Sports

The Bulls are strong enough road dogs to cover against the 76ers, other best bets for Friday

I don’t get tennis. Well, to be clear, I understand tennis. Or at least the basics of it. What I don’t understand is the appeal of the sport. I’m not here to question the athleticism or ability of anybody who plays it, nor am I here to insult any part of the sport. It’s just, there’s nothing about any of it that interests me.

The Australian Open will conclude this weekend with both the women’s and men’s finals, and by all accounts, it’s been an exciting tournament. Every night when I’m scrolling through my Twitter feed, I see friends and colleagues talking about how great the tennis is. My wife loves tennis and played for a long time. She watches it and tells me how great it is.

But when I watch it, I don’t feel anything. I just see a couple of people hitting a ball back and forth, and it does absolutely nothing for me. It’s the one sport I feel that way about. Like, my wife is also a huge cycling fan and is passionate about the Tour de France. While I’m not a fan, and I hardly understand what’s happening — it’s pretty complicated! — I at least enjoy watching it with her on a fundamental level and have some desire to care. But that desire just isn’t there with tennis.

I don’t know what it is. Maybe I was beaten with a tennis racket as a child, and I’ve repressed the memory, and it manifests itself with my numbness toward the sport to protect me from it? While I continue to ponder this possibility, you should catch up on today’s news.

Now let’s get to our picks for tonight and the weekend. As you’ve likely figured out, there are not any tennis picks.

All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook


🔥 The Hot Ticket

Bulls at Sixers, 7:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Bulls +8 (-110)
: I don’t know if it’s just the years of having to deal with bad Bulls teams put together by an incompetent front office and led by a horrible coach, but this year’s Bulls team has been a breath of fresh air. The team isn’t much better than “fighting for the final playoff spot in the East,” but it’s far more competent than any Bulls team in recent memory, and Zach LaVine has made a legitimate step forward as an All-Star caliber player.

And it doesn’t look like the betting market has caught on to them quite yet, either. The Bulls enter tonight’s game 19-12 ATS and a very impressive 14-6 ATS as an underdog. As a road dog, the Bulls are 9-1 ATS this season.

Meanwhile, the Sixers have the best record in the East, but their underlying numbers show they aren’t the best team in the conference. They also show that, while they should be favored in this spot, they really shouldn’t be favored by eight points. I see value on the Bulls all the way down to six points.

Key Trend: The Bulls are 9-1 ATS as road underdogs this season.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Advanced Computer Model has been simulating this game and it sees one team covering tonight’s spread nearly 60% of the time. But which team is it?


💰 The Picks

🏀 NBA

Pistons at Grizzlies, 8 p.m. | TV: NBA League Pass
The Pick: Pistons +4.5 (-110) — 
As I’ve mentioned here in recent weeks, the Pistons are a much better team than their 8-20 record indicates, and benching Blake Griffin doesn’t change that. Hell, it might improve the team at this point. Tonight they’re on the road against a Memphis team that is perfectly average. The Grizzlies are 12-12 overall with an average point differential of -0.7.

For whatever reason, though, the Grizzlies have been worse at home than on the road. They’re 5-8 at home straight up and 6-7 ATS. I don’t think the Grizzlies are 4.5 points better than the Pistons anywhere, and knowing the way the Grizzlies have played at home only makes me more confident about backing Detroit tonight.

Key Trend: The Pistons are 15-10-1 ATS as an underdog this season.

⚽ Premier League

Burnley vs. West Brom, Saturday, 10 a.m. | TV: NBCSN
The Pick: Burnley (+104) — 
While the table says Sheffield United is the worst team in the Premier League, there are plenty of statistics that would argue against the idea. Sheffield United is bad, but if we look at its expected goals (xG) per match, it’s -0.56. That would rank 18th in the league. West Brom is dead last at -1.07, a full 0.48 xG worse than the next closest team (Crystal Palace at -0.59). That gives you an idea of the mountain Sam Allardyce and the Baggies need to climb to avoid relegation (which they won’t).

And while West Brom’s coming off an unexpected draw against Manchester United, I don’t think any tide has turned. Watching that match, West Brom deserved the point, but it felt more like a situation where Man United thought it would win by showing up. Meanwhile, Burnley’s been quite solid as of late. It’s picked up five points in its last three matches, and despite only one win in those three, it is edging its competition 4.8-1.7 in xG in those matches. Burnley’s been the better team all year, it’s in better form right now, and at this price, it’s offering good value.

Key Trend: West Brom has lost seven of its last 10 matches across all competitions.

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: European soccer insider Martin Green just revealed his best bets for Sunday’s Premier League matchup between Arsenal and Manchester City.


💸 The DFS Rundown


USATSI

Star Plays

PG: Stephen Curry, Warriors
SG: Fred VanVleet, Raptors
SF: Pascal Siakam, Raptors
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks
C: Nikola Jokic, Nuggets

Value Plays

PG: Darius Garland, Cavs
SG: Norman Powell, Raptors
SF: Cedi Osman, Cavs
PF: JaMychal Green, Nuggets
C: Willy Hernangomez, Pelicans

Full lineup advice

Get winning NBA DFS picks from SportsLine pros Mike McClure and Jacob Gibbs. McClure has won almost $2 million in daily Fantasy, while Gibbs crushed the NBA last season, cashing around 65 percent of the time in cash games and nearly 45 percent of the time in tournaments. See their DraftKings advice and FanDuel lineups here


 🏀 European Soccer Adventure Parlay


Getty Images

A little money line parlay to take us through the weekend. It pays out at +194.

  • Borussia Dortmund -333
  • Barcelona -600
  • Manchester City -195
  • Manchester United -355




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