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cricket betting analystNBA Player Props Betting Forecast: Zion Williamson?Passing Impact, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George Defense

  The NBA player prop market is hot right now despite the weather cooling off as we approach the middle of December.

  With injuries, rotational changes, and rest days, there is plenty of value to be had in the player prop market. This we’re looking at Zion Williamson’s dominance for the New Orleans Pelicans and the impact of having Paul George and Kawhi Leonard back for the Los Angeles Clippers.

  Let’s dive in to this week’s NBA player props forecast.

  Schedule: Mon. at Jazz | Thu. at Jazz | Sat. at Suns

  We are about 25% through the NBA season, and it is not the Warriors, or the Suns, or the Nuggets sitting atop the Western Conference. Rather, it is the New Orleans Pelicans who are an impressive 18-8 and just dismantled the Suns in back-to-back games this weekend.

  The most impressive thing about the Pelicans’ run is that of their 26 games, they have only had CJ McCollum for 22, Zion Williamson for 21, Brandon Ingram for 15, and Herb Jones for 17 of those games. They have been able to contend and take care of business with their depth and rotational ability.

  Over their last 10 games, the Pelicans are 9-1 with an 11.7 Net Rating, the best in the NBA while playing at a top 10 Pace in the league. A big reason for their success has been due to Zion Williamson. His odds for MVP were as high as 120-1 (which Brandon Anderson and I bet a few days ago and logged in the Action App so follow us there!) and he is down to 30-1 across most books.

  The key here is not only is he healthy but he is decisive and attacking the basket. Over these last 10 games, he is averaging 26.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 4.6 assists on an absurd 65.8% shooting. Zion’s most recent prop lines were 26.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 4.5 assists. He’s cleared the points line in six games, rebounds in six games, but assists in just four games.

  He is dishing, but settling in around four for the majority of games. Zion will facilitate, but he does so because it is the right basketball play, not necessarily because he is unselfish. He is decisive in his movements, and his explosiveness makes him nearly unguardable.

  He gets by you on the drive, and if you’re able to cover he can dish and find the open man, although that is something he is still improving upon. Additionally, as a ball handler, Zion demands gravity. This affects opponents’ defensive rotations and he sets up his teammates.

  Over his last 10 games, Zion is averaging 11.3 potential assists compared to 4.8 actual so there should be a bit more assist upside. The player he has assisted the most during this stretch is Trey Murphy. Murphy averages 1.4 assists per game from Zion and it’s generally on 3-pointers.

  Over this stretch, Murphy has played in eight games and is averaging 2.6 3s. Although he had a tough shooting night on Sunday against the Suns, the Pelicans take on the Jazz next, a team Murphy made 3-of-4 3s against earlier this season but he should see even more run in this next game if Jones and Ingram are unable to suit up.

  Willie Green did advise that Ingram and Jones may be able to return this week after missing their seventh and fifth consecutive games. Both Murphy and Dyson Daniels would take hits to their playing time; however, Murphy should still have standalone value and if Murphy’s 3s line slides down to 1.5, he has exceeded that in eight of 13 games with Ingram this season.

  It’s clear that Zion is the best player on this team, and I’m curious to see how Ingram’s return may impact that. Zion averages 6.5 fewer points, 3.1 fewer rebounds, and 2.5 fewer assists playing alongside Ingram than without him this season.

  While I don’t think Ingram’s return should affect Zion that dramatically given his recent surge, it may impact the Pelicans’ overall offensive fluidity.

  Schedule: Mon. at Celtics | Wed. at Timberwolves | Thu. at Suns | Sat. at Wizards

  The Clippers have been a mess this season — or at least that’s how it feels. However, they’re 15-13 and just four games out of the top seed in the West and they’ve had Paul George and Kawhi Leonard for just 20 and eight of their 28 games this season.

  This is notable because when both are on the floor, they are outstanding. All lineups with both George and Leonard are +13 points per 100 possessions but those make up just 11.2% of the Clippers’ lineups on the season, per Cleaning the Glass.

