Three-Play Thursday: Best Bets for December 22

Late-night action didn’t work out in the slightest last night, turning a good night into a not-so-good one. Georgia Tech and South Alabama didn’t show up at all in their respective games, and the results spoke for themselves. The Jaguars at least attempted a comeback, but the Yellow Jackets never came close.

So now we try to bounce back with a few parlay plays. I’ll have to get creative for the two football games because there are only two, but it can always be done. As long as it’s not the day after the MLB All-Star Game (and I will never understand why MLS doesn’t mandate a full slate that day), we’ve got options.

Here are my plays for December 22.


Last year, Penn State fully embraced “gritty, not pretty”. This year, the Nittany Lions have become an excellent shooting squad. Penn State’s guards can light it up with anyone, and it hasn’t lost its defensive identity. That should put a -14.5 spread in reach against a Quinnipiac squad that allows too many good looks from deep.

Maryland’s defense should be locked in after UCLA embarrassed it in College Park. Saint Peter’s isn’t the team from last year and doesn’t score the ball well, which should help the Terrapins regain some pride. Finally, Press Virginia has returned, and that won’t end well for Stony Brook. When the Mountaineers want to be, they’re a top 10 squad, and the Seawolves won’t be able to handle speed and pressure.


Kansas got locked down by Tennessee in November, and the Jayhawks apparently didn’t like it. The Jayhawks have hit the gas in four straight games, scoring 84 or more in each. They should be able to do something similar to Harvard, as the Crimson don’t have the skill to slow them down.

Illinois has played a much better schedule than Missouri and should be ready to prove it can play with consistency. The Illini have beaten Texas and UCLA, but have lost to Maryland, Penn State and Virginia. The last (read: only) time Missouri faced a name opponent (Kansas at home), the Tigers got squashed by 28. Finally, Butler and Creighton excel at not sending opponents to the foul line. Few points with the clock stopped usually means an under, especially with the Bluejays not playing particularly well.


Do I believe in Zach Wilson? That would be a hard no. Do the Jets believe in Zach Wilson? That’s probably a soft no. Meanwhile, Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars have the AFC South title in their sights. Jacksonville gets another shot at the collapsing Titans in Week 18, and all the Jaguars have to do is best the Jets and Texans to make that a win-and-in situation. If you want to be aggressive, by all means bet the Jaguars to win and get this up to +685.

However, because it’s a parlay, I’ll play more conservative. Air Force should be able to stick close, as service academies treat bowl games as their Super Bowl as opposed to a glorified scrimmage. Army, Navy and Air Force know they’ll never play for a national title, but they can take down a name opponent in a bowl. Against Baylor, the Falcons have that opportunity. Finally, we know by now that Hartford is a Division III team masquerading as a Division I school until the mercy kill comes at February’s end. There’s no way the Hawks are going cross country and giving San Francisco anything resembling a game. Fade them into oblivion against the Dons.

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