December 21, 2015 (2:20 AM ET)
There is one NBA and one NCAA pick today.
The Western Kentucky selection which is an afternoon game was released on Saturday night.
1) Take NY Knicks at -3 spread against Orlando Magic for 3% of the bankroll.
This is a matchup that strongly favors the home team. The Orlando Magic are coming off of what was s a heartbreaking series of events in the final minute of the game to lose the game by just 3 points to their division rivals, Hawks. The Magic not only had to deal with that defeat but had to travel after yesterday’s contest for in a short turnaround and now face a rested and confident New York Knicks team in the high profile venue that is Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks come into this contest rested and should have a confidence and swagger about them having now won 4 straight contests. Carmelo Anthony is playing extremely well at the moment after his sluggish start to the season and will no doubt have revenge in mind in this contest after having dropped an earlier season meeting with the Magic. The Knicks have been extremely profitable to back in this situation given their 13-5 record ATS when revenging a loss to an opponent this season. They seem to always get up for these kinds of contests and we don't expect tonight to be any different.
Orlando has a deep and talented squad but fatigue could certainly come into play in the latter stages of this contest as their most reliable players, guys likes Vucevic, Payton, Oladipo and Fournier all saw 30+ minutes of action last night! The Knicks also have a 3-game road trip ahead of them with a date with the Cleveland Cavaliers coming up. They realize that their best chance to keep momentum going ahead of that road trip is with a victory tonight. They have turned things around at home and have the full support of their fans on their side. Sitting at 14-14 on the season, they certainly do not want to drop below a .500 record before taking to the road.
Arron Afflalo is also playing very well right and it would not surprise us if he stepped up and had a big game against his former teams. Kyle O'Quinn is another player that used to play for Orlando and may also have a point to prove tonight. The Knicks seem to be firing on all cylinders at the moment. Melo and Afflalo are shooting lights out, Lopez and Porzingis are solid at the rim, both rebounding and blocking shots, Calderon is consistently dishing out assists as a PG and Galloway both penetrating line and getting solid looks, the Knicks finally have something that have been lacking for some time; balance.
A win tonight would not only avenge last month's loss to the Magic but would also pull them a full game back against what is a direct playoff rival this season. The Knicks have the advantage tonight and while Orlando may do well in the first half, we expect Derek Fisher's team to pull away in the second half. Orlando's legs will tire and they will start to fade down the stretch which should allow New York to come away with the victory and the cover.
2) Take Western Kentucky at -2.5 spread against South Florida for 3% of the bankroll.
The South Florida Bulls have no doubt shown tremendous growth throughout the season and come into this bowl game won 7 of their last 8 games. South Florida picked up their best wins of the season the last could of weeks notching victories against the Temple Owls and Cincinnati Bearcats. The Bulls have also been strong defensively allowing just 21.1 points per game which ranks 23rd in the nation in points allowed. Their defense will surely be tested in this contest as this will be by far the most explosive team the Bulls have faced this season.
Western Kentucky's offense was one of the best in college football this season, averaging 44.2 points a game and an impressive 7.19 yards per play. The success of the offense starts with quarterback Brandon Doughty. The senior passed for 45 touchdowns and 4,594 yards this season and led the nation by completing 71.8 percent of his passes. Not only is Doughty efficient and careful with the football, he’s also capable of attacking defenses downfield and producing big plays. In 13 games this season, Doughty connected on 37 passing plays of 30 yards or more. Doughty also has plenty of weapons at his disposal and has no problem spreading the ball as receivers Jared Dangerfield, Antwane Grant, Taywan Taylor and Nicholas Norris each caught over 45 passes this season. The Western Kentucky offense has only been held under 30 points twice this season so the South Florida defense will certainly have their hands full.
It has been some time since the South Florida Bulls have qualified for a bowl game and although they picked up momentum towards the end of the season, the long break from the end of the season to this bowl game will likely have halted their red-hot run. There are few teams in the country that can survive getting into shootout with the Hilltoppers. Their two losses on the season have come by 3 points against Indiana and a blowout loss to the LSU Tigers. They have played the tougher competition this season and with this being the culmination of Brandon Doughty's career at Western Kentucky we expect that his teammates will want to send their unquestioned leader off with a victory. This will likely be a back and forth, high scoring shootout, but at the end of the day South Florida won't have enough bullets to keep up with the Hilltoppers offensively as W. Kentucky comes away with the win and cover.
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