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, Jan. 28:
The play: College basketball, Kentucky -2½ over Kansas
The odds: -106
The book: FanDuel Sportsbook
Time/TV: 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Our take: A few weeks ago, when Kansas was 14-1 and ranked No. 2 and Kentucky shockingly had just lost to South Carolina, this line would have been unfathomable. Even on the road, the Jayhawks would have been favored by something close to five points.
But the last few weeks have changed the equation significantly. Kansas has three straight (speaking of unfathomable), and even before that had two great escapes at home. Kentucky has righted its ship big-time, winning four straight, including a big upset at Tennessee and a nice home win to hand Texas A&M its only Southeastern Conference loss.
The Jayhawks also figure to have problems with Kentucky’s returning national player of the year, 6-foot-9 monster in the middle, Oscar Tshiebwe. He’ll cause problems for Kansas’ leading scorer, Jalen Wilson, and on the other end, it’s hard to see who’s going to guard Tshiebwe and keep him off the glass.
Add to that recent form the rollicking home-court advantage of Rupp Arena — let’s just say that between this and Kansas’ home arena, Allen Fieldhouse, the home team is more than a bit likely to get the benefit of some calls — and we have a solid bet in one of the showcase games of the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. (There are quite a few good games in this Saturday event, but the other one that’s appointment viewing immediately precedes this: Texas at Tennessee.)
PGA FINISHING POSITION
The play: PGA Farmers Insurance Open, Collin Morikawa to finish top 5
The odds: -105
The book: FanDuel Sportsbook
Time/TV: 2:09 p.m. (Golf Channel coverage at 2:30 p.m.; CBS at 4:30 p.m.)
Our take: One of the first full-field PGA events of the year comes to a finish Saturday at Torrey Pines in San Diego — it’s a special early finish to clear the way for the NFL games Sunday — and there are plenty of values to be found.
Jon Rahm, who has simply dominated the PGA Tour in the first month of the season, is a solid bet to win at +125. He trails Sam Ryder by two strokes but has been stalking him for two days, with a couple of incredible birdie streaks bringing him closer and closer. A matchup bet available at DraftKings also is intriguing: Max Homa -115 to have a better final round than an out-of-form Justin Thomas.
But the bet we’re going with is on Morikawa, who has the best numbers of the weekend in both ball-striking and approach shots. The only thing that hasn’t clicked for him is the putter, and that’s a notoriously fickle part of the game, even for a pro. It could change in a hurry. Regardless, Morikawa sits tied for fourth entering the final round, so to get plus money on a top-five bet is excellent value.
HOW WE’VE FARED
NBA: Thunder -1 vs. Cavaliers (WON $30)
Australian Open: Elena Rybakina over Aryna Sabalenka (LOST $10)
Friday’s record: 1-1
Total for the week: 2-7
Total for January: 22-29
Total for 2023: 22-29
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).