NEW YORK — First things first: today is my wife’s birthday. I’ve occasionally thrown a “Tailing Mrs. Angell” segment into these pieces as a bit of tongue-in-cheek, as she makes her picks based on nothing more than saying the first thing that comes to mind. Funny thing is, sometimes it works, as it did when she won eight baseball games in a row this year. That aside, I’m so lucky that I have her in my life and that she understands the work I do on gambling tips.
Now, for today, we’re trying a new format for Saturday. During the baseball season, I made Saturdays all about soccer, but I decided I don’t want to get shoehorned into that when we have college basketball plays coming. I might still produce some Saturday soccer bets when we get back from our vacation, but for now, I’m going with a mix of all the action.
Also, I had to include a dateline for this one; I might never get another chance to write a piece from NYC. Here are my picks for December 11.
SYRACUSE, -4, -110
Georgetown’s run to the NCAA tournament got people thinking this was a good team who could make some noise in the future, instead of thinking it was a fluke run from a team that didn’t belong there. We’ve seen the latter is true, but the Hoyas are still only getting four against a decent Syracuse team that should be in good shape for this rivalry game. The Orange play good defense and have faced a stronger schedule, and they should smother Georgetown here.
KENTUCKY, -4.5, -110
There’s no chance I’m going against Amy’s Wildcats on her birthday. There’s even less chance of me going against them when they’re facing a Notre Dame team that hasn’t beaten a Division I squad in almost a month. The Irish have just two wins against D-I competition this year, and that is horrible preparation for facing Oscar Tshiebwe and friends. Kentucky should dominate the glass and roll to a win.
KANSAS -22, -110
Missouri has got to be wondering why the heck it bothered to restart the series with Kansas (well, at least the players and coaches do; the administration wants that money from actually being able to sell out Mizzou Arena when the Jayhawks come to Columbia). The Tigers are already really bad at basketball this year, and now they’ve got to go into Allen Fieldhouse, where good Missouri teams have been lucky to leave with a single-digit loss. A team that lost by 19 at Liberty and 23 to Florida State on a neutral floor is certainly capable of losing by 22 to Kansas in Lawrence.
ILLINOIS STATE-CHICAGO STATE O139.5, -110
The Redbirds aren’t shooting 16-for-47 again, and Mark Freeman’s not going scoreless over 34 minutes again, as happened against Jackson State. The Redbirds are a better offensive team than that, and they should bounce back nicely against Chicago State’s weak defense. As long as the Cougars are scoring anywhere close to their season average of 60 points, the over should cash.
JAZZ-WIZARDS O220, -110
I’m having better luck with NBA totals as of late, and I think this one looks like a winner. Utah leads the league in field goal percentage, with Washington sitting ninth. These are over teams, and the over has cashed in five straight trips to Washington for the Jazz. I like my chances here.