Last Updated: 2019-11-10
The first full week of the college basketball season is upon us. Everything got started on November 5 and now we’ll get a full week of hoops action on the hardwood across the country. Things have certainly been interesting so far and they will continue to be fascinating to watch as the non-conference portion of the schedule moves forward.
There are so many games to try and get a handle on each and every day. Narrowing down the card or having some starting points can be extremely helpful for bettors that are pressed for time.
Each week during the season, I’ll scour through the college basketball schedule and find different situational betting opportunities based on travel, rivalries, revenge, and a lot of other factors. With a lot of games, I am sure to miss some, but once you get a feel for what to look for, you’ll be able to do this, too.
Here are some college basketball situational spots to consider for the week ending November 17:
Monday November 11
Cal Poly at North Dakota State – This is a 1 p.m. CT start, which means that it is basically an 11 a.m. start for Cal Poly, who opened the season last Friday against Santa Clara. This is a really weird road game in Fargo for Cal Poly. We get a lot of unique travel spots and odd matchups at this time of the year, but this one really does stand out, especially with the super early start time.
Florida Gulf Coast at Dartmouth – Here’s another interesting travel spot. Dartmouth just scored a really nice win over Buffalo, although the Bulls are depleted with a new head coach and a lot of losses from last season. Dartmouth now hosts Florida Gulf Coast, who is making a long trip up to New Hampshire just to come back to the southeast and face Mercer on Friday. FGCU already had a long road trip to Saint Louis to open the season and also just played on Saturday and lost in heartbreaking fashion to UMBC. Dartmouth is in a really nice spot here.
Winthrop at Saint Mary’s – Here’s the most interesting spot of Monday and probably of the week. This is a back-to-back for Winthrop. We see back-to-backs during the early-season tournaments, but this is just a regularly scheduled back-to-back, as Winthrop played Fresno State and lost on a three-pointer with one second left on Sunday. This is the third straight road game for the Eagles, with stops in Hartford and Fresno. The travel isn’t bad here, but a back-to-back on the west coast is a tough spot.
Tuesday November 12
Pitt at Robert Morris – Aw, yeah. A Little Brother vs. Big Brother game in Pittsburgh, as Pitt takes on Robert Morris on the campus of the Colonials. Bobby Mo would love nothing more than to take down a same-city Big Brother in this one. Pitt, who opened the conference play portion of the season last week already, better be ready to go for this matchup.
Northeastern at UMass – What a start to the year for the Huskies. They’ve beaten crosstown rivals BU and Harvard already. Now Northeastern faces UMass in yet another game with some regional bragging rights. UMass is in Amherst, which is an hour and 45 minutes west of Northeastern’s campus, but this is another big game for the Huskies. We’ll see Northeastern again in this article heading into the weekend.
Air Force at Army – We know all about the football rivalry between the two service academies, but there is no love lost on the basketball court either. Air Force makes the long trek up to West Point for this matchup on Tuesday night. This is the first road game for Air Force and it is a haul. Army has played Villanova, who outclassed them badly, and the US Merchant Marine Academy. Two blowouts. One to the good and one to the bad. This one will be a much different type of game. Air Force is out for revenge after losing at home last season.
Oregon vs. Memphis – I mentioned this last week. Credit to Oregon for a nice non-conference schedule. This is technically a neutral-site game, but the game will be played in Portland, Oregon, so the home edge will very much be with the Ducks. Memphis has had quite a week with the James Wiseman mess and two resounding blowout wins. This will be a huge test for Penny Hardaway’s team and an interesting spot both ways.
Wednesday November 13
LSU at VCU – We’ve got two big time non-conference games on Wednesday. This acronym battle between LSU and VCU in Richmond is a pretty good litmus test for both teams. Road games like this can have a significant impact on what happens come March and this is a win that LSU would love to be able to have on its resume. The same can be said for VCU, as the SEC looks like a strong conference once again.
Villanova at Ohio State – Chris Holtmann has the chance at a signature non-conference win here for the Buckeyes. Villanova has had a lot of turnover the last two offseasons. Ohio State brought in a terrific freshmen class and has a lot of returning talent. This is a big boy game in Columbus and this is a game that will undoubtedly be cited come March when NCAA Tournament seeding rolls around.
CSU Bakersfield at Northern Iowa – The Roadrunners have a long trip to Cedar Falls for this tilt against Northern Iowa. CSU Bakersfield returns right back home to play a local school on Friday. The Roadrunners are also on the road after losing in double overtime to South Dakota State on Saturday, so this is a bad travel spot coupled with a bad situational spot after a tough loss to a solid Jackrabbits bunch. This spot very much favors NIU.
Green Bay at New Mexico – This is a long way for New Mexico to go. And Albuquerque has some altitude to it. That is something you absolutely want to watch in these early-season non-conference games. The travel spots can be to some obscure places. Albuquerque isn’t obscure, but the altitude is a legitimate factor and Green Bay won’t be used to it at all. This could also apply to Cal State Fullerton and Wyoming on Wednesday night. Laramie is obviously much more extreme than Albuquerque. Watch for these things.
Thursday November 14
Winthrop at East Tennessee State – Winthrop’s road trip comes to a close in Johnson City, Tennessee against the ETSU Buccaneers. Winthrop will have gone from Hartford to Fresno to Moraga to Johnson City in a little over a week. That is a lot of early-season frequent flyer miles. This spot would definitely appear to favor ETSU in that regard.
Michigan State at Seton Hall – Michigan State gets another huge early-season test. After falling short against Kentucky, there may be a little more incentive to put on a good show in Newark against a team that some people like to win the National Championship. There isn’t much situationally here, other than to say that this is a big game.
Long Beach State at Saint Mary’s – Long Beach State is known for playing a tough non-conference schedule. The 49ers are rolling through California right now, with a road game at UCLA, a home game against San Diego, a trip to Palo Alto to face Stanford, and then this game in Moraga. This is a quick turnaround off of the Stanford game for LBSU. Saint Mary’s won’t leave California until December 8 to face Dayton in Phoenix, Arizona.
Central Connecticut at Arizona State – The Sun Devils will be laying a big number at home, but how about this spot for Central Connecticut? After getting blown out in New York City by St. John’s, the Blue Devils go all the way to Tempe on Thursday. They’ll face UMass with a 1 p.m. ET tip-off on Saturday in Amherst. You’ll see Central Connecticut again when we get to Saturday, as that spot and this spot are both really bad.
Friday November 15
Dartmouth vs. Merrimack – One of the two newcomers to Division I this season was the Merrimack Warriors. It didn’t take long for them to pick up a win. That win came over Northwestern in Evanston. Now Merrimack starts a tournament in the River Hawk Invitational in Lowell, Massachusetts with Dartmouth. Could there be some residual hangover from that first win?
West Virginia at Pitt – Old Big East (RIP) rivals meet in Pittsburgh when West Virginia and Pitt get together. This is a rekindling of a nice rivalry between these two teams. You can bet that the current players will be able to grasp the history and this should be a really spirited affair. It could also be an important game down the line at some point.
Minnesota at Utah – This is a pretty obvious one, as Minnesota goes from the Twin Cities to Salt Lake City to play in altitude against the Utah Utes. It’s not like the travel is bad here, but you really do have to wonder in the second half about these teams in altitude. Most teams aren’t in tip-top shape because it is so early in the season as well. Keep an eye on live betting opportunities for these altitude games.
Saturday November 16
Central Connecticut at UMass – This might be the best spot of the week. UMass will be a decent favorite, but this spot is so bad for Central Connecticut. As an afterthought on a college football Saturday, it’s hard to see this spot accurately priced into the market. CCSU plays on Thursday night at 10 p.m. ET against Arizona State. This is a 1 p.m. ET game on Saturday. So that would be a long flight back to the northeast on Friday, just to get ready for this game with an early start on Saturday. The Minutemen are the side here.
Old Dominion at Northeastern – I mentioned that we’d see Northeastern again. After playing two Boston rivals and UMass, now Northeastern plays somebody without any geographic incentive. Old Dominion is usually a plucky team, especially with their defense and slow tempo. This could be a tricky game for the Huskies. I’d keep a close eye on this one and consider a play on ODU.
Temple at LaSalle – Temple has already had to swat away one crosstown rival with a win over Drexel. Now the Owls face another one against the LaSalle Explorers. At least these games don’t include much travel for Temple, but having to step up and knock down a Little Brother can be a tough thing. LaSalle will be ready here. Temple will need to be as well.
Washington vs. Tennessee – What an interesting start to the season for Washington. After beating Baylor in Anchorage, Alaska, Washington had a chance to stop home and play Mount St. Mary’s. Now the Huskies play at the ScotiaBank Centre in Toronto against Tennessee in another stiff neutral-site test. Washington’s zone can be a real problem for teams in these larger venues. In fact, that should give them the upper hand here.
Sunday November 17
Jacksonville State at VCU – Watch out for this game. VCU goes from playing LSU to playing Jacksonville State. It is a clear downgrade, but Jax State has been very dangerous in recent years. This could be a real flat spot for VCU and this is not the kind of team you want to be flat against. Jacksonville State has a knack for playing well in spots like this.
Marquette at Wisconsin – Milwaukee vs. Madison here as the Marquette Golden Eagles and Wisconsin Badgers meet at the Kohl Center. This will be a big game for both sides. This could be a resume-building win when all is said and done with the regular season, but this is one where local players were likely recruited to both schools and there could be some recruiting bragging rights present in a game like this.
Seton Hall at Saint Louis – This could be a real tricky spot for Seton Hall coming off of the Michigan State game. This is the first road game of the season for the Pirates. Win or lose against Sparty, there is a potential letdown factor in play. Saint Louis has enough talent to be dangerous and has been a tricky team for many years. I’d hesitate to lay a big road number with Seton Hall here.
<< Previous PostNext Post >>