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Sports To Bet On (Week of December 16, 2008)

Sports Betting Games To Bet On – December 16 Edition

Okay, college football fans. Recess is over; time to get back to work. The 2008-09 bowl season starts this Saturday with four games, and while this foursome may feature some of the lightweights on the bowl scene (will there be a second St. Petersburg Bowl?), we’ve got at least two games that promise to be both entertaining and potentially lucrative. The first bowl down the runway kicks off this week’s Top 5 list (all times Eastern; for current lines, visit Bodog’s online sportsbook).  

1. NCAAF: Navy vs. Wake Forest (Saturday, 11:00 a.m.)

The inaugural EagleBank Bowl is compelling for two reasons. It’s the first game on the schedule, which makes it the New Hampshire of the bowl season. And it’s a very interesting matchup between the Midshipmen running attack and the Demon Deacons defense. They’ll be playing at RFK Memorial in Washington, D.C., where the weather forecast calls for temperatures in the low 40s with a 25-percent chance of rain. The under is 7-4 for each team. Wake Forest is a 3-point chalk (even money) despite losing 24-17 to Navy in Week 5 as a 17-point home favorite.

2. NFL: Pittsburgh at Tennessee (Sunday, 1:00 p.m.)

This is not a recording. Pittsburgh (11-3 SU, 8-6 ATS) was at it again last week, mounting a late comeback to upset the Ravens 13-9 as 3-point road dogs. The Steelers are now in a position to steal the top seed in the AFC from the Titans (12-2 SU, 11-3 ATS). Tennessee is coming off a 13-12 loss at Houston (+3) and will be without the services of both Albert Haynesworth (sprained MCL) and Kyle Vanden Bosch (groin) from the defensive line. The Titans were 0-3 SU and ATS last year when Haynesworth was injured.

NFL betting in the Bodog Sportsbook.

3. NCAAF: No. 17 Brigham Young vs. Arizona (Saturday, 8:00 p.m.)

The Mountain West has two teams who deserve more attention than they’re getting. BYU is not one of them. The Cougars are in the AP rankings at 10-2, but they’ve covered only once in their last eight games, and they were spanked on the road by both Utah (-6.5) and TCU (-1.5). The College Football News ranks BYU’s season performance No. 30 in the FBS with Arizona at No. 51; that presumably leaves the ‘Cats (7-5 SU and ATS) as a value pick for their first bowl game in 10 years. They’re 3-point puppies at –105 juice.

4. NBA: San Antonio at New Orleans (Wednesday, 9:30 p.m.)

These are two of the hottest teams in the NBA. The Spurs (15-8 SU, 12-11 ATS) have won six in a row and 10 of their last 12 (at 8-4 ATS) after a very slow start, while the Hornets (13-7 SU, 9-10-1 ATS) are 8-2 in their last 10 games at 7-3 ATS. An emphasis on 3-point shooting has helped both teams; New Orleans is No. 1 in the league at 40.6 percent from long range, while San Antonio is second at 39.7 percent. Both teams are in the middle of the pack in perimeter defense. On the injury front, Tyson Chandler (stiff neck) has missed two games and is listed as day-to-day.

NBA odds in the Bodog Sportsbook.

5. NCAAB: No. 2 Connecticut vs. No. 8 Gonzaga (Saturday, 4:00 p.m.)

Gonzaga (7-1 SU, 5-2 ATS) has dropped the cash twice in a row after losing 69-64 at Arizona (+6). Saturday’s big date with UConn (8-0 SU, 2-2 ATS) should be an even tougher test for the ‘Zags. The Huskies beat Miami-Florida (+4) and Wisconsin (+5.5) by double digits to take the Paradise Jam preseason tournament. But the rest of UConn’s schedule has been pretty light up to this point, while the Bulldogs (winners of the Hall of Fame Showcase tourney) have loaded up on major programs to strengthen their March Madness resume. Ken Pomeroy’s advanced rankings have Gonzaga at No. 3 and UConn at No. 10 out of the 344 Division I clubs.

Honorable Mentions

NFL: Carolina at N.Y. Giants (Sunday, 8:30 p.m.)
NCAAF: Memphis vs. South Florida (Saturday, 4:30 p.m.)
NBA: Phoenix at Portland (Thursday, 10:30 p.m.)
NCAAB: No. 7 Xavier vs. No. 6 Duke (Saturday, 2:00 p.m.)
NHL: Philadelphia at Montreal (Thursday, 7:00 p.m.)
Boxing: Nikolai Valuev vs. Evander Holyfield, WBA heavyweight title (Saturday, 3:00 p.m.)


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