21 Jan

WWE co-CEO Stephanie McMahon resigns following Vince McMahon’s return to the company

Days after her father, Vince McMahon, ended his retirement and returned as executive chair of the WWE board, Stephanie McMahon has resigned from the company. Stephanie McMahon had been serving as co-CEO, along with Nick Khan, since Vince McMahon announced his retirement amid allegations of decades of sexual misconduct.

Stephanie tweeted out an image of a statement announcing her retirement with the WWE slogan of “Then. Now. Forever. Together.”

“About eight months ago, I took a leave of absence and within a few weeks, unexpectedly had the opportunity of a lifetime. I had the privilege to return as co-CEO and chairwoman of the board of WWE. I cannot put into words how proud I am to have led what I consider to be the greatest company in the world, working alongside a remarkable leadership team and one of the strongest executives I have known in my co-CEO, Nick Khan.

“Our founder, Vince McMahon, has returned as Executive Chair and is leading an exciting process regarding strategic alternatives. And with Nick’s leadership and Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque as Chief Content Officer, I am confident WWE is in the perfect place to continue to provide unparalleled creative content and drive maximum value for shareholders.”

Stephanie McMahon had, indeed, announced a leave prior to being called into action as Vince McMahon resigned after multiple reports surfaced involving allegedly paying hush money to several women throughout his time running WWE.

Later in the statement, she said she was going further than a leave and instead announcing a full resignation.

Stephanie McMahon is married to Levesque, who suffered a cardiac issue in 2022. The couple have three children.

21 Jan

2023 WWE Royal Rumble predictions, card, matches, PPV preview, start time, date, location

One of the most anticipated days of the year for wrestling fans comes Saturday as the WWE Royal Rumble comes to San Antonio. The event features the beloved Royal Rumble matches for both the men and women and signifies the start to “WrestleMania Season.”

The winners of the Royal Rumble matches punch their ticket to a main event slot at WrestleMania, challenging for a world title. WrestleMania takes place April 1 and 2 from Inglewood, California.

Both matches will feature 30 entrants, each entering in specific time intervals. The event typically sees wild action with superstars trying to avoid being tossed over the top rope and landing outside the ring. It also sees some shocking surprise entrants with legends of the past coming back for a cameo appearance. This year should be interesting as Cody Rhodes is expected to make his return after suffering a torn pectoral muscle last year that has kept him out of action.

In addition to the Rumble matches, there are two major title matches scheduled for the event. Roman Reigns will defend his undisputed WWE universal championship against Kevin Owens and Bianca Belair will put her Raw women’s championship on the line against Alexa Bliss.

Let’s take a closer look at who our CBS Sports experts predict will come out on top at WWE Royal Rumble, which begins Saturday at 8 p.m. ET from Alamodome in San Antonio and streams live on Peacock.

2023 WWE Royal Rumble predictions
Men’s Royal Rumble Match

The Royal Rumble is always interesting because every entrant is exciting in their own way but so very few people in the match have a legitimate shot of winning. Still, it remains one of the most entertaining events in all of wrestling because of the variety of personalities and interactions in the mix. Were I to pick who I think should win, the answer would be Sami Zayn. The story of The Bloodline has become very compelling again and Zayn — not Roman Reigns — is the reason why. But I don’t know that WWE higher-ups would view Zayn as someone they want main eventing WrestleMania. There is, of course, the usual buzz that The Rock could return, win and face Reigns at the biggest show of the year. But it just feels as though the most realistic option is Cody Rhodes as the last man standing. His return to WWE was so focused in on his need to win the belt his father never held and then everything was derailed by his injury. But that injury only built his story and grew the Cody Rhodes mythology when he faced Seth Rollins inside Hell in a Cell with his chest a grotesque purple hue. All the video packages ahead of his return have focused on getting his redemption and it only makes sense for that return to see him triumph in the Rumble. Pick: Cody Rhodes wins (Brent Brookhouse)

I anticipate WWE originally planned for hometown hero Zayn to challenge Reigns at the Elimination Chamber event in Montreal, but this storyline deserves even more. The Bloodline angle is lightning in a bottle and Zayn deserves to have his crowning moment. WWE has heavily promoted Cody Rhodes ahead of his Rumble return, making him the favorite and opening the door for great misdirection. Zayn should win the Rumble, team with estranged best friend Kevin Owens at Elimination Chamber and win the world championship in an all-time WrestleMania moment against Reigns. A fantastic underdog story. Pick: Sami Zayn wins (Shakiel Mahjouri)

