Happy Monday, everybody. I hope this email finds you well after you’ve finished watching the United States play to a draw with Wales in their World Cup opener.
Let’s keep the international flavor going by betting on an NFL game in Mexico. But before that, catch up on these stories:
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
49ers at Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. | TV: ESPN
- Key Trend: Arizona is allowing 29 points per game in its last four.
- The Pick: 49ers Over 26.5 (-120)
There are a lot of variables in play for tonight’s game in Mexico City that make this game challenging to figure out. How will the thin air and elevation affect the players? Is the difference between Kyler Murray and Colt McCoy drastic enough for the Cardinals to be 10-point dogs in this spot? Will Jimmy G’s natural beauty lead to an international incident when Mexico refuses to let him return to the United States to marvel at him?
So I’m ignoring all the big-picture stuff and looking for something more specific we can exploit, and I believe I’ve found it. This game seems perfect for the 49ers’ offense. Arizona’s defense hasn’t been good against the run this season, ranking 25th in success rate and 23rd in rush EPA. The one area the Cardinals’ defense excels is against the pass, particularly on the exterior.
DVOA is a fancy stat I don’t understand entirely, but it tells me that the Cardinals’ pass defense ranks 1st against No. 1 receivers and sixth against No. 2 receivers. But you know where it’s terrible? Stopping tight ends (31st) and running backs (30th) in the passing game. That’s not great news when facing a team with George Kittle and Christian McCaffery! Jimmy G is better at getting them the ball on short routes and between the numbers than he is outside. So this seems like a nightmare matchup for the Arizona defense. The 49ers should score plenty of points.
Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: SportsLine’s Micah Roberts is 13-3 in his last 16 ATS picks involving the 49ers and he’s got a pick for tonight’s game in Mexico City.
💰 College Basketball Picks
Georgia Tech vs. Utah, 6 p.m. | TV: FS1
The Pick: Georgia Tech +5 (-110) — It’s Feast Week in college basketball, which means it’s time for us to spend our entire day betting on college basketball teams we know little about. Because is it really Thanksgiving if you haven’t won money betting on some 5’10 guard you’d never heard of three days ago but has now become one of the most important people in your life? No, my friends, it is not.
Let’s start with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Tech hasn’t been tested much ahead of tonight’s game, but it is 3-0, thanks to outstanding defense. The Utes haven’t played anybody, either, but they still lost against Sam Houston State last week. How does a Utah team that shot 56.5% from inside the arc lose by 10 at home to a team that shot only 38.7% on the evening? It’s simple. Utah turned the ball over 16 times and was only 8/16 at the free-throw line. This should be an ugly, defensive battle, and I like the Yellow Jackets to hang around at an absolute minimum.
No. 17 San Diego State vs. Ohio State, 9 p.m. | TV: ESPN2
Ohio State Buckeyes
The Pick: Ohio State +4.5 (-110) — One of my favorite sporting events, the Maui Invitational, begins today, and we get an intriguing matchup. San Diego State is one of the best defensive teams in the country and is a sleeper to get deep in the NCAA Tournament, but I don’t think this is a great matchup for the Aztecs. They have played a much more difficult schedule than Ohio State to start the season, but they’ve been a little too dependent on making threes offensively, and they’re not an outstanding shooting team.
They’ve also struggled on the boards, and Ohio State has a size advantage with an offensive rebound rate that ranks 11th nationally. San Diego State’s defensive rebounding rate ranks 188th. If the Tecs can’t keep the Buckeyes off the offensive glass and give them second chances, it’ll be tough to cover this spread.