September 28, 2023

Every sport has the first day of free agency. In some leagues like the NBA, the signings come quickly. In other leagues, like MLB, things take time. You must wait a while before somebody like Justin Verlander signs a massive two-year deal with the New York Mets.

I don’t know how to describe what’s happening in college football today. While it’s not quite free agency, today is the first day players can officially enter the transfer portal, and let me tell you; they are entering the transfer portal. If you haven’t been paying attention, there’s roughly a 50% chance one of your quarterbacks entered the portal today. Some have already found a destination. It’s crazy.

It’s also hard to track it all, but don’t worry; we’ve got you covered in that department. Just remember that every player who decided to leave your favorite school wasn’t any good, to begin with, and any player who decided to transfer to your school will flourish in a much better environment uniquely suited to their strengths.

Now let’s transfer some money to our bank account.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

Saints at Buccaneers, 8:15 p.m. | TV: ESPN

Latest Odds:

Under 41

  • Key Trend: The under is 4-1 in the last five meetings.
  • The Pick: Under 41 (-110)

This game might be close, but I don’t expect it’ll be fun. Tom Brady had lost the first four games of his career against the Saints in a Bucs uniform before finally getting a win earlier this season, but the Bucs were a much better team then. On the season, the Bucs rank 18th in the NFL with a success rate of 42.3% on offense and 29th in points per drive at 1.57. So the offense hasn’t been anything special, but it’s found new, unexciting lows of late.

In November, the Tampa offense got worse. The Bucs had a success rate of 40.1% and scored 1.50 points per drive. And if you think that’s bad, you should see what the Saints have done lately. They finished November with a success rate of 39.5% (23rd) and scored 1.22 points per drive (31st). So neither of these offenses comes into tonight’s game playing well, and both are banged up.

The Tampa offensive line will be without Tristan Wirfs after he suffered an ankle injury last week and the Saints have more names on their injury report than any other team in the league. So what we have here is a matchup of two bad and unhealthy teams. How exciting! There’s always a chance in matchups like this where things get stupid and fun, but I don’t see it tonight. I don’t think the winning team will need more than 20 points.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: I’m on the total, but SportsLine’s Larry Hartstein is 43-26 in his last 69 ATS plays involving the Saints, and he has a play available for tonight’s game.

💰 NBA Picks

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Bucks at Magic, 7 p.m. | TV: NBA League Pass

Latest Odds:

Over 225.5

The Pick: Over 225.5 (-110) — While it isn’t a science, there’s a relatively simple philosophy worth following : a bad offense can surprise you with a good day but you rarely see a bad defense suddenly figure things out. With that in mind, I look at this matchup and think the total is a little low.

Yes, Milwaukee has one of the best defenses in the NBA. Its efficiency rating of 107.0 ranks second in the NBA behind the Cavaliers. On the offensive end, the Bucks are only 14th, but in my mind, they’re a better offense than the results have shown, and tonight presents a chance for them to show it.

The Magic are one of the worst defensive teams in the league. Their efficiency rating of 115.8 ranks 27th, and the only teams worse are the same teams Orlando will be competing against for the most ping pong balls in the lottery machine. Milwaukee will be able to get anything it wants against this Magic squad tonight, and while I like the Bucks to cover, there’s a chance we could see Milwaukee’s bench unit for a lot of the fourth quarter. That wouldn’t be great news for the spread, but it would probably improve the over’s odds.

Suns at Mavericks, 8:30 p.m. | TV: NBA TV

Latest Odds:

Under 222

The Pick: Under 222 (-110) — And on the other end of our “bad defenses rarely figure things out,” we have this matchup of two of the best defenses in the NBA. The Suns rank fifth in defensive efficiency, while the Mavs are eighth. That sets us up for an excellent battle, even if the Mavs have been somewhat underwhelming. However, the Mavs have been mediocre because they haven’t been great offensively, which works to our benefit here.

The fear is the Suns. Not only is Phoenix one of the league’s best defenses, but its offensive efficiency of 117.5 ranks second behind Boston. But the Suns are due for an off night, and a road game against this Mavs defense seems as good a time as any for it to happen. Over Phoenix’s last four games, it has posted an offensive efficiency of 125.1 while shooting 43.9% from three. That’s awesome, but it’s not very sustainable. Sooner or later, the shots will stop falling so frequently, and I think enough of them clang off the back of the rim tonight that we’ll get this under.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Looking for another NBA play tonight? The Projection Model has a solid lean on the total in tonight’s game between the Raptors and Celtics.

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