  Leonard has been difficult to bet on this season, but I think there are some spots for value. His props on Saturday were set at 17.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. While he has struggled to score this season, never exceeding 16 points, he has recorded over 4.5 rebounds in six of eight games and he’s dished over 3.5 assists in four of those games.

  It seems as if he is rebounding the ball well and is averaging 5.1 rebounds on 8.6 rebound chances this season. If he plays on Monday against the Celtics, I’d look to grab his rebounds prop — Boston is 19th in Rebounding Percentage (49.3%) and with Al Horford and Robert Williams still out, Kawhi should have even more opportunities.

  The Clippers’ rotations have been difficult to gauge, because of the injuries and health issues they have dealt with. However, when we look at the minutes with Leonard and George, we can find a few notable trends. While the offense is solid with them on, it is the defense that is truly outstanding, allowing just 102 points per 100 possessions which is 9.3 points better than the Clippers’ season averages.

  The Clippers are not a team I would want to play over props against when both Kawhi and PG are active and in the lineup. This week, those players are likely Brown and Tatum (Celtics), Anthony Edwards (Timberwolves), Booker (Suns), and Beal (Wizards).

  Those are spots I’d look to fade those aforementioned wings.

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cricket betting analystRams vs. Packers: ‘Monday Night Football’ betting odds, picks, tips

  Week 15 of the NFL season wraps up Monday night with the Green Bay Packers (-7, 39.5) hosting the cricket betting analystPage Not Found Los Angeles Rams at Lambeau Field (ESPN, 8:15 ET).

  After an exciting Sunday of action, we have one more opportunity this week to wager on professional football. So which plays do our analysts like the most?

  Betting analysts Joe Fortenbaugh and Doug Kezirian, fantasy and sports betting analyst Eric Moody, plus ESPN Stats & Information’s Seth Walder and Football Outsiders’ Aaron Schatz provide their top plays for the matchup.

  Note: Lines from Caesars Sportsbook unless otherwise indicated.

  Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET, at Lambeau Field

  Fortenbaugh: Green Bay in a 6-point teaser is the move for me. Drop that line to -1 and then start looking ahead to Week 16 for a suitable tag team partner. At the time of this writing, San Francisco is a 6.5-point home favorite over Washington next Sunday. With extra rest for the Niners, I’d have no problem pairing them up with Green Bay.

  Kezirian: I would absolutely use Green Bay in a teaser with a few different teams, depending on your preference. The Rams had a nice comeback win on Thursday night, but they are thin and Mayfield is not a good quarterback. The Packers should handle a SoCal team in these temperatures.

  Moody: My recommendation is to bet the Packers to cover the spread. The bye came at a perfect time for Green Bay. Rodgers will have Romeo Doubs back to complement Christian Watson and Allen Lazard against a poor Rams defense. The Rams’ pass rush has waned over the last month, and Aaron Donald will miss another game. With the Packers’ offensive line ranking third in pass-block win rate, Rodgers should more have adequate protection to shine. On the flip side, Mayfield ranks near the bottom of the league in terms of both sack rate and interception rate. Plus, the Rams are only 4-10-1 against the spread in their last 15 games.

  Schatz: The Packers’ disintegration this year is a bit overstated. They’ve played a tough schedule, including the seventh-toughest schedule on offense. Adjusting for that, they have an above-average offense. It’s not a great defense, but neither is the Rams defense without Donald. And, while Mayfield’s comeback against the Raiders was great, we can learn more from his performance over the entire season than his performance in just one quarter — and his performance over the entire season has been awful. So I feel pretty good about the Packers winning and covering in this game.

  Fortenbaugh: I’m making a “beer money” bet on Mayfield for over 10.5 rushing yards. Green Bay’s defense has already permitted 340 rushing yards to opposing quarterbacks this season (third-most in the NFL) and Mayfield is still learning Sean McVay’s offense. On the road and under pressure, I expect the former Heisman Trophy winner to try and make something happen when the pocket breaks down.

  Walder: Give me Ben Skowronek over 29.5 receiving yards (-115). In his last two games, Skowronek has played on 97% and 100% of snaps, respectively, so just being out there that often is going to present opportunities. Plus, in the last game against the Raiders, Skowronek caught seven passes (on eight targets) for 89 yards. There’s some extra signal in the most-recent game played anyway, but I have to think it matters even more when there’s a new quarterback in that game, who is starting the next one (as is the case here).

