There was a tweet Sunday night from the NFL NextGen Stats account that caused a stir. It was about the fumble by Baltimore quarterback Tyler Huntley at the goal line that was returned 98 yards for a Bengals touchdown and read: “How close was Tyler Huntley to crossing the plane with the football? According to the chip in the football, the closest the ball got to the end zone was 0.6 yards from the goal line.”
The general reaction from the public was, “there’s a chip in the football?! If there’s a chip in the football, why are we relying on the eyes of officials to place the ball after every snap when the chip can tell us exactly where the ball was!?”
Yes, the NFL can put chips in the football,. The chip in the ball can tell you where the ball is. It can’t tell you when a player’s knee, elbow or any part of his body touched the ground. And even if it could, do you realize how long it would take to relay that information to the officials so that they could spot the ball at the precise location it was when the play ended? Games would take six hours. Use common sense, people.
And speaking of common sense decisions, read these wonderful stories from the fine scribes of CBSSports.com.
Now let’s figure out what to do with the final game of the Wild Card Round.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
- Key Trend: The over is 4-1 in Tampa’s last five and 5-2 in Dallas’ last seven.
- The Pick: Over 45.5 (-110)
Tom Brady being 7-0 against Dallas is noteworthy, but it doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot to me tonight. Nor does the meeting between these two in the first week of the season — which Tampa won 19-3 — because a lot has changed since then (Dak Prescott suffered an injury that would cost him the next five games and Tampa has suffered roughly a billion injuries as the season went on).
While the Bucs claim to be healthier than they’ve been in a long time after resting a lot of players last week, I’m in more of a “believe it when I see it” mode. So I am not betting on the Bucs tonight. But by betting the over, I’m showing some faith in the Tampa offense being healthy. Also noteworthy it that, while Micah Parsons is fantastic, the Cowboys’ defense as a whole has suffered lately.
Losing corners Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis during the season hurt the Dallas secondary. Given Tampa’s struggles running the ball, and Dallas’ ability to stop the run, I think it’s easy to figure out how the Bucs will try to move the ball against the Cowboys tonight. On the other side, when Dak isn’t giving the ball away, the Cowboys’ offense is one of the best in the league, and it will put up points against this Tampa defense.
Plus, even if Dak does turn the ball over, it could provide Tampa’s offense with a short field and increase its chances of scoring even further. Long story short, we’ve seen a lot of fun playoff games already this weekend, and I get the feeling tonight will be another one.
Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: SportsLine’s Larry Hartstein is 15-3 in his last 18 ATS picks involving the Cowboys, so maybe you should check out what he has to say?
Rockets at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. | TV: NBA TV
The Pick: Rockets +5.5 (-110) — Last night, LeBron James crossed the 38,000-point mark for his career. First of all, that’s incredible. Perhaps more important to this play, though, is that you have to play a long time to score 38,000 points in a career. And LeBron did it last night in a game he had to play 35 minutes in, and his team lost. Of course, the Sixers are much better than the Rockets team the Lakers will face tonight, but the Lakers have not played well on the second night of back-to-backs.
They’re 2-4 straight up and ATS in such situations. Yes, the Rockets played last night, and this is their fourth road game in a row, but last night’s game was in the same building tonight’s game will be played in. Consider the chance that LeBron could end up sitting this one out (he’s sat out the second leg of three of LA’s back-to-backs this season), and the Rockets become an even more attractive option here.
🏀 College Basketball
Cal State Bakersfield at Cal State Fullerton, 10 p.m. | TV: ESPN+
The Pick: Cal State Bakersfield +9.5 (-110) — Late-night degeneracy! You love it! So, as you’ve probably figured out by now, with a lot of daytime action due to the holiday, we’re a bit limited in our options tonight. I’m not going to lie to you and tell you I have watched a lot of Cal State Bakersfield and Cal State Fullerton action. I haven’t seen a second of either team. This is strictly a numbers play, and my numbers tell me that the mighty Roadrunners of Bakersfield aren’t getting enough respect with this line!
The reasoning is basic: while Fullerton is a better team, both move at a glacier-like pace offensively, and neither is prolific. The Titans do a good job of getting to the foul line but don’t shoot well there. They’re decent from three but rarely shoot threes. Also, while they’re not good, Bakersfield isn’t terrible defensively. They’re more solidly below average and have been quite a bit better in conference play. If you get nine points or more with the Roadrunners, they’re worth a play tonight.
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: SportsLine’s Mike McClure has shared all his favorite plays and a potential same game parlay for tonight’s playoff game.