Ness Notes: Wednesday, Jan 13

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: There were two top-25 matchups in Tuesday's play (No. 2 Baylor home to No. 13 West Va was postponed), No. 7 Michigan hosting No. 9 Wisconsin and No. 19 Duke playing at No. 20 Va Tech. Juwan Howard's Michigan team is "for real," as it overwhelmed No. 9 Wisconsin with a 36-3 outburst spanning the two halves and rolled to a 77-54 victory at Ann Arbor. Michigan's lead topped out at 40 points midway through the second half and maintained sole possession of first place in the Big Ten at 6-0. The Duke/Va Tech contest marked the first ACC game this season with both teams holding national rankings at the time of the game. Duke was playing only its second road game of the season and Virginia Tech opened an 18-point lead in the first half. Duke climbed within 64-59 with less than eight minutes remaining but the Hokies held on for a 74-67 win. Two top-10 teams were scheduled to play last night but No. Tennessee had its game at Vandy postponed. No. 6 Kansa played at unranked Oklahoma St and lost 75-70.

No. 4 Texas (10-1) is home to No. 15 Texas Tech (10-3) in the lone Wednesday game involving ranked opponents. Texas returns home off a thrilling 72-70 win at then-No. 14 West Virginia on Saturday in which Andrew Jones hit the game-winning three-pointer with 1.8 seconds remaining. Texas continued its best start in Big 12 play since the 2010-11 season, when it began league play with 11 straight wins. Higher ranked teams are 25-11 (.694) SU but just 20-16 (55.6%) ATS in meetings between ranked opponents Y-T-D. Texas is favored by 2 1/2-points. Three ranked teams are in action against unranked opponents. 8-1 Louisville went from unranked to No. 16 in Monday's poll and will play at 3-3 Wake Forest (Cardinals are favored by eight points). 7-2 Virginia is ranked 18th and is home to 3-7 Notre Dame (Cavs are favored by 9 1/2-points points), while 9-3 Ohio St is back in the top-25 at No. 21, after a one-week absence. The Buckeyes will host 6-4 Northwestern, which comes in on a three-game slide. Ohio St is favored by eight points.

NHL: The league announced that 27 players had confirmed positive COVID-19 tests during training camps, which concluded Tuesday.  Seventeen of those players were members of the Dallas Stars, who shut down their training facilities last Friday after an outbreak. Dallas' first three games -- at Florida on Thursday and Friday and at Tampa Bay on Sunday -- have been postponed. The defending Western Conference champions are now tentatively set to open at the Lightning on Jan. 19 in a Stanley Cup Final rematch. Wednesday's Opening Night features a tripleheader on NBCSN: Pittsburgh at Philadelphia (5:30 ET), Chicago at defending champion Tampa Bay (8:00 ET) and St Louis at Colorado (10:00 ET).

NBA: More news comes from the NBA, which postponed four games this week because of COVID-19 issues, including three that involved the Boston Celtics. Along with Celtics, the Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, Dallas Mavericks, Washington Wizards and Chicago Bulls are all dealing with significant issues in fielding the required eight players because of positive tests and contact tracing. The Lakers beat the Rockets 117-100 last night (2nd win in three nights at Houston) to up their NBA-best record to 9-3. ESPN features a Wednesday doubleheader, as the 6-6 Nets are in MSG to take on the 5-6 Knicks at 7:35 ET (Nets are favored by 5 1/2-points). The nightcap is at 10:05 ET In LA, as the 4-5 Pelicans take on the 7-4 Clippers (LA is favored by 7 1/2-points). Speaking of LA, the Lakers are "back at it" again tonight in OKC, where they are favored by eight points over the 5-5 Thunder.

LSU 2019 vs Alabama 2020 comparison moved to Thursday's Notes with NFL Division Round preview set for Friday.

Good luck...Larry

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