Impact on College Football Playoffs Expanding to 12 Teams

In a monumental shift for college football, the playoffs are primed for expansion, ushering in a new era of postseason excitement. The Board of Governors recently cemented the long-anticipated change, paving the way for a 12-team field to battle it out for gridiron glory. This revamped format comprises five automatic berths for the highest-ranked conference champions nationwide, along with seven at-large bids, promising a more inclusive and dynamic playoff landscape.

Amidst the fervor surrounding this expansion, discussions swirl regarding the pivotal role of TV revenue in shaping the future of collegiate postseason football. ESPN’s current contract, extending until 2025, looms large in these deliberations, with talks of a lucrative new deal on the horizon, potentially commencing in 2026. Speculation abounds, with rumors hinting at a staggering $1.3 billion agreement spanning six years—a substantial increase compared to prior contracts.

The proposed contract not only dwarfs its predecessor in terms of financial magnitude but also signifies a seismic shift in coverage. With a commitment to broadcast at least 11 playoff games annually, ESPN emerges as the sole broadcasting behemoth, eclipsing competitors such as CBS, FOX, and digital giants like Amazon and Google.

However, amidst the excitement lies a palpable sense of apprehension, particularly for teams outside the traditional power conferences. The revised playoff structure, while fostering greater inclusivity, raises concerns about the fate of non-Power Five contenders like Cincinnati, potentially relegating them to the periphery of postseason contention. With only seven at-large slots up for grabs, conference runners-up face an uphill battle to secure a coveted playoff berth, raising questions about parity and access in collegiate football’s most prestigious tournament.

As discussions unfold and negotiations intensify, the college football community braces for a new era marked by expanded opportunities and unprecedented financial windfalls. While uncertainties linger and details remain to be ironed out, one thing is certain: the impending playoff expansion signifies a paradigm shift in the collegiate football landscape—one that promises to captivate fans and redefine the sport for years to come. As talks continue and rumors abound, keep your eyes peeled for the definitive contract signing as the countdown to a new era of college football fervor begins.

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Major League Baseball Expansion: Closer to Reality?

In the realm of Major League Baseball, the mere mention of expansion sets in motion a flurry of negotiations, stadium deals, and legal proceedings. The question on everyone’s mind: Are we edging closer to witnessing the expansion of the MLB in the near future?

Indeed, the prospect of expansion looms large, fueled by the promise of new stadiums, increased revenues, and fresh talent. However, the road to expansion is fraught with complexities, not least of which are the intricate legal frameworks and financial agreements that must be navigated.

Amidst the speculation, one cannot ignore the pivotal role played by the Goodman family, with their longstanding tenure in city governance. Their recent remarks, casting doubt on the desirability of expansion, have added a layer of uncertainty. Yet, it is anticipated that such concerns will be addressed in due course, paving the way for progress.

The saga surrounding Oakland and Tampa Bay remains a pressing issue that demands resolution prior to any expansion endeavors. Until these matters are effectively dealt with, the path forward may remain obscured.

Enterprising cities, such as Nashville and Salt Lake, have emerged as frontrunners in the expansion race. Nashville’s burgeoning interest in baseball, coupled with Salt Lake’s ambitious development projects spearheaded by influential figures like Larry Miller, paint a compelling picture for the future of the sport.

Salt Lake City, in particular, stands poised on the brink of transformation, with the potential to rival established baseball hubs. The prospect of a burgeoning sports scene in the mountain time zone, complementing the likes of Denver, adds intrigue to the expansion narrative.

While the expectation for expansion simmers beneath the surface, it is tempered by the need for resolution in existing franchise dilemmas. The intricate dance of negotiations and deliberations must unfold before the MLB can confidently chart a course toward expansion.

In essence, the tantalizing promise of expansion beckons, promising new horizons for baseball enthusiasts. Yet, until the lingering issues are addressed and the groundwork laid, the dream of an expanded Major League Baseball will remain just that—a dream.

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NBA All-Star Game Faces Scrutiny Amidst Low TV Ratings

The NBA All-Star break provided ample time for reflection on the future of the All-Star game, with discussions centering on competitiveness, player incentives, and audience engagement. Despite being a marquee event, the 2024 NBA All-Star game in Indianapolis drew disappointing television ratings, averaging just 5.5 million viewers across TNT, TBS, and TTR TV. This figure marked the second lowest in history, trailing only the previous year’s numbers.

The decline in TV ratings raises pertinent questions about the viability of All-Star weekend in its current format. The lack of competitiveness and perceived indifference among players have been highlighted as contributing factors to the waning interest. While streaming viewership saw a modest 20% increase from the previous year, it was not enough to offset the overall decline.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s approach to revitalize the Pro Bowl serves as a cautionary tale. By addressing the lack of competitiveness head-on, the NFL successfully revamped its All-Star showcase. In contrast, the NHL’s adaptation of a three-on-three format and MLB’s electrifying Home Run Derby have garnered praise for injecting excitement into their respective All-Star festivities.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver faces the challenge of striking a balance between sports and entertainment to rejuvenate the All-Star game. Suggestions range from implementing defensive incentives to empowering team captains with decision-making authority. However, finding a solution remains elusive amidst the prevailing culture of nonchalance among All-Star participants.

The allure of individual accolades underscores the need to reignite the competitive spirit within the game. Whether through stricter rules or player-driven accountability, restoring the intensity of competition is paramount to rekindling fan interest.

As discussions continue, the NBA grapples with the fundamental question of what defines the essence of the All-Star game: is it a showcase of skill or a battleground of competitive prowess? Until a consensus is reached, the future of All-Star weekend remains uncertain. One thing, however, is clear: the NBA must heed the call for change to ensure the longevity and relevance of its marquee event in the ever-evolving landscape of professional sports.

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Unlocking the MVP Path: Can Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Rise Above the Odds?

