College Basketball Betting: Weekday Primer
by Matt Severance - 1/4/2010
This is our first installment of the NCAA basketball weekday primer – sort of the big games or storylines to watch each day this week when deciding on those potential bets. Check back for a weekend primer.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (7 p.m., ESPN): Not a lot of national TV options on Monday night for college hoops fans, but this is certainly the best of what is out there. Both Pitt and Cincinnati have started 2-0 in the deep-as-ever Big East, and both pulled an upset of ranked team to get here: The Panthers upset then-No. 5 Syracuse, 82-72, on Saturday while the Bearcats beat ranked UConn by two early last week. The Big East schedule seems tailor-made for rugged Pitt. It is the conference’s top defensive team at 55.9 points per game and held Syracuse 15 points below its average. Cincinnati is aiming for its first 3-0 start in conference play since the 2004-2005 season under Bob Huggins and in Conference USA. Pitt has won three straight matchups against UC and five of the last six. But the Bearcats are 4.5-point betting favorites on BetUS, although they have covered just one of their past five as a favorite.
Minnesota at Purdue (7 p.m., ESPN): There are only four unbeatens left in college basketball, and Purdue certainly should be on upset alert for this game with the 11-3 Gophers, who have opened Big Ten play with wins over Penn State and at Iowa. Purdue, however, enters off one of the most impressive wins by any team this season, a 77-62 win over unbeaten West Virginia on Friday. The Boilermakers, who also have beaten ranked Tennessee this year, look like the team to beat so far in the Big Ten, but they’ve also only played one true road game. A win Tuesday would tie a school record with 14 straight wins to start the season. Purdue has been terrific with turnovers, not committing double digit turnovers in any of the past three games to go with 43 assists. The Gophers are just 2-10 ATS in their past 12 road games.
Duke vs. Iowa State at Chicago’s United Center (9 p.m., ESPN2): The Cyclones are one of a whopping 10 Big 12 teams already with double-digit wins this season. But they have played only one ranked team and that was a blowout loss at Cal. While ISU was pushed to double overtime on Sunday against Houston, Duke held Clemson to 12 first-half points and 5-of-30 from the field in a 74-53 rout. The Blue Devils have been in just one game decided by less than nine points, and that resulted in their only loss -- at Wisconsin. That also marked the team's only true road game.
Michigan at Penn State (7 p.m., ESPN2): There aren’t many good NCAA basketball options on Thursday night as the BCS National Championship Game takes center stage. This Big Ten battle between the Wolverines and Nittany Lions is the only national TV hoops game. The Wolverines (7-6, 3-6 ATS) have alternated losses and wins in the past eight games, but Michigan’s best outing of the year probably came in Saturday’s 73-64 home win over Ohio State. UM is basically a two-man team of Manny Harris and DeShawn Sims. Those two combined for 52 points against OSU. And UM doesn’t have much size, so it’s not surprising it ranks last in the Big Ten in rebounding. PSU has started 0-2 in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions are usually pretty good at home, having won 12 of their past 15 home conference games. But Wisconsin just blasted them there and they are 2-4 ATS in Happy Valley this season.
Washington at Arizona State (10:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net regional): Of course Friday night is usually the leanest night of college basketball action, and that’s no different this week. This Pac-10 matchup between the Huskies and Sun Devils is about as good as it gets. UW lost to Oregon on Saturday, which ended the Huskies’ 18-game home winning streak. ASU looked pretty bad last week in playing at the two California schools. The Sun Devils hung close with UCLA but then scored only 37 points against USC on Saturday. It was the fewest points ASU has ever scored under coach Herb Sendek. ASU is a good defensive team (leading the Pac-10 in points allowed per game) but obviously very offensively challenged. The Devils are 9-1 at home but just 2-4 ATS. Washington won the two regular-season meetings between these two last year but was beaten by ASU in the Pac-10 Tournament.
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