Big profits could come from betting these NCAAF small-conference teams

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We’ve finally reached the end of season destination in college football. It’s the grand finale of the regular season this week. But before we pencil in conference championships and future bowl matchups, lets look at our last under the radar matchups from Covers Expert Zack Cimini.

Team to Watch – UNLV Rebels

This Week: +3 @ Nevada Wolfpack

In-state rivalry matchups mean you can always toss out the records. That is the case Saturday as UNLV (5-6 SU) takes on Nevada (2-9 SU).

The obvious motivation for UNLV lies with the chance to secure a bowl game for the first time under Coach Tony Sanchez. To accomplish the feat the Rebels will rely on freshman quarterback Armani Rogers. Rogers returned from injury to lead the Rebels to victory in last week’s 38-35 victory over New Mexico.

One has to wonder if jitters will play a role for the freshman Saturday.

Team to Beware – Louisiana Tech Bulldogs

This week: -2 vs UTSA Roadrunners

Another bowl opportunity lies Saturday as Louisiana Tech (5-6) aims to secure a spot. Their opponent, UTSA, already secured their sixth victory and bowl game appearance with a close 9-7 victory over Marshall last week.

With a bowl game appearance already locked up, UTSA has the weight off of their shoulders. That’s an added bonus on the field against a Louisiana Tech team that has high pressure on their home field.

Having lost four of their last six games, it may be too little to late for the Bulldogs.

Total team – Appalachian State Mountaineers

This week O/U: 52 @ Georgia State Panthers

The reverse of top conference play seen by Appalachian State this year has been mind-boggling. They’re 6-4 and have had to multiple deficits for some of their wins.

Georgia State has also had an up and down year. Quarterback Conner Manning and lethal wide receiver Penny Hart are as potent of a combo as there is in the Sun Belt.

From a total perspective Appalachian State gets their top tailback in Jalin Moore back from injury.

Furthermore, Georgia State will be well rested as they had a bye week last Saturday.

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NCAAF | theScore

3 takeaways from the Celtics’ nail-biting 16th straight win

Surprise, surprise. Kyrie Irving and the undermanned Boston Celtics added a 16th straight victim to their list as they defeated the Dallas Mavericks 110-102 in an overtime thriller.

The Mavericks kept it close and looked as if they were going to pull away in the fourth, going up by 13 with a little more than seven minutes to go. What they forgot was that no lead is safe against the scrappy Celtics.

Here are three takeaways from the game:

Kyrie Irving: Part-time magician

This is what the Celtics were expecting from Irving when they traded for him. This is why they were willing to give up the heart of the roster last season and a likely lottery pick. It doesn’t matter who Boston is going up against, Kyrie is here to finish.

It’s not always fair to look at Irving’s box score as proof of his value. What’s important is that the Celtics have someone who they can rely on to create on his own.

Irving ended the game with 47 points on 22 shots. That’s textbook efficiency. He got to the free-throw line 11 times, hitting 10 and nailed five threes on seven attempts.

He came up with a huge steal, quickly got down the floor, and found Jayson Tatum for the alley-oop finish to tie the game at 96. He didn’t just close the game by scoring tonight; he did everything else.

Marcus Smart: Full-time nightmare

No player can be defined as a bad dream quite like Marcus Smart. He started the game 0-8 from three, and considering he’s shooting 27.3 percent, that shouldn’t be a surprise. However, in typical Smart fashion, he hit a three with 1:24 left in regulation to bring the Celtics to within two points.

He has clear offensive deficiencies that cause Celtics fans headaches, but he’s also a demon on defense to balance it out. Smart was a bulldog the entire fourth quarter. The Mavericks tried to switch him onto Dirk a few times down the stretch; the problem is that it doesn’t matter how tall you are, Smart will stop you. Dallas learned that the hard way.

Young guns did it again

It’s still astonishing to see Tatum and Jaylen Brown out there in crunch time. It isn’t the fact that they’re playing, but that they’re contributing to winning basketball.

Tatum is 18 games into his NBA career and he’s already running the floor and finishing with contact like a veteran. He finished the game with 15 points and nine rebounds. He also did an outstanding job on Harrison Barnes on the Mavs’ final shot in regulation.

As for Brown, what can be said about a sophomore being second in scoring on the NBA’s best team? He finished the game with 22 points and nine rebounds, hitting the go-ahead jumper in overtime. Clutch.

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NBA | theScore

Bears’ Miller returns from hospital 3 weeks after horrific leg injury

Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller has been released from the hospital three weeks after sustaining a gruesome leg injury.

Miller suffered the damage during an Oct. 29 loss to the New Orleans Saints on a play that was originally ruled a touchdown. While trying to secure the ball in the end zone, Miller's leg bent horribly and he was carted off the field.

The 33-year-old underwent immediate surgery to save his leg and was then flown to Chicago, where he remained in the hospital until this week.

Miller was clearly ecstatic to get out on Monday.

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NFL | theScore

2-time All-Star, NBA champ David Lee confirms retirement from NBA

Prolific old-school big man David Lee took to social media Sunday to announce his playing days have indeed come to an end.

“An epic night celebrating my retirement with my friends and family!” Lee posted on Instagram.

Lee was selected to play in the All-Star game twice – in 2010 as a member of the Knicks and 2013 with the Warriors. In that latter season, the 6-foot-9 power forward was also named to the All-NBA Third Team, playing a significant role in the Warriors' offense in the first season with both Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson as full-time starters.

If the 2012-13 season was Lee's high watermark for individual achievement, the highlight of his overall career was two years later, when his Warriors captured the 2014-15 championship over LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers.

