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College football odds, picks, spreads, predictions for bowl season, 2021-22: Simulation backs Iowa, Ole Miss

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The 2021-22 college football bowl schedule heads for a conclusion with the last full slate of action on New Year’s Day. There are five games on Saturday’s slate with No. 21 Arkansas vs. Penn State kick off the action at noon ET. Caesars Sportsbook lists the Razorbacks as three-point favorites in the latest college football odds for bowl season. No. 5 Notre Dame vs No. 9 Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl at 1 p.m. ET is listed as a pick’em, while No. 22 Kentucky is -3 against No. 15 Iowa in the Citrus Bowl at 1 p.m. ET.

In later action, the latest college football lines show No. 6 Ohio State at -4 against No. 11 Utah in the Rose Bowl (5 p.m. ET) and No. 7 Baylor vs. No. 8 Ole Miss (-1.5) concludes the day at 8:45 p.m. ET in the Sugar Bowl. Which college football spreads and totals should you target? Before making any college football bowl picks or bets, be sure to see the latest college football predictions and betting advice from SportsLine’s proven model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS college football game 10,000 times. Over the past five-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated a stunning profit of almost $3,600 for $100 players on its top-rated college football picks against the spread. It also enters the third week of the 2021-22 college football bowl season on a 43-30 run on all top-rated college football side picks. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.

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Now, it has turned its attention to the latest bowl season college football odds from Caesars and locked in picks for every FBS matchup. Head here to see every pick.

Top college football predictions for bowl season

One of the top college football picks the model is recommending for the 2021-22 bowl season: No. 15 Iowa stays within the spread against No. 22 Kentucky as a three-point underdog in the 2022 Citrus Bowl at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday. Iowa comes off one of its best seasons in recent memory, a 10-3 campaign that saw the Hawkeyes reach the Big Ten Championship Game on the strength of one of the best defenses in the nation — and in spite of one of an unusually plodding offense, even by Iowa standards.

Against a Kentucky team that also had its best season in recent memory, Iowa’s defense could be the clincher. The Hawkeyes only allowed 19.2 points per game, and shut down the Big Ten West opponents they play who have a similar playing style to the team they’re about to face in the Citrus Bowl. In simulations from SportsLine’s model, Iowa covers the spread well over 50 percent of the time, making the Hawkeyes a top pick against the spread.

Another one of the college football predictions from the model: No. 8 Ole Miss covers as a 1.5-point favorite against No. 7 Baylor in the Sugar Bowl on Saturday at 8:45 p.m. ET. Many of the top draft-eligible quarterbacks opted out of bowl games this year, but Ole Miss will have Matt Corral, a potential first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. He threw for 3,339 yards, 20 touchdowns and just four interceptions on the season. He added 11 touchdown on the ground.

SportsLine’s model is projecting him to throw for around 270 yards in this matchup, helping the Rebels hit the 30-point plateau against a tough Baylor defense. Ole Miss covers well over 60 percent of the time, while the under (58) also hits in more than 60 percent of simulations. 

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How to make college football bowl picks 

The model has also made the call on who wins and covers in every other game during bowl season, and it’s projecting multiple shocking upsets. You can only get every pick for every game at SportsLine.

So what college football picks can you make with confidence? And which underdogs do you need to jump on now? Check out the latest college football odds below, then visit SportsLine to see which teams win and cover the spread, all from a proven computer model that has returned almost $3,600 in profit over the past five-plus seasons, and find out.

College football odds for bowl season (via Caesars)

Here are the college football lines for bowl season:

Jan. 1:

Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State vs. Notre Dame (Pick’em, 45)

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Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. Utah (+4.5, 64)

Sugar Bowl: Ole Miss vs. Baylor (+1.5, 58)

Featured Game | Ole Miss Rebels vs. Baylor Bears

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Citrus Bowl: Iowa vs. Kentucky (-3, 44)

Featured Game | Kentucky Wildcats vs. Iowa Hawkeyes

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Outback Bowl: Penn State vs. Arkansas (-3, 49)

Featured Game | Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Penn State Nittany Lions

Jan. 4: 

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Texas Bowl: Kansas State vs. LSU (+4.5, 48)

Jan. 10:

CFP National Championship Game: Georgia vs. Alabama (+2.5, 52.5)

Featured Game | Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Georgia Bulldogs

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The NL East Has Suddenly Become A Dominant Division

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(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

 

When asked about the best division in MLB, most fans and analysts would probably have said the AL East and the NL West.