Women’s Royal Rumble Match

Your mileage may vary on The Judgement Day, but Ripley has been a standout for the group. Her “Mami” shtick with Dominik Mysterio is amusing, she can certainly hold her own between the ropes and she has been positioned as something of a modern-day Chyna — an enforcer that can topple anyone on the roster, male or female. Ripley’s talent was overshadowed by poor booking for far too long. Her almost cartoonish villainy and comparative power make her a perfect foil for Raw women’s champion Bianca Belair, a champion in need of a new challenge as WrestleMania season approaches. Pick: Rhea Ripley wins — Mahouri (also Brookhouse)

Undisputed WWE universal championship — Roman Reigns (c) vs. Kevin Owens

Reigns’ record-breaking run as champion has often felt like it lost steam only for inspiration to strike the writers’ room and get a needed twist, such as Sami Zayn’s emergence as a major player in The Bloodline. Owens would be a great choice to end Reigns’ time as champion, but WrestleMania overshadows every possible result in this match. Reigns is not going to drop the title ahead of WrestleMania. Owens will put up his usual blood and guts fight but come up short, likely as a result of The Bloodline’s numbers simply being too much — even if Zayn has a misstep that leaves “The Tribal Chief” fuming. Pick: Roman Reigns wins — Brookhouse (also Mahjouri)

Raw women’s championship — Bianca Belair (c) vs. Alexa Bliss

Belair is approaching one year as Raw women’s champion. It has been a well-deserved run after her initial reign was cut criminally short in favor of a returning Becky Lynch. Bliss hasn’t returned quite to her former glory and Belair remains a fantastic ambassador for the company. I’d recommend the promotion keep the title on Belair, let her celebrate the one-year anniversary of her reign at WrestleMania, and take the fall for Ripley on the grandest stage. Pick: Bianca Belair wins — Mahjouri (also Brookhouse)

Bray Wyatt vs. LA Knight (Lights Out Match)

WWE has stretched out Wyatt’s on-camera in-ring return far too long. Fortunately, the interactions between Wyatt and Knight have mostly been gold. The only circumstance in which Wyatt loses this match is some weird Uncle Howdy-related swerve. The match is tailored made for him, after all. Knight doesn’t need the win here. Knight was afforded an opportunity to showcase his world-class mic skills after shedding that awful Max Dupri skin. Expect Wyatt to win rather convincingly and move on to a bigger feud, allowing Knight the space to grow into a fantastic midcard act. Pick: Wyatt wins — Mahjouri (also Brookhouse)

21 Jan

2023 WWE Royal Rumble card, matches, predictions, start time, match card, rumors, location, date

One of the tent-pole events of the WWE calendar is here. Typically considered among the “majors” is the Royal Rumble. The annual event draws many fans in as there is always potential for shocking results and entrants into the match. It all goes down on Saturday night inside the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

The modern version of the Royal Rumble features two matches: a men’s and women’s match, each featuring 30 participants. Two superstars begin the match with entrants arriving one by one in timed intervals. Superstars are eliminated once thrown over the top rope and both feet touch the floor. The winner is declared only once their 29 opponents have all been eliminated. Generally, the winners of the Rumbles are guaranteed a world championship match against the champion of their choosing at the upcoming WrestleMania. The matches generally feature surprise entrants: returning superstars, debutants, one-off appearances from retired wrestlers and celebrity guest spots.

Expectations are relatively high for this year’s event following an abysmal men’s Royal Rumble last year that ranked among the worst in the company’s history. WWE has undergone a change in creative leadership since last year’s match, but the future is unpredictable following news of Vince McMahon’s return from a brief retirement.

Two championship bouts have also been announced for the Royal Rumble event. Reigns puts his WWE and universal championships at stake in order to rid himself of Kevin Owens. Raw women’s champion Bianca Belair defends her crown against Alexa Bliss. Plus, Bray Wyatt will participate in his first match since returning to the promotion when he takes on LA Knight in a “Pitch Black” match.

Take a look below at the confirmed matches for the 2023 Royal Rumble. Check back for updates and predictions.

2023 WWE Royal Rumble matches
Undisputed WWE Universal Championship — Roman Reigns (c) vs. Kevin Owens: Owens’ interjection into Survivor Series WarGames set him on a path with Reigns. Owens was moments away from defeating The Bloodline at Survivor Series, but Sami Zayn betrayed his friendship with Owens in favor of fully aligning with the faction. Owens further positioned himself as Reigns’ biggest threat on the final SmackDown of 2022. Owens enlisted John Cena in a winning effort against Reigns and Zayn in a tag team match. Owens goaded an emotional Reigns into a title match the following week.

