College Basketball Gambling Primer: February 8, Rivalry Saturday

YTD: 86-92-5 (seriously, what the hell happened to all the winning? This is bullshit) 


BC +7.5

Indiana -1

St. Louis +14

Villanova -2.5

Texas +3

Under 150 Duke/UNC

Princeton -5

St. Mary's +6

Utah State -8.5

Auburn -5

Boston College at Virginia Tech (-7.5/129.5)

What the hell happened to Virginia Tech? Well, sure they are a young team with a first year head coach, but they looked like the clear favorite to be the 4th team in the ACC. Since then, they've lost 4 in a row and 5 out of 6 with the 1 win being a double OT home win over UNC without Cole Anthony. They lost to BC by 5 in Chestnut Hill during this streak so we get the wrap around game here. That game saw a lot of what the fear is with VT. Landers Nolley got his points (15) and then no one else hit double figures. BC has enough depth and a guy in Jerius Hamilton that I like to stay within the number, especially considering this should be a slow tempo game. 

Pick: BC +7.5

Purdue at Indiana (-1/127)

Emotions are going to be HIGH during this. Bobby Knight is apparently making his first appearance at Assembly Hall in 20 years and people still think of that old bag of bones as God in Bloomington. Here's the thing. According to Torvik (similar to KenPom), Purdue is quite literally the best team when they play at home. There's no one in the country that looks as dominant as they do when they play at Mackey. When they are on the road? They are rated as the 93rd team in the country. Indiana meanwhile has splits of 22nd at home and 126th on the road. We have Purdue coming off the win against Iowa where they scored roughly 412 points. Indiana is in the middle of a losing streak, started by that collapse in the last minute against Maryland. Give me the red sweater. 

Pick: Indiana -1

St. Louis at Dayton (-14/140.5)

Is Dayton one of the best teams in the country? Absolutely. No doubt about it. They have arguably the best offense in the country and my NPOY in Obi Toppin. Not only that but they have a guard in Jalen Crutcher that has been dominant in close games down the stretch. But 14 points here? Even at home that feels like a lot. St. Louis just matches up well against Dayton. We saw it in game 1 at St. Louis when Dayton won by 2 in OT. Hashan French matches up well against Toppin and St. Louis has a guard in Jordan Goodwin that can play with anyone in the country. My only fear is St. Louis is quite literally the worst FT shooting team in the country. 

Pick: St. Louis +14

Seton Hall at Villanova (-2.5/139.5) 

This isn't technically a game for first in the Big East, but it's a game for first in the Big East. If Nova wants to have a shot to win another Big East regular season title they have to beat Seton Hall on the Main Line today. One thing we've seen Nova really do well this year is offensively attack bigs. By that I mean they are going to spread Seton Hall and force Romaro Gill away from the hoop, similar to what they did to Kansas and Udoka Azubuike. It is a little concerning with how good Seton Hall is at running teams off the 3pt line, but Nova has a guy in Saddiq Bey, who is a legit star. He's a big wing that can get to the rim or hit the outside shot. I'll play history here that Nova will be in the conference title race. 

Pick: Villanova -2.5

Texas Tech at Texas (+3/130)

This is strictly a home team desperate for a win play. Texas Tech has not been good away from home, they have 1 road win (Kansas State) and two neutral court wins (Houston Baptist and Louisville). Texas is desperate to get a win and stay alive for the NCAA Tournament with Shaka on the hot seat. This game is likely going to be gross - both teams aren't exactly awesome on offense. If Jericho Sims stays out of foul trouble, he can have a big game. He's a rim protector and does an excellent job of offensive rebounding/rolling to the rim on offense. Tech struggles against bigs. 

Pick: Texas +3

Duke at UNC (+8/150)

The game that everyone knows about. Duke/UNC wearing the shittiest jerseys I can remember. I'm honestly shocked that opened up at 150. That seems way too high for a UNC team that really struggles offensively. Not to mention they sort of match up well. Tre Jones can really bother Cole Anthony. That leaves Garrison Brooks as the next option - Duke has a handful of bigs to throw on him. UNC is one of the worst shooting teams in the country too and the way to beat Duke is run ball screens with the ability to shoot and then attack. UNC doesn't run ball screens that much. All in all this is making up for an under play. 

Pick: Under 150

Princeton at Cornell (-5/135.5)

Did you know Princeton has played like a top-45 team in the country over the last month? I doubt it, but that's where the Tigers are. Even though this is a road game that was supposed to be played last night but got PPD, I love what Princeton has done lately. It's not like Cornell is great at home either. They have 4 home wins - 2 came against non D-1 teams, one came against Binghamton (ranked 336th) and the other against Columbia (270th). Jaelin Llewelyn is by far the best player on the court. That matters in a game like this. 

Pick: Princeton -5

Gonzaga at St. Mary's (+6/151)

The biggest thing to watch here is Killian Tillie's health. Gonzaga has been holding him out for the last couple of games, but that's more just keeping him healthy for the postseason. This is a game that St. Mary's HAS to win. They can't make the Tournament without beating Gonzaga. St. Mary's is a great defensive rebounding team, which can limit what Gonzaga's strength is on the offensive glass. Plus, this is a home game in a rivalry game so the place will be rocking. Even if Tillie plays, I'd be a little surprised if he plays regular minutes. 

Pick: St. Mary's +6

Boise State at Utah State (-8.5/141)

I know Utah State has been one of the biggest, if not the biggest disappointment in the country this season. That said, they need to win out and hope for the best considering they are hoping on neutral court wins over LSU and Florida to be good enough. So they host a top-85 team in Boise State, a team they already lost to. Why do I like Utah State here? Boise State is AWFUL at defending inside the arc. Neemias Queta is finally starting to look like himself again - he only played 23 minutes in the first game. He's played 30+ in 3 of the last 4. If Utah State can get him going, especially at home, this should be a double digit win. 

Pick: Utah State -8.5

LSU at Auburn (-5/154) 

I know that all LSU does is play close games, but they are coming off a 99-90 loss at Vanderbilt, which just opened up the SEC race completely. A win here by Auburn puts them in a tie up top. So here's the thing. Auburn will be rocking. That place is completely filled thanks to Bruce Pearl. The other thing? Auburn matches up real well against LSU. Austin Wiley is a big body that LSU is going to have a tough time to guard. They have the athletic wings to match up with Watford/Mays/Williams/etc. LSU's defense also lets you get a bunch of looks from three. Guess what Auburn wants to do? 

Pick: Auburn -5