The only bet worth touching in Ravens vs. Cowboys | The Big Ten should do what\'s best for the Big Ten

Create: 2020-12-08
Update: 2020-12-09
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Tuesday, December 8, 2020
I hope you weren't looking forward to the annual rivalry game between No. 4 Ohio State and Michigan this weekend because the game has been canceled. It was always a distinct possibility given that Michigan's game last week had been called off because of COVID-19 issues. However, there was some optimism on Monday when the Wolverines were still preparing as if they'd be able to play this weekend.
The optimism was not long-lived.
Now the question is what the Big Ten will do about it. Early implications are that the conference has no plans to rearrange the schedule to give its lone College Football Playoff contender a game, which isn't a surprise. As I wrote in The Monday After, the conference needs to scrap the rule it put in place that each team has to play a minimum number of games to qualify for the Big Ten Championship. That rule is backfiring if it does anything that could decrease Ohio State's odds of reaching the playoff.
Let's not be naive. The only reason the Big Ten recanted on its original decision to postpone the season was to get its season done in time to qualify for the playoff. To not change its own rules -- like other conferences have already done -- to let Ohio State play for a Big Ten title would be the icing on what's already a large, stupid cake the Big Ten has baked for itself.
  • The Eagles have named Jalen Hurts their starting quarterback.
  • James Harden is reportedly open to playing in Philadelphia.
  • The White Sox have been very active in the last 24 hours.
  • Keep track of all the latest MLB rumors and moves right here.
And now, we gamble.
All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Cowboys at Ravens, 8:05 p.m. | TV: Fox
The Pick: Ravens -6 1st Half (-105)
: I'll be honest: there's not a lot about this game that I like. The Cowboys are a dumpster fire, and the Ravens have been playing poorly as of late. The good news for the Ravens is that they're getting guys like Lamar Jackson, J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram back. Still, this is a team that's been dealing with a lot of COVID-19 issues and is playing on a short week while the Cowboys have had nearly two weeks off to rest. With the spread now climbing to 9.5 points, I want nothing to do with it.
What I do like is a play on the Ravens in the first half. The Baltimore offense has been better in the first half this season, averaging 14.9 points compared to only 10.7 in the second half. Defensively it's been about the same (9.5 points allowed in the first, 9.4 in the second). We cannot say the same about the Cowboys defense. Dallas allows 18.1 points per game in the first half this season, which is the worst in the league and a full point more than the Jets. Like what we saw with the Steelers on Monday night, the lack of rest could catch up to the Ravens in the second half, but they could look dominant in the first half. 
Key Trend: The Cowboys allow 18.1 points per game in the first half, the most in the NFL.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Advanced Computer Model's been doing Advanced Computer stuff. Here's what it has to say about this Tuesday night showdown.
💰 The Picks
🏀 College Basketball
UC Irvine at USC, 10 p.m | TV: Pac-12 Network
The Pick: USC -10 (-110) -- 
The Anteaters might be one of my favorite nicknames in college sports, and the logo might be fantastic, but this is a mismatch for them. The Trojans have far too much size and length for Irvine to deal with. USC's regular rotation of players includes five 6-foot-7 or taller guys, including the Mobley brothers who check in at 6-foot-10 and 7-foot.
According to KenPom's average height metric, USC's average height of 79.3 inches ranks second nationally. Irvine is nearly an average of two inches shorter. That's not going to help against a USC team that is already one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country. I have a hard time imagining the Anteaters will be able to hang around for the full 40 minutes.
Key Trend: USC is 14-6 ATS in its last 20 games.
⚽ Champions League
Atalanta at Ajax, Wednesday, 12:55 p.m | TV: CBS All Access
The Pick: Atalanta (+185) -- 
Regular readers might be thinking I have something against Ajax as I've regularly picked against them in the Champions League. I assure you I do not. I just find that they're often overvalued! Atalanta got off to a slow start to the season, both in Italy and the Champions League, but they're starting to come out of it. While they've only managed one win and two draws in their last four matches, the xG tells a much different story.
Atalanta has won the xG battle in all four of the matches and dominated Midtjylland 2.3 to 0.5 in xG despite the 1-1 final score. Atalanta also had their match against Udinese on Sunday postponed, so they come into this one with a full week's rest. Ajax comes into this match on a two-game losing streak, including a 2-1 loss to FC Twente on Saturday. Atalanta is the team in better form, and it's an explosive attack. We've got a very live dog here.
Key Trend: Atalanta has managed a result (win or draw) in four straight road matches across all competitions.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine's all-time No. 1 expert Mike Tierney entered this season up $3,704 on all NFL picks and is 16-7 in his last 23 spread picks involving Baltimore. He has released another selection for Tuesday night's showdown between the Ravens and Cowboys.
💸 The DFS Rundown
Your MVP or Captain
Lamar Jackson -- The reigning MVP should be your MVP tonight. Looking at this matchup, if the Ravens can't get things turned around tonight, they might be toast. Dallas is one of the worst rushing defenses in the NFL, so Jackson and company should be able to take advantage of them. Even if he doesn't have an incredible stat line at the end of the night, he's going to finish as the highest-scoring fantasy player in this matchup far more often than not.
Devin Duvernay -- I'm definitely going to have Dez Bryant in a few lineups tonight if he's active just because of The Narrative of him returning and facing his former team, but Duvernay is the smarter play. He's not a vital part of the Ravens offense, but for his price, one big play might be all it takes for him to have value. He's seen five targets over Baltimore's last two games.
Full lineup advice
SportsLine's team of DFS insiders has you covered for daily fantasy sports. Mike McClure has won almost $2 million playing DFS, and Jacob Gibbs was ranked as one of the nation's most accurate Fantasy experts last year. Plus, use SportsLine's all-new DFS Optimizer to get optimal NFL DFS picks from 10,000 simulations.
🏀 Tuesday Night College Basketball Parlay
A four-leg parlay paying +162.
  • Georgia -700
  • Minnesota -320
  • Duke -170
  • St. Mary's -1000
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