Raw Women’s Championship — Bianca Belair (c) vs. Alexa Bliss: Bliss won two matches in one night to earn her title shot. She then immediately turned on Belair, a woman she stood side-by-side with against Bayley and Damage CTRL, first threatening to hit the champion with Sister Abigail — seemingly starting a turn to the dark side in the wake of Bray Wyatt’s return — and then hitting Belair with a vase during a sit-down interview. After getting herself disqualified in a match with Belair on Raw, Bliss said that she had already won by getting in Belair’s head. Fed up with Bliss, Belair laid out a challenge for the two to battle at the Rumble.

Men’s Royal Rumble: 30 male superstars will compete for the right to challenge for the world championships currently held by Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 39. Among those named to participate this year are Brock Lesnar, Kofi Kingston, intercontinental champion Gunter, United States champion Austin Theory, and many more. But the biggest name set to make his return in the match is Cody Rhodes, who was on a title challenging trajectory before he suffered a torn pectoral muscle last year.

Women’s Royal Rumble: 30 women will compete to challenge for the Raw women’s championship or the SmackDown women’s champion at WrestleMania 39. Reigning titleholders — currently Raw women’s champion Bianca Belair and SmackDown women’s champion Charlotte Flair — are usually omitted from the match. Occasionally, a championship will be on the line or a champion may include themselves in the match like Flair did last year. Liv Morgan was the first superstar to announce her participation in the match.

Bray Wyatt vs. LA Knight (Pitch Black match): Wyatt and Knight have traded barbs on the microphone ever since Wyatt’s return to WWE programming at Extreme Rules in October. The braggadocious Knight was repeatedly assaulted backstage in recent weeks, suspecting Wyatt as the culprit. Wyatt’s steadfast denial led to the revelation that Uncle Howdy is not Wyatt’s alter-ego, but a separate entity entirely. Knight challenged Wyatt to a match at the Royal Rumble. Wyatt accepted and chose an unusual Pitch Black match as the stipulation.

14 Jan

2024 NBA picks, January 10 predictions from proven model

The Boston Celtics will face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves in an interconference matchup on Wednesday. Boston is 28-8 overall and 17-0 at home, while Minnesota is 26-10 overall and 12-8 on the road. The Timberwolves defeated the Celtics, 114-109, in overtime at home on November 6 in their first meeting of the season.

Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. ET at TD Garden in Boston. The Celtics are 9-point favorites in the latest Timberwolves vs. Celtics odds, according to the SportsLine consensus, and the over/under is 223.5 points. Before entering any Celtics vs. Timberwolves picks, you need to see the NBA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine’s advanced computer simulation model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned well over $10,000 in profit for $100 players on its top-rated NBA picks over the past five-plus seasons. The model enters Week 12 of the 2023-24 NBA season on a sizzling 112-62 roll on all top-rated NBA picks dating back to last season, returning well over $4,000. Anyone following it has seen huge returns.

The model has set its sights on Minnesota vs. Boston. You can head to SportsLine to see its picks. Here are several NBA odds and betting lines for Timberwolves vs. Celtics:

Celtics vs. Timberwolves spread: Celtics -9
Celtics vs. Timberwolves over/under: 223.5 points
Celtics vs. Timberwolves money line: Celtics: -383, Timberwolves: +300
MIN: The Timberwolves are 8-4 ATS against the Eastern Conference
BOS: The Celtics are 11-6 ATS at home this season
Celtics vs. Timberwolves picks: See picks at SportsLine
What to know about the Timberwolves
The Timberwolves are coming off a 113-92 win over the Magic on Tuesday and are 2-1 entering the final game of their four-game road trip. Minnesota didn’t have much time to celebrate that victory, however, with Wednesday being the second half of a back-to-back and needing to fly from the Southeast to the Northeast of the United States. This will be the Timberwolves’ third game in a different state over the last four days after falling in Dallas, 115-108, on Sunday.

The duo of Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns are each having productive years to lead Minnesota. Edwards is averaging 26.2 points this season after being selected No. 1 overall in the 2020 NBA Draft, while Towns is averaging 21.7 points and 8.9 rebounds in his ninth NBA season since being drafted first in 2015. The Wolves (26-10) have the second-best record in the NBA, already defeated Boston once this season and could give Boston’s undefeated home record its toughest challenge yet. The Timberwolves have the best scoring defense, allowing 107.2 points per game, with opponents shooting a league-low 44.4% from the field against them. See which team to pick here.

