Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021 | 2 a.m.
Even without a victory, it’s been a good start to the betting week for Talking Points.
I got down on a Brooklyn Nets’ future at odds of +505, a number that has already disappeared and gone down to +410 following Thursday’s 109-98 upset victory over the Lakers. The blog’s NBA future positions are shaping up well as the midway point of the season creeps up.
They’re all listed at the bottom of the page while the NBA is otherwise, ironically, the main leagues not covered in this week’s five bets across five sports. I’m looking to keep the bottom line rising after a strong comeback effort last week that saw the weekend column go 3-2 for a $255.99 profit.
Read this week’s weekend wagering guide below. Records are attached individually by sport, with the cumulative at the bottom of the page. The monetary figure is calculated by the assumption of a bettor placing a $100 wager on each pick. Any picks outside of the column will be linked and included in the record total. Odds are the best currently available in Las Vegas at publication time.
Golf (5-2-1, $198.96): Sam Burns to win Genesis Invitational +225 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)
Burns carries a five-stroke lead into the weekend at Riviera Golf Course in Los Angeles. I repeat — a five-stroke lead. That’s a lot. It’s going to take a lot to blow it, and Burns is too good to blow it. Sure, there are bigger names lurking behind him like Dustin Johnson and Joaquin Niemann but Burns is no slouch. He’s been building to this moment, playing increasingly well on the PGA Tour dating back to last summer. The former All American out of LSU has what it takes to grab his first Tour victory in one of the biggest non-major events of the year.
College basketball (0-0, $0): Texas Tech +2 at Kansas (Circa Sports)
Kansas has somehow won four straight games. They also somehow beat Texas Tech on the road earlier in the year. The use of “somehow” is because this is the worst Jayhawks’ team in more than two decades. No program was more adversely affected by the cancelation of last year’s NCAA Tournament than Kansas, which was set to be the overall No. 1 seed and instead came back this year in a rebuilding (for its standards) phase. Texas Tech is a more complete and efficient team than Kansas. Without fans at games, Allen Fieldhouse doesn’t present the edge it did in the past. This looks more like a pick’em.
NHL (4-2, $181.46): Nashville Predators +113 at Columbus Blue Jackets (SuperBook)
Columbus is on an upswing with points in four of its last five games, but I’m not buying it. By most metrics, the Blue Jackets are one of the worst teams in the NHL. They’re 27th in expected goals percentage. The expected goal numbers in the first game of this set were also even despite a 3-0 Columbus victory. Nashville is nothing special and also on an overall decline, but it’s better than Columbus. The Predators shouldn’t be at plus-money at all, let alone the high of plus money.
Mixed martial arts (5-6, -$124): Tom Aspinall beats Andrei Arlovski in under 1.5 rounds at UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Lewis +235 (South Point)
With two straight decision wins, it may seem like the 43-year-old Arlovski has put his issues with getting knocked out behind him. And maybe the former UFC champion has, though it’s probably more likely he’s just gotten decent matchups. This pairing looks less forgiving as Aspinall has five straight first-round knockouts to his name. Aspinall comes forward and swings; Arlovski will not be able to hide— at least not early while the 27-year-old is fresh. Arlovski may have the tools to eventually grind Aspinall down like he’s done his last two opponents, but it’s less likely than this line indicates. Aspinall is also available to win in the first round at +240 at BetMGM, but losing 5 cents on the payout for an extra 2.5 minutes of action with this correlated parlay seemed like the wiser choice.
NASCAR (6-6, $100.24): William Byron -110 head-to-head vs. Kyle Larson in O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 (SuperBook)
The first of seven Cup series road races this year takes place Sunday in Daytona. Expect to hear a lot about Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr., NASCAR’s two premier road-racers, at every such stop this season. But don’t be surprised if Byron eventually sneaks into the group as well. The 23-year-old’s numbers pop on road courses and he might be one of the few drivers who can routinely challenge the Big Two of Elliott and Truex. He’s not being priced like it yet, so get in before the market has adjusted. Larson is a strong driver who should have a good year in his own right, but this was the lone Byron-centric matchup available at publication time.
Previous pending future wagers: Brooklyn Nets to win NBA Finals +505; Villanova to win NCAA Tournament 15-to-1; Milwaukee Bucks to win NBA Finals +745; Utah Jazz to win Northwest division +250; Philadelphia 76ers to win Atlantic division +300; Boston Celtics under 45.5 wins; Memphis Grizzlies over 31.5 wins
Weekend betting year to date: 98-90-1, $2,347.91