Weekend College Basketball Betting Preview
by Robert Ferringo - 12/9/2011
Last weekend we were treated to a potential Final Four matchup when North Carolina trekked to Lexington to take on No. 1 Kentucky. The game didn’t disappoint, as the precocious Wildcats held on for a 73-72 win to solidify their position on the top of the college basketball mountain.
This weekend we’ll see another clash between the nation’s elite as No. 2 Ohio State will venture to Phog Allen Fieldhouse to face No. 13 Kansas. This game features the respective favorites in the Big Ten and Big 12 and will pit two of the best big men in the nation –Jared Sullinger of Ohio State and Thomas Robinson of Kansas – against one another.
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This game tips off at 3 p.m. on Saturday. The college basketball odds on this game opened with Ohio State as a slim 1.5-point favorite. The Buckeyes were quickly bet to -2.5. The total has held firm at 138.0.
This is clearly the marquee game on another jam-packed college basketball Saturday. However, this game is not the one that I will be keeping the closest eye on. I feel that I already have an excellent grasp on both of these teams from a college basketball handicapping perspective and have watched these clubs play several times already. Obviously I have some interest as a fan, but my time will be spent eyeing some other more random matchups that I feel will give me further insight and valuable knowledge that I can use with my college basketball predictions moving forward.
Here are several games that won’t get the national love that the Ohio State-Kansas game will, but should be considered no less important when scanning the college basketball betting landscape:
No. 17 Creighton at St. Joseph’s (Noon)
Creighton is legit. They have earned their ranking with gritty wins at UAB and San Diego State and they are coming off a blowout win over Nebraska. This game will be a challenge because the Hawks won’t roll over for anyone. This St. Joseph’s team has five starters back from last year and they have that tough Philadelphia mindset. Teams from Philly always make great underdogs, especially at home. We’re going to find out if St. Joseph’s is capable of executing at a high level and if they will be a potential sleeper in the A-10. We will also find out if Creighton has the goods to continue its ascent to an eventual Top 10 ranking.
UNLV at No. 16 Wisconsin (2 p.m.)
How good is UNLV, really? How good is Wisconsin, really? Both teams have tussled with North Carolina with UNLV pulling a stunning upset on their home turf and Wisconsin losing a tight game in Chapel Hill. But Marquette also beat up Wisconsin in Madison last weekend and they really don’t have the quality wins to back up their ranking and statistics. UNLV was absolutely hammered on Sunday at Wichita State, and a win on Saturday could essentially punch their NCAA Tournament ticket before Christmas. Are either of these teams legit challengers for their respective conference titles? Can either, or both, be true national players this season? We’ll find out.
Oklahoma State at No. 14 Pittsburgh (2:30 p.m.)
I have a long-standing belief that freshmen suck. They are always overrated and their immediate impact almost never lives up to the incredible hype that most highly-touted rookie players enter with. Case in point: Pitt and Oklahoma State. The Panthers (John Johnson, Khem Birch) and the Cowboys (LeBryan Nash, C.J. Guerrero) are both relying on a pair of blue chippers that haven’t lived up to that hype yet. They are young, and they are learning. But to this point all four players have been spotty at best and non-factors at worst. This matchup will be won by whichever team gets better play from the young guns, and this will give us a chance to see who is growing up more quickly.
Villanova at Temple (5 p.m.)
Villanova is kind of a mess right now. They just took a shot at No. 9 Missouri and were beaten pretty handily. Now they will gear up for a Big Five rivalry matchup against an always-game Temple team. The Owls have suffered two huge injuries in the frontcourt to Michael Eric and Scootie Randall. That has forced Fran Dunphy to shit to a more perimeter-oriented, running attack. We’ll find out if the Owls can still be competitive until their stud forwards return. And we can also find out if Villanova has anything to offer in the Big East race this year.
Boise State at LSU (8 p.m.)
Anyone that has played along with me this year knows that I really like this LSU team from a value standpoint. They have all of the tools of a competitive team – multiple ball-handlers, several shooters, quality and depth in the frontcourt, some experience, etc. – and this will be a good home test for them. Boise State has come out of nowhere to been one of the best offensive teams in the nation (No. 9 in scoring at 84.9 points per game). They lost a ton of experience from last year but haven’t missed a beat. They have beat up on a bunch of cupcakes (outside of Indiana State), and this will be their biggest road test to date. Again, we’ll find out which one of these potential sleepers has the goods.
Utah State at Wichita State (8 p.m.)
The Shockers have had one of the most eventful opening months of the season and here is another chance to show that they are stride-for-stride with Creighton as the favorites in the Missouri Valley. They have close losses to Alabama and Temple and in the last week have marquee wins over UNLV (at home) and tricky Tulsa (on the road). They welcome a Utah State team that is a little bit of a riddle. Stew Morrill’s team lost as much experience and production as any club in the land from last year and they are in a rebuilding season. But Morrill’s clubs have won 30 or more games in two of three seasons and they are always pretty game. How bad are they? How good is Wichita State? We will find out.
Honorable Mention Games:
Nebraska at TCU (8 p.m.)
The Huskers are a team I have pegged as a betting sleeper in the Big Ten. TCU has rebounded from two ugly seasons and have been pretty spry this year. Who wants this one more?
Bowling Green at Valparaiso (8 p.m.)
The MAC is one of the most deepest, most experienced conferences in the land. Where does Bowling Green fit in? Valparaiso has a win over Butler and could be a player in the Horizon. Are they that good or is Butler just that bad this year?
Nevada at Montana (9 p.m.)
The Wolfpack are exceptionally talented in the WAC and they have a lot of weapons. But can they show some maturity and consistency and follow up their upset win over Arizona State on Wednesday with another good effort? Or will they remain flaky? Montana is not an easy place to get a win. The Grizz have been pretty tough while replacing Brian Qvale. But close losses are only so impressive.
Robert Ferringo is one of the best college basketball handicappers in the country and is in the middle of a season for the ages. In less than a month he has earned his clients over $11,000 in college basketball profit and he continues to be the top nonconference hoops handicapper around. He will have a 5-Unit Game of the Week play this Saturday and you can find out more about his college basketball picks here.
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