Ness Notes: Monday, Dec 7

by Larry Ness

This column will be available Monday through Friday (posted no later than 1:00 ET), EXCLUSIVELY at BigAl.com. I like to call it my daily 'random thoughts' on the sports betting world, although I'll pass along that my therapist refers to it as "thoughtful commentary."

CBB over the weekend: The biggest news was that Saturday's game between No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2 Baylor was postponed. Gonzaga proceeded with its matchup against Auburn, a 90-67 win, on Nov 27 after one player was held out due to a positive test and another also sat due to contact tracing. After that game, Bulldogs coach Mark Few said a staffer also had tested positive. Then, about an hour before tipoff of Saturday's Baylor-Gonzaga matchup, the teams released a joint announcement about the postponement of the game, saying they had mutually agreed to reschedule the contest after consulting with local officials in Indianapolis following Gonzaga's two positive tests. A more recent update is that Gonzaga will not return to action until Dec 15, which means the Bulldogs will cancel upcoming games against Tarleton, Southern, Northern Arizona and Idaho. Gonzaga is set to face No. 3 Iowa on Dec 19 at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, SD. As I continue to say, "fingers crossed."

Heading into the Friday-Sunday schedule there had been just eight games between ranked teams, with the higher ranked team going 5-3 SU but 3-5 ATS. In contests between ranked and unranked opponents, ranked teams go off to an impressive 51-5 (.918) SU start, while going 34-20-2 (63.0%) ATS. There was only ONE contest from Fri-Sun between ranked opponents and No. 12 Villanova (-1.5) outlasted No. 17 Texas 68-64 on Sunday afternoon in a Big 12/Big East Battle contest in Austin, Texas. Moving to games between ranked and unranked teams, there were seven such games on Friday, just two on Saturday and four on Sunday. Ranked teams went 11-2 SU but were only 4-9 ATS. The SU losers were notable. No. 4 Wisconsin struggled to find an offensive rhythm throughout the game (shot 37.5%) and lost 67-65 on a one-handed put-back at the buzzer by Marquette at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee on Friday. A real shocker came on Sunday, as No. 20 Kentucky's 79-62 loss at Georgia Tech marked the Wildcats' THIRD straight defeat and the first time they have started 1-3 since the 2000-01 season. Kentucky suffered a 76-64 home loss to an unranked Richmond team on Nov 29, before falling by three to No. 7 Kansas in Indianapolis at the Champions Classic last Tuesday. Georgia Tech had opened its season with losses to Georgia State and Mercer before Sunday's victory. The last time Georgia Tech had won a game against a ranked non conference opponent was Nov 21, 2006! There are no games Monday between ranked opponents (the higher ranked team is 6-3 SU and 4-5 ATS in nine such meetings this season) and only two games between a ranked team and an unranked opponent. No. 19 Richmond hosts Wofford (Spiders are favored by 12 1.2-points) and No. 21 Oregon is favored by 13 1/2-points in a home game against Eastern Washington. Adding in the Friday-Sunday numbers, ranked teams are 62-7 (.899) SU and 38-29-2 (56.7%) ATS when facing an unranked opponent.

NFL: There is PLENTY to recap from NFL Week 13 like the 0-12 Jets finding yet another way to lose, while the Jags are right behind them with 11 straight losses. The 10-2 Saints have won NINE in row and maintain a one-game lead over the 9-3 Packers for the NFC's No. 1 seed. The Chiefs are 11-1, meaning the 11-0 Steelers can't afford to 'blink.' The Giants have won FOUR in a row and are a first-place team plus the Browns may just be "for real" at 9-3! My Week 13 recap will be featured Wednesday, after the week concludes with Tuesday's Cowboys/Ravens game in Baltimore. However, up first, it's a MNF doubleheader.

The 8-3 Buffalo Bills and 5-6 San Francisco 49ers meet in MNF (8:15 ET on ESPN/ABC) at the home of the Arizona Cardinals, State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Az. The 49ers' home field is Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Ca and due to new COVID-related restrictions in Santa Clara County San Francisco's "home" games in Week 13 (Buffalo) and Week 14 (Washington) have been relocated to the Cardinals' home stadium. The Bills sit atop the AFC East but Miami's win on Sunday means that Buffalo needs to win here to stay one game up on the Dolphins. As for San Francisco, the defending NFC champs are currently in last place in the NFC West, although a win here would move them to 6-6 and into a tie with Arizona and Minnesota, just ONE game behind 7-5 Tampa Bay, which currently holds the NFC's final wild card spot. The 49ers are a one-point favorite and the over/under is 47 1/2.

FOX will air 4-7 Washington at 11-0 Pittsburgh at 5:00 ET. This contest was originally scheduled for Sunday but was pushed back a day after Pittsburgh's game against Baltimore was postponed three times and finally played Wednesday because of COVID-19 issues. Washington has been off since a 41-16 win over Dallas on Thanksgiving, meaning it will have 11 days between games, compared with five days between games for Pittsburgh. Washington has won two straight games and its 3-2 'surge' has the team at 4-7. All Washington needs to do is beat the undefeated Steelers and it will tie the Giants atop the NFC East. Pittsburgh is favored by 6 1/2-points and the over/under is 43 1/2.

Monday is typically my CFB recap but I'm pushing it back to Tuesday.

Good luck...Larry

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