The former has the New York Yankees, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Tampa Bay Rays, and the (surprise) Baltimore Orioles fighting for playoff spots; while the latter has the best team in baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the competent San Diego Padres.

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The fall of the San Francisco Giants (54-57) probably means that the NL West is not in contention to be the strongest division anymore.

That honor may very well belong to a somewhat unexpected group: the NL East.

“Half of the top 6 teams in MLB right now are in the NL East,” MLB Metrics tweeted.

 

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A Strong Division With Several Postseason Contenders

In the NL East, we have the second-best team in MLB, the New York Mets, who have a 73-39 record before Friday’s games.

The Atlanta Braves are destined for another playoff appearance, and are 20 games over .500 at 66-46.

There is a third really strong team: the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Phils are 62-49, 10.5 games behind the Mets and currently in possession of a postseason berth if the season ended today.

The Phillies would be second behind the Dodgers in the NL West and would be leaders of the NL Central, a position currently occupied by the 61-50 St. Louis Cardinals.

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The NL East will likely get three of the six National League playoff spots.

The 50-61 Miami Marlins aren’t particularly strong, but are far from a weak team and could reasonably contend next year.

Despite having the worst team in the National League in the Washington Nationals, the NL East deserves more respect in discussions about the best division in the league.

The post The NL East Has Suddenly Become A Dominant Division appeared first on The Cold Wire.





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Draymond Green says Ja Morant reminds him of himself, and his reasoning makes a lot of sense

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Arguably the best part of any NBA Draft season is the typhoon of reckless player comps that induce equal parts disgust and laughter. Whether it’s saying a second-round pick has similar traits to Giannis Antetokounmpo or comparing two players because they have a similar, um, skin tone, we tend to see some lazy hot takes when it comes to player comps.

On the surface, it looks like Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green could be guilty of the same indiscretion.

During a recent episode of his podcast, “The Draymond Green Show,” Green was asked which current player reminds him of himself. He began his answer by stating the obvious: There is nobody in the NBA, and maybe nobody who has ever played the game, with a similar skill set, basketball IQ and personality as Draymond Green. He listed all of his qualities, saying that it’s hard to find a player with his unique blend of passing, defense, leadership and IQ. 

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“I’m one of one, baby,” Green said. “Ain’t no carbon copies.”

Ultimately he came to a conclusion, but probably not one you’d expect: Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant.

When you first hear it, the comparison seems spurious at best. Morant is a freak athlete and high flier, while Green’s game has always been lower to the ground. Green is one of the best defenders in NBA history, while Morant’s defense is one of his lone weaknesses on the court. Morant scored over 27 points per game last season — Green has never averaged more than 14. Not to mention the difference in size.

Once Green explained himself, however, the rationale became clear.

“I ain’t bowing down to none of y’all. I don’t care what you’ve accomplished before I got here. That has absolutely nothing to do with me. I believe in myself and my abilities and I’m going to show you that. I’m going to lead. I’mma talk to you, and let you know about it while I’m doing it. I’m going to carry others with me. And most importantly, I’m going to do it my way. And all those things that I just named, I see Ja Morant do.”

Green also conceded the obvious dissimilarities in the way they play the game.

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“Does that mean Ja Morant and me are the same player? We’re nowhere near the same player,” Green said. “But that’s who reminds me a lot of me.”

Adding to the intrigue of Green’s comparison is the ongoing beef (well, maybe closer to a veggie burger) between the Warriors and Grizzlies during and after their Western Conference semifinal matchup this spring, which Golden State won in six games. Grizzlies wing Dillon Brooks said the Warriors are getting old, and Memphis is “coming every single year.” Steph Curry responded by saying that Brooks “called himself a dynasty already,” quickly dismissing that notion. Klay Thompson called Jaren Jackson Jr. a “freaking bum” following the Warriors’ title victory in June, referring to Jackson’s facetious “Strength in Numbers” tweet after a regular-season win over the Warriors.

