Saturday Slate: Best Bets for December 17

You don’t get many days like this one. This Saturday is loaded with betting options, as we’ve got NFL action, college bowl games and several big college basketball contests available. If you want to make a play today, you’re covered.

The challenge is making the right plays and not getting overwhelmed. Having a lot of action can backfire if you make too many plays, so it’s more important than ever to be smart with your action. Here are my plays for December 17.

VIKINGS -4.5, -110

The line movement here looks suspicious, but Indianapolis appears cooked. Matt Ryan has proven he’s not the answer, but Jeff Saturday continues to refuse to play Sam Ehlinger. The Vikings didn’t play well last week against Detroit, but the Lions have improved a lot since the first month of the season. The Colts have looked more like they’re regressing. Indianapolis couldn’t stop Dallas last week, and stopping Minnesota looks just as unlikely.


The Factory of Sadness has become the Factory of Battles this season. Cleveland has won two straight at home, and five of the Browns’ six games at home (missing only New England) have seen Browns +2.5 cash. Baltimore will play without Lamar Jackson, and that should give the Browns the edge. However, I don’t really want to risk Cleveland to cover too much.

I think pairing the Browns and Vikings on an ML parlay at +145 holds a ton of value. Either way, I think Cleveland comes out a winner.


When it’s too tough for them, it’s just right to take the under. Neither Tua Tagovailoa nor Josh Allen fares all that well in the cold, which means both teams are likely to keep the ball moving and avoid throwing. Swirling winds in Orchard Park should affect both offenses, and these teams already played out a 21-19 game in ideal conditions in Miami. This looks like a solid move to go under here.

OREGON STATE -7.5, -110

I’ve got three plays on this game. First, Oregon State starts quickly and Florida doesn’t, making the Beavers -3 in the first quarter a great value play. Second, the Beavers play strong defense and Florida has shown it has problems with good defensive teams. Finally, does Florida really want to be here? The Gators neglected to show up last year in Tampa and got smacked by a motivated UCF squad. Now they’re going out to Vegas to face a good Oregon State team that should be highly motivated. The Beavers should cruise here.


Rice leads the nation in interceptions thrown, and Southern Miss plays a very opportunistic defense. The Golden Eagles have picked off 16 passes on the season, but they’re also prone to turning the ball over themselves. These teams have gone over in nine of 12 meetings, but this year’s versions tend to stop themselves just as much as they stop each other. I think these offenses will stall out and cause the under to cash.


This might seriously be first one to 50 wins. These teams are defensive experts and play disciplined basketball. Virginia’s coming off a game with James Madison that couldn’t break 110, and Houston couldn’t even get to triple digits against defense-oriented Saint Mary’s. If you like watching teams grind and work, this is the game for you.

UTAH -2.5, -110

We’ve got the Holy War on the hardwood, but going to the Marriott Center shouldn’t faze Utah this year. BYU has already lost to the likes of South Dakota in Provo, and Utah’s proven itself a solid basketball team. The Utes have just one bad loss to Sam Houston State, but they’ve also beaten Arizona. They should be fine coming down I-15 here.

ARIZONA -3.5, -110

Speaking of Arizona, the Wildcats play at home against Tennessee, and going to Tucson is one of the toughest tests in college basketball. The Volunteers haven’t really tested themselves away from home this season, unless you count their one loss of the season to Colorado. But that was in Nashville, not exactly a hostile environment. This one will be, and it seems like a bad spot for the Vols.

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