Conor McGregor is a legendary UFC fighter. Not many combatants can take a year off from fighting, announce their next bout, and instantly be established as the overwhelming odds-on favorite in the UFC 257 picks. Yet that's exactly how The Notorious one rolls. He will headline UFC 257 on Jan. 23, facing Dustin Poirier in a rematch of former UFC world lightweight champs. McGregor is the -235 favorite in the bout.
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Friday Night Better NBA Bets
Hard Court Betting Lines Comparison
By Liam Davis
The Golden State Warriors have rarely lost back-to-back games during the regular season over the last few years. That's probably not going to change against a Minnesota Timberwolves team that has yet to show the defensive corners it has turned are for a real.
Kevin Durant is still out for the Warriors, and Shaun Livingston might not be ready to rock, either. This matters insofar as you're expecting an absolute blowout.
Overall, though, the Warriors' increased shallowness shouldn't impact the outcome. They are working off a bad-but-acceptable loss to the Boston Celtics and will respond as they typically always do—with a decided win.
The Pick: Golden State Warriors (-5)
No one quite knows if Ryan Anderson will be suiting up for the Houston Rockets on Friday night, but it might not matter. Head coach Mike D'Antoni has gravitated more toward surrounding Clint Capela with James Harden, Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams and Eric Gordon since the trade deadline.
On some nights, the Chicago Bulls' defense plays well enough to stop three-point-heavy attacks. But the Rockets are the three-point-heavy attack, and they're going up against a Bulls squad that ranks dead last in both long-range attempts and makes.
For the season, in fact, the Rockets are averaging almost eight more made three-balls per game—a difference of roughly 24 points in generated offense. If the Bulls win this one, it's because the Rockets went absolutely cold from beyond the arc or, less likely, they caught fire from downtown themselves.
The Pick: Houston Rockets (-6.5)
The Indiana Pacers have been on a quasi-tear of late, but the Milwaukee Bucks are right there with them. They have won each of their last four games, during which time they rank seventh in points scored per 100 possessions and fifth in points allowed per 100 possessions.
Meanwhile, the Pacers, for all their surges, have yet to put things together on the road. They have almost a bottom-10 net rating in games away from Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana. The Bucks aren't home-court terrors, but they are outscoring opponents by three points per 100 possessions on their own turf.
The Pick: Milwaukee Bucks (-3)
Betting against the Sacramento Kings is a little bit of a risk these days. It's hard to tell what their new-look personnel will do on any given night. Willie Cauley-Stein is playing with more pep in his step, and Buddy Hield looks fairly comfortable with his unconditional green light.
Still, the Washington Wizards have won five of their last six games and are 2-0 on their current road trip. They have been the hottest team in the league since Christmas as well; only the San Antonio Spurs and Warriors have better net ratings over this span.
Plus, let's not forget that the Kings are tanking. They built a 20-plus point lead against the Spurs on Wednesday night, only to end up losing by a mile. They aren't trying to win, so a team like the Wizards that is should be able to beat them by a healthy margin.
The Pick: Washington Wizards (-7.5)
It's never a great idea to bet against the Denver Nuggets on their home court. But with the Celtics at full strength again, this line is too good to pass on.
There's also a chance that Kenneth Faried, Danilo Gallinari and Nikola Jokic all miss this game. If even one of Jokic and Gallinari are out, the Nuggets are in trouble.
Mostly, though, the Celtics are one of the best teams in the league when fully healthy. We saw that in their Wednesday night win over the Warriors; marching into Denver and snagging a victory against what might be a shorthanded team should be of little issue to them.
The Pick: Boston Celtics (-3.5)
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