What to know about the Celtics
Meanwhile, the Celtics have the best record in the NBA at 28-8 this year. They are 17-0 at home with 10 of those victories coming by double-digits. They could challenge the 2016-17 Warriors’ NBA record of 24 straight home victories to begin a season, so expect that to serve as additional motivation on Wednesday. Boston is coming off a last-second 133-131 loss to the Pacers on Monday, but the Celtics are 8-2 over their last 10 games.

Boston is the best rebounding team in the NBA, averaging a league-best 47.6 rebounds, including 36.3 defensive rebounds per game. The Celtics are holding their opponents to 45% shooting from the field, the third-lowest clip, and they are allowing just 110.7 ppg, also third-fewest in the league. Jayson Tatum is averaging 27.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists this season, including 38 points with 13 rebounds for his third-straight 30-point performance on Monday. Jaylen Brown had a season-high 40 points on Monday. However, Boston could be shorthanded on Wednesday as Jrue Holiday (elbow), Kristaps Porzingis (knee) and Al Horford (illness) are all listed as questionable. See which team to pick here.

How to make Celtics vs. Timberwolves picks
The model has simulated Timberwolves vs. Celtics 10,000 times and the results are in. We can tell you that the model is leaning Over, and it also says one side of the spread hits well over 50% of the time. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.

14 Jan

Draymond Green’s latest round of rueful rambling, Ja Morant’s injury has a silver lining

Welcome back to NBA Star Power Index: A weekly gauge of the players getting the most buzz around the league. Inclusion on this list isn’t necessarily a good thing — it simply means you’re capturing the NBA world’s attention. This is also not a ranking. The players listed here are in no particular order. This column will run every week throughout the regular season.

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Draymond Green
GS • PF • #23
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Draymond Green’s suspension for round-housing Jusuf Nurkic in the head has been lifted, and you’ll never guess what he’s been doing as he prepares to return to the court for the Warriors: Talking.

In the first episode his podcast, “The Draymond Green Show,” since July, Green said, among many other things, that he almost retired until commissioner Adam Silver talked him out of it.

“I had a conversation with Adam Silver, the commissioner of our league,” Green said in the episode that was released Monday morning. “And I just told him, ‘Adam, it’s too much for me. Like, it’s too much. This is too much. It’s all becoming too much for me. And i’m going to retire.'”

“And Adam said, ‘You’re making a very rash decision, and I won’t let you do that.’ And I’m like, ‘No, Adam, I’m not really sure it’s a rash decision. It’s all too much.’ And we had a long, great conversation, very helpful to me. Very thankful to play in a league with a commissioner like Adam, who’s more about helping you than hurting.”

So let’s get this straight. It’s too much for Draymond that Draymond keeps hitting and choking people in the middle of basketball games? Got it. This is classic Draymond, rambling on about bonds and brotherhoods and the convenient romance of accountability. He says he and Steve Kerr cried together. His daughter had to FaceTime him as he was locked away in the man cave of his own house. He started counseling.

He offered, for really the first time, unqualified apologies. He said he failed his family, himself, his partners. He said he “miserably” failed the Warriors as an organization and, in particular, Stephen Curry, who found his leadership being questioned because of Green’s repeated antics.

And that’s what Green called them. Antics. He admitted what everyone besides him has always known, that he doesn’t have to cross a crazed-lunatic line to play with the competitive edge that defines him as a Hall of Fame player.

Green pledged to “stop taking the excuse and running with it and saying I can’t play the way I play if I don’t do this.”

“I love this game and I love to compete and you don’t just get to turn that off,” Green said. “But I’m also smart enough to know what an antic is and what isn’t. And I can get rid of the antics. I’m more than capable of doing that. I look forward to it.”

Look, I’m a Warriors fan and a fan of Draymond. It’s awesome he started counseling and, yes, these are all the right words. But that’s all they are. Words. In what could be classified as a narcissistic approach, Green actually loves to spill his heart out for everyone to hear, and it always, somehow, leads back to him and his feelings and his platform to sucker you into the romance of them.

But even his biggest fans, one of which I have long considered myself to be, are falling out of love with this act. Now it’s just exhausting. When it keeps happening over and over, it starts to seem like he just likes to hear himself talk so he can paint a picture of vulnerability and get the credit that comes with his brand of articulate accountability.

