LA Bowl between Fresno State-Washington State and a Saturday NFL teaser: Best bets for Dec. 17

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Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener looks to pass the ball against Boise State during the first half of an NCAA college football game for the Mountain West championship, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Boise, Idaho. (AP Photo/Otto Kitsinger)

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 Saturday, Dec. 17:

TOP PLAY

The play: LA Bowl, Fresno State -4 over Washington State

The odds/bet: -110 ($33 to win $30)

The book: Caesars Sportsbook

Time/TV: 3:30 p.m. (ABC)

Our take: When betting bowl games, two major factors to consider are the motivation of the teams involved and opt-outs. To that end, Washington State had seven starters opt out of this one, including several key starters at wide receiver, left tackle and linebacker.

Fresno State, on the other hand, seems to be all-in. Quarterback Jake Haener wouldn’t have surprised anyone by passing on the bowl game to prepare for the NFL draft, but he said he wants to don the Bulldogs uniform one last time. That feels like a powerful motivator for a program that historically has had success against Pac-12 teams.

That’s opt-outs and motivation, both in Fresno’s favor. That’s a bet that even title sponsor Jimmy Kimmel can’t make fun of.

SATURDAY NFL ACTION

The play: NFL teaser, Colts-Vikings OVER 41.5/Bills -1 over Dolphins

The odds/bet: -120 ($24 to win $30)

The book: Caesars Sportsbook

Time/TV: Colts-Vikings, 1 p.m.; Dolphins-Bills, 8:15 p.m. (both NFL Network)

Our take: None of the Saturday NFL lines seem particularly soft, so we’re going with a teaser here on a side and a total that both make a lot of sense. The Vikings have been an over team all season, with a productive offense full of stars and a terrible defense full of holes. Minnesota has played as many games above 60 points (three) as it has under 40 (also three, and two of those were the first two weeks of the season).

You can’t speak as highly of the Colts’ offense, of course, but playing on turf indoors should help them a bit, as should coming off a bye week. Indianapolis will move the ball enough to help get this number up over the teaser number of 41.5.

Later, the Bills -7 is tricky against the Dolphins because the game could be played in snow and wind, but by teasing this down to 1, we’re essentially just betting on Buffalo to win the game. Miami is playing poorly and in a terrible schedule spot, a short week trip to Buffalo after back-to-back West Coast games. The Bills want to cement away the division, and they’ll get the job done, for themselves and for us.

HOW WE’VE FARED

Friday’s best bets

College football, Troy-UTSA OVER 56.5 (LOST $33)

NBA, Thunder -2.5 over Timberwolves (LOST $11)

Friday’s profit/loss: -$44 (0-2)

Total for the week: -$97 (4-6)

Total for December: -$165.50 (13-19)

Total for 2022: +$206.90 (327-349)

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, $100 would bring in $140 (or $10 to win $14).

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