Value in early week XFL; Pels look for hot post-break start: Best Bets for Thursday (Feb. 23)

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Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) drives past New Orleans Pelicans forward Larry Nance Jr. (22) in the second half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022. The Pelicans won 126-108. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

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 Thursday, Feb. 23:

TOP PLAY

The play: XFL, St. Louis +4.5 over Seattle

The odds: -110

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Time/TV: 9 p.m. (FX, ESPN+)

Our take: Just think about how the casual bettor is going to take on some football league they know nothing about … NO, they’re not going to just watch and not bet it. They’re going to bet the team who has more names they know, the uniforms they think are coolest and the team that’s playing at home.

That means they’re going to be betting on Josh Gordon and Seattle in this one.

Although the Battlehawks are opening up their season with two straight road games, they’re actually doing about the same amount of travel after the Sea Dragons, who have had to come back after a Sunday night game across the country in Washington.

Neither team looked very good offensively, at least not until St. Louis got rolling in the fourth quarter with two touchdown passes from AJ McCarron. Could that propel them in this one? Meanwhile, Brian Hill averaged 9.2 yards on his six carries.

Conversely, Seattle couldn’t hold onto a lead and was shut out in the fourth quarter against the Defenders.

We also like St. Louis to win straight up here, as there’s decent value at +170 on FanDuel (as of early Thursday afternoon), but we’ll take the safe route and the 4.5 points.

COMING BACK STRONG?

The play: NBA, Pelicans +6 over Raptors

The odds: -112

The book: FanDuel Sportsbook

Time/TV: 7:40 p.m. (Bally Sports)

Our take: The All-Star break is over, and we’re counting on Coach Willie Green to have this team ready to make a run like they did last year. (Although this time it’s essential to avoid a play-in game over sneaking in the back door.)

If they’re going to do that, they’re going to have to start strong, and we all will find out a lot about the Pels in the opening week or so back from their time off.

HOW WE’VE FARED

Wednesday’s best bets

Men’s college basketball: Kentucky -2.5 over Florida (WON)

PGA: Min Woo Lee to finish in top 20 in Honda Classic (PENDING)

Wednesday’s record: 1-0, 1 pending

Total for the week: 2-3, 1 pending

Total for February: 18-23, 1 pending

Total for 2023: 43-57, 1 pending

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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