Last Updated: 2019-01-14
Michigan and Virginia are still unbeaten, but Duke is the clear favorite to win it all according to the oddsmakers. We’re getting into the thick of conference play now, and it will be interesting to see which teams can navigate through the difficult spots. Everyone is going to have a bad game at some point, so you should never read too much into one game.
I will be doing a college basketball weekly situational spots article for BangtheBook.com once again this season. In these I’ll be looking for games where a team involved is in either a tough or a favorable spot. Situational handicapping is very important to winning long-term in college basketball. The games featured in this article should give you an idea of how to survey the board and come up with some ideas when betting on college basketball. Keep in mind that all bets should be price dependent, but looking for spots such as these is a good starting point.
Tuesday January 15
Ball State at Bowling Green- Ball State laid an egg on Saturday in their 70-52 loss to Ohio. The Cardinals were never in that game, and I would point to the team having a hangover from their double overtime loss to Eastern Michigan the previous game. Bowling Green has been a big surprise in the MAC thus far. The Falcons have won seven straight games. They are coming off an overtime win against Central Michigan. Ball State should put in a big effort here. Can Bowling Green match that effort?
Marquette at Georgetown- Three of Georgetown’s last six games have gone into overtime. They are coming off a double overtime win over Providence on Saturday. Marquette has played a much tougher schedule so far this year than Georgetown. The Golden Eagles are the fresher team, but Georgetown was beaten by Marquette both times last year. One of those losses was an overtime loss at home.
Wednesday January 16
Georgia Tech at Clemson- Georgia Tech is coming off a huge win at Syracuse. They dominated the Orange throughout in that one. Clemson just got thumped 63-43 by Virginia. Virginia is going to dominate a lot of people this year. I like the bounce back potential for Clemson here. Georgia Tech has played the 208th ranked schedule so far this year. Clemson has played the 25th toughest schedule. Clemson has lost three in a row. They can’t afford to lose another one.
Butler at DePaul- Can DePaul keep this going? The Blue Demons have been able to upset some teams in the past few years, but consistency has been a major problem. They beat Seton Hall at home and then went on the road and beat St. John’s. What about Butler? The Bulldogs are coming off consecutive losses by a single point. They made a late comeback and lost by a point to Seton Hall. They led almost the entire game, but fell apart late and lost 70-69 against Xavier. Butler led by ten points with four minutes left! A huge test for both teams. I lean toward Butler in this one.
Thursday January 17
San Francisco at Pacific- I still feel bad for anyone who had San Francisco ATS against Gonzaga. That was a really bad beat. San Francisco played a great game and the Dons put a ton of effort into that showdown against Gonzaga. I think Kyle Smith is an underrated coach, but he’ll have a tough job trying to motivate his players for this game. Pacific is in the much better situational spot here. I couldn’t lay the points with San Francisco in this spot, though I do believe they are a high quality team.
Florida International at Western Kentucky- Western Kentucky has now found a way to blow a big lead in two straight games. They were up 21-0 against Old Dominion before losing by three. They led Marshall by 15 points in the first half, but ended up losing by a single point. FIU lost on a last second shot against Old Dominion on Saturday. Western Kentucky has the much better talent here, and this is a spot where a blowout wouldn’t surprise me. Western Kentucky is going to take their frustration out on someone soon. It might be here.
Hawaii at Cal State Northridge- This will be only Hawaii’s second true road game of the season! Hawaii has put together a nice winning streak of late, but the Warriors need to prove it on the road before I trust them. CS Northridge has played two overtime contests in their last three games. Mark Gottfried’s team appears to be getting better, but they are outclassed from a talent standpoint in most of their games. I couldn’t bet Hawaii, but I’m not excited to bet Northridge either.
Saturday January 19
Penn at Temple- Things have totally fallen apart for the Penn Quakers of late. This is a team who beat Miami and Villanova in the non-conference slate. They are now on a four-game losing streak and their last two losses were to Princeton. Temple has been living right of late. Three of the Owls last five wins have come in overtime. This is a big rivalry game because of the close proximity of the two campuses. I lean toward Penn in the underdog role. They should be very hungry for a win.
Mississippi State at Vanderbilt- Mississippi State lost a tough one to South Carolina in overtime. They then lost their rivalry game at home against Ole Miss. Vanderbilt has fallen apart pretty badly without Darius Garland running the show. Vanderbilt is still a relatively difficult place to play though, and the Bulldogs have a showdown with Florida before this game. Depending on how things play out this week, it might be a spot to look for the home underdog.
Rice at North Texas- Rice was absolutely robbed in their game at UTEP last weekend. Rice should have won that game if it weren’t for the officials allowing a last second shot to count that clearly came after time had expired. It is always really hard to say how a team will respond in this kind of situation. Rice doesn’t play any weekday games, so they have a week to think about that defeat. North Texas is coming off a loss at UTSA, but the Mean Green are 16-2 on the year. They are extremely well-coached by Grant McCasland. North Texas already beat Rice on the road 103-87 though, so you have to wonder how invested they’ll be in this one. A very interesting handicap.
Sunday January 20
Iona at Monmouth- Iona and Monmouth have had some epic battles over the years. This game can get very heated. Monmouth was already beaten 103-84 at Iona a few games ago. The Hawks will now look for revenge, but they aren’t in a great scheduling spot. Monmouth plays on Monday and Thursday of this week, while Iona played Sunday and then plays Friday again. It isn’t a huge difference, but it is something that benefits Iona a bit. I think both of these teams are better than their record would indicate. Let’s see what kind of number the oddsmakers throw out on this one.
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