Today has been a big day for changes among NFL coaching staffs. First, the Buccaneers did what most expected and announced the firing of offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich as a part of a more significant overall shakeup on the coaching staff. Then there was the news of the Baltimore Ravens parting with longtime offensive coordinator Greg Roman.
So both teams will have new play-callers next season, and both could also have new quarterbacks. Nobody knows Tom Brady's plans for 2023, but few people believe he'll be back in Tampa if he decides to continue playing. As for Lamar Jackson, you're guess is as good as mine. Does Roman's exit make it less likely Lamar will return? More likely? It's looking like the NFL offseason will be a wild one. You know, when it starts. We do still have quite a few playoff games to get through!
- Which MLB teams have improved the most this winter?
- It's never normal with Jim Harbaugh.
- I graded each of college football's second-year coaches.
OK, now let's bet on some fine scholars.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
No. 3 Purdue at Minnesota, 7 p.m. | TV: ESPN2
- Key Trend: Purdue has the most efficient offense in the country.
- The Pick: Purdue Over 73.5 (-110)
I have mixed feelings regarding Purdue as a contender for the national title. On one hand, it has the most efficient offense in the country, led by a giant in Zach Edey, who should be considered a favorite to win the National Player of the Year. I don't know who is out there that can stop him over the long haul. But overall, I've seen too many instances of teams like Purdue, who dominate conference play during the season, thanks to a giant man, get exposed by the bad matchup in the NCAA Tournament.
As far as tonight's game, Minnesota blew me up last week when they upset Ohio State on the road, but nothing has changed about this Minnesota team. It's still the worst team in the Big Ten by far. It turns out I was too high on Ohio State (as further evidenced by the Buckeyes losing to Nebraska last night). Tonight is a matchup nightmare for the Gophers.
They can't drag Edey away from the bucket, nor do they have the ability to stop anybody else. It's a matchup of the Big Ten's best offense in conference play and its worst defense. The Gophers hung with Illinois earlier this week in the first half when the Illini had foul trouble, but once the second half started, the Gophers were run out of their gym. Purdue won't move as quickly, but I have no idea what Minnesota can do defensively to slow the Boilermakers down.
I don't hate Purdue on the spread, either, but with this being the second of consecutive road games, I think there's added security in simply betting the Boilermakers to score a bunch of points, no matter what the Gophers do offensively.
Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: If you're looking for a more traditional play in this one, the Projection Model and I are thinking along the same line when it comes to the total.
💰 More College Basketball Picks
Michigan at Maryland, 7 p.m. | TV: ESPN
The Pick: Maryland -2.5 (-110) --The Wolverines are not as good as anticipated and the market hasn't caught on yet. They began the year as a top-25 team in the eyes of pollsters and power ratings, but are only 10-7. Their most impressive win is either Penn State or vs. this same Maryland team.
And it's that first game against Maryland in Ann Arbor that's skewing this line a bit too much. Michigan won 81-46. It was an epic blowout, but Michigan wasn't incredible that day. More than anything, Maryland was truly awful. It was 46-13 at halftime, and Maryland -- a team that has shot 54% from inside the arc on the season, mind you -- was 13/43 from two (30.2%) that night. I don't expect a repeat performance. None of which is to say Michigan won't win tonight, because it very well might, but this line is giving Michigan a little more credit than it deserves.
Loyola Marymount at No. 6 Gonzaga, 9 p.m. | TV: WCC Network
The Pick: Gonzaga -16.5 (-110) -- I've shifted how I approach Gonzaga. For years, I've felt the Zags were overvalued -- particularly in conference play. That's not the case this season. I don't think the Zags are getting enough credit right now. They're 16-3, but their three losses have come to Texas, Purdue and Baylor. Wins against Michigan State and Kentucky early in the year have proven to be a little less impressive than initially thought, but there was also a 10-point win over a very good Alabama team last month.
In conference play, the Zags are 5-0, but have had closer games than usual in wins over San Francisco, Santa Clara and BYU. However, while the gap between Gonzaga and the league's other good teams might be narrowing, it's still pretty wide between Gonzaga and everybody else. Loyola Marymount falls into that everybody else tier, and tonight's result will reflect that. Unless Cam Shelton goes off for the Lions, Gonzaga should coast.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Looking for an NBA play tonight? The Projection Model can't believe its A-eyes with what it's seeing in tonight's game between the Celtics and Warriors. It has an A-graded play for the spread.