Indeed, he’s done this before. Of the Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead in the 2016 NBA Finals after Green was suspended for Game 5 after another one of his flamboyant flails (this time below the belt to LeBron James), he said this: “One of the most brutal things I’ve ever had to go through in my life,” said Green, via ESPN. “If I played, we win of course, so I do feel it’s my fault that we lost. Absolutely my fault.”

How much more accountable can you be than to take personal ownership of one of the greatest sports collapses in history? And yet, the experience apparently wasn’t “brutal” enough for him to change.

Since then, Green has gone twice as far off the rails. Before he took on opponents, he knocked out his own teammate — then, as usual, did the half-hearted, look-at-me-and-all-my-self-awareness apology tour before taking the blame for ruining the Warriors’ 2022-23 season with the Jordan Poole punch.

All of which is to say, forgive me if I’m not particularly moved by Green’s self-conscious reach for sympathy. Saying how bad you feel about something doesn’t take away the bad part. It’s just a bunch of talking that is clearly contrived with the goal of scoring PR points. Once again, we’ll wait to see if his actions finally reflect this latest round of rueful rambling.

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Ja Morant
MEM • PG • #12
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Ja Morant is out for the season with a labral tear in his right shoulder that will require surgery. It’s devastating news for the Grizzlies, who were finally starting to establish some momentum after a horrendous start to the season. Memphis was 6-3 in the nine games Morant had played in, over which he averaged 25.1 points, 8.1 assists and 5.6 rebounds.

If there is any kind of silver lining in this, the Grizzlies should now be in position to land a lottery pick this summer (they currently have the sixth-best odds for the No. 1 pick).

With Morant expected to be fully recovered ahead of next season, when Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke should also be set to return, Memphis — which had probably dug too big a hole at 6-19 during Morant’s 25-game suspension to rise any higher than a Play-in berth anyway — can be in a legit position to compete for the 2024-25 title.

Again, this is a brutal loss for the Grizzlies. But Morant kind of screwed up their season already with the suspension. This sort of wipes the season officially clean of expectation and allows Taylor Jenkins and company to lean totally into the further development of Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane, both of whom can benefit from greater usage and opportunity for top-option growth over the remainder of this season.

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Tyrese Haliburton
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While the Morant injury was the worst-case scenario for the Grizzlies, Tyrese Haliburton’s hamstring injury, which has been ruled a Grade 1 strain, looks like it’s going to end up being a best-case scenario for the Pacers.

Had this thing been a Grade 2 or 3 tear, Haliburton could’ve been out for 2-3 months or even headed for surgery. Now the rough timetable is being set at a few week. This is still rough for a Pacers team trying to stay in the thick of the playoff race, but again, it’s the best news they could’ve hoped for after Haliburton had to be carried off the court. It looked a lot worse.

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LeBron James
LAL • SF • #23
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After the Lakers’ win over the Clippers on Sunday, which ended a four-game skid (they have lost 10 of their last 15), LeBron James, who has not been shy about showing and voicing his frustration of late, took what can only be described as a thinly veiled shot at his current coach, Darvin Ham, who is under immense scrutiny at the moment with multiple reports suggesting his seat is getting awfully hot, by going out of his way to compliment his former coach.

14 Jan

2024 NBA picks, Jan. 10 predictions from proven model

The Los Angeles Clippers look to extend their lead in the Pacific Division as they host the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night. Los Angeles (23-13) crushed Phoenix on Monday, 138-111, while Toronto (15-22) lost in the final minute to the Lakers on Tuesday night, 132-131. The Clippers swept both matchups last season, 124-113 and 108-100. Los Angeles is 19-17 against the spread, while Toronto is 19-18 ATS in 2023-24.

Tipoff is set for 10:30 p.m. ET at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. L.A. is favored by 10 points in the latest Raptors vs. Clippers odds, per SportsLine consensus, and the over/under is 237.5 points. Before entering any Clippers vs. Raptors picks, you’ll want to see the NBA predictions from the model at SportsLine.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned well over $10,000 in profit for $100 players on its top-rated NBA picks over the past five-plus seasons. The model enters Week 12 of the 2023-24 NBA season on a sizzling 112-62 roll on all top-rated NBA picks dating back to last season, returning well over $4,000. Anyone following it has seen huge returns.