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (SGA) has been on an absolute tear this NBA season, averaging over 31 points per game before the All-Star break. With an impressive track record of scoring 30+ points in 40 out of Oklahoma City Thunder’s 53 games, his dominance on the court is undeniable. Pair that with the Thunder’s commendable 37-17 record, securing them the second-best spot in the competitive Western Conference.

But what would it take for SGA to dethrone Nikola Jokic as the odds-on favorite for the NBA MVP award? It’s a chain reaction waiting to happen, and the stars might just align for the young shooting guard.

Let’s dissect the scenario. The Denver Nuggets, currently sitting at the fourth seed, are within striking distance of the Minnesota Timberwolves, only three games behind. If the Nuggets strategically prioritize rest and recovery, potentially conceding the top seed to conserve energy for the playoffs, it could spell trouble for Jokic’s MVP bid. The same goes for the Los Angeles Clippers; a fully healthy Clippers squad could challenge for the top seed, directly impacting both OKC and Jokic’s MVP chances.

At the top of the heap, the Minnesota Timberwolves are holding strong with a slim lead over the Thunder. However, if they falter down the stretch and fail to secure the top seed, it could open the door for SGA’s MVP campaign.

For SGA to capitalize on this opportunity, he needs these dominoes to fall into place. The Clippers and the Nuggets must prioritize health over seeding, allowing OKC to potentially claim the top spot. And if the Timberwolves stumble, failing to maintain their lead, it could significantly boost SGA’s MVP chances.

Moreover, with OKC as the number one seed, SGA’s stellar performances become even more impactful. The correlation between team success and individual accolades cannot be overlooked. If SGA continues his scoring spree while leading the Thunder to the top seed, his MVP case will strengthen even further.

In essence, SGA’s path to MVP glory relies on a delicate balance of team dynamics and individual brilliance. With a bit of luck and favorable circumstances, he just might have what it takes to snatch the coveted award from the grasp of the competition.

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SportsGrid’s Best NHL Bets & Player Props for February 22

With an extensive slate in the NHL today, with value on the board worth considering.

SportsGrid looks at the top hockey bets and props for Thursday’s action.

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7:00 p.m. ET – Montreal Canadiens vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

Puck Line: Penguins – 1.5 | Moneyline: Penguins Moneyline -210 | Total: 6.5 (O +112, U -138)

Where to Watch: TSN2, SN-PIT, RDS | Location: PPG Paints Arena (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Montreal Canadiens are coming off a 3-2 loss at home to the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night, while the Pittsburgh Penguins have fallen out of the playoff picture and lost seven of their last ten games. Three of the previous five Penguins games have seen six or fewer goals scored, while the same can be said for the Habs in two of their last four. Despite the juiced price, the under 6.5 is a strong play tonight at -138

SportsGrid’s Best Bet: Under 6.5 (-138) | SportsGrid Projections: 5 Star Rating

8:00 p.m. ET – New York Islanders vs. St. Louis Blues

Puck Line: Blues – 1.5 | Moneyline: Blues Moneyline -114 | Total: 6.5 (O -102, U -120)

Where to Watch: MSGSN2, BSMW | Location: Enterprise Center (St. Louis, MO)

The New York and St. Louis Blues are each trying to stay alive in the playoff picture in their respective conferences. The line is set extremely tight tonight in what is close to a pick ’em, with the Blues getting the nod as a slight home favorite at -114. The Islanders have slowly started to pick things up of late and have points in seven of their last ten games. The Islanders’ slight value on the moneyline is worth backing tonight at -105

SportsGrid’s Best Bet: Islanders Moneyline (-105) | SportsGrid Projections: 5 Star Rating

Claude Giroux – Ottawa Senators to Score a Goal

Although things haven’t gone according to plan for the Ottawa Senators this season, that doesn’t mean there haven’t been at least some bright spots within the organization. Veteran forward Claude Giroux has continued to play at a near-point-per-game pace and has tallied 50 points in 53 games. Giroux has points in each of his last five games, including a pair of goals. Backing Giroux to find the back of the net tonight has value at +240

SportsGrid’s Best Bet: Giroux to Score (+240) | SportsGrid Projections: 5 Star Rating

Dylan Larkin – Detroit Red Wings to Record Over 2.5 Shots on Goal

The Detroit Red Wings continue to occupy the final wild-card position in the Eastern Conference, and a significant reason for that is the consistency of their captain, Dylan Larkin. Larkin has 49 points over 49 games and is coming off points in each of his last two contests. Larkin’s shots on goal prop tonight against Colorado is set at 2.5, and offense is expected in this clash. As a result, we’re comfortable with the juiced price and are backing Larkin to record over 2.5 shots at –144. 

SportsGrid’s Best Bet: Larkin to Record Over 2.5 Shots (-144) | SportsGrid Projections: 5 Star Rating

Sam Reinhart – Florida Panthers to Record Over 2.5 Shots on Goal

Sam Reinhart has been a significant offensive weapon for the Florida Panthers. Reinhart has tallied 67 points in 56 games, which included 39 goals. The former Buffalo Sabre has his shots on goal prop set at 2.5 tonight, sitting in plus-money territory at +120. Reinhart has only recorded over 2.5 shots on goal once over his last five games, but the plus-money price tag makes it worthwhile to back this sniper to break out of his shooting slump. 

SportsGrid’s Best Bet: Reinhart to Record Over 2.5 Shots (+120) | SportsGrid Projections: 5 Star Rating

Resilience and Redemption: The Bucks’ Quest for Eastern Conference Supremacy

Milwaukee Bucks fans have weathered a turbulent season marked by coaching changes and internal challenges, yet they remain resilient in their pursuit of Eastern Conference dominance. Despite the dismissal of Adrian Griffin and the subsequent tenure of Doc Rivers, the team stands firm, holding onto the third spot in the standings with a commendable 14 games above .500. However, securing another shot at the Eastern Conference title demands more than just resilience—it requires a concerted effort and unwavering determination.

With betting odds of +310, the journey ahead for the Bucks is daunting. It’s evident that reclaiming the East will demand nothing short of a Herculean effort. Yet, amidst the uncertainties, the team finds solace in the unwavering resolve of their star player, Giannis Antetokounmpo. In recent interviews, Giannis has exhibited a dual perspective, reflecting both an unyielding hunger for championship glory and a sober acknowledgment of the team’s challenges.

Navigating through multiple coaching changes and adapting to new teammates, Giannis embodies both optimism and pragmatism. The Bucks possess undeniable talent, anchored by Giannis’s prowess, yet their journey is riddled with question marks, both on and off the court. The instability within the locker room and front office casts shadows over their aspirations, accentuated by the relentless scrutiny from the national media.

Criticism directed towards Doc Rivers adds another layer of complexity to the Bucks‘ narrative. Despite his championship pedigree, Rivers faces scrutiny for his inability to replicate past successes amidst organizational turmoil. While his coaching acumen is respected, lingering doubts persist regarding his ability to guide the team to championship glory.

In the grand scheme, the path to victory for the Bucks necessitates overcoming formidable adversaries, none more formidable than the Boston Celtics. As the playoffs loom on the horizon, the Celtics emerge as a formidable obstacle, poised as the second-most talented team in the conference. However, for the Bucks, the challenge is clear—to surpass the Celtics and ascend to the summit of Eastern Conference supremacy.

Ultimately, the road ahead for the Bucks is fraught with challenges, demanding a collective effort and unwavering resolve. While the odds may be stacked against them, the spirit of determination burns bright within the hearts of Bucks faithful. As they embark on the arduous journey ahead, one thing remains certain—the Bucks are primed to defy the odds and etch their names in the annals of NBA history once more.

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NBA SGP: +900 Phoenix Suns @ Dallas Mavericks

The NBA returns tonight, and we have an excellent slate of games to look forward to, but we’ll focus on a high-scoring and electrifying matchup in the West between the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns for our same-game parlay tonight.

Valued at +900, let’s ride.

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Legs 1 & 2: Luka Doncic 25+ Points, 6+ Rebounds

Luka Doncic has combined for at least 25 points and six rebounds in 29 of his last 31 games. To help our cause, in two previous matchups against Phoenix, Doncic had 50 and six and then 34 and eight. He’ll have no issues cashing this for us in a nationally televised and high-scoring game.

Legs 3 & 4: Kyrie Irving 2+ Threes, 4+ Assists

Kyrie Irving has played six games in February since returning from injury. While the Mavs were on a six-game winning streak over that stretch, Kyrie had at least two threes and four assists in every game, averaging three made threes and 6.3 assists per game. We have enough of a cushion in place to be safe with these legs. 

Leg 5: PJ Washington Jr. 4+ Rebounds

In PJ Washington’s three games as a Maverick, he’s had at least five rebounds in each game and has averaged ten rebound chances per game. We need four tonight, so we’re in a good spot.

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Leg 6: Josh Green 1+ Three

Josh Green saw a minutes increase in the middle of January, and since then, he’s nailed at least a single three in 14 of 16 games. There isn’t much to worry about with this leg after he previously went 2/6 from beyond the arc against the Suns.

Legs 7 & 8: Kevin Durant 4+ Assists, 6+ Rebounds

We’re looking for Kevin Durant to give us at least four assists and six rebounds tonight, which he did in four straight games leading up to the All-Star break, but we’re looking more to his previous production against the Mavs for confidence here. He’s averaged nine rebounds and seven assists in two games against the Mavs, so we’re hoping for more of the same tonight. 

Leg 9: Bradley Beal 15+ Points

We’ll need Bradley Beal to give us 15 points tonight to close out the parlay. Leading up to the All-Star break, Beal got into a bit of a groove where he averaged 28.3 points in his last four games and saw at least 30 minutes. Things should balance out more for the Suns offensively tonight, but with the game total sitting as high as it is, Beal should find a way to 15 points.

All Odds Courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook

March Madness Odds Shift: UConn and Houston Lead the Charge

UConn stormed into the current college basketball season as the defending national champions, but their odds at the outset were far from favorable, priced at 22 to 1. Fast forward to the present, and they’ve emerged as one of the frontrunners, boasting the shortest odds at 5 to 1. Meanwhile, Houston and Purdue are locked in tight at 8 to 1, with the latter maintaining their preseason odds despite soaring expectations.

In the realm of uncertainty surrounding Houston’s transition to the Big 12, the Cougars have silenced doubters by seizing the top spot in the conference standings. Initially priced at $12, their odds have been slashed to a mere $8, signifying their ascent in the betting hierarchy. Arizona has witnessed a similar trajectory, seeing its odds shrink from 25 to 1 to an even more enticing position at plus 100.

Not to be outdone, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Alabama have all seen their odds shorten, underscoring the competitive landscape of college basketball this season. As March looms on the horizon, the top contenders are jockeying for position, with each victory altering the betting landscape.

For those lamenting missed opportunities to secure favorable odds, hindsight offers little solace. The focus remains on capitalizing on the current market, with eyes fixed firmly on the ultimate goal of cashing in a winning ticket. With Selection Sunday looming large, the importance of strategic betting cannot be overstated, as bracket matchups will undoubtedly shape the path to glory for many teams.

Reflecting on the evolution of preseason projections, it’s evident that certain teams have exceeded expectations, while others have faltered. UConn and Houston, though anticipated to excel, have surpassed even the loftiest predictions, validating the early optimism surrounding their prospects.

Despite initial concerns about Houston’s transition to the Big 12, their resilience has silenced skeptics, cementing their status as legitimate contenders poised to wreak havoc in March. As the tournament approaches, the fluidity of betting odds serves as a testament to the unpredictable nature of college basketball, where fortunes can change in an instant.

