Picking games on a Sunday is easy. There are too many of them. Scan through the weekly NFL slate and you’ll almost certainly find a McCown or two to bet against. Tom Brady is flying to Miami to play against the Washington Generals on Sunday. Where’s the fun in that?
But making picks on a Thursday? Specifically an early-season Thursday? That’s a real challenge. One game. Very little rest. Week 1 overreactions. The second Thursday of the football season is a minefield, one I am going to help you navigate with two NFL picks, and one FIBA World Cup selection for good measure.
All odds via William Hill unless specified
Jameis Winston has struggled significantly against Carolina in his career thanks in large part to the pressure they generate against him. He has been sacked 22 times in seven games against the Panthers, and that has led to nine interceptions against only seven touchdowns. That pressure will only be magnified in Gerald McCoy’s revenge game against his own team, and Carolina hasn’t exactly been kind to Bruce Arians either. He has lost his last three games against them as a head coach by a combined 56 points. Throw in Winston’s typical September struggles (77 passer rating for the month), and this should be a comfortable win for the Panthers.
SportsLine expert R.J. White is 20-5 in his last 25 Buccaneers picks, and he’s released a play for Thursday night’s matchup with the Panthers. Get that pick and much more NFL advice by heading over to SportsLine.
2. TNF: Mike Evans to not score a touchdown -140
When a quarterback struggles, his top wide receiver tends to struggle with him. The Panthers have done better than just about anyone when it comes to containing Evans, holding him to only a 45.1 percent catch rate and limiting him to only three touchdowns in 10 games against them. He struggled with an illness last week while the Panthers held Jared Goff to a 69 passer rating. This is the week to bet on Carolina’s pass defense.
DFS millionaire Mike McClure has cashed big for SportsLine followers this year, and he’s back with his optimal tournament lineups for Thursday’s action. See his picks, including why Tommy Pham is a steal, only at SportsLine.
3. France vs. Argentina, FIBA World Cup: Argentina +5.5
The casual fan knows two things about the Argentinian national team: Manu Ginobili used to play for it, and he doesn’t any longer. That lack of name recognition made them underdogs coming into the FIBA World Cup, yet they finished the group stage of the tournament with the third-best point differential overall at plus-93. The top two teams, Serbia and Team USA, are now out. France, meanwhile, has already lost to Australia and needed a missed call so blatant that FIBA almost immediately admitted its mistake just to beat Lithuania. The French team could very well win this game on Friday and this tournament after that, but this will not be a blowout.
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