As somebody who enjoyed Netflix’s Drive To Survive enough that it convinced me to follow F1 racing — an interest that has dwindled considerably, as it turns out the show is a lot more interesting than the races themselves, which are usually over after a lap or two — I was excited to begin the new Netflix sports documentary in the same vein, Full Swing.
Full Swing follows the PGA Tour the same way Drive to Survive does F1, and four episodes into the eight-episode season, I give it a “Meh.” I’m going to finish it, but I’m not in a hurry. I’ve always been a casual golf viewer — I watch the majors — and I wonder if that makes the show less interesting to me than Drive To Survive because I had no idea what was coming when I began watching that.
Or maybe it’s that it all seems so low stakes. While the drivers in F1 are all very well compensated and live luxurious lifestyles the same way the PGA players do — so many scenes shot on private jets — there isn’t the risk of death while playing golf that exists while driving a race car at incredibly high speed.
So far, the “downs” of Full Swing involve Brooks Koepka and Ian Poulter missing cuts and going home without being paid for a weekend, so they return to their beautiful multi-million dollar homes and decide they’re better off taking all that money from LIV Golf instead.
- Aaron Jones is staying in Green Bay.
- It’s looking more likely that Eric Bieniemy is going to Washington.
- Manny Machado plans to opt out of his contract after the 2023 season.
- What if the Pac-12 breaks up?
Now let’s take a full swing at some picks for the weekend.
All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook
🔥 The Hot Ticket
Northern Kentucky at Purdue Fort Wayne, 7 p.m. | TV: ESPN+
- Key Trend: Northern Kentucky is 2-7 ATS in its last nine road games.
- The Pick: Purdue Fort Wayne +3 (-110)
That’s right; we’re leading the newsletter with a Horizon League battle between Purdue Fort Wayne and Northern Kentucky. What do you expect? There’s no NBA tonight as we’ve reached the All-Star break, and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten an NHL bet right in this newsletter, so our options are minimal.
Knowing that, how could we resist a home dog in a Horizon League matchup tonight? It’s a home dog! In the Horizon League! Principle!
OK, so it’s not a principle, but it is a numbers play. I’m not going to pretend I watch much Horizon League basketball, but the numbers tell me this line is slightly disrespecting the Mighty Mastodons.
Jonathan Coachman is joined by Chip Patterson, Jon “Buckets” Eimer and Sia Nejad to dish out Friday’s best bets!
Northern Kentucky has been the much stronger team in conference play, but it has struggled on the road, and it’s really struggled against the spread. The Norse are only 8-17 ATS this season, including a mark of 2-6 ATS on the road. They’ve also lost two straight on the road and are 3-8 overall on the road or at neutral sites compared to 13-3 at home.
Considering the drop-off in performance, it isn’t easy to trust them as a road favorite. When you factor in the numbers suggesting Purdue Fort Wayne should be a slight favorite tonight, well, the Mastodons only look more attractive.
Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: The Projection Model is on the same side as we are, but it believes there’s more value on the total tonight.
🏀 College Basketball
Detroit Mercy at Oakland, 7 p.m | TV: ESPN+
The Pick: Over 153 (-110) — More Horizon League action! According to my calculations, the total for this game is a little too low, as we’re dealing with two of the worst defensive teams in the country. Oakland’s defensive efficiency ranks 312th nationally, according to KenPom, while Detroit Mercy is 345th. Detroit Mercy pairs that defense with a pretty potent offense, as the Titans’ offensive efficiency ranks 53rd nationwide.
While Oakland’s isn’t a great offense, it has been better in conference play, and it’s at home tonight against a defense that can’t stop anybody, which bodes well for its performance. On the other end of the court, compared to the rest of the Horizon League, Oakland’s defense has been mostly average in conference play, but they struggle to defend the three-point line, which is where Detroit Mercy does most of its damage.
Everton vs. Leeds United, Saturday, 10 a.m | TV: USA
The Pick: Everton (+145) — Wednesday’s match between Arsenal and Manchester City was considered the biggest Premier League match of the season so far. I think everybody added the “so far” qualifier to it because this match between Everton and Leeds United had yet to be played. There’s a lot of season left, and the relegation battle is tight in the Premier League, but based on the vibes, I can’t help but believe Southampton is already dead in the water. I get the same sense about Bournemouth due to its number of injuries. So, realistically, only one relegation spot remains undecided, and these two are prime candidates.
However, when I do a vibe check, I like where Everton is much better. Yes, it got crushed by Liverpool earlier this week, but it was at Anfield, and Everton has been exceedingly awful away from home all season. That’s where it will be this weekend against a Leeds team that still hasn’t found a manager since firing Jesse Marsch and remains a mess defensively. I trust Sean Dyche to have his team ready for a match this important, and the home environment — which has been toxic at times — will help push the Toffees over the finish line Saturday.
Monza vs. AC Milan, Saturday, 12 p.m | TV: Paramount+
The Pick: AC Milan (+109) — You could call Monza a Cinderella story, just so long as you realize Cinderella is being financed by former AC Milan owner — and Italian prime minister! — Silvio Berlusconi. This isn’t your typical recently promoted Serie A team. Still, it’s unusual to see recently promoted teams doing as well as Monza, which enters the weekend in 10th place in the league and has been a bit unlucky. Monza lost its first five Serie A matches but has turned things around. It hasn’t lost any of its last eight (four wins, four draws), but it has overperformed slightly in that span. Over those eight matches, Monza has scored 15 goals on an expected goals (xG) of 13.3 while allowing eight goals on an xG of 9.1.
That could haunt them this week against AC Milan. Milan went through a rough stretch following the return from the World Cup that has knocked it out of the race for the Scudetto, but it’s still fighting for a Champions League spot. However, the defense that fell off a cliff and led to the rut has returned. After allowing an average of 1.98 xG per match in a four-match stretch in Serie A, that number has dropped to 0.49 xG per match in its last three, including this week’s 1-0 win over Tottenham in the Champions League. If that defensive solidity remains against Monza this weekend, there’s an excellent chance Milan returns home with three points.
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Mainz, Sunday, 1:30 p.m | TV: ESPN+
The Pick: Over 2.5 (-135) — In a league where goals come easily, both of these teams could be considered among the less exciting teams in the Bundesliga. That said, any time I see a total of only 2.5 in a Bundesliga match with juice like this, it’s worth exploring further. That’s what I did here; the more I looked, the more I wanted to make this bet.
Leverkusen is stout defensively, but it’s much more aggressive at home. It averages 1.8 xG at home compared to 1.1 on the road. On the other side, Mainz’s offensive performance at home or away is essentially the same, but its defense fades drastically away from home. At home, it allows an average xG of 1.1, but on the road, that number climbs to 1.7. Finally, the average Bundesliga match sees 3.24 goals scored. The average Leverkusen match includes 3.25 goals, while Mainz’ averages 3.1. That 2.5 total looks lower and lower, doesn’t it?
🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Looking to bet the NBA All-Star Game this weekend? SportsLine’s Mike Barner is here to tell you everything you need to know first.