In many ways, it was Lee’s frequent injuries toward the end of his tenure with Golden State that opened the door for Draymond Green’s emergence – and arguably contributed to the league-wide shift toward small-ball lineups.

Neither a rim protector nor a long-range threat, Lee's particular interior, offensive skillset made him and similar big men an endangered species in the modern NBA. While even true centers like Marc Gasol, DeMarcus Cousins, and Brook Lopez are now connecting on 3-point shots at a reasonably efficient rate, Lee only made one 3-pointer (on 30 attempts) in his career.

Lee last played for the San Antonio Spurs in 2016-17, averaging 7.3 points and 5.6 rebounds in 18.7 minutes per game. In June, Lee declined a player option for the 2017-18 season worth approximately $ 2.3 million, electing to become a free agent.

Even if the NBA is plainly in Lee’s rear view, things are looking up for the 34-year-old. Earlier this month, Lee and tennis superstar Caroline Wozniacki – the WTA No. 3-ranked singles player – announced their engagement.

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NBA | theScore

Report: Lynn drawing interest from Orioles

After reporting earlier Saturday that the Baltimore Orioles are interested in free-agent pitcher Alex Cobb, Jon Morosi of MLB Network indicates the club is also taking a look at Lance Lynn, citing a source.

The Orioles are still thought to have a slight preference for Cobb, partly because of his AL East experience, Morosi adds.

In his first season back from Tommy John surgery, the 30-year-old Lynn posted a 3.43 ERA and 4.82 FIP over 186 1/3 innings for the St. Louis Cardinals. Traditionally a workhorse, Lynn has managed to pitch at least 175 innings in each season since 2012, with 2016 – which he sat out entirely – as the lone exception.

Cobb and Lynn both represent the second tier of pitching on the free-agent market this offseason. The pair of right-handers are set to draw substantial interest, but will lure decidedly less in term and salary than Yu Darvish or former Orioles pitcher Jake Arrieta.

As a team, the Orioles had the fourth-worst starting rotation last year, according to FanGraphs WAR. The team also posted MLB's worst ERA (5.70).

Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman were the only qualified starters for the Orioles this past year, putting up a 4.24 ERA and 4.68 ERA, respectively. The nine other pitchers the Orioles relied upon to make at least one start combined for 0.2 WAR. They were especially weighed down by Chris Tillman and his 8.12 ERA through 85 1/3 innings.

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MLB | theScore

She’s Dope: Listen To Bossin’ From Roc Nation Signee Neisha Nesha [Audio]

Roc Nation Welcomes Neisha Nesha To Their Roster

Singer Neisha Neshae dropped her new single “Bossin” produced by Helluva (Tee Grizzley “First Day Out” and “From The D to The A”) and also announced being signed to Roc Nation. Congratulations!!

Neisha is originally from Michigan,a nd has been putting in work for a minute. Her song “On A Cloud” went viral, landing her deal. We can look forward to her debut EP “Queenin”, coming soon according to her team.

“Queenin’ means being a boss lady, overcoming obstacles and being an overachiever as a woman,” she says of the EP’s title. “You have to have a tough skin out here, and I’ve been through enough in my life to develop that skin. I’m at a point where I can inspire people to do the same.”

This song knocks!


Bossip

Lonzo on walking away from scuffle: ‘I ain’t trying to get no tech’

Lonzo is a Big Baller, not a fighter.

As the Los Angeles Lakers' Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Phoenix Suns guard Tyler Ulis got into a shoving match late in the fourth quarter Friday at Staples Center, Ball was seen walking away toward his bench, choosing not to join the melee.

Believing the two weren’t actually going to throw down, he erred on the side of caution.

“It’s the NBA. People ain’t really going to fight. I ain’t trying to get no tech,” said Ball following the Lakers’ 122-113 loss, according to The Vertical’s Michael Lee.

The No. 2 pick was the only Laker on the floor who wasn’t involved in the fracas, with Brook Lopez, Kyle Kuzma, and Brandon Ingram getting in the middle to separate KCP and Ulis.

Ball, who finished with six points on 3-of-7 shooting against Phoenix, has been derided for his inconsistent and sometimes lackadaisical play through 16 games, and this latest incident may open him up to criticism once again.

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NBA | theScore

6 Things We Learned From Safaree on The Breakfast Club

For the longest time Safaree’s been known as Nicki Minaj’s man or Nicki Minaj’s ex. So for the past year and change the Brooklyn rapper’s been trying to change that label by stepping out on his own with his own music and joining the cast of Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood.

So yesterday Nicki Minaj’s ex dropped by The Breakfast Club for a second to give an entertaining interview where he spoke on his affection for furs, his lack of communication with his famous ex-wifey, and why he cried on that episode of Love & Hip Hop.

Here are the 6 things we learned from Safaree on The Breakfast Club.

Photo: Power 105

The post 6 Things We Learned From Safaree on The Breakfast Club appeared first on Hip-Hop Wired.

Hip-Hop Wired

Rivers cleared from concussion, will play vs. Bills

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has been cleared to play against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday by an independent neurological consultant after suffering a concussion last week, the team announced Friday.

Head coach Anthony Lynn said earlier in the week that he was hopeful Rivers would play, but he had still needed to be medically cleared.

Rivers had been officially deemed questionable after Friday’s practice, which was the second straight day he was able to participate fully.

The veteran quarterback was diagnosed with a concussion Monday after reporting symptoms, though it appeared he suffered the injury on his final play of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars attempting to make a tackle on an interception return.

Rivers has started every game since the beginning of the 2006 season, making Sunday’s contest his 195th consecutive start.

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NFL | theScore