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See spot. See spot bet: This week's best spot bet opportunities

Spot bets are a classic handicapping practice that have proven profitable no matter what sport you’re betting. Whether it’s a team looking past this week’s opponent, one coming off a hard-fought victory, or a rough patch of schedule, bettors can find value picking their spots.

Letdown spot

UCLA is trying to keep pace in the Pac-12 and needs a win over Arizona Wednesday night to do so. The Bruins, at 15-4 and 5-1 in the conference, took a step back with a loss to Oregon Saturday. They travel to Arizona for this highly-anticipated matchup Thursday then head to Tempe two days later to face Arizona State.

The Sun Devils are no pushovers at 14-4 heading into Thursday’s game with USC, and will be playing their third straight in-state game when UCLA comes to town. Expect a young Bruins team to be suffering from an Arizona hangover – win or lose Thursday - entering the weekend.

Lookahead spot

The frantic pace of the lockout-shortened NHL season doesn’t give teams much time to think about the upcoming slate. But with the way the Pittsburgh Penguins have opened the season, upcoming opponents are circling the Pens on the calendar.

The Ottawa Senators could get caught looking ahead to Sunday’s date with Pittsburgh before they visit the Tampa Bay Lightning Friday. Not only are the Sens vulnerable to the lookahead but they could also be terribly flat thanks to a two-game stay in the Sunshine State (play the Panthers Thursday). Florida’s balmy weather is a far cry from the bitter Ottawa nights.

Schedule spot

NBA bettors will know if the Oklahoma City Thunder are for real as they close out a six-game road trip this week. The Thunder split overtime games in Dallas and Denver and have a huge Western Conference showdown with the L.A. Clippers Tuesday.

That outing opens a stretch of four games in six nights, starting in L.A., then to Golden State, Sacramento and finally back to La-La-Land to take on the Lakers. When it’s all said and done, Oklahoma City will have played nine of 10 games away from home - starting back on Jan. 11. With another close contest expected Tuesday, the Thunder could be on fumes by the time this trip is over.

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