The model has set its sights on Raptors vs. Clippers. You can head to SportsLine to see its picks. Here are several NBA odds and betting lines for Clippers vs. Raptors:

Clippers vs. Raptors spread: Clippers -10
Clippers vs. Raptors over/under: 237.5 points
Clippers vs. Raptors money line: Clippers -503, Raptors +377
Clippers vs. Raptors picks: See picks at SportsLine
Why the Raptors can cover
Despite scoring 78 points in the second half, the Raptors fell against the Lakers on Tuesday night. Toronto native, forward RJ Barrett, who was recently acquired from the Knicks, notched a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds. In the team’s previous game, against Golden State, Barrett had 37 points and has proven to be a key contributor for the Raptors’ starting unit.

Also acquired with Barrett was guard Immanuel Quickley, who had his third 20-point outing since being acquired five games ago. His 21 points on 8 of 14 shooting nearly propelled the Raptors to the upset. Toronto also boasts two stars in forwards Pascal Siakam and Scottie Barnes. The team has plenty of scoring potential and will be a handful for most teams on any given night, even with center Jakob Poeltl (ankle) sidelined. See which team to pick here.

Why the Clippers can cover
Los Angeles steamrolled on Phoenix on Monday night as all five starters notched double-digits en route to the easy victory. The Clippers scored at least 30 points in each quarter, with the Suns posting little resistance defensively. Star forward Paul George led the way with 25 points on 10 of 19 shooting and also grabbed seven rebounds. Fellow star forward, Kawhi Leonard, scored 17 points and added five steals in the blowout win.

Guard James Harden has been a key cog in Los Angeles’ success since being acquired from Philadelphia on Halloween. On Monday night, he posted a near triple double with 19 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. For the season, he’s averaging 17.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 8.4 assists and has given the Clippers the necessary third option they had been looking for in previous seasons. Another big performance from Los Angeles’ big three is likely against a Toronto defense surrendering more than 116 points per game nightly. See which team to pick here.

How to make Raptors vs. Clippers picks
The model has simulated Raptors vs. Clippers 10,000 times and the results are in. We can tell you that the model is leaning Under, and it’s also generated a point-spread pick that is hitting in 60% of simulations. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.

14 Jan

2024 NBA picks, Jan. 10 best bets from simulation model

The Utah Jazz are set to host the Denver Nuggets in a Northwest Division clash on Wednesday at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City. Utah is 18-20 overall and 11-5 at home, while Denver is 26-12 overall and 11-8 on the road. The Nuggets are looking to build off their 131-114 win over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday. The Jazz are looking to extend their winning streak to three games after beating the Milwaukee Bucks 132-116 on Monday.

Tip-off is at 10 p.m. ET. The Nuggets are favored by 7 points in the latest Jazz vs. Nuggets odds, and the over/under is 237.5 points. Before making any Jazz vs. Nuggets picks, you’ll want to see the NBA predictions and betting advice from the proven computer simulation model at SportsLine.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned well over $10,000 in profit for $100 players on its top-rated NBA picks over the past five-plus seasons. The model enters Week 12 of the 2023-24 NBA season on a sizzling 112-62 roll on all top-rated NBA picks dating back to last season, returning well over $4,000. Anyone following it has seen huge returns.

The model has set its sights on Nuggets vs. Jazz and just locked in its picks and NBA predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see the model’s picks. Here are several NBA odds and betting lines for the game:

Jazz vs. Nuggets spread: Jazz +7
Jazz vs. Nuggets over/under: 237.5 points
Jazz vs. Nuggets money line: Jazz: +215, Nuggets: -263
Jazz vs. Nuggets picks: See picks here
What you need to know about the Jazz
The oddsmakers set the bar high, but the Jazz and the Bucks didn’t disappoint and blew past the 242 point over/under on Monday. Utah enjoyed an impressive 132-116 victory over Milwaukee. The win made it back-to-back wins for the Jazz. Multiple players turned in solid performances to lead the Jazz to victory, but perhaps none more so than Lauri Markkanen, who dropped a double-double on 21 points and 14 rebounds.

Markkanen continues to be a force for Utah, averaging 23.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. His supporting cast is young, but talented. Guards Jordan Clarkson (17.4 points, 5.2 assists, 3.7 rebounds per game) and Collin Sexton (16.0 points, 3.8 assists, 2.6 rebounds per game) are among the team’s top performers. See which team to pick here.

What you need to know about the Nuggets
Meanwhile, Denver didn’t have too much trouble with Detroit at home on Sunday as they won 131-114. The success was a return to things as normal for the Nuggets, who in their previous outing suffered a shocking 122-120 upset defeat to the Orlando Magic. Jamal Murray was the offensive standout of the game as he scored 37 points along with five rebounds. Those 37 points set a new season-high mark for him.

Murray’s return from a nagging hamstring injury has been a huge boost for Denver on the offensive end. The former Kentucky standout averages 20.6 points, 6.4 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game. Nikola Jokic is once again playing at an MVP level, and enters this matchup averaging 25.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, 9.2 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. See which team to pick here.

How to make Jazz vs. Nuggets picks
The model has simulated Jazz vs. Nuggets 10,000 times and the results are in. We can tell you that the model is leaning Under on the point total, and it’s also generated a point-spread pick that hits in well over 60% of computer simulations. You can only see the model’s pick at SportsLine.

14 Jan

Stephen Curry is struggling as ‘unfair’ burden to carry Warriors has never been heavier

The Golden State Warriors have been doing everything they can to keep their heads above water this season. On top of being an aging, largely un-athletic team with major roster and rotational challenges, Draymond Green’s antics and subsequent suspensions (the latest one of which he is yet to return from) have hung a heavy cloud over the entire organization.

And now Stephen Curry is struggling, too.

Over his last 15 games, Curry’s shooting percentages are below 36% from 3-point range and 42% overall. He has gone deep into multiple games with single-digit points. He put up nine total points in a loss to the Raptors on Sunday. After logging an NBA record 268 straight games with at least one made 3-pointer, he has been shut out from beyond the arc twice in the past three weeks, including an 0-for-9 line against Toronto.

Curry will usually have a stretch or two like this every season, where he puts up numbers that, while they don’t look all that bad for anyone else, are bottom of the barrel by his standards. And the problem is, the Warriors, as crazy as this sounds, have never been more dependent on Curry being great.

Yes, they have always struggled, at least relatively, without Curry on the floor, even when they had Kevin Durant. But as long as he was playing his mere presence alone was typically worth enough given all the talent he had around him to pick up actual production slack.

Now Curry has to be great, all the time, for the Warriors to even be consistently competitive. If he isn’t, they are a flat out bad team. Steve Kerr recognizes the increased load Curry is having to carry, both mentally and physically, on this particular Warriors team, and he believes it’s due to a variety of factors.

One, the way that Curry is mercilessly defended without another threat on the court even close to his level. Two, fatigue, which stems largely from number one. And three, all the mental energy he’s having to spend dealing with the Draymond Green drama. Add it all up, and Kerr believes “the burden that Stephen Curry has on him for this franchise is unfair.”

“We’ve thrown a ton on his shoulders,” Kerr said as he referenced Green’s suspension and the added responsibility that has put on Curry to pick up Green’s half of the vocal leadership duties.

Also, Kerr is searching endlessly for lineup combinations that can maximize Curry, who needs teammates to read and react quickly to his random movement and relocations, who can anticipate his whereabouts ahead of time and be skilled enough passers/screeners to unlock, almost instantaneously, open looks for the most defensively tracked player in history.

“We’re trying to integrate a lot of young players,” Kerr said. “Steph has a very unique style. It’s the play after the play that matters with Steph, and we’ve put him in some combinations where the play after the play isn’t happening, and that’s frustrating for him.”

“The burden that Steph Curry has on him for this franchise is unfair.”

  • Steve Kerr

(🎥 @NBCSWarriors )


— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) January 10, 2024
Kerr is right about all this. But early in the season, Curry was up to the task. He was playing brilliantly. As great as he ever has, perhaps, all things considered. Now he’s off his game, and the Warriors — who, as a side note, absolutely have to make a trade if they want to even fool themselves into thinking they can truly contend in the playoffs, or even get there for that matter — are taking on water.

Entering play on Wednesday, Golden State is 17-19. That’s worse than the Utah Jazz and the fourth-worst mark in the Western Conference. If the postseason started today, they wouldn’t even qualify for the Play-In Tournament.

Curry feels that pressure, and right now Kerr believes it’s weighing him down. It’s hard to argue with him when you watch Curry struggle the way he has for a pretty extended period now. We’ll see where it goes from here.

14 Jan

Watch entire heated rant

The Toronto Raptors fell to the Los Angeles Lakers 132-131 on Tuesday night, and officiating was a major topic of discussion after the contest. Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic laid into the referees over the disparity in foul calls and free-throw attempts after the game, and the first-year coach did not pull any punches in a memorable and heated rant.

Rajakovic ripped the officiating, specifically in the fourth quarter of his team’s one-point loss, calling it a “shame for the league” and openly questioning if the officials just wanted the Lakers to win.

“What happened tonight, this is completely BS,” Rajakovic told reporters. “This is [a] shame. Shame for the referees. Shame for the league to allow this.”

The Lakers thrived at the charity stripe down the stretch and were awarded 23 free throws in the fourth quarter. The Raptors, on the other hand, only shot two free throws in the final frame. That differential was the largest in any quarter this season, per Sportsnet. Los Angeles attempted 36 free throws for the game (and made 28), while Toronto totaled just 13 attempts.

Rajakovic said he thinks the Lakers got special treatment because of their big-name stars.

“I understand. Respect for All-Stars. But we have star players on our team as well,” Rajakovic said. “How is it possible that Scottie Barnes, who is [an] All-Star caliber player in this league, he goes to the rim every single time with force and trying to get to the rim without flopping and not trying to get foul calls? He gets two free throws for the whole game. How is that possible? How are you going to explain that to me? They get to win tonight? If that’s the case, just let us know so we don’t show up for the game. Just give them a win. That was not fair tonight.

“[…] “And this is not happening [for the] first time for us. Scottie Barnes is gonna be [an] All-Star. He’s gonna be the face of this league. And what’s happening over here, during [the] whole season, I’ve been holding it back. It’s complete crap.”

Here are Rajakovic’s comments in full:

Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic with the rant of the year after losing to the Lakers: “What happened tonight is completely BS. This is shame. Shame for the referees. Shame for the league to allow this.”

“Scottie Barnes is gonna be All-Star. He’s gonna be the face of this league.” pic.twitter.com/PQi70uZfzl

— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) January 10, 2024
Arguably the most notable call of the game came with less than 30 seconds left. Toronto’s RJ Barrett was whistled for a controversial moving screen.

RJ Barrett was called for a moving screen before this game-tying three from Scottie Barnes.

Good or bad call? 🤔


— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) January 10, 2024
“There was no explanation,” said Rajakovic, who is surely going to be fined by the NBA for his comments. “They just come up there, they review it, and they see what they want to see. They don’t want to hear us, what we got to say.”

The loss kept the 15-22 Raptors in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, currently outside the play-in picture. The Lakers, meanwhile, made the most of all their fourth-quarter free throws and got back to .500 at 19-19 with the win. After a recent 3-10 stretch, the Lakers will take wins however they can get them.

The Bron video: “I felt like they fouled and we didn’t” 😂 pic.twitter.com/ISdvDkCnMI

— CJ Fogler account may or may not be notable (@cjzero) January 10, 2024
“I felt like they fouled and we didn’t,” said a measured LeBron James.

14 Jan

Kawhi Leonard, Clippers agree to $152M extension, team also working on new Paul George deal, per report

Kawhi Leonard is committed to remaining a Los Angeles Clipper past the 2023-24 season. Leonard has agreed to an extension with the Clippers and is set to sign a three-year, $152 million extension, according to Shams Charania. Paul George is working on an extension as well, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.

Leonard signed a four-year, $176 million deal with Los Angeles in 2021. He had a $48.7 million player option for the 2024-25 season but declined to secure a new, long-term agreement.

“We’re thrilled to continue our relationship with Kawhi. He is an elite player, a terrific partner and a relentless worker who knows how to win and makes it his first priority,” Clippers President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank said in a statement. “He elevated our franchise from the moment he arrived. We feel fortunate that Kawhi chose to join the Clippers five years ago, and excited to keep building with him.”

The 32-year-old Leonard joined forces with George in hopes of conquering the Western Conference, but the duo struggled to stay healthy and play together consistently early in their Clippers careers. Leonard and George have enjoyed a healthy campaign so far, though. They’ve appeared together in 30 of a possible 36 games this season for a thriving team that ranks fourth in the Western Conference with a 23-13 record.

The Clippers could be looking to square away their new big three, as they’ve managed to turn things around after initially struggling in the aftermath of the James Harden trade. The former Philadelphia 76ers guard is now firing on all cylinders and has helped fuel a Los Angeles squad that’s won seven of its previous 10 games and nine of its last 10 home games.

Harden is in the final season of a two-year, $68 million deal and can’t ink a new contract until he enters unrestricted free agency ahead of next season.