The calendar is about to turn to February. In four weeks, we’ll have our first conference tournaments to break down. In six weeks, we’ll be breaking down the NCAA Tournament brackets. Let’s see if we can find some good spots through the rest of the regular season to build up the bankroll for March.
I will be doing a weekly college basketball situational spots to watch article for BangtheBook.com. I have done these articles for both college football and college basketball for the last few seasons. The games mentioned aren’t necessarily going to be plays of my own. The goal is to help readers learn to isolate situational spots that could give you an edge on the book.
Tuesday January 30
Ball State at Toledo – Ball State has played two overtime games in a row. The Cardinals lost in overtime at Kent State last Tuesday. Ball State then won in double overtime at home against Akron on Saturday afternoon. Ball State is a fairly deep team, so the impact here might not be as great as it would on other teams, but it is still something to keep in mind. Toledo has lost only one game in the MAC so far this year.
Wednesday January 31
Loyola Chicago at Bradley – Bradley is quietly unbeaten at home this year. The Braves are no longer a doormat in the Missouri Valley Conference. Loyola Chicago is coming off a national television win over Northern Iowa on Sunday. Loyola also plays Missouri State on Saturday. Missouri State has disappointed, but they were the preseason favorite in this league. Coming off a big win and having a talented team looming on Saturday, this is a bit of a sandwich spot.
Louisville at Virginia – The Virginia Cavaliers are coming off a massive victory for the program at Duke on Saturday. The Cavs have been great all year and their consistency has impressed me, but this isn’t a good spot for them. Louisville isn’t the power they were a few years ago, but they are still a talented team, and Virginia will be laying a big number. I’d be wary of a letdown.
Thursday February 1
VMI at UNC Greensboro – VMI isn’t good at all. They are coming off a rare road win at Chattanooga on Saturday. The Keydets shoot the ball really poorly, and they turn it over very often. VMI plays at Samford on Monday and then this game at UNC Greensboro on Thursday. Three road games packed close together for a team that is this bad leads to either staying away or laying the big number with Greensboro.
Hawaii at UC Santa Barbara – Hawaii has played a total of 19 games this year. Only three of them have been on the road. Hawaii beat UCSB at home by a point, and the Gauchos will be looking for revenge at home here. UCSB has looked like a team capable of winning the Big West, and they are in a good spot here. Let’s see how expensive the oddsmakers make this one.
Saturday February 3
Coastal Carolina at UT Arlington – UT Arlington has been one of the bigger mid-major disappointments this year. The Mavericks were coming off 24-11 and 27-9 seasons in the last two years. They sit at only 13-10 this season. UT Arlington has already lost six games in the Sun Belt. Still, UT Arlington is definitely the side I’d lean to here. Coastal Carolina embarrassed UT Arlington 90-65 earlier this year. Coastal Carolina is making the long trip to Texas to take on Texas State on Thursday and then UT Arlington on Saturday. That’s not an easy spot for the Chanticleers.
Montana State at Northern Colorado – This is an interesting Big Sky matchup. Montana State is in their second road game in three days here. Northern Colorado’s arena is at an elevation of more than 4,500 feet. Montana State is accustomed to the elevation though, with their home court being at a slightly higher elevation. Northern Colorado hosts league leader Montana on Thursday night. Depending on what happens there, this could be a bad spot for the host to be laying a big number. If they lose a tight one or shock Montana, I’d look to go against them laying double digits here.
UAB at Old Dominion – UAB plays at Charlotte on Thursday night. The Blazers should win that game easily. Old Dominion hosts MTSU in a battle of two very physical teams on Thursday night. How will they react to the quick turnaround to host UAB? Old Dominion blasted UAB on the road last year. The Blazers would love to pay them back here. UAB has several road wins this year, and they were very close to winning at Western Kentucky and at Marshall. I like this spot better for the road team.