After a much-needed vacation, I’m back to shell out some bets that I like for tonight’s card. Vegas was fun, but I came home with less money than I went with. Nothing that I didn’t fully expect given the number of ways you can lose a buck or two in Vegas. Especially if you go in with the mindset of “eh, whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Or, my favorite line, “I’m just gonna put a bill in and see what happens.”
I saw what happened and I was not too fond of it. The sad part is, I actually made money at the sportsbooks. Never play slots, people. All you do is push a button and pray for the best. I knew that. It’s fine. We saw a couple of machines hit the bonus and had fun. The sightseeing and the food were excellent. All is well and good in the Ricotta household.
With that said, now that I’m back home, it’s time to dominate and regain that lost vacation money. Instead of pushing a slot machine button, let’s make educated and informed guesses. Here’s where I’m putting my money tonight in hopes of getting back on top.
Notre Dame -2.5 @ Florida State
Here we have two teams heading in opposite directions. The Fighting Irish are clicking at the right time of year, coming into this matchup as winners of seven of their last eight games and 11 of their previous 13. Meanwhile, the Seminoles have limped their way to the finish line. Although they won their previous game against Virginia, they have lost eight of their last ten games.
It’s not only momentum working against the Noles here. Per Haslametrics, the Seminoles rank 308th with a 36.81 percent three-point field goal percentage allowed vs. average opponents. Notre Dame is one of the best shooting teams from behind the arc. Behind players like Dane Goodwin and Nate Laszewski, the Fighting Irish shoot 38.47 percent from three vs. average opponents. That stat is good enough for 18th in the country.
Making matters worse for the Seminoles, leading scorers Caleb Mills and Anthony Polite are doubtful to play, and they are already without Naheem McLeod and Malik Osborne. Take the Irish to cover this short spread. I’d play it to -3.5.
Indiana Pacers First Half -1 (-105 DraftKings) @ Orlando Magic
The Magic have gotten the best of the Pacers twice already this season. On February 2, the Pacers lost a close one 119-118 at home. These teams faced each other again on Monday, February 28, and the Magic won 119-103. Even with that knowledge, the line is currently sitting at Pacers -2.5 or Pacers -3 at most sportsbooks, which gives you an idea of who oddsmakers believe the better team is.
Taking a look at their last meeting, the Pacers were up by one point at halftime. However, the Magic beat the Pacers on the offensive glass, outrebounding them 10-4 despite shooting worse than the Pacers at 46.9 percent compared to 48.6 percent. The Magic rarely outrebound teams, especially on the offensive end. On the season, they rank fifth-worst in terms of offensive rebounds per game (9.1). I have a hard time seeing the Pacers dropping a third straight game against a team that sits dead last in the Eastern Conference Standings.
Not to mention, the Pacers should get Malcolm Brogdon back in action tonight as he’s not listed on the Pacers’ injury report. He didn’t play in the first two matchups against the Magic. Taking the full game -2.5 or -3 is a risky proposition, though. Therefore, I’ll lean on the Pacers getting out of the gates hot and motivated and lay it with their first-half spread at -1.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Over 39.5 Points + Rebounds (-115)
Looking at what Giannis Antetokounmpo has done over his last four games, there’s no way I would consider betting any of his under props right now. The man is on fire. Over his last four games, Giannis is averaging 34.3 points and 13.8 rebounds per game. Add those two numbers up, and you get a combined average of 48.1 points + rebounds per game. Sometimes handicapping is that simple. The Miami Heat are a good basketball team with a chance at making a run in the playoffs this season. That said, I still expect Giannis to rack up 41-plus combined points and rebounds. He’s smashed this number with his points alone in two of his last six games.
Best of luck, let's have a winning Wednesday.