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November reign: Six must-bet college basketball games this month
The college basketball season takes a little time to get rolling. Outside of some major tuneup tournaments, the early schedule is littered with one-sided warmup games between power conference programs and mid-major darlings.
However, there are a handful of made-for-March matchups in November. We talked to Andrew Patterson of Las Vegas Sports Consultants about what to expect as far as spreads go for these games.
Here’s a look at the biggest games and their odds to open the season:
Michigan State Spartans at North Carolina Tar Heels (-9.5) – Nov. 11
The Spartans and Tar Heels meet in a rematch of the 2009 national title game. But in a twist, this non-conference tilt will be played on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier in San Diego on Veterans Day. Both teams are going to rock sweet camo uniforms for this once-in-a-lifetime contest.
The rare outdoor venue should present oddsmakers with a new challenge setting the odds for this game, especially when it come to the total.
“Look for a lower-than-normal total in this game especially if there is a little wind and the sun is out,” says Patterson.
Kansas Jayhawks vs. Kentucky Wildcats (-6.5) – Nov. 15
Two classic programs collide at the State Farm Champions Classic in New York City. The Wildcats could be the best team in the country with Terrence Jones and a bumper crop of freshman wonders. The Jayhawks, while not as loaded as past years, are always a tough opponent.
“Kansas will be down, but Kentucky's youth has historically played sloppy basketball early in the season,” says Patterson.
Michigan Wolverines vs. Memphis Tigers (-3.5) – Nov. 21
These two programs are trying to get back to the top of the college basketball heap and a showdown at the Maui will be the first step in that direction. The Tigers have the edge, as it pertains to the pointspreads, when No. 9 takes on No. 18. The winner will face either Duke or Tennessee in the next round of the invitational.
“Memphis returns five starters and Michigan returns four starters from a team that almost beat Duke last year in the NCAA tourney,” says Patterson.
Xavier Musketeers at Vanderbilt Commodores (-5.5) – Nov. 28
The A-10’s finest can make a splash against a team some have ranked inside their Top 5. The Commodores were just 5-8 ATS at home last season and bring back pretty much the same team.
“Vanderbilt returns 97 percent of its scoring from last season, but will be without 6-foot-11 center Festus Ezeli the first couple of months of the season,” says Patterson. “The Musketeers have one of the best guards in the country in Tu Holloway.”
Duke Blue Devils at Ohio State Buckeyes (-7.5) – Nov. 29
The Buckeyes host the Blue Devils as part of the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger will match up against Duke’s three-headed Plumlee monster inside while the OSU guards try to slow down freshman sensation Austin Rivers.
“Ohio State is young, but extremely talented. I am not sure Duke - or any team in the country - has a player to stop Jared Sullinger,” says Patterson.
Wisconsin Badgers at North Carolina Tar Heels (-7.5) – Nov. 30
In another Big Ten/ACC Challenge game, the Badgers come to Chapel Hill to tangle with Harrison Barnes and the stacked UNC stable. Wisconsin, however, is not to be taken lightly. It doesn’t turn the ball over and had the fourth best defense in the land last year. North Carolina could also get caught looking ahead to Kentucky that coming weekend.
“Might be low on this game, but Wisconsin plays fierce defense and I don't see this game getting out of control,” says Patterson. “Wisconsin has a wonderful point guard in Jordan Taylor.”