Why the Mavericks aren’t as good as a lot of people think they are, plus best bets for Wednesday

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! It has to be going better than mine is. Growing up, as was the case with most holidays when you’re in your late teens and early twenties, St. Patrick’s Day was a reason to get drunk with your friends. Well, I’m not drinking today, but if I were, they wouldn’t be celebratory drinks. They’d be “the Bears signed Andy Dalton” drinks.

Hooray. Seriously, yesterday was bad enough, and I don’t need the updates about how the Bears offered the Seahawks nearly everything they hadΒ in return for Russell Wilson and the Seahawks still said no. First of all, I’m already hurt and feeling rejected; I don’t need further confirmation of it. Secondly, my immediate reaction to finding out Seattle said no to three first-round picks and more is to yell, “offer them more!”

That just leaves the idea in my mind that Wilson could still work his way to Chicago, and a one-year deal with Andy Dalton wouldn’t be a hindrance to it happening.

I don’t need that kind of delusional hope right now! I just need to accept that I grew up rooting for a cursed franchise and will always root for a cursed franchise. The only thing I can do is distract myself from reality, and thankfully there are plenty of distractions. I mean, the freaking NCAA Tournament starts tomorrow night (fill out your brackets already!), and the NCAA Tournament is basically the Disney World of sports. You can’t be sad when you’re at Disney World. No matter how hard the Chicago Bears try.

Anyway, in non-depressing Bears news:

Now let’s turn these tears into cash.

All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook

πŸ”₯ The Hot Ticket

Clippers at Mavericks, 9:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Clippers -2 (-110)
: These teams played on Monday, which makes me slightly hesitant to back the Clippers again after they won by 10 points (and covered an 8.5-point spread in the process). But what has changed in the last 48 hours to move the line? Serge Ibaka is questionable, but he didn’t play in Monday’s game, either. Aside from that, the Clippers are just a much better team than the Mavericks.

Dallas has been consistently overrated by books this season. I don’t know why it keeps happening, but I assume it’s because Luka Doncic is The Next Big Thing, which skews the team’s public perception. They’re not as good as a lot of people think. If we look at the top five teams in the West at the moment (Jazz, Suns, Lakers, Clippers and Nuggets), the Mavs have played 11 games against them, and they’re only 3-8 ATS in those games. Dallas has been awful at home ATS this season as well, going 7-12.

Barring some last-minute announcement that Kawhi Leonard or Paul George are sitting out, I’m all over the Clippers tonight.

Key Trend: Dallas is 2-6 ATS in its last eight as a dog.

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game:Β The Advanced Computer Model has a slight lean on the spread in this matchup, but it’s a bigger fan of one side of the total.

πŸ’° The Picks

Steve Mitchell (USA Today)

πŸ€ NBA

Spurs at Bulls, 8 p.m. | TV: NBA League Pass
The Pick: Bulls -1.5 (-110) —Β 
The market hasn’t quite caught up to the Bulls yet, and until it does, we’re going to keep riding them. Chicago comes into tonight feeling good about itself. It’s won two straight against the Raptors and Thunder (which we were on last night), winning those games by 23 and 21 points, respectively. Tonight the Bulls are on a second of a back-to-back, and it’s impacting the line because the Bulls should be bigger favorites than this.

If they were playing the Spurs at full-strength, this line would make sense … but the Spurs are not at full-strength. DeMar DeRozan will miss tonight’s game for personal reasons, and LaMarcus Aldridge continues to ride the pine as he waits for an eventual trade or buyout. As mentioned yesterday, this Bulls team recently returned to full strength with Lauri Markkanen and Otto Porter coming back, and while it took the team a few games to adjust to their new rotations and roles, they seem to have found them quickly.

Key Trend: The Bulls are 14-6 ATS against the Western Conference this season.

SportsLine’s upset bracket has nailed 15 of the 26 double-digit seed upsets in the first round the past four tournaments. This year there’s a region where three double-digit seeds advance out of the first round

πŸ€ College Basketball

Richmond vs. Toledo, 7 p.m. | TV: ESPN2
The Pick: Under 152 (-110) —Β 
Listen, I don’t know if you’re going to see another NIT game featured in this newsletter because the NIT is often a crapshoot, but I couldn’t pass up this game tonight. Richmond opened as a favorite in this matchup, but we’ve seen the line move from Richmond -1.5 to Toledo -3. This is because Richmond could be without its two leading scorers in Blake Francis and Grant Golden. Both are game-time decisions as Francis is recovering from a hip injury and Golden has a broken finger.

Even if they play, both are likely to be less than 100%, which will hinder the Richmond offense. Unfortunately, I think all the value on the spread has disappeared, but the total hasn’t moved much despite this injury news. It’s not crazy to think that Richmond will have trouble scoring tonight given the situation surrounding Francis and Golden, and if Richmond has trouble scoring, well, that means it’s going to be difficult to get over this total.

Key Trend: The under is 9-3 in Toledo’s last 12 neutral site games.

πŸ”’ SportsLine Pick of the Day:Β Looking for some MLB win total futures? John Bollman went 14-1 on his win total picks during the last full MLB season, and he’s back with his top five plays for 2021.

πŸ’Έ The DFS Rundown


Building Blocks

PG: Ben Simmons, Sixers
SG: James Harden, Nets
SF: Jaylen Brown, Celtics
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks
C: Nikola Jokic, Nuggets

Value Plays

PG: Delon Wright, Pistons
SG: Caris LeVert, Pacers
SF: Kevin Porter, Rockets
PF: Daniel Theis, Celtics
C: James Wiseman, Warriors

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.Β See their DraftKings advice and FanDuel lineups here.

Β πŸ€ NBA Player Props

  • Harrison Barnes Over 2.5 assists (-170)
  • Jaylen Brown Over 5.5 rebounds (-120)
  • Draymond Green Over 6.5 rebounds (-110)
  • Lauri Markkanen Over 5.5 rebounds (-140)

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