Good afternoon everyone, it's Chris Bengel. We're at one of those points in which the betting options may be a little more limited than usual. The NBA All-Star Game took place on Sunday, which means that any NBA bets are off of the table until Thursday.
Speaking of NBA All-Star weekend, I've always enjoyed the festivities that come with it, including the Slam Dunk Contest. However, the event has truly lost some of its luster over the past couple of years. New York Knicks forward Obi Toppin took home the Slam Dunk Contest title on Saturday and produced some memorable dunks. But my biggest issue with the event now is that the field of competitors isn't what it once was.
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Over the past few years, we've seen guys like Derrick Jones Jr., Hamidou Diallo, Dennis Smith Jr. and Toppin participate in the Slam Dunk Contest. These aren't exactly names that move the needle for the average basketball fan. The league needs to do everything in its favor to get star power back in the event. I'm obviously not expecting LeBron James to decide to do the Slam Dunk Contest on the back end of his career, but I'd like to see someone like a Ja Morant or a Zach Lavine go for it. Just bring some excitement back to the event that, at one point, always made headlines on All-Star weekend.
Anyway, enough about that. While we don't have NBA games on the docket on Tuesday, we do have some contests worth betting on. With that in mind, let's get to the picks!
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
The Pick: Arkansas -1 (-110): I understand that this is one game that bettors might elect to stay away from, but I think that's a huge mistake. Florida has been a dangerous team that is having a solid season. They really made a statement with an upset victory over Auburn this past weekend. However, even though this one takes place in Gainesville, I'm not expecting a repeat performance.
There's very few teams in the country that have been hotter than the Razorbacks over the last month. Arkansas has been victorious in 11 of its last 12 games. The only blemish? A 68-67 loss at the hands of Alabama on Feb. 12 (the Crimson Tide currently have an identical record to the Razorbacks).
The difference in this game likely could be the play of Arkansas star guard JD Notae. On the season, Notae is averaging 18.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 4.1 assists while shooting 32.2 percent from three. However, Notae has shot much better from beyond the arc on the road as he holds a 41.4 percent shooting clip from deep in eight road games this season. If Notae continues to shot the ball well from deep, I'm more than confident in the Razorbacks covering this very small number on the road.
Key Trend: Razorbacks are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games as a favorite
💰 The Picks
🏀 College basketball
The Pick: Missouri +10.5 (-110): -- Missouri is one of the worst teams, record-wise, in the SEC and it might seem nuts to back them against a team that can be dominant like Tennessee. However, the Tigers are coming off of a fine defensive performance against Mississippi State -- one of the better teams in the conference. Missouri held Mississippi State to just 37.3 percent shooting from the field and only 58 points on the evening. Mississippi State needed a last-second defensive stand to keep Missouri from forcing overtime.
As of late, Missouri has been an extraordinarily strong team ATS. The Tigers are 8-2 ATS following a straight-up loss and also are 16-5 ATS as a home underdog over their last 21 games. In addition, Tennessee shoots just 43 percent from the field, which is good for 11th in the SEC. Now, the Volunteers do hold the second-best shooting percentage (34.2 percent) from three in the SEC, so that's where they do the bulk of their damage. If Missouri can defend the perimeter once again, this is a nice cushion that should easily cash.
Key Trend: Missouri is 6-1 ATS in their last seven home games
The Pick: Ducks (-160) -- Backing a team that has lost four of its last five games probably seems a little bit crazy. Perhaps it is, but I happen to love the Ducks in this spot.
Since the Sharks were off on Monday, it's expected that veteran goaltender James Reimer will get the start in net for San Jose in this matchup. Over his last four starts, Reimer has surrendered 14 total goals, including giving up five goals in a 5-4 overtime loss to the Canucks last week. In fact, over Reimer's last six games, he's yielded at least three goals in five of those contests.
Meanwhile, the Ducks may not be winning at a strong rate, but this is a team that is coming off of a seven-goal performance against the Canucks. Anaheim has also scored at least three goals in seven of their last 10 games -- even if it hasn't been in a winning effort. Simply put, I'm more than confident in the Ducks offense to find the back of the net quite often if Reimer does turn out to be in net. Back the Ducks in this spot.
Key Trend: The Ducks are 11-4 in their last 15 games as a favorite