Friday, January 16, 2015

Saturday's College Hoops Viewing/Betting Guide

Tomorrow is a monstrous day in college basketball. ESPN's scoreboard is showing 16 games featuring 21 of the 25 ranked teams (including 4 against 6, 8 against 10, 9 against 11, 16 against 20, and 18 against 24), as well as about half a dozen more games featuring solid power conference matchups.

Tomorrow's lines aren't up yet on the sites that I have access to, so I'm going to take a stab and try to gauge where I'd want the lines to be in order to bet. I might not get to all the games, but I'll hit the big ones.

Now presenting, in chronological order, your Saturday betting and viewing guide (opening lines from as of early Saturday morning):

#4 Duke @ #6 Louisville, 12pm, ESPN
Coming out of the gate hot! I think Duke will be a really narrow favorite here, because the general thought is there's no way this team loses three in a row. I just was not impressed by Duke when they played NC State. Then they followed it up by shitting the bed at home against Miami. Now they have to go on the road to a 23,000-person stadium for the second biggest game of the season. Louisville held Kentucky to 58 points and lost by 8. Their only other loss this season was by one point at UNC. If Louisville gets points, hammer it.

(Louisville -3.5, hate it!)

NC State @ Florida State, 1:30pm, ESPN3
I wanted to include this game because NC State should win by at least half a dozen. If there's a narrow spread, take the Wolfpack.

(NC State -2, I'm in)

#2 Virginia @ Boston College, 2pm, ESPN3
BC stinks. Virginia, conservatively, should win this game by 20 points.

(Virginia -13, throwing it into the teaser bag)

#22 Baylor @ Kansas State, 3pm, ESPNU
Kansas State stinks. I have absolutely no clue how they're 3-1 in the conference. Baylor has actually been a little shaky recently. In my opinion, Baylor's shakiness and KSU's recent run of "looking decent" are both not reality.

(Baylor +1, highway robbery)

#3 Gonzaga @ Loyola Marymount, 4pm, Not on TV
Just do what you do for every Zags game - throw them in a teaser regardless of the spread. Per VegasInsider, through 15 applicable games they have covered 8 (pushed one), and that number goes to 11 if you make it a 4-point teaser). Easy money.

(Gonzaga -19.5, and the teaser bag grows. I'd like a big cushion here though)

#1 Kentucky @ Alabama, 4pm, ESPN
The Wildcats have played 3 conference games. In the first two, the Cal Cats needed a combined 3 overtimes to escape. In their most recent game, they won by 49. The crazy part is all three of those games were against teams in the same area (toward the bottom) of the SEC standings. I have no idea how this is going to go but I'm intrigued to see what Vegas thinks.

(Kentucky -9, and the tease bag grows)

Michigan State @ #14 Maryland, 4pm, CBS
I feel like these two just played each other, but it was just over two weeks ago. That, if you recall, was a 2OT thriller that legitimized Maryland as a contender this year. I don't care what the spread is, I'm going to take MSU because I think they're going to win this game by a wide margin (and I think they might even be getting points).

(Michigan State +3, big time yes)

Syracuse @ Clemson, 4pm, ESPN3
Don't look now but Cuse's "down year" is halfway done and they're tied for first in the ACC. Clemson, on the other hand, was supposed to finish toward the bottom of the pack, and that's where they are currently sitting. I'd love to see Cuse -4, but I have a feeling it might be steeper than that.

(Cuse -1.5, I'm in unless Cuse is missing a starter or something)

#16 West Virginia @ #20 Texas, 6:15pm, ESPN
Sixteen is too low for WVU, and twenty seems about right for Texas. I expect the Mountaineers to be favored by just enough for us to not like it. This is a big tease candidate because I think it's going to be a 3-5 point spread and it might end up being a close game. I'd love a little cushion, but if it's WVU -3 then we don't even need it.

(West Virginia +2, yes!)

#5 Villanova @ Penn, 7pm, ESPN3
The Villanova strategy is very similar to the Gonzaga one - tease the Cats spread and (a recent addition to the strategy) the over. Through 16 valid games, they've covered 11 spreads and gone over 7 times. Add a 4-point tease and those numbers move to 12 spreads and 8 overs. For what it's worth, a lot of the games that went under were Villanova stifling its opponent and holding them to scores in thr 60s, 50s, and even 40s. This is one of those times - Penn might only score 25 points. Take Nova, but maybe think about teasing them if the spread's above 20.

(Villanova -18, think I'd prefer a tease)

#8 Utah @ #10 Arizona, 7pm, Pac-12 Network
This game is going to be tight. I don't want to pick either side to win because it really is a toss-up, but Utah has been mowing teams down and I'm intrigued at the though of them actually getting points. I cannot fathom how this isn't on a bigger channel because it's probably the game of the day.

(Utah +4 is a really interesting proposition)

#9 Kansas @ #11 Iowa State, 9pm, ESPN
I hate this game because I think Kansas is going to win, but home court in a big conference game like this can really swing things. If it was in Lawrence, I'd say take Kansas to cover regardless of the spread. Because it's in Ames, I'm not so sure. Kansas just barely beat Baylor on the road, and their collapse at Temple has me nervous. (Cuban voice) and for that reason, I'm out.

(Kansas +4, in case you want to bite)

Connecticut @ Stanford, 9pm, ESPN2
In my mind, UConn should win the American every single year. Apparently that's not actually accurate, because they're 2-2 and in the middle of the conference this year. Tulsa is undefeated though, who knew? UConn has one impressive win (at Florida), and a whole slew of losses (West Virginia by 10, Texas by 1, Yale by 1, Duke by 10, Temple by 4, Tulsa by 8). Stanford is in the Utah-Arizona range in the Pac-12, and they've taken care of everyone they were supposed to this season except @ Depaul (who shot 54% from the field and 50% from 3, and won the turnover battle 21-13), @ BYU (Stanford lost by 2 despite allowing 29 free throw attempts), and @ UCLA (they lost in 2 overtimes UCLA with 4 players with 4+ fouls). I think the nerds win pretty easily.

(Stanford -4.5, please and thank you)

So our teaser for the day is Virginia, Gonzaga, Kentucky, Villanova (which also happens to be an extremely possible Final Four). And then we also have NC State, Baylor (maybe), Michigan State, Syracuse, West Virginia, and Stanford. 

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