It\'s a bad day to be a Browns fan, plus why the Nuggets will score a lot of points tonight

Create: 2021-01-05
Update: 2021-01-05
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Tuesday, January 5, 2021
Hello and Happy Tuesday. Well, if you're a Cleveland Browns fan, you're probably not all that happy right now. I mean, your team just clinched its first playoff berth since 2002, thanks in large part to new coach Kevin Stefanski. Now, as you're preparing for your first playoff game in 18 years against a division rival, you get kicked in the face.
The team announced Tuesday that Stefanski is one of five members of the Browns organization who have tested positive for COVID-19. Stefanski, guard Joel Bitonio, receiver KhaDarel Hodge and two other coaches have tested positive, and the team has shut down its facilities to conduct contact-tracing.
As of now, the team's game against the Steelers is still scheduled for Sunday night. Still, as somebody who has tested positive, Stefanski cannot return for at least 10 days. So if the game goes on as scheduled, Stefanski will not be able to coach the team. Instead, it will be special teams coordinator Mike Priefer serving as acting head coach, and offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt would call plays instead.
Elsewhere in the news today:
  • The Heisman Trophy will be announced tonight. Here's a look at the finalists and their odds of winning.
  • College football's bowl season has ended, and one very intelligent and handsome man ranked all 25 bowl games.
  • My biggest question about what the Eagles did on Sunday would be how the locker room responded to the decision, and, welp, reportedly it's not going great!
  • If the Chicago Cubs continue tearing down their roster, where might their remaining stars land?
And now that we're smarter, it's time to become wealthier.
All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Timberwolves at Nuggets, 9 p.m. | TV: League Pass
The Pick: Nuggets Over 118.5 (-105)
: These are, quite literally, the two worst defensive teams in the NBA. The Nuggets rank 29th in the league with a defensive efficiency of 1.123, while the Timberwolves are just behind them in last at 1.133. Which, on the surface, makes the over an appealing option in this spot, but I find it safer to bet solely on the Nuggets going over their total.
The reasoning is simple. While both Denver and Minnesota have horrible defenses, Minnesota pairs their league-worst defense with a nearly-league-worst offense. The Wolves' offensive efficiency of 1.007 ranks 27th in the league. On the other hand, Denver is much better on the offensive end and is fourth in the league with an offensive efficiency of 1.123. While this might cause you to eye laying the points with the Nuggets, I'm always leery of double-digit spreads in NBA games. I don't want to die in garbage time thanks to benchwarmers jacking up shots. That's what killed us in our Warriors-Kings under on Monday. 
Key Trend: Minnesota is allowing an average of 119.5 points per game this season.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: Interested in seeing what the Advanced Computer Model has to say about this game? All the answers to any question you've ever had are just a click away, so long as the only questions you have are related to this game.
💰 The Picks
🏀 College Basketball
Vanderbilt at Kentucky, 7 p.m. | TV: SEC Network
The Pick: Vanderbilt +11.5 (-110) -- 
 A lot has been made about Kentucky's struggles this season because it's Kentucky, and any time the Wildcats get off to a 2-6 start, people are going to notice. I know I have, and I couldn't help but notice the size of this spread against Vanderbilt. Now, Kentucky is a better team than Vandy, no matter what the records say. And it's important to remember that Kentucky's six losses came to top 90 teams in KenPom ratings. Of course, Kentucky's two wins have come against Morehead State and this past weekend against Mississippi State in double-overtime.
The reason Kentucky struggles is that it cannot shoot. It is ranked 286th in the country in eFG%, 284th from three, 248th from two, and 287th at the free-throw line. No matter where the shot comes from, if Kentucky is taking it, odds are it isn't going in. That's what makes the Cats difficult to trust as double-digit favorites against a Commodores team that doesn't excel at anything but hasn't proven to be especially bad. And, considering how many threes Vandy takes, if they get hot ... well, let's just take the points.
Key Trend: The underdog is 12-4-1 ATS in the last 17 meetings.
UConn at Marquette, 9 p.m. | TV: FS1
The Pick: Marquette (-110) -- 
This line has fluctuated a bit, and if you can find Marquette getting points, I'm a billion percent on board with that. It's a pick-em for me, and I still like the Golden Eagles. They're only 6-5 on the season, but they don't have a bad loss on the resume, and the only time they've looked outmatched was an 85-68 loss to Villanova.
UConn is good, but it's still early for the Huskies. This will only be the team's sixth game of the season and its first true road game. I like to target teams playing on the road for the first time, even in a season without crowds. It's still an adjustment that needs to be made and can lead to slow starts in games. Sometimes, that's all the difference you need.
Key Trend: Marquette is 13-10 ATS at home since the start of last season.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: The Advanced Computer Model is eyeing the total in tonight's Blazers-Bulls game, and it likes what it sees.
💸 The DFS Rundown
We're switching things up a bit since NBA lineups can change a lot just before game time. Instead of listing just one top player and one value option, I will break it down by position. That way, you'll have a better idea of who to turn to if there's a late scratch.
Star Power
PG: Kyrie Irving, Nets
SG: Zach LaVine, Bulls
SF: Kawhi Leonard, Clippers
PF: Anthony Davis, Lakers
C: Nikola Jokic, Nuggets
Value Plays
PG: Lou Williams, Clippers
SG: Caris LeVert, Nets
SF: Otto Porter, Bulls
PF: Thaddeus Young, Bulls
C: Ed Davis, Timberwolves
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.
🏀 NBA Player Props
  • Wendell Carter Over 1.5 assists (-145)
  • Mike Conley Over 3.5 rebouns (+105)
  • Joe Harris Over 12.5 points (-115)
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