In hindsight, seizing favorable odds early in the season may have yielded lucrative returns, but the focus now shifts to making informed decisions in the present. With UConn and Houston leading the charge, the race to the championship promises to be a thrilling spectacle, with betting odds serving as a constant reminder of the stakes at hand.

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Thursday’s Top College Basketball Player Props: Bets on Zach Edey & Braden Smith

Football is done, and attention has now shifted to college basketball. Thursday is high in quantity but light in ranked teams on the schedule. There are still several exciting games and some fun player props to consider. 

SportsGrid’s favorite player prop picks for Thursday’s college basketball action are here. 

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7:00 p.m. ET – Rutgers at Purdue

Where to Watch: FS1 | Location: Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, IN

The Purdue Boilermakers return to Mackey Arena after a shocking road loss to Ohio State. They will host the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in a game the SportsGrid model projects a nearly 20-point win and a comfortable cover. The game isn’t the only thing you can bet on, as SportsGrid’s model also offers projections on player props.

The two the model feels strongest about are a pair of UNDER bets for Purdue stars Braden Smith and Zach Edey.

Point guard Smith averages 12.8 points per game, along with 7.2 assists. After all, tossing it down low to 7’4″ Edey has its perks. Rutgers plays at a plodding pace and has the guards to keep Smith from getting into the paint consistently. The model projects Smith to score only 11 in this game, making the UNDER the wise move. 

The other recommendation is taking Zach Edey under the mammoth number of 13.5 rebounds. Edey averages 11.9 boards per contest, and Rutgers has big-bodied Cliff Omoruyi to throw at him. In addition, Rutgers’ pace will limit the overall possessions and number of shots available to be rebounded. The number is enormous, and the model projects him to reach his average but not exceed it, making the UNDER the intelligent play. 

SportsGrid’s Best Bets: Braden Smith – UNDER 12.5 points, Zach Edey – UNDER 13.5 rebounds | SportsGrid Projections: 4 stars

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LSU Stuns Kentucky in Thrilling SEC Showdown: A Last-Second Victory for the Bayou Bengals

The LSU Tigers hosted a heart-stopping clash against the Kentucky Wildcats in a thrilling SEC showdown, keeping fans on the edge of their seats till the final buzzer. Despite being the underdogs, LSU emerged victorious in a nail-biting finish, securing a stunning upset over the 17th-ranked Kentucky team.

In the final minute, with LSU holding a narrow four-point lead, the game took a dramatic turn as Rob Dillingham of Kentucky showcased his talent with a crucial basket and a foul, putting his team in contention for the win. However, LSU’s Jordan Wright faced tough defense but managed to grab his own rebound, setting up the stage for last-second heroics.

As the clock wound down, it was Tyrell Ward who seized the moment for LSU, sinking the game-winning shot at the buzzer, clinching a remarkable 75-74 victory for the Bayou Bengals. This unexpected triumph left the home crowd roaring with delight as LSU defied the odds and triumphed as 5.5-point underdogs.

Despite Kentucky’s commendable efforts, including a great showing from Dillingham, they faltered in closing out the game despite holding a commanding 15-point lead in the second half. Dajuan Wagner, a key player for Kentucky, struggled to make an impact, highlighting the team’s need for consistency in pivotal moments.

For Kentucky, this loss serves as a learning opportunity, with Coach John Calipari emphasizing the importance of capitalizing on leads and closing out games on the road, especially in the fiercely competitive SEC. While the Wildcats showed flashes of brilliance, their inability to seal the deal underscores the challenges of navigating through a tough conference schedule.

Moving forward, Kentucky will need to harness their potential and resilience, learning from their mistakes to emerge stronger in future matchups. With the SEC heating up, every game presents an opportunity for growth and redemption, and Kentucky remains poised to bounce back from this setback with renewed determination and focus.

In the unpredictable realm of college basketball, LSU’s triumph stands as a testament to the resilience and tenacity of the Bayou Bengals, while Kentucky’s quest for consistency continues amidst the rigors of conference play. As the season progresses, expect more exhilarating matchups and unpredictable outcomes as teams vie for supremacy on the hardwood.

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College Basketball Best Bets for February 22: Two Totals & Boiler Up!

The college basketball schedule is getting interesting as conference title races come more into focus with each passing game. Thursday’s schedule features several games, but few ranked teams are in action. There are still matchups that merit attention and offer value.

Here are SportsGrid’s favorite picks for Thursday’s college basketball action. 

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7:00 p.m. ET – Rutgers at Purdue

Spread: Purdue (-14.5) | Moneyline: – | Total: 139.5

Where to Watch: FS1 | Location: Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, IN

The Purdue Boilermakers return to action after a shocking upset in Columbus against the Ohio State Buckeyes. Zach Edey and the Boilers are heavy favorites at home, hosting the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers. Rutgers had won four games in a row, including wins over Wisconsin and Northwestern, but they lost 81-70 last time out against Minnesota and have not fared well on the road in Big Ten play.

The Scarlet Knights present a physical challenge for the Boilermakers, and Cliff Omoruyi is at least a significant presence to contend with Edey down low. Still, Rutgers only averages 66.9 points per game, which is 377th in the country. The SportsGrid model loves the under in this game. With the total posted at 139.5, the model projects the two teams combine for only 136

SportsGrid’s model also loves Purdue to cover the 14.5-point spread and win the game by more than 18. Both of these plays are five-star projections. 

