Christmas Bets, 2 NBA/1 CFB

Camellia Bowl: Marshall Thundering Herd vs. Buffalo Bulls 

The Buffalo Bulls perfect season is gone after a disappointing effort against Ball State in the MAC Championship game.  They will look to rebound against Marshall who faced similar disappointment in their last two games of the season losing to Rice and UAB ruining their 7-0 start.  

The Bulls dominant run game has been the staple of their season.  They are the only college football team other than North Carolina to feature two RB’s with over 1000 yards rushing on the season.  Jaret Patterson and Kevin Marks have set the tone for the offense all season long.  They will look to bounce back from the first game of the season where neither halfback reached the century mark.  The Marshall defense is definitely their strength but they were run over in the Conference USA Championship game.  UAB’s Spencer Brown went for 149 yards, if they can’t contain the powerful run attack of Buffalo this one will get away from them quickly.  

The Marshall offense has been non-existent over their last two games scoring just 13 total points.  Red shirt freshman QB Grant Wells has lost his way after starting the year making big plays for the Thundering Herd offense he has been unable to complete passes.  In the Conference USA Championship game Wells was just 8/23,  which was preceded by a 15/37 effort with five interceptions against RIce the week before.  The offense will have additional problems as RB Brenden Knox has opted out of the Bowl game in order to prepare for the NFL draft.  

The Bulls have an advantage in the trenches and a stronger offensive unit.  They will lean on the run while their playmakers on defense will continue to stifel Grant Wells.  Buffalo is going to play with an edge after their performance against Ball State.  Bulls by a million. 

Pick: Buffalo Bulls -4.5

Dallas Mavericks at Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers got off to a slow start opening night against the Clippers.  They were unable to rebound from their slow start, never taking the lead.  The Lakers will face off against a beat up Mavericks team that is still trying to work a few new pieces into the fold.  

The Mavericks lost on opening night as well to the Phoenix Suns in a much more competitive affair.  Luka Doncic got off to a slow start eventually getting to his season averages.  The length of Mikal Bridges was able to keep Doncic in check and without Kristaps Porzingis the new Mavericks were not able to provide the lift that was needed.  Dallas will need more from Josh Richardson and Tim Hardaway on the offensive end to keep up with AD, Lebron and their new running mates Dennis Schroder and Montrez Harrell.   

It’s too early in the season to go over many stats that matter.  I am looking strictly at the machup of Lebron James and AD versus Luka Doncic.  LeBron and AD in primetime versus Doncic without his top secondary option will lead to some tough times for the Mavericks.  I’m rolling with the Lake show to win by doubel digits. Dallas will be a contender before years end but they are still trying to figure themselves out with the new pieces. 

Pick: Lakers -6

New Orleans Pelicans at Miami Heat 

The Pelicans are one of my favorite teams entering the season.  They have great offensive players that needed guidance on the defensive end.  Stan Van Gundy has immediately brought that along with the additions of veteran tough defenders Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams.  The Pelicans new approach led to an opening night victory over the Toronto Raptors and they will look to add anothe victory over an Eastern Conference contender on Christmas day.  

The Pels got a boost off the bench from veteran JJ Reddick.  They also shot 52% as a team.  That should be a lot tougher versus the Miami Heat.  The Heat have proven to be a grind it out defense first team over the last year.  Their opening night loss to the Orlando Magic was more due to their inefficiencies on the offensive end.  The Heat turned the ball over 22 times leading to points for Orlando. Miami will slow it down in order to rectify the turnover issues which should slow the overall pace of the game down.  

This game is continuing to trend downwards for a total, opening at 229 it can be found now at 224.5.  I still think the public is looking at the Pelicans of 2019 and assuming they are a run and gun first team.  That is no longer their style and they actually care about defenese this season.  I grabbed it at 225 and see this as a game where one team goes into triple digits.  Take the under.  

Pick: Under 224.5

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