  Moody: I like Rodgers over 1.5 passing touchdowns. A healthy Rodgers, coming off a bye, throwing passes to Watson, Lazard and Doubs? It’s a great spot to surpass this line against a vulnerable Rams secondary. In five of his last seven games, Rodgers has thrown at least two TD passes and, for the Packers to sneak into the playoffs, this is a must-win game.

cricket betting analystWeek 15 betting cheat sheet: Expect plenty of points in Eagles-Bears, Raiders have edge over Pats

  Betting worlds will collide when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5), delivering the league’s most financially rewarding team against the costliest one. This matchup also pits the wiseguys against recreational bettors, affectionately known as “Pros vs. Joes.”

  Tom Brady and the Bucs have only covered a league-worst three games this season (3-9-1 ATS), while Cincy is at the top with a 10-3 ATS mark, covering 10 of its past 11 games. Yet, the Bucs are drawing sharp money, just as they have done nearly every week this season.

  ”I still don’t know what I’m missing with Tampa, other than they are old and bad,” SuperBook head oddsmaker Ed Salmons told ESPN, also referencing how the betting market favored the Bucs over the Chiefs in Week 4. “I argued to open KC as a three-point favorite. They bet it to TB -1.5 and the Chiefs won (convincingly).”

  The irony is palpable. For nearly two decades, the public raced to the counter to back Tom Brady. However, the 45-year-old has been a profitable fade this season, and recreational bettors have turned on their former good luck charm. Reportedly around 80% of wagers on this game are backing Cincinnati.

  ”It would seem like a walk in the park for the visiting team, and that’s where the recreational money is landing,” BetMGM vice president of trading Jason Scott told ESPN. “However, some of the smartest and most successful individuals and syndicates view it through a different lens and are with Brady and the Bucs. BetMGM will be with the pros.”

  A handful of pro bettors have insisted to me that Tampa Bay is the only side worth backing. If this matchup occurred a few weeks ago, the Bucs might be favored at home. While I understand the concept of “line value,” I also remember that sharps backed Tampa last week as 3.5-point underdogs to Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners rolled 35-7.

  I lean to the Cincinnati side, but I just cannot pull the trigger. There are better bets out there on the board.

  Detroit Lions vs. New York Jets (-1, 43.5)

  Sunday, 1:05 p.m. ET, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

  Detroit is back to being the public’s darling, having covered in six straight games. I backed the Lions last week as favorites, but I like the Jets. I would prefer Mike White at quarterback, but I am OK backing Zach Wilson, after waffling a couple of days. Truthfully, this is a bet against Jared Goff, who has a 30 QBR in nine career games when the temperature is below 40 degrees. The former Cal player has more interceptions than touchdowns in such games, and now he faces a stout Jets defense. I also lean to the under, too.

  Pick: Jets -1

  Philadelphia Eagles (-8.5, 48.5) at Chicago Bears

  Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, Soldier Field, Chicago

  This matchup presents a classic look-ahead spot for Philly, which travels to Dallas next week for a high-profile game that already has seen some trash-talking. I do think there is something to be said about the human element, and it would certainly make sense if the Eagles are not entirely focused on the Bears. I lean to the Bears +8.5 for that reason, but I prefer the over. I think Justin Fields will generate enough offense, and the Bears’ defense is fourth worst in efficiency. Seven straight Bears games have gone over for a reason.

  Pick: over 48.5

  New England Patriots at Las Vegas Raiders (-1, 45)

  Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas

  The teacher faces a former pupil, and while Bill Belichick is the better coach, I believe Josh McDaniels has the better roster. This New England team has caught a lot of breaks to linger in the playoff picture. Their seven wins have only come against one true starting quarterback (Jared Goff). The other QBs were Mitchell Trubisky, Jacoby Brissett, Colt McCoy and Wilson (twice). The New England defense is solid, but the Raiders’ offense should be too much for an anemic Pats offense cricket betting analystPage Not Found to match.

  Pick: Raiders -1

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