Wild Card Wednesday: Best Bets for February 8

Sometimes, you think a play looks solid, but the value just isn’t there on it. That’s what we’ve got today from the world of soccer. On paper, Manchester United and Real Madrid look like sure-fire winners against Leeds United and Al-Ahly, respectively. Problem is, the books feel the same way. Manchester United’s going off at -215 and Real Madrid at -265, so there isn’t any real value on it.

Normally, I’d just suggest pairing them both on a moneyline parlay play to get to +103, but that’s dangerous here. Manchester United’s facing an unknown in Leeds, as the Peacocks just fired Jesse Marsch and sit near relegation. Real Madrid should handle Al-Ahly, but there’s the question of how seriously they take the Club World Cup. They’ve got their own race to run, and beating the African and Asian champions just doesn’t provide them with much of a bump in their eyes. If you play it, I’d go small given the factors at play.

So that leads us back to basketball, which treated us well yesterday. All three basketball games cashed, although North Carolina made me nervous until the end. Hopefully, basketball keeps treating us well through the week. Here are my plays for February 8.

MICHIGAN -11.5, -110

I wish this number was better, because giving this many points with Michigan has me nervous. But Nebraska on the road has been a mess. The Cornhuskers have played 10 true road games this season, and they’ve lost eight of them. All eight losses came by at least 11 points, and the two wins were Minnesota, one of the worst Power 5 teams in the nation, and Creighton, which barely counts as a true road game because of the Huskers’ huge following in Omaha.

Otherwise, the Huskers have struck out away from Lincoln. That leads me to like my chances, as does the fact that Michigan has played its best ball in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines won’t be a tournament team barring something strange, but they should handle Nebraska.

BAYLOR -9.5, -110

The Big 12 meat grinder appears to have chewed up and spit out Oklahoma. The Sooners’ basketball program likely can’t wait to escape to the SEC, as they’re struggling badly in league play. Oklahoma’s lost four of five Big 12 road games, and three of them came by 16 points. The Sooners have also lost five of six overall, with the exception being a 24-point thrashing of SEC leader Alabama.

And now they get a sizzling Baylor squad that’s won seven of eight and has only lost by five at Texas in that stretch. The Bears do let teams hang around too often, but they did just blast Texas Tech by 27. Given Oklahoma’s road showings, they should do the job here.


Creighton rarely has a problem scoring on Seton Hall. The Bluejays have hit 75 or more on the Pirates in 10 of 13 meetings, and Creighton usually flirts with 80 in the Prudential Center. That means we should only need the Hall to hit the 60s, and the Pirates have done that against everyone not named Marquette for two months now. This number’s very reasonable with how these teams play against each other.

FLORIDA TTU 69.5, -110

There’s a common misconception with Alabama basketball. It’s that the Crimson Tide are all gas, no brakes. But that only applies to the Crimson Tide’s offense. On defense, Alabama usually stuffs its opponents. Aside from the Oklahoma disaster, nobody’s gotten to 70 on the Tide since Dec. 17. The Tide have now played 10 SEC games, and they’ve yet to allow more than Arkansas’ 69.

Offense isn’t really what the Gators do well. Florida’s failed to hit 70 in five of its past six SEC games, and the lone exception was South Carolina’s weak defense in Gainesville. Outside of the Sunshine State, the Gators haven’t topped 67 all season. It shouldn’t happen in Tuscaloosa.

PENN STATE -3.5, -110

The margin of error is gone for Micah Shrewsberry’s team. The Nittany Lions haven’t done much of anything away from Happy Valley, outside of beating Illinois in Champaign. Luckily, Penn State’s at home for this one, and it has a score to settle with Wisconsin. The Badgers barely escaped in Madison with a 63-60 win, a game Penn State really wishes it could have back. Wisconsin has lost four of five on the road in the Big Ten, which doesn’t bode well for visiting the Bryce Jordan Center.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

To Top
%d bloggers like this: