USA Today Sports

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.

Lookahead spot


The Big Ten has staked a claim as the country’s toughest conference when it comes to college hoops, which is why looking past an upcoming opponent is especially dangerous in the deep league.

The Indiana Hoosiers have a potential Big Ten Championship preview with the Michigan Wolverines Saturday but first travel to West Lafayette to play the rival Purdue Boilermakers Wednesday. Purdue, at 11-9, is no cupcake. The Boilermakers have picked up steam, winning SU and ATS in four of their last five, with three of those coming at home. Indiana has been awful ATS lately, failing to cover in five straight.

Letdown spot


The New Jersey Devils got little respect from oddsmakers heading into the lockout-shortened season. Despite winning the Eastern Conference crown last year, the Devils were behind the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup futures.

New Jersey has a chip on its shoulder heading into Saturday’s showdown in the Steel City but will likely be chipless and flat when it visits the lowly New York Islanders Sunday afternoon. Chances are the Devils will be more worried about getting home in time for the Super Bowl than the Isles.

Scheduling spot

The good news: The Toronto Raptors have an upcoming three-game home stand at the Air Canada Centre, where they’re 13-9 ATS on the year. The bad news: Those three games come against the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat and Boston Celtics.

Toronto is in Atlanta Wednesday before jumping the border to host the Clippers Friday, welcome the Heat on Sunday and open the doors to the Celtics Wednesday. While the games are fairly spaced out, the shorthanded Raptors could find themselves fatigued and frustrated after a three-punch combo like this.

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