The Big Ten season starts tonight. Here\'s the best bet to make

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Tuesday, December 15, 2020
Hello, cherished reader. I hope you're doing well. I know Shanna helped fill you in on everything that happened in last night's game between the Ravens and Browns, but I can't get it out of my mind. That was one of the best NFL games I can remember watching in a while, both for the excitement and the storylines within. Plus, you know, there was that horrific beat for anybody who had Cleveland and the points at the very end.
Fun fact: I almost included Cleveland +3 in yesterday's newsletter! I'm happy I didn't! The under picks were bad enough! Still, I hope you paid attention to some of the things I told you. I try to give you as much information as possible when explaining my picks because I don't think you should just blindly follow me. I want to give you the information you need to make the best plays for you.
And you might remember in yesterday's newsletter when I told you Cleveland's defense was terrible in the second half this season. That information is why I still made money on the game last night even though both my under plays lost. At halftime, I bet the Ravens team total over 11.5 in the second half. It cashed quickly, and combined with the Kareem Hunt touchdown prop cashing, it led to a profitable night overall.
So, remember, don't just skim through to see the picks. Read the explanations because you might notice something I didn't even notice myself in my reasoning. Or, if you prefer, just blindly follow and then yell at me on Twitter for being an idiot when I'm wrong.
Speaking of reading, let's get some in before moving on to tonight's college basketball action:
  • Pete Prisco's Pristine Personal Power Prankings see a shakeup in the top five this week.
  • Washington is hopeful Alex Smith will be able to play this week.
  • The storylines to follow heading into National Signing Day.
  • Should the Nationals trade Max Scherzer?
OK, let's make some money
All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Minnesota at No. 13 Illinois, 7 p.m. | TV: ESPN2
The Pick: Illinois -8.5 (-110)
: The Big Ten season starts tonight with one of the conference's best in Illinois going against a Minnesota team off to a 6-0 start. The Illini come into the game off an 81-78 loss to rival Missouri on Saturday. It was their second, with the first one coming against No. 2 Baylor. They responded to that loss with an 83-68 drubbing of No. 21 Duke in Raleigh. And those games are part of the reason why I like the Illini in this spot tonight.
Illinois has played three games against teams in the current AP Poll, and all were on the road or a neutral site. Minnesota is 6-0, but all six games have been at home, and its most formidable opponent, according to KenPom rankings, was a 1-5 Boston College team. Minnesota beat them 85-80 in overtime. Illinois is better than the Gophers on both ends of the court, and it's difficult to trust a Minnesota team that's shooting only 29.2% from three to cover this number in its first road game. 
Key Trend: Illinois is 7-3 ATS following its last 10 losses.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: SportsLine's Projection Model generated selections for Tuesday's Big Ten Conference matchup between the Golden Gophers and Fighting Illini.
🏀 College Basketball Pick
Kansas State at Iowa State, 9 p.m | TV: ESPNU
The Pick: Kansas State +7.5 (-110) -- 
Two Big 12 teams off to slow starts. Iowa State is 1-2, and its lone win came against Arkansas Pine Bluff. Kansas State's 2-4 with wins over UMKC and Milwaukee. Oh, and it has a loss to something called Fort Hays State, which might just be a local YMCA.
I see value on Kansas State here, though. The Wildcats move at a glacier-like pace, and Iowa State isn't a whole lot quicker. That'll limit possessions on its own. Plus, it is difficult to trust a team that rebounds as poorly as the Cyclones do as favorites. Finally, Kansas State has shot well from deep, and thus far, Iowa State has been terrible defending the perimeter. Give me the points.
Key Trend: Iowa State is 1-4 ATS in its last five home games.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: The Advanced Computer Model has some very strong leans in tonight's matchup between Clemson and Virginia Tech.
🏀 Tuesday Night Parlay
A five-leg parlay paying +158
  • Wofford -230
  • Davidson -800
  • Auburn -1400
  • Wisconsin -450
  • St. Mary's -450
National Signing Day
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