did you know that NBA preseason games start Friday? I’m not going to sit here and promise you that I’ll have a pick for an NBA preseason game in Friday’s newsletter, but I’m not going to rule it out, either.
Anyway, before we get to today’s picks, let’s catch up on all the happenings.
OK, let’s make some money
All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Indiana at No. 20 Florida State, 7:15 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Under 139.5 (-110): Tonight’s game between Michigan State and Virginia is postponed, so this is the most prominent game going in The ACC/Big Ten Challenge, which has not proved to be much of a challenge for the Big Ten. However, I think Florida State has an advantage here — just not enough for me to take the Seminoles against the spread, though that’s the direction I lean.
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I prefer attacking the total. These teams have been strong defensively, with the Hoosiers ranking 12th in the country in adjusted efficiency on defense and the Seminoles not far behind at 16th. Neither team will have to worry about guarding the three-point line because neither team takes (or is good at making) threes. Through four games, Indiana is shooting only 29.3% from three. Florida State has only played one game, but it’s shooting 29.2% and has never been a great three-point shooting team under Leonard Williams. Efficient defenses and a lack of outside shooting means we’ll see a lot of tightly contested battles inside and a game that isn’t likely to be beautiful to a casual observer.
Key Trend: The under is 9-3-1 in Indiana’s last 13 road games.
Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: SportsLine’s Projection Model generated selections for Wednesday’s 2020 ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup between the Hoosiers and Seminoles.
💰 The Picks
🏀 College Basketball
Seattle at Washington, 11 p.m | TV: Pac-12 Network
The Pick: Washington -11.5 (-110) — It’s a late start, I know, but you have my permission to stay up and watch. We’re getting a generous line on Washington because the Huskies have opened the season 0-3. It’s hard to hold losses to Baylor and Utah against it, but that 57-42 loss to UC Riverside is somewhat eye-raising. But, still, Riverside is a lot better than the Seattle squad Washington will see tonight. Despite the poor results, Washington has proven to be solid defensively, ranking 64th in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency. Seattle ranks 283rd on offense and 279th defensively. It’s also at a severe size disadvantage, and I’m not sure there’s anything the Redhawks do well enough to make up for it.
Key Trend: Seattle is 13-18 ATS as an underdog since 2018.
⚽ Europa League
Lille at Celtic, Thursday, 3 p.m | TV: CBS All Access
The Pick: Lille (+115) — Lille doesn’t need to win this match to win Group H, but a win would guarantee it, so I expect Lille to come out in full force. It’ll be doing so against a Celtic team that has been overmatched in the Europa League. Celtic has managed only a point through its first five matches, and that point came in a 2-2 draw against Lille in France. Except, if we look closer, we see the expected goals for that matchup showed Lille dominating 2.2-0.5. Lille dominated possession and had 20 shots to Celtic’s nine. They just got a bit unlucky in the result. In five group play matches, Celtic has an xG differential of -2.7. I’m rushing to the window to get Lille at anything +100 or better.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine’s Projection Model has revealed its top prop bet picks for Rams vs. Patriots on Thursday Night Football.
🏀 Thursday Night Parlay
A four-leg, college basketball parlay paying +128