First rule of sports betting: bet with your head and not with your heart. I went ahead and followed that advice Sunday in the Mississippi State-Missouri game, as the Tigers came in getting 4.5 points against a team that hadn’t won a road game all year, and that’s despite Missouri having played Auburn to a single point at home.
The reason I bring up that advice is that usually, I openly root against Missouri. This confuses a lot of people considering I went there, but for my own reasons, I usually enjoy when the Tigers get beat. But the numbers were what they were, and the line was too good not to jump on Missouri, which is a different team at home. And sure enough, the Tigers did it again, managing to lose the game but win the cover. Wins all around for me, as Missouri is now 6-1 ATS in Columbia in SEC play.
When the numbers lead you one way, you’ve got to go for it. Here are my best plays for February 21.
Am I scared of this game? Terrified. I think there’s a much better chance to bet a No on both teams to score at -130, but it’s Moneyline Monday, not Scoreline Monday. I’m scared of this game because Napoli has to play Barcelona on Thursday in the Champions League and relegation-threatened Cagliari would be thrilled with a point from a scoreless draw. But at the same time, Napoli is just three points back of first place and hasn’t won Serie A since 1990. The Blues aren’t throwing away their shot at the Scudetto; they’ll look to get out of here with a 1-0 result. That also makes a Napoli and U2.5 bet (+270) an appealing risk play.
Penn State rock fights have been one of my favorite bets of the season. But those only apply in University Park, not College Park. In College Park, Penn State has only ever won once and the Nittany Lions have been just awful away from home, losing everywhere except Northwestern. Maryland has played better as of late and has a good chance to get a win here.
SYRACUSE/NORTH CAROLINA/OHIO STATE PARLAY, +100
Since a 5-1 start, Georgia Tech hasn’t won consecutive games against Division I competition (they had one stretch where they beat Division II Clayton State before beating Florida State) and should be easy prey for Syracuse. North Carolina shouldn’t have too many issues at home against Louisville, given the Cardinals’ struggles, and Indiana still can’t play on the road.
OKLAHOMA STATE, +165
Here’s your curveball, as Oklahoma State already won in Waco this year and holds a 5-2 SU record in Big 12 games at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Only Kansas has managed to go to Stillwater and win in regulation. Plus, Baylor’s been decimated by injuries. The Bears have given no indication that they should be favored here.
NORTHERN ARIZONA, +230
Here comes curveball No. 2: Northern Arizona has actually played very well as of late. In their past seven games, NAU is 6-1 ATS and managed to win at both Sacramento State and Montana. Beating the last-place Hornets doesn’t mean that much, but winning in Missoula was impressive. Southern Utah isn’t playing its best basketball right now, and playing in the Walkup Skydome isn’t ideal when you’re not playing well. NAU has a shot here.