Jalen Wilson Getty Kansas Jayhawks
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Hello, it's Monday, and if it's alright with you, I'd like to be insufferable for a bit before getting to tonight's picks. The NFL's Divisional Round games were played over the weekend, and the winners were the Chiefs, Bengals, 49ers and Eagles. That means the Chiefs will host the AFC Championship for the fifth straight year, and the 49ers will play in the NFC Championship for the third time in four years.

Kansas City, Cincinnati and San Francisco also reached the conference title games last season. Philadelphia is the lone newcomer, and the Eagles went 14-3 to earn a first-round bye.

Why am I mentioning this? Well, because I'm a college football writer, and for years I've had to deal with people telling me expanding the College Football Playoff is the only way to bring parity to the sport. The NFL expanded its playoff to 14 teams last year. It went from giving four teams first-round byes to only two, and guess what?

It's still the same teams reaching this point of the postseason.

One might start to believe that, when it comes to parity in the NFL, people aren't talking about different teams being able to win the Super Bowl. Instead, it's that you don't see 35-point favorites in NFL games like you do in college games.

Parity doesn't exist when it comes to champions. In the NFL, you either have the QB, or you don't. In college, you have 5-star players, or you don't. No matter how many teams you put in your playoff, that will never change.

Thank you for suffering my thoughts on this subject for the billionth time. As a reward, here are some excellent stories to read, followed by some picks that could win!

OK, let's make some money

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

No. 9 Kansas at No. 17 Baylor, 9 p.m. | TV: ESPN

Latest Odds: Kansas Jayhawks +2
  • Key Trend: Baylor is 6-9-1 ATS as a favorite this season.
  • The Pick: Kansas +2 (-110)

The Kansas Jayhawks have lost two straight games, which begs the question: do the Kansas Jayhawks stink, and should Bill Self be fired? OK, so that's two questions, but they're both ridiculous, so the fact I can't count shouldn't matter. What matters is that, no, the Jayhawks do not suddenly stink.

They lost on the road in overtime against a good Kansas State team last week, and on Saturday, they were blitzed at home by another good team in TCU. The Horned Frogs jumped out to an early lead and shot 54.4 percent from the field, including 8-of-15 from three in the game. Kansas could never dig itself out of the hole because the Frogs refused to miss.

Jonathan Coachman is joined by  Jon "Buckets" Eimer and  Larry Hartstein to dish out Monday's best bets. Download and follow The Early Edge on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.  

Tonight the Jayhawks will face another good team on the road (that's just how life is in the Big 12) in Baylor. Like Kansas, Baylor has lost to TCU at home this season and to Kansas State in overtime. Also, like Kansas, Baylor has a good offense. It's one of the best offenses in the country.

However, what makes the Jayhawks attractive to me in this spot is that they've been better on the defensive end of the floor than the Bears have this season. The Jayhawks rank 19th in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom, while Baylor ranks 93rd. More troublesome for Baylor, while it has a defensive efficiency of 99.4 on the season, that number has ballooned to 111.9 in the Big 12. That's the worst number in the league. Baylor also ranks first in offensive efficiency in conference play, but the lack of defense makes it very hard to trust the Bears as favorites. It's a big reason Baylor is only 6-9-1 ATS as a favorite this season.

Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Projection Model doesn't see much value anywhere in this game tonight, however, SportsLine expert Matt Severance has a play on the moneyline.

💰The Picks

DeAaron Fox Ja Morant Getty Kings Grizzlies
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Grizzlies at Kings, 10:30 p.m | TV: NBA TV

Latest Odds: Sacramento Kings -4

The Pick: Kings +1.5 (-110) -- Unless you're a die-hard NBA fan, there's a good chance you don't know what's happening in the Western Conference. The defending champion Golden State Warriors are clinging to the 10th seed and a spot in the play-in tournament. The Lakers wouldn't be in the playoffs if the season ended now, and the Suns would be in the play-in with the Warriors. Meanwhile, the top four teams in the conference are Denver, Memphis, Sacramento and New Orleans.

Denver, Memphis and New Orleans being good aren't huge surprises. But Sacramento? The Kings haven't made the playoffs since 2006! Sucking is their brand! But not this year. This year the Kings are good, and they're undervalued at home tonight as underdogs against a Memphis team that's also very good but is only 8-14-1 ATS on the road and 9-17-1 ATS against the Western Conference. Take the Kings. I know it's not a sentence you're used to seeing, but neither is "potential playoff preview" in a game between the Kings and Grizzlies, but that's precisely what we have happening here.

🏀 College Basketball

No. 25 New Mexico at Nevada, 9 p.m | TV: CBS Sports Network

Latest Odds: New Mexico Lobos +3.5

The Pick: New Mexico +3.5 (-110) -- I often look to take advantage of inflated lines due to teams being ranked that probably shouldn't be, but tonight I'm going in the opposite direction. New Mexico appears at No. 25 in the latest AP Poll. I'm happy for it. The Lobos are 18-2 on the season and deserve recognition. That said, they're not one of the 25 best teams in the country. They may not be one of the 40 best.

That said, they're better than Nevada, and even on the road, I like their chances of winning this game outright. Nevada doesn't like to move quickly, but if New Mexico can force the issue tonight and make the Wolf Pack play at their pace, we could see the upset. New Mexico has been excellent from three in conference play, and that's an area Nevada has struggled to defend. If there's a concern, it's Nevada's size advantage, but the Lobos do an excellent job of rebounding despite their lack of size. 

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: The Projection Model has a healthy lean toward one side of the spread in tonight's game between the Boston Celtics and Orlando Magic.