Morant then entered the mix to defend Jackson, suggesting the Grizzlies had “a lot of real estate” in the Warriors’ minds. Of course, Green couldn’t sit out the verbal sparring entirely, so he responded to Morant with a quick barb about how Golden State had made it to the Finals.

It all seems to be in good fun, and Morant’s reaction to Green’s comparison backs up the idea that there’s nothing but respect between the two franchises. Morant tweeted out, “woo das real shiii,” punctuated with a “100” emoji in response to Green’s comments. Unless I’m not fully updated on the way 23-year-olds communicate these days (which is entirely possible), that seems like a positive reaction.

As much as young stars tend to talk trash as they attempt to claim their place in the league, they generally relish these types of compliments from older players. Green could have easily said, “There’s nobody like me,” and moved on. Instead, he thought about it and realized that, in his mind, Morant plays the game with the same passion, intelligence and fire that has made Green a future Hall of Famer.

Despite the comparison being a bit confusing at first glance, once you get below the surface and look at the rest of the iceberg, it actually makes a lot of sense.

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Halep advances to semi-final at National Bank Open after thrilling victory over Gauff – Sportsnet.ca

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TORONTO — Simona Halep didn’t need to check the stats after her match to know the fastest serve Coco Gauff rifled at her during their third-round match, because she checked the video board at Centre Court after the ball was fired her way: It clocked 198 km/hr. 

On Friday afternoon on Centre Court, Halep, the former world No. 1, earned her toughest victory yet at the National Bank Open, fending off Gauff, the 18-year-old American powerhouse, to earn a 6-4, 7-6(2) win in a quarter-final match so full of shot-making and incredible defence that few in the stadium — save for Halep herself, of course — didn’t want it to go three sets.

“She served super strong,” Halep said, after she’d hit the practice court post-match to work on her serve — she had eight double-faults in the win. “And I fought for every point, which it was really important because she’s doing the same thing,” Halep added. “It’s never easy against her.”

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A two-time National Bank Open champion, Halep is now into the semi-final, just two wins away from a third title. She’ll face American Jessica Pegula, the No. 7 seed, on Saturday.

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After Halep and Gauff shook hands on Friday, following an hour and 47-minute seesaw battle, fans gave them a standing ovation for the showcase they put on. For many, it was a reminder of how consistent and solid Halep is, and a look into how incredible the teenaged Gauff is, and how good she’ll one day be.

It was the fourth meeting between Gauff, the world No. 11, and Halep, the world No. 15, and it was the closest Gauff has come to beating the veteran Romanian, a two-time Grand Slam champion who won the French Open in 2018 and Wimbledon a year later.

“She hits stronger,” Halep said, compared to their first meeting, at Wimbledon in 2019. “I think she improved a lot since we played last time. But as I said at the start, it’s always tough against her. And you never know, because she’s fighting until the end. And actually she doesn’t give you a point. So you have to stay there and fight.”

Halep broke Gauff in the first game, but Gauff immediately got the game back on serve, before Halep struck again to go up 4-3, eventually firing an ace to win the opening set.

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Set two is when this match entered highlight-reel status. Gauff was down 3-0 early on thanks mostly to unforced errors, and then she began fighting and hitting more winners than not, and with incredible power. Halep, meanwhile, did an incredible job running many of those shots down, even when Gauff was painting the lines.

When Halep broke Gauff to go up 5-3 in the second set, the Romanian roared at the crowd and pumped her fists.

Halep had two chances to serve for the match, but Gauff kept fighting, on the ropes and earning another chance, to force a tiebreaker. That’s when Halep took control, in part because of Gauff’s unforced errors. On match point, Gauff sent a shot into the net, and Halep yelled and pumped her fist while fans waved Romanian flags.

Earlier this season, Halep said she was nearly done with tennis. And then she began working with Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena Williams’ former coach. “He brought this fire back and the motivation,” she said. “He trusted that I still can play good tennis. And he transferred this to me.” 

Halep’s plan for semi-final Saturday is much the same as it always is, even knowing how solidly Pegula has been playing this season. “But as I always say, I will focus on myself and I will just fight for the match as I did here every time,” she said.  

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And, the two-time NBO champion says she’s a different player than the last time she won this tournament four years ago.

“I’m a better player,” she said. “This helps me and gives me confidence to work hard and to look forward for the next tournament. And just to fight for every match I play.”

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