SportsGrid’s Best Bets: Purdue (-14.5) and UNDER 139.5 | SportsGrid Projections: 5-stars

9:00 p.m. ET – Washington at Arizona State

Spread: Washington (-2.5) | Moneyline: Washington (-140) | Total: 153.5

Where to Watch: ESPN2 | Location: Desert Financial Arena in Tempe, Arizona

It is, perhaps, surprising to see a team with a losing conference record favored on the road in February, but that is the situation as Washington travels to Arizona State, and the model is leaning into that value. Despite some fantastic play from senior Keion Brooks, the Washington Huskies are just 14-12 and only 6-9 in the PAC-12. The SportsGrid model loves the Huskies to win the game (75% of the time), cover the spread, win by 7.3 points, and for the two teams to go well over the posted total and combine for 161.3 points. These are all five-star projections.

Washington is the 37th-best offense in the country, averaging 80.9 points per game. They struggle defensively and allow more than 76 points per game. Arizona State enters the contest fresh off a 45-point loss to Arizona, and they allow 73.4 points per game. A high-scoring affair is expected.

SportsGrid’s Best Bets: Washington (-140), Washington (-2.5), OVER 153.5  | SportsGrid Projections: 5-stars

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NHL Best Bets: New York Rangers vs. New Jersey Devils +455 SGP

The surging New York Rangers are set to visit the New Jersey Devils for a Thursday night tilt. The Devils are trying to get back in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, while the Rangers hope to extend their win streak to nine games. 

SportsGrid tees you up for a Metropolitan Division same-game parlay.

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Note: All odds and props courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.

Leg 1: New York Rangers Moneyline (-102)

NHL bettors, check in with our Starting Goalies Page daily, your ultimate source for real-time insights into the goaltenders guarding the net and shaping the game!

Leg 2: Mika Zibanejad to Record 3+ Shots on Goal (-118) Leg 3: Vincent Trocheck to Record 3+ Shots on Goal (-165)

Total Value = +455

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High-Octane Showdown: Alabama Prevails in Thriller Against Florida in SEC Battle

Alabama and Florida clashed in a thrilling matchup that kept fans on the edge of their seats. The game, held in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was a testament to the competitive spirit of college basketball. With a pregame spread of 9.5 points favoring the Crimson Tide, and an impressive over-under of 174.5 points, anticipation was there for a high-scoring affair.

In a game that exceeded expectations, the action spilled into overtime, with Alabama ultimately emerging victorious with a final score of 98-93. Despite the loss, Florida managed to cover the spread as nearly a double-digit underdog, showcasing their resilience and ability to compete against top-ranked opponents.

Throughout the game, momentum swung back and forth, with Florida often appearing to have the upper hand. However, Alabama demonstrated their composure and determination, rallying in crucial moments to secure the win. The overtime period proved decisive, as Alabama capitalized on the opportunity to seal the victory on their home court.

For Florida, the game served as a reminder of their talent and potential, despite the outcome. While they may have fallen short this time, their performance against a formidable opponent like Alabama bodes well for their future endeavors, including conference championships and the upcoming March Madness tournament.

Looking ahead, both teams have shown their strengths and weaknesses, providing valuable insights for their respective playoff journeys. Alabama‘s offensive efficiency, particularly their prowess from beyond the arc, poses a challenge for opponents. Conversely, Florida‘s ability to contend with such a formidable offense demonstrates their defensive capabilities and resilience under pressure.

As the season progresses and the stakes continue to rise, games like this serve as valuable learning experiences for teams vying for postseason success. While the outcome may not always favor them, the lessons learned on the court will undoubtedly shape their journey moving forward.

In the end, the matchup between Alabama and Florida delivered on its promise of excitement and intensity, leaving fans eagerly anticipating the next chapter in their respective basketball journeys.

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NBA Betting Guide for February 22: Exciting Matchups Galore

The NBA is back tonight and we have an epic 12-game slate ahead of us to get us right back into the action.

Starting off, we have a TNT doubleheader to focus on with the first game bringing us an electrifying showdown between the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns, two teams that will be figthing for postseason seeding in the West until the very end.

A matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors wraps up the doubleheader, but with LeBron James sidelined, some of the appeal of the game is lost.

My game to watch tonight unfortunately won’t be nationally televised, but it will be a greatone as the Oklahoma City Thunder host the LA Clippers with the third-seeed Clippers a half-game back of the two-seeded Thunder in the West.

Shifting gears to the East, the Cleveland Cavaliers won 18 of 20 games leading up to the All-Star break, so they’ll look to get back into the swing of things against a respectable Orlando Magic squad. The Philadelphia 76ers will host the New York Knicks in a rivalry game as the Knicks find themselves on a four-game losing streak.

The Boston Celtics sit atop of SportsGrid’s NBA Power Rankings once again, and they’ll attempt to continue to seperate themselves from everyone else tonight against the Chicago Bulls.

Everywhere you look tonight their is an intriguing matchup, so let’s dive in and pump out some winners!

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SportsGrid’s NBA Betting Guide for February 22

Tonight’s Headliners: SportsGrid’s Weekly NBA Power Rankings | Coach of the Year Race | Top Futures Bets Post-ASB | 5 Teams Poised for a Surge | Most Improved Player Race: Gap is Closing | Malik Monk Surging in the Sixth Man of the Year Race

7:00 p.m. ET: Detroit Pistons @ Indiana Pacers

Pistons Last 5 ATS: 3-2 | Pacers Last 5 ATS: 1-4

SportsGrid’s Best Bets: Pistons +11.5 (3-Stars) | UNDER 246.5 (4-Stars)

SportsGrid’s Top Player Props: Tyrese Haliburton UNDER 11.5 Assists (5-Stars) | Jaden Ivey OVER 1.5 Three-Point FG Made (5-Stars)

7:00 p.m. ET: Brooklyn Nets @ Toronto Raptors

Nets Last 5 ATS: 1-4 | Raptors Last 5 ATS: 2-3

SportsGrid’s Best Bet: Raptors -2 (2-Stars)

SportsGrid’s Top Player Props: Mikal Bridges UNDER 22.5 Points (5-Stars) | Immanuel Quickley UNDER 6.5 Assists (5-Stars)

