College basketball betting is far different than the NBA with about 10 times as many teams to choose from.
With so many choices, bettors can’t just focus on the major conferences. A quick look at the updated against the spread records show the top-5 schools of Middle Tennessee State (15-4), Nevada (12-3), Manhattan (14-5), South Dakota State (10-2-1) and Bowling Green (11-4) all from smaller conferences.
Wednesday night in college basketball only features one of the teams above (Bowling Green hosting Central Michigan), but we do get a look at one of the major conference ATS stalwarts in Missouri (10-4). Here’s our daily preview.
Penn State at No. 3 Ohio State – 6:30 p.m. (ET)
Penn State (10-11 straight up, 6-10 ATS) was having a difficult season before the passing of former football coach and school icon, Joe Paterno. The team heard the news on Sunday and then had to play at Indiana a few hours later, losing 73-54 as 15-point underdogs.
The Nittany Lions are now 0-4 SU and ATS in Big Ten road games this year, with an average score of 70-55. Expect to see a huge spread in this game, although Penn State has covered two of the last three in Columbus.
Ohio State (17-3 SU, 9-6 ATS) is ranked No. 3 in the Coaches Poll ahead of Syracuse, with the teams flip-flopped in the AP. The AP seems fairer with the Orange only suffering one defeat. The Buckeyes did have an excuse in their earlier loss at Kansas (78-67) with Jared Sullinger out, but not in the more recent ones at Indiana (74-70) and Illinois (79-74).
Coach Thad Matta’s guys are 14-0 SU and 7-2 ATS at home and it’s almost unfair having three of the top 10 scorers in the conference in Sullinger (17.1 PPG), William Buford (15.2 PPG) and the emerging Deshaun Thomas (15.0 PPG).
The ‘over’ is 6-0 in the last six meetings between Ohio State and Penn State.
No. 2 Missouri Tigers at Oklahoma State Cowboys – 7:30 p.m. (ET) on ESPN2
Missouri (18-1 SU, 10-4 ATS) jumped from No. 5 in the Coaches Poll after the Saturday carnage that saw both Syracuse and Duke lose. The Tigers also did their own part by upsetting then No. 3 Baylor, 89-88 as 4½-point road ‘dogs. It was their first road win over a top-5 team since 1994, doing a great job outrebounding (27-24) a much taller Baylor squad.
Coach Frank Haith has his Missouri team going in the right direction at 4-0 SU and ATS in the last four. That includes another tough road win at Iowa State, 76-69 as 4-point favorites. Haith needs to make sure there is no letdown on Wednesday.
Oklahoma State (9-10 SU, 8-9 ATS) has lost 3-straight and eight of 11. Scoring (65.9 PPG) is an issue overall at just eighth in the conference. That’s far less than up-tempo Missouri (83.4 PPG) who ranks first in the Big 12 and fourth nationally.
Both teams like to play with small lineups, but Missouri is much better at rebounding and hitting the ‘three.’ The Cowboys only real hope is playing at Gallagher-Iba Area where they’re 7-2 SU (although just 2-5 ATS).
Missouri is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetings between the teams. However, Oklahoma State did win and cover last year in Stillwater, 76-70 as 2-point ‘dogs.
No. 6 Duke Blue Devils at Maryland Terrapins – 9:00 p.m. (ET) on ESPN
Duke (16-3 SU, 7-12 ATS) has a lot to prove after a 76-73 Saturday loss to Florida State as 10 ½-point favorites. That snapped an incredible 45-game home winning streak, with 37.5 percent shooting (15-of-40) from inside the arc mostly to blame.
The Blue Devils now have to venture away from Cameron Indoor Stadium. They’re 2-2 SU (1-3 ATS) in true road games with losses at Ohio State (85-63) and Temple (78-73), followed by ACC wins over at Georgia Tech (81-74) and Clemson (73-66). The Clemson game was the only cover, just beating the 6½-point number.
The Terrapins (12-6 SU, 5-8-1 ATS) return home after road losses at Temple (73-60) and Florida State (84-70). The record at home in the Comcast Center is 10-1 SU, but just 2-4-1 ATS. They’re also 2-5 ATS as an underdog, which will surely be the case on Wednesday.
Sophomore guard Terrell Stoglin (21.2 PPG) is the ACC’s leading scorer and fifth in the nation. The problem is he scores a whopping 30.9 percent of Maryland’s points (68.7 PPG). Stoglin must have a monster game to beat a balanced Duke offense (80.5 PPG) that has five players averaging double-digits.
Duke won all three meetings last season, covering two of the games, including 80-62 as 4½-point favorites in College Park last February.