What a weekend, huh? I hope you read and followed Friday’s PM newsletter last week. It was long and profitable. I included eight picks in it, including the NFL parlay, and if you followed all eight of them, you went 6-1-1 for a profit of 6.06 units. So, if you had bet $1 million on each bet, you’d have made over $6 million, and we don’t even charge you for this newsletter.
It makes you think.
I’m hopeful we can keep the hot streak going tonight, as I have plenty of options to share with you for the Steelers-Bengals game just to try to keep it interesting, as well as a college basketball play that will make you cringe a bit. Also, bowl season starts today in college football, so you can expect to see plenty of bowl games showing up in this letter over the coming days. Oh, and did you realize the NBA season starts Tuesday night?
The next few weeks are going to be glorious. Now, let’s catch up on our daily reading.
OK, let’s make some money
All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Steelers at Bengals, 8:15 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Bengals Under 13.5 points (-130): Maybe this game will be close and exciting. It more than likely won’t be. The Steelers can clinch the AFC North with a win tonight, and even if they have been struggling the last couple of weeks, this isn’t a Bengals team likely to provide much resistance. However, I’m wary of taking the Steelers as 14-point favorites in this spot because they’ve struggled offensively. Instead, we’re going to bet against the Bengals offense.
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Cincinnati has now played three games since losing Joe Burrow for the season, and it has scored 31 points total in those three games. Seven of those points were via a kick return against the Giants, so the Cincinnati offense is averaging only eight points per game without Burrow. Tonight they’re facing a Pittsburgh defense that ranks first in the NFL in defensive DVOA by a wide margin. Earlier this season, when the Bengals had Burrow, they only managed 10 points against this Pittsburgh defense.
Key Trend: The Bengals have failed to score 14 points in four of their last five games.
Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Advanced Computer Model spent the weekend simulating this game repeatedly and has a couple of leans on both the spread and total.
💰 The Picks
The Pick: 1st Quarter Steelers -3 (-120) — While I’m not excited about the idea of taking the Steelers to cover the full 14 points, I do see some value in the first quarter. Basically, we’re just asking the Steelers to score because I’m not confident the Bengals can. Without Burrow, the Bengals have scored two first-quarter touchdowns, but one was that kick return I mentioned, and the other came on a 72-yard touchdown to Tyler Boyd. Neither are highly-repeatable outcomes. Nor does it hurt my confidence that the Steelers have allowed only 2.8 points per game in the first quarter this season. That’s the best in the league.
Key Trend: Steelers opponents are averaging only 0.84 points per drive in the first quarter this season, the lowest mark in the NFL.
🏀 College Basketball
Saint Joseph’s at No. 8 Tennessee, 6 p.m. | TV: SEC Network
The Pick: Saint Joseph’s +21.5 (-110) — Let me start by saying that this is not a popular play, so while the line is at 21.5 points for me, you might want to wait until closer to tipoff. It could be bigger by then. As for this game, it’s an absolute perfect storm of things I love in my degenerate heart when it comes to betting college basketball.
Saint Joseph’s is 0-4 and coming off a 20-point loss to No. 5 Villanova. Tennessee is 4-0, ranked in the top 10, and coming off a 54-point win over Tennessee Tech. Nobody wants anything to do with Saint Joe’s in this matchup, and that means I do. The Hawks are not good enough defensively to win this game, but they’re not as bad as their numbers suggest, either. They’ve played a very difficult schedule. Their pace on offense could provide the Vols enough problems to stay within this number.
Key Trend: The Vols are 1-4 ATS in their last five games after scoring 100 points in the previous game.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine expert R.J. White is an astounding 9-1 in his last 10 spread picks in games involving the Steelers. He just released another confident pick for Pittsburgh’s Monday Night Football game against Cincinnati.
💸 The DFS Rundown
Your MVP or Captain
Ben Roethlisberger — With a total of only 40 points projected for this game, it’s not likely anybody will have a huge night. Still, Big Ben is the obvious choice. Pittsburgh’s offensive line has been a mess in the run game as of late, and the Steelers have essentially abandoned the run game because of it. As a result, Ben is averaging 45.8 pass attempts in the last six games. He’s the football equivalent of a volume-shooter right now.
Trayveon Williams — In a game like this, we’re looking for opportunity. It might be there tonight for Williams. With Joe Mixon out, we saw Williams take on a large role against Dallas last week. He finished the game with 12 carries for 49 yards and three receptions for 14 yards. It’s not much to write home about, but 15 touches for a running back at Williams’ price is great in a single-game slate.
Full lineup advice
SportsLine’s team of DFS insiders has you covered for daily fantasy sports. Mike McClure has won almost $2 million playing DFS, and Jacob Gibbs was ranked as one of the nation’s most accurate Fantasy experts last year. Plus, use SportsLine’s all-new DFS Optimizer to get optimal NFL DFS picks from 10,000 simulations.