Sports are back in full swing, with an almost overwhelming amount of options to bet on. Here are a few of my strongest spots on the board for Monday’s betting card, along with analysis on the play and the best place to take the bet, courtesy of the Awesemo OddsShopper tool. Let’s get into some NBA Picks and NCAAF picks from Julian Edlow and OddsShopper.
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NCAAF Picks & Predictions | Top NCAAF Bets
BYU vs. Navy: Navy +1 (-110)
Are you ready for some football? This week’s obviously an exciting one with NFL returning, but college football, although unique this season, is also underway. With news and matchups much more difficult to track than the NFL, I think certain games will provide an edge.
I think the initial through process here is that Navy will have to figure itself out offensively with the loss of Malcolm Perry, but that’s just not how the option works. As spectacular as Perry was last season, it’s the next man up at QB, and the Midshipmen will make sure to build around this year’s strengths. Dalen Morris is a senior QB stepping in for Perry, so we’ll see an experience signal caller. But the strength of the offense should be featuring a good core of running backs, fully capable of taking on more of the workload without Perry.
Jamale Carothers averaged 6.6 yards per carry last season, and should see the most expanded role in 2020. Nelson Smith also had over 100 carries last season, and Myles Fells is a third back that could mix in. This rushing attack should present a problem for BYU, which has a lot of question marks defensively. BYU is planning to use several “hybrid” roles on defense, and has 14 positions listed on its depth chart. With such limited practice and some turnover on the defense from last season, I think it’s going to be much more difficult for BYU to run its hybrid defense rotation guys on and off the field than it will be for Navy to execute an option, which it runs essentially every play.
The big plus for BYU is that it does get back QB Zach Wilson — who battled a thumb injury last season and missed some time. But the much larger issue is who he’ll have to target, as the Cougars will be without their top-four pass-catchers. That leaves a much improved Navy defense in position to limit this offense. The Midshipmen had a new defensive coordinator in 2019, and he improved the defense to a top-10 FBS defense in terms of yards per game. With the advantage on both sides of the ball, taking Navy as the small home dog is the play for me. If you’re into trends, the momentum to finish last season was very much in Navy’s favor, going 7-1 ATS in its last eight home games. Meanwhile, BYU hasn’t covered its last seven time out as the favorite.
NBA Picks & Predictions | Top NBA Bets
Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors: Second Quarter Under 51.5 (-110)
I don’t think I’ve ever bet a second-quarter prior to a game, but there’s a first time for everything. This is an extremely unique play, but the numbers point to a massive edge with the second-quarter total in this series.
Here’s a breakdown of the scoring by quarter in each of the first four games of the series:
Boston/Toronto scoring by quarter this series:
1Q: 62, 56, 61, 58
2Q: 39, 44, 43, 40
3Q: 60, 50, 52, 56
4Q: 45, 53, 51, 39
Both teams have pretty thin benches with limited scoring options, and the second-quarter of this series has been when those players see the most run. Those second-quarter totals average 41.5 points per game with a high of 44, giving me enough confidence to play a strange bet like this.
OddsShopper shows every book offering a 212 total on the game, all within a penny of each other when it comes to price. So it’s likely this total will be pretty similar on most books, both in terms of the number and price.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Denver Nuggets: Clippers First Half -5 (-110)
The Clippers have had major problems with failing to lock in following a win, which we saw first hand in Game 2. After a 23-point victory in Game 1, the Clippers trailed by 23 points early in Game 2,and never led. The Clippers cut it to five points in the fourth quarter, but just dug too large a hole early to ever dig out. They’ll hear about this between games, and should come out with a much different energy in Game 3. The Clippers are an NBA-best 22-3 following a loss this season, including 20-5 ATS, building up some massive first-half leads in those covers. I think the full game spread likely hits, but it’s a big number, and I’d rather bank on the Clips burying the Nuggets early — much like Game 1, when they led by 18 at halftime. Denver is a notoriously slow starting team, going 26-36-3 first half against the spread during the regular season, and 7-9 in the bubble.
My only pause here on potentially waiting to bet is the status of Nikola Jokic, who is questionable with a wrist injury. If he’s ruled out, you have to be ready to pounce on this immediately, because it will move. But if Joker does play, we might be able to get this in at -4.5, which could wind up being helpful.
OddsShopper shows us that most books have this first-half line juiced up, and DraftKings has even moved to -5.5. BetMGM is the lone book still offering -5 at standard -110 juice.
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