More Nets-Raptors: Top 5 Coaching Candidates for Nets Next Season

7:00 p.m. ET: New York Knicks @ Philadelphia 76ers

Knicks Last 5 ATS: 0-5 | 76ers Last 5 ATS: 2-3

SportsGrid’s Best Bet: 76ers -1 (4-Stars)

SportsGrid’s Top Player Props: Alec Burks OVER 1.5 Three-Point FG Made (5-Stars) | Tyrese Maxey UNDER 26.5 Points (5-Stars)

7:00 p.m. ET: Orlando Magic @ Cleveland Cavaliers

Magic Last 5 ATS: 3-2 | Cavaliers Last 5 ATS: 2-3

SportsGrid’s Best Bets: Cavaliers -7 (2-Stars) | OVER 216 (3-Stars)

SportsGrid’s Top Player Props: Paolo Banchero OVER 20.5 Points (5-Stars) | Isaac Okoro OVER 6.5 Points (5-Stars)

7:30 p.m. ET: Phoenix Suns @ Dallas Mavericks

Suns Last 5 ATS: 4-1 | Mavericks Last 5 ATS: 4-1

SportsGrid’s Best Bets: Mavericks -1.5 (1-Star) | UNDER 245 (2-Stars)

SportsGrid’s Top Player Props: Devin Booker UNDER 27.5 Points (5-Stars) | Luka Doncic OVER 8.5 Rebounds (4-Stars)

More Suns-Mavericks: Is Dallas a True Championship Contender?

8:00 p.m. ET: Boston Celtics @ Chicago Bulls

Celtics Last 5 ATS: 1-4 | Bulls Last 5 ATS: 4-1

SportsGrid’s Best Bets: Bulls +8.5 (5-Stars) | OVER 226 (3-Stars)

SportsGrid’s Top Player Props: Payton Pritchard OVER 5.5 Points (5-Stars) | Andre Drummond OVER 9.5 Points (5-Stars)

8:00 p.m. ET:  LA Clippers @ Oklahoma City Thunder

Clippers Last 5 ATS: 2-3 | Thunder Last 5 ATS: 2-3

SportsGrid’s Best Bets: Clippers +1.5 (2-Stars) | UNDER 235.5 (3-Stars)

SportsGrid’s Top Player Props: Kawhi Leonard UNDER 24.5 Points (5-Stars) | Jalen Williams OVER 19.5 Points (5-Stars)

More Clippers-Thunder: SGA’s MVP Bid

8:00 p.m. ET: Houston Rockets @ New Orleans Pelicans

Rockets Last 5 ATS: 2-3 | Pelicans Last 5 ATS: 2-3

SportsGrid’s Best Bets: Pelicans -7 (4-Stars) | OVER 228.5 (1-Star)

SportsGrid’s Top Player Props: Fred VanVleet UNDER 13.5 Points (5-Stars) | Jonas Valanciunas UNDER 8.5 Rebounds (5-Stars)

9:00 p.m. ET: Charlotte Hornets @ Utah Jazz

Hornets Last 5 ATS: 4-1 | Jazz Last 5 ATS: 1-4

SportsGrid’s Best Bet: Hornets +10 (5-Stars)

SportsGrid’s Top Player Props: Cody Martin OVER 8.5 Points (5-Stars) | Jordan Clarkson OVER 16.5 Points (5-Stars)

9:00 p.m. ET: 

Washington Wizards @ Denver Nuggets

Wizards Last 5 ATS: 4-1 | Nuggets Last 5 ATS: 1-4

SportsGrid’s Best Bet: Wizards +15 (4-Stars)

SportsGrid’s Top Player Props: Bilal Coulibaly OVER 7.5 Points (5-Stars) | Michael Porter Jr. UNDER 16.5 Points (5-Stars)

10:00 p.m. ET: Los Angeles Lakers @ Golden State Warriors

Lakers Last 5 ATS: 3-2 | Warriors Last 5 ATS: 4-1

SportsGrid’s Best Bet: Lakers +5.5 (1-Star) 

SportsGrid’s Top Player Props: Anthony Davis UNDER 13.5 Rebounds (4.5-Stars) | Draymond Green OVER 10.5 Points (5-Stars) 

More Lakers-Warriors: Klay’s Future

10:00 p.m. ET: San Antonio Spurs @ Sacramento Kings

Spurs Last 5 ATS: 1-4 | Kings Last 5 ATS: 2-3

SportsGrid’s Best Bet: UNDER 241 (2-Stars)

SportsGrid’s Top Player Props: Victor Wembanyama UNDER 10.5 Rebounds (5-Stars) | Keegan Murray UNDER 15.5 Points (5-Stars)

More Spurs-Kings: Is Quadruple-Double Possible for Wemby?

PGA Tour Mexico Open Odds and Picks: McNealy, Pendrith Solid Longshots

The Mexico Open presents a unique opportunity for bettors and golf enthusiasts, especially with a field that might lack the star power of other PGA Tour events but still offers valuable betting prospects. With the top players not performing to expectations over the last seven weeks, it’s an opportune moment to look beyond the favorites for potential winners.

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Top 10 Mexico Open Winner Odds at FanDuel

Taylor Pendrith (+2500) emerges as a standout candidate for the Mexico Open. Known for his exceptional driving distance, Pendrith’s game is well-suited to the Vidanta Vallarta course, which is playing longer and softer this year, stretching over 7,500 yards. His proficiency in bogey avoidance, coupled with a recent track record of top-15 finishes in five of his last seven starts, underscores his potential in this tournament. Despite his impressive form, Pendrith remains somewhat under the radar, making him an intriguing pick for bettors.

Maverick McNealy (+5000) is another golfer to watch. His performance at the Phoenix Open highlighted improvements in his iron game, complementing his long drives and exceptional putting skills. With a sixth-place finish at the WM indicating his form, McNealy is positioned as a strong contender in full-field events like the Mexico Open.

