From the Gridiron to the Hardcourts: Top Sports Picks For Tonight

Swinging Johnson

Friday, December 4, 2015 6:37 PM UTC

Friday, Dec. 4, 2015 6:37 PM UTC

Fantastic Four Friday features our top college football picks, NCAA basketball picks, NHL picks, & NBA picks. There’s plenty of action to be had and money to be made, so let’s sweep the board!

College Football

MAC - MAC - Northern Illinois (8-4 SU, 8-3-1 ATS) vs. Bowling Green (9-3 SU, 9-3 ATS)
Tonight features the MAC Conference championship game and if you feel like you are getting a case of déjà vu then take a number because for the third consecutive year the Huskies of Northern Illinois will meet the Falcons of Bowling Green. Two years ago Bowling Green upset Northern Illinois 47-27 but the Huskies got even last year with a dominant 51-17 payback performance. Tonight Northern Illinois could very well be down to its third-string quarterback and have been outgained in three of their last four games which does not bode well for their chances against the Falcons.

Conversely Bowling Green is 5-0 when offered as double digit favorites by the college football odds makers and are 7-1 straight up against MAC opponents. Head coach Dino Babers has brought a high-octane attack that has torched secondaries and bludgeoned defensive fronts to the tune of over 12,000 combined yards over the past two seasons. Falcons’ signal caller Matt Johnson leads the nation in passing with a whopping 4,465 aerial yards. I cannot see the Huskies withstanding this offense despite being the owners of the league’s top defense and an opportunistic secondary that led the MAC with 19 picks. Bowling Green will win this one by two to three touchdowns which means those who include them in their college football picks will be counting the cash when the day is done.

College Football Pick: Bowling Green -12 at Heritage

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College Basketball

Oregon (6-0 SU, 2-2 ATS) vs. UNLV (6-1 SU, 3-1 ATS)
If you like college hoops then you’re in for a treat because this game features two evenly matched squads that are rolling through the young season. The Ducks are ranked 15th in the nation as they travel to Sin City to meet the Rebels of UNLV and despite their 6-0 start I am including the home team in my NCAA basketball picks tonight.  The Rebels are playing in front of their home crowd and should be able to punish the Ducks on the glass. Oregon has not been aggressive on the boards this season while the Rebs are averaging close to 41 rebounds per season. In addition Oregon has been able to escape with wins despite being haunted by turnovers this season but their schedule has been soft which has allowed them success against their weaker opponents, with the exception of Baylor whom they defeated 74-67 in their second game of the season.

However, the Ducks are facing a very good opponent in UNLV tonight and statistically own an advantage over Oregon in rebounds, assists and points scored. Oregon makes their bones by limiting their opponents on the scoreboard as they rank 38th in points allowed holding their opponents to 64.3 points per game. Nevertheless they will have their hands more than full with sophomore Patrick McCaw who is averaging 46.6 percent from three-point-land and 19 points per game. I like the Rebs in this spot particularly when I feel the better team is getting a head start from the NCAA basketball odds makers.

NCAA Basketball Pick: UNLV +2 at 5Dimes

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Cleveland Cavaliers (13-5 SU, 7-11 ATS) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (4-15 SU, 6-13 ATS)
Both teams have struggled heading into tonight’s matchup down on the Bayou with the Cavaliers dropping three of their last four while their hosts have dipped into a shame spiral losing their four consecutive and failing to cash for all those who included them in their NBA picks during that losing streak. New Orleans last outing was another disappointment as the NBA odds makers installed them 3 ½ point underdogs in Houston but they could not cover that number as they fell 108-101. It was a wasted effort by Anthony Davis who scored 29 points and hauled down 13 rebounds.

The Cavaliers have lost only five games this season but a pattern of losing basketball is beginning to manifest that LeBron James and his crew are determined to put to bed. In their last outing the King and his court bowed to the Wizards in their own building by the score of 97-85 in a game in which they were favored by 8 ½ points. Like Anthony Davis’s wasted night against the Rockets, LeBron’s efforts against Washington also were for naught as he dropped in 24 points and nabbed 13 boards of his own.

While it’s hard to “like” either team we have to realize that the Cavaliers will be a top contender in the East and this losing skein is just a bump in a long road. Though the Pelicans beat the Cavs in their last matchup 119-114 this time it will be a different story. Cleveland is motivated to break this losing slump and have the tools to deliver a good old fashioned ‘Nawlins beatdown. New Orleans is 3-12 ATS in their last 15 games following a loss and that’s a pattern that I see continuing here.

NBA Pick: Cleveland -4½ at Bet365

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Dallas Stars (20-6, +10.9 units) vs. Edmonton Oilers (9-17, -5.8 units)
The Stars skate into Edmonton tied with the Montreal Canadiens for most points in the league with 41. They will improve upon that tonight against the Oilers. Dallas has won eight of their last 10 games with their most recent effort resulting in a 4-2 victory over the Canucks in Vancouver last night. The Stars continue to assail the opposition with an average of 3.5 goals scored per game which is tops in the NHL this season. Dallas’s power play has been lethal as well connecting on 25.3 percent of their man-advantaged opportunities. Defensively they are a middling group with a platoon patrol of Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi posting goals against averages of 2.37 and 2.61 respectively.

Meanwhile the Oilers are at the end of the spectrum with only 20 points on the season and toiling in the basement of the Western Conference. However Edmonton did get the better of the Boston Bruins in a 3-2 shootout victory to kick off this five game homestand. The Oilers are now 20th in goals scored, 28th in goals allowed, 18th on the power play unit and 18th on the penalty kill. They faced off against the Stars once before this season and predictably the Oilers came out on the losing end of that decision 4-2 with the NHL odds makers installing the Stars as -180 home chalk.

I realize many will be passing this game because Dallas had to hop a plane to Edmonton after last night’s win over Vancouver but this is a matchup between the very best and the very worst. Obviously anything can happen but when you are able to get the Stars at such a bargain basement price (relatively speaking) versus the very worst the league has to offer I say open that door when opportunity knocks and boy oh boy, is it knocking here. Take Dallas as the NHL pick.

NHL Pick: Stars -137 at Pinnacle

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