^Friday's games<

(TNS)

Tribune News Service

Sports Budget for Friday, February 14, 2020

Updated at 8 a.m. EST (1300 UTC)

This budget is now available at http://www.TribuneNewsService.com, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.

^TOP STORIES<

^Teddy Greenstein: A betting guide to NBA All-Star Weekend: Expert advice from a one-time baller<

BKN-GREENSTEIN-COLUMN-SPORTSPLUS:TB — The first thing to know about betting on this year's NBA All-Star Game is that the over will not hit. Nor the under. Thanks to the novel new format, the fourth quarter will be untimed with a target score. So the total is MIA. (Which does not stand for Jimmy Butler's team.)

Beyond that, the first wagering opportunity is straightforward: Team LeBron is favored by 4.5 points over Team Giannis.

If you firmly believe LeBron's crew will win, but not by five, you can sprinkle coin on the money line — wagering $200 to win $100. If you smell an upset, bet $100 to win $175 on Giannis' minions.

800 by Teddy Greenstein in Chicago. MOVED

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^BASEBALL<

^Paul Sullivan: Humble? The Cubs? This should be interesting to see.<

BBN-SULLIVAN-COLUMN:TB — As the Cubs begin their quest to erase the bad vibes from last year's collapse, Anthony Rizzo informed the media there's a different feeling in the clubhouse.

"It's a new opportunity," Rizzo said. "It's going to be something that grows more and more, confidence-wise. We're a confident group, but we're also a humble group right now."

Humble? The Chicago Cubs? Theo Epstein's Cubs?

Humble is a word I wouldn't normally attach to the Cubs, one of the cockiest, most self-assured groups I've been around in more than three decades of covering baseball

1000 by Paul Sullivan in Mesa, Ariz. MOVED

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^NBA<

^Marcus Hayes: Brett Brown is having best season so far as Sixers head coach<

BKN-HAYES-COLUMN:PH — It doesn't feel like it, but this might be Brett Brown's best season yet.

Yes, the 76ers recently lost four in a row during a stretch that put Brown's job in immediate peril, which was stupid. Yes, they play worse on the road, which is why they stand No. 5 in an Eastern Conference that they were favored to win.

But here's the thing: They never should have been favored to win the East. Not after losing JJ Redick and Jimmy Butler, their two most reliable perimeter players.

1300 by Marcus Hayes in Philadelphia. MOVED

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^Mac Engel: To be like LeBron or Dirk? That's the big decision for Mavs star Luka Doncic.<

BKN-ENGEL-COLUMN:FT — Luka Doncic says he can handle the minutes, the workload and expectations, but he has a decision to make whether he wants to be a LeBron, or a Dirk.

Neither is the wrong answer, but that preposterous possibility is plausible.

If Luka wants, he can be a Dirk and live the "quiet" NBA superstar existence and be beloved, and respected, by all. Or, he can go all-in and be the biggest name in a global sport, like LeBron.

Luka has the name, the game, the looks. He needs some hardware, but it's all there.

1100 by Mac Engel in Dallas. MOVED

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^NHL<

Friday's games

TNS expects coverage from the following games:

Montreal at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. EST

NY Rangers at Columbus, 7 p.m.

San Jose at Winnipeg, 7 p.m.

New Jersey at Carolina, 7 p.m.

^COLLEGE BASKETBALL<

^Bob Ford: Villanova fighting to remain successful in the Big East it created<

^BKC-FORD-COLUMN:PH—<The highlight reel, which ended as only the most fortunate of highlight reels end — in a shower of confetti falling on a championship trophy — came to its wild, familiar conclusion, and Ryan Arcidiacono walked onto the basketball court at Finneran Pavilion at halftime Wednesday night.

Former teammate Kris Jenkins, the recipient of the most famous pass ever thrown in Villanova basketball history, applauded from the sideline, and the crowd stayed in its seats to watch as Arcidiacono's jersey was retired.

900 by Bob Ford. MOVED

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^Kentucky's top-ranked basketball target is done with visits. What's next for Greg Brown?<

BKC-KENTUCKY-BROWN:LX — All of his recruiting visits now behind him, top 10 national basketball prospect Greg Brown III is inching nearer to a much-anticipated college decision.

He's just not ready to make it quite yet. Or, more accurately, his dad wants him to think about it a little bit longer.

Greg Brown Jr., the star recruit's father, told the Herald-Leader this week that he and his son hadn't even sat down to seriously talk about his college options, days removed from the family's final official visit, a trip to Michigan this past weekend.

1500 by Ben Roberts in Lexington, Ky. MOVED

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^AUTO RACING<

^Can Team Penske dethrone Joe Gibbs Racing? Three NASCAR storylines to follow in 2020.<

CAR-NASCAR-STORYLINES:CH — With the NASCAR season kicking off at Sunday's Daytona 500, the Charlotte Observer breaks down what to look for in the sport's top series in 2020. Here's what we're following.

750 by Alex Andrejev in Daytona, Fla. MOVED

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