Sam Stevens (+5500), although less familiar to some, carries notable potential. His collegiate background at Oklahoma State, alongside top professionals like Austin Eckroat, Matt Wolff, and Viktor Hovland, speaks to his caliber. Stevens’ third-place finish last year at Corales in Punta Cana, on a similarly long course with comparable grass, combined with his current odds adjustment from 90 to 1 down to the fifties, marks him as a valuable bet.

The course, known for favoring long hitters, brings Tony Finau (+900) into the spotlight as a favorite, often dubbed the “Tony Mexico Open” due to his previous performances here, including a win and a second-place finish. However, Finau’s recent struggles with putting might deter bets on him as the outright winner.

Nicolai Hojgaard (+1400) and Emiliano Grillo (+3300) are also top considerations. Højgaard’s post-Ryder Cup form, with four top tens and a win, positions him well for a top-10 finish. Grillo, noted for his recent putting improvements and solid ball-striking, is a sensible pick for a top-20 finish.

Overall, the Mexico Open is shaping up to be a tournament where looking beyond the obvious choices could yield significant rewards, with long hitters and recent performers offering the best value in a field ripe for the unexpected.

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Can the Hurricanes Keep it Close as Home Dogs vs. Duke?

In tonight’s college basketball matchup, the eighth-ranked Duke Blue Devils are set to face off against the Miami Hurricanes at 7:00 PM ET. It’s a game where defense, particularly from Miami’s side, is expected to be scarce.

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Duke vs. Miami Game Odds at FanDuel

Duke enters this contest with momentum, positioning them as favorites against a Hurricanes team grappling with significant challenges.

Miami’s depth and injury concerns, highlighted by the last-minute scratch of Nijel Pack, raise questions about their ability to compete with Duke’s robust lineup. Despite boasting a starting five that can rival any in the nation, Miami’s bench depth—or lack thereof—could be a critical factor in this game. The absence of key players has left the Canes vulnerable, particularly in a high-stakes match against a team of Duke’s caliber.

Here is Our Top College Basketball SGP for Wed. Feb. 21

The Blue Devils, on the other hand, are in a prime position to capitalize on Miami’s weaknesses. Recent performances suggest that Duke is on an upward trajectory, exemplified by a standout game from Jared McCain against Florida State. McCain’s explosive performance, where he significantly contributed to Duke’s victory, sets the stage for high expectations in the game against Miami.

For Duke, and particularly for McCain, this game is pivotal. Maintaining the momentum from his previous performance is crucial. While repeating an extraordinary feat like making eight threes in the first half is unlikely, delivering a solid performance will be critical for McCain to establish himself as a consistent threat and for Duke to solidify their position as contenders as they progress towards March and the NCAA tournament.

Read SportsGrid’s College Basketball Best Bets for Wed. Feb. 21 Here.

As Duke looks to secure a comfortable win over Miami, all eyes will be on their ability to exploit Miami’s defensive gaps and whether McCain can continue to be a difference-maker. This game not only offers Duke an opportunity to advance their winning streak but also serves as a crucial moment for players to step up and showcase their ability to contribute to the team’s success in the lead-up to the NCAA tournament.

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Top Dark Horse Pick for Presidents’ Trophy and Stanley Cup Winner

As the NHL season progresses, the race for the Presidents’ Trophy, awarded to the team finishing the regular season with the most points, is heating up.

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Top 5 Presidents’ Trophy Winner Odds at FanDuel

The current favorites to clinch this accolade include the Panthers (+310), Rangers (+500), Canucks (+500), Bruins (+650), and Jets (+750), each demonstrating the skill and consistency required to lead the league standings. However, whether these teams will maintain their pace or if an underdog might surge ahead.

Read up on SportsGrid’s Top SGP for Wed. Feb. 21 Here.

The Carolina Hurricanes (+1600) emerge as a noteworthy wild card in this context. Despite needing to close some gaps in the standings, their ambitions extend beyond merely securing the Presidents’ Trophy; they aim to capture the Stanley Cup.

Top 5 Stanley Cup Winner Odds at FanDuel

The imminent return of Frederik Andersen, recovering from a blood clotting issue, is a significant boost for the team. Andersen’s comeback strengthens the Hurricanes’ goaltending, a critical factor as they seek to overcome previous postseason hurdles.

Check out SportsGrid’s NHL game picks and NHL Props Picks all Season Long.

Another crucial element for the Hurricanes is the presence of Andrei Svechnikov. Absent during last year’s playoffs, his goal-scoring prowess was sorely missed, especially in the tight series against the Panthers, where Carolina was swept despite closely contested matches. Svechnikov’s ability to tilt the ice in favor of the Hurricanes could prove pivotal, not just in the regular season but also in their quest for playoff success.

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Under the guidance of Rod Brind’Amour, the Hurricanes have been lauded for their exceptional possession play, a hallmark of their strategy. As they gear up for the season’s final stretch, the integration of Andersen and the impact of Svechnikov could propel them toward the Presidents’ Trophy and deep into the playoffs, potentially fulfilling their ultimate goal of winning the Stanley Cup.

Hurricanes Next Game Odds (Thursday, Feb. 22)

For bettors and fans alike, keeping an eye on the Hurricanes might offer intriguing opportunities. Their potential as a dark horse in the Presidents’ Trophy race and their Stanley Cup aspirations make them a team to watch as the season unfolds.

NHL bettors, check in with our Starting Goalies Page daily, your ultimate source for real-time insights into the goaltenders guarding the net and shaping the game!

Real Madrid Futures: Can La Liga Compete with Seemingly Imminent Mbappe Arrival?

The anticipation among Real Madrid fans is palpable as the club gears up for a thrilling future, underscored by the impending arrival of Endrick, a promising young Brazilian talent, this summer. Real Madrid’s strategy of simultaneously contending for soccer titles while preparing for the future sets them apart in the football world, a testament to their enduring legacy and ambition.

