A strange Pelicans point spread, plus Pac-12 title game pick: Best Bets for Dec. 2

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Utah safety Sione Vaki, right, gestures after making a stop as safety R.J. Hubert joins in the celebration in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Colorado, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Each day, one of our experts will offer up a best bet (or two or three) that mobile sportsbooks are offering. It might be a traditional spread bet, a player prop or one of the various odds boosts that books offer.

Here are our best bets for Friday, Dec. 2:

TOP PLAY

The play: NBA, Pelicans -7 at Spurs

The odds/bet: -107 ($32.10 to win $30)

The book: PointsBet

Time/TV: 8 p.m. (Bally Sports)

Our take: Don’t look now, but the New Orleans Pelicans are fulfilling all the promise they showed during last year’s surprise Western Conference playoffs appearance.

The Pelicans have won seven of their past nine to improve to 13-8 and into the No. 3 position in the conference standings. This despite a litany of minor injuries and illnesses that affected every top player on the team. New Orleans has only had all three stars — Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum — present for 10 of 21 games, but they seem to play just as well when one of them is out.

Ingram and defensive wizard Herb Jones will miss this one, but that just gives us an opportunity to pounce on a line that’s too low.

To wit: During New Orleans’ 7-2 stretch, six of the victories have come by at least 11 points — the Pelicans are blowing teams out thanks to a suffocating defense and Zion’s emerging offensive prowess. On the flip side, the Spurs, clearly happy to increase their chances for the No. 1 pick and the chance to select Victor Wembanyana, have lost nine straight, all but one of them by at least seven points.

So how is this spread only -7? Grab it before it goes up.

PAC-12 TITLE GAME

The play: College football, Utah +3 over USC in Pac-12 title game

The odds/bet: -115 ($11.50 to win $10)

The book: Caesars Sportsbook

Our take: I mentioned this in my college football betting column this week, so click the link for a full analysis. The CliffsNotes is that the Utes are a better defensive team and have all the ingredients to take this game down to the wire. In the teams’ first meeting, the Utes won 43-42 despite falling behind 14-0, with quarterback Cameron Rising (415 yards passing) and wide receiver Dalton Kincaid (16 catches, 234 yards!).

USC surely will make some adjustments, but so will Utah coach Kyle Whittingham and his staff, which beat Oregon twice last year en route to the conference title.

Expect this crucial game to come down to the wire, and in that case, three points are going to come in handy.

HOW WE’VE FARED

Thursday’s best bets

NFL: Patriots +3½ over Bills (LOST $21)

NFL: Josh Allen OVER 45½ yards rushing (LOST $11)

Thursday’s profit/loss: +$32 (0-2)

Total for the week: +$120.90 (6-2)

Total for November: +$335.30 (35-26)

Total for 2022: +$351.40 (314-332)

NOTE: If a line or odds are minus, it considers the juice one must lay to place the bet. Ex: Team A is -160 on the money line, one would have to bet $160 to win $100 (or $16 to win $10). OR Team B is a 5-point favorite at -110, one would have to bet $110 to win $100 (or $11 to win $10.)

Conversely, on positive lines, if Team C is +140 on the money line, a $100 would bring in $140 (or $10 to win $14).

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