By Tim Birkmeyer
With football over, I’m sure all of your attention has been to College Basketball. Why? Because March is right around the corner! Yes, get your “it’s been a year” out of the way and get excited for March Madness. Sure, you might be watching the NBA or NHL, but they are going deep into the summer to finish their seasons, so college basketball is getting down to the Nitty Gritty (remember that?). Let’s take a look at the board.
For once, there’s a Saturday where the noon games are kind of bland, and I don’t feel bad for missing a good matchup. There are some ranked teams playing, but nothing I would really bet on for today. Outside of the noon slate, there’s not too much in terms of big matchups (thanks Duke), but there is still some games to make some plays. And, since March Madness is right around the corner, we HAVE to start looking at Mid-Majors to see who might upset a few teams come bracket time. So, as always, I will provide you with Five (5) plays in today’s games: 2 from the big boys, 2 from the little guys, and everyone’s favorite Pac-12 After Dark Parlay! Here are today’s plays:
*Note/Disclaimer: I am not a gambling genius. Please take my picks with a side of caution, and please bet responsibly. Also, these are lines from the day before, so they might be a bit different.*
WEST VIRGINIA and TEXAS OVER 147 POINTS (-107)
Remember Press Virginia? Yeah, me neither because this team is scoring like crazy recently and so is Texas. And good news: these two teams played a 72-70 game back in Morgantown a month ago, so we are basically right there and just need 5 more points for this to push. So what’s going to get us those 5-6 points we need to not lose? Well, Texas is averaging 74.8 points per game in their last 7 (since the last meeting with WVU) and that includes a 2OT 67 point effort and a 69 (nice) point effort. West Virginia in that same span, also 7 games, is averaging 82.3 points per game which also includes a very nice point game. Plus, these teams are putting up these numbers shooting less than 45% from the field, so I fell pretty good this will hit, and it will be an awesome game to watch!
VIRGINIA (-2) at DUKE (-107)
Good news for Duke fans: Yankees Pitchers and Catchers have reported and the Lakers are in a good spot to repeat as NBA champions. Bad news for Duke fans: your team is not as good this year and your best player just opted-out, and Coach K will likely opt-out of March Madness to save from embarrassment. On Virginia’s side, they are 10-8-1 ATS and coming off a brutal loss to Florida State the other night where they gave up 81 points. Look for their defense to adjust, bear down, and kick Duke while they are down and should easily win by more than one score.
NORTHERN KENTUCKY (+8.5) vs. WRIGHT STATE (-107)
Welcome to today’s “What does Vegas know that we don’t?” Pick of the day! Just last night, the Norse of Norther Kentucky took down the Raiders of Wright State winning by 6 points, and the two are back at it again tonight in a HUGE matchup in the Horizon League. If Northern Kentucky wins, they will be guaranteed the 3 seed in the conference tournament with a lot of confidence in taking down #1 back to back, but can they go back to back? I’m not sure if they will win, but they will cover. Think about it, for them to not cover would be a 14.5 point swing. Against teams in the top-half of the conference, Wright State plays some decently close games and they blow out the bottom half of the conference (as they should). It’s Senior Night, so let’s show our Elder Norsemen some respect.
NORTH DAKOTA STATE ML (-115) vs. SOUTH DAKOTA STATE
Your site may not have a ML because it’s so close, but the spread right now is (-1), so that is just as good of a play, especially if you like the better odds of (-107). But this is a MUST WIN for the Bison. Both of these two teams are tied at the top of the Summit League standings along with South Dakota. Last night, the Jackrabbits pulled away with a 68-67 victory, and the Bison end the season against South Dakota, so they really need to win tonight to fight for that #1 spot come conference tournament time. Do it for Carson Wentz!
PAC-12 AFTER DARK PARLAY: OREGON ML, UCLA (-7.5), & CAL/WASH O139.5 (+350)
We got the best of three worlds in this parlay: a ML, a spread, and an over. Let’s start with the obvious, Oregon is winning this game. The Ducks are HOT right now (and hot is loosely defined, they have squeaked some wins in their last two) and Utah is on a little bit of a slide right now. Plus, we put this same play in on January 9th, and it hit, so let’s keep it up. In that same parlay that hit, we had UCLA spread, so let’s keep it going! The last time these two teams played, UCLA won on the road in OT by 6 points, and now the Bruins have gotten better and at home tonight. Plus, their last three games are against Utah (top-half), Colorado (4th), and USC (1st), so this is a game they need to win big to solidify a top 2, potentially #1 seed in the Pac-12 tournament. And for California and Washington, both teams are so bad, you HAVE to root for the over in this one, and that’s all I really have to say about that game.
And that will do it for this week’s College Basketball Gambling Guide! Who are some of your picks? Will you ride with me or fade my plays? Do you have a LOCK for today? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter and let’s have some fun, bet responsibly, and let’s make some money!