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The excitement escalates with the potential acquisition of three of the world’s most sought-after young players: Kylian Mbappé, Jude Bellingham, and Vinícius Júnior. This trio represents not just the future of the La Liga club but the future of football globally, with each player ranking among the top talents worldwide. The prospect of uniting these players at Santiago Bernabéu offers limitless possibilities, promising an era of dominance and spectacular football.

Integrating such high-caliber talents raises tactical questions, notably how to deploy them effectively without diminishing their individual brilliance. Yet, history teaches that seizing such opportunities is paramount, with logistical hurdles addressed as they arise. The potential need for a new coaching perspective to maximize this trio’s synergy underscores the club’s commitment to excellence, regardless of the challenges.

The saga surrounding Mbappé’s move is particularly gripping, marking a significant chapter in Real Madrid’s ambitious plans. Mbappé’s decision to leave Paris Saint-Germain, refusing to extend his contract beyond the summer, sets the stage for a blockbuster move to Madrid. This long-anticipated transfer has captivated the football world, with negotiations and strategic planning at the forefront of discussions within the club.

Real Madrid Odds at FanDuel

Real Madrid’s pursuit of Mbappé, coupled with their acquisition of other young talent, signals a bold vision for the future. As the club navigates these monumental transitions, the focus remains on crafting a team capable of sustaining success across seasons, blending youthful exuberance with the legendary stature of Real Madrid. The potential arrival of Mbappé, alongside Endrick, Bellingham, and Vinícius, heralds a new era of dominance, igniting excitement and anticipation for what lies ahead in the soccer world.

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Noah Fifita: The Dark Horse in the 2024 Heisman Trophy Race

In the latest Heisman Trophy odds for the forthcoming collegiate football season, 12 exceptional talents have emerged, each with odds of +2000 or lower, signaling their potential for collegiate football’s most prestigious award.

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Amid this elite group, one name demands attention from bettors and fans: Noah Fifita of Arizona pegged at a compelling +2000. The remarkable statistics Fifita tallied last year, combined with his undeniable talent and Arizona’s resurgence as a formidable force in college football, make him a standout candidate in the race for the Heisman Trophy.

Fifita, an initially overlooked quarterback in the remnants of the PAC-12, has become the linchpin of Arizona’s offense under the guidance of coach Jedd Fisch. Fisch’s leadership revitalized the team and established Arizona as a genuine contender despite facing a more challenging schedule. Fifita’s ascent to prominence was nothing short of cinematic, as he usurped the starting role from Jayden de Laura, a highly acclaimed quarterback in his own right. Arizona’s offense was a powerhouse, amassing significant yardage through the air. Fifita emerged from de Laura’s shadow, showcasing his extraordinary abilities and clinching the starting quarterback position.

The transition from de Laura to Fifita signifies more than a change of guard; it underscores Fifita’s exceptional capability to elevate Arizona’s game. With an entire season ahead, the opportunity for Fifita to dazzle on the field and compile staggering numbers is immense. Given his performance last season and his growth potential, Fifita is a prime candidate not only for the Heisman Trophy but also for leaving an indelible mark on the college football landscape.

The odds of +2000 for Fifita suggest that while he may not be the frontrunner, he possesses the prowess and potential to disrupt the Heisman race. Fifita’s journey represents a compelling narrative of talent, perseverance, and the quest for collegiate football’s highest honor in a landscape often dominated by more publicized athletes. As Arizona gears up for a season that promises challenges and opportunities, all eyes will be on Noah Fifita, whose arm, agility, and understanding make him a live contender for the Heisman Trophy.

Heisman Trophy Betting Odds

Carson Beck +750

Dillon Gabriel +1000

Jalen Milroe +1200

Nico Iamaleava +1500

Garrett Nussmeier +1800

Jaxson Dart +1800

Noah Fifita +2000

Conner Weigman +2000

Riley Leonard +2000

Cameron Ward +2000

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4 College Football Transfer Portal Winners: Ohio State and Oregon Lead the Way

The landscape of college football is undergoing significant changes, with the transfer portal playing a pivotal role in shaping team rosters and competitive dynamics.

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Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State, for instance, has effectively leveraged the transfer portal to enhance its quarterback position by bringing in Will Howard to replace Kyle McCord. Additionally, the Buckeyes have strengthened their backfield by adding Quinshon Judkins alongside the already impressive TreVeyon Henderson, potentially boosting their chances against longstanding rivals like Michigan.

Ohio State Futures Odds at FanDuel

Get all the Latest Transfer Portal News, Slideshows and Info Here.

Ole Miss Rebels

The transfer portal’s impact is not limited to Ohio State. Ole Miss, in an effort to bolster their defense, has secured vital transfers, including Walter Nolen, Tyler Baron, and Princely Umanmielen. These additions are crucial as the team seeks to compensate for the departure of significant players. It’s something a former Pac-12 team knows all too well.

Ole Miss Futures Odds at FanDuel

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Oregon Ducks

Oregon has also navigated the challenge of replacing star quarterback Bo Nix by acquiring Dillon Gabriel, a move that positions them as immediate contenders in the Big Ten. Gabriel’s experience and skill set are expected to be transformative for the Ducks, offering them a solid chance to excel in the conference.

Oregon Futures Odds at FanDuel

Michigan State Spartans

Michigan State aims to reverse the tide of two consecutive losing seasons—a scenario not seen since 2006. Head Coach Jonathan Smith welcomes in former four-star quarterback Aidan Chiles. This strategic move is part of their broader effort to regain relevance and competitiveness in the college football landscape.

Michigan State Futures Odds at FanDuel

These examples underscore the transformative power of the transfer portal in college football, enabling teams to quickly address gaps, introduce fresh talent, and alter their competitive fortunes in the quest for supremacy.

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