The NFL playoffs almost went exactly as expected. San Francisco had problems with Dallas, but ultimately put the Cowboys away to get back to the NFC title game. Philadelphia buried the Giants, and Joe Burrow and the Bengals set up a rematch with Kansas City for the AFC title.
But the Chiefs were the one issue, as Jacksonville stubbornly stayed in the game and prevented the cover. Granted, it was always tough sledding once Patrick Mahomes played at less than 100%, but injuries are just part of the situation. When a key player goes down, you just write off the loss and get back after it.
I went 3-1 over the weekend on NFL plays, and hopefully, we’re able to ride that momentum into Monday. Here are my best bets for January 23.
BOLOGNA ML, -110
This should be straightforward for Bologna. The Greyhounds are a mix of a home-court hero and a consistent performer. They beat the teams they should and lose to the teams they shouldn’t beat. They also perform much better at home, which should set them up well against Cremonese. The Violins don’t have a win since getting promoted. Their stay in Serie A will likely be very short, as they’ve amassed just seven points. Since the restart, they’ve lost three straight and have failed to take points in five of nine road matches. Bologna should do the job.
FULHAM ML, +225
There’s an old saying in sports: Don’t let a team beat you twice. I think that’s exactly what Tottenham’s about to do. Spurs had the match with Manchester City well in hand up 2-0, but the Sky Blues took over from there and won handily. Now Tottenham has to turn things around at a surprisingly unfriendly Craven Cottage. Fulham’s got a real chance to play European football next season, and a win here would do wonders for that goal.
A win here would see Fulham go to fifth, and that means something to the newly promoted side. Spurs doesn’t really care about Europa League, but Fulham does. Finishing at five would mean big money rolling in and a chance to sustain this success. The value lies with the Cottagers at home.
VIRGINIA TECH ML, -140
The day I’ve feared has come: the books have finally gotten wise to Duke’s road struggles. The Blue Devils are 1-3 SU and 0-4 ATS away from Cameron Indoor Stadium, and it might get worse here. Good Duke teams hadn’t figured out how to handle Blacksburg. Mike Krzyzewski went 1-4 in his final five trips to Cassell Coliseum, despite Duke being ranked 19th or better every time.
This Duke team is nothing like those squads. This team doesn’t know what it’s doing away from home, and faces a desperate VT squad. The Hokies have come agonizingly close against Wake Forest (two), Clemson (three at home, one away) and NC State (four). They aren’t letting another one get away, not with Duke this vulnerable.
ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF ML, +130
The Golden Lions come in undefeated at home and Shaun Doss is doing some scoring. Doss went for 23 against Southern last time out, and points could be at a premium here. Both Pine Bluff and Grambling are defense-first squads, which makes a quick player who can create his own offense off turnovers like Doss critical. These teams push, and Arkansas-Pine Bluff cashes in far more steals than Grambling does. That should help the Golden Lions here.
KANSAS ML, +120
Doubt Bill Self at your peril. The Jayhawks looked awful at home against TCU, but Kansas usually doesn’t forget to show up twice. Even going to the Ferrell Center, I still like the Jayhawks’ chances. Baylor played out two tough road games, and they might struggle to meet Kansas’ intensity. The Jayhawks will come in knowing they need a win, and that should have them ready to show off against Baylor.