College Basketball Betting: Best Games to Wager on This Weekend
by Robert Ferringo - 2/20/2014
The intensity in college basketball is rising. And with March Madness just around the corner, every game, every possession and every dribble is taking on a heightened significance.
The Basketball World will be focused on three of the biggest games of the year this weekend. First, Syracuse heads to Cameron Indoor for a revenge matchup with Duke at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Then at 7:30 p.m. Kansas will take on Texas in a game that can all but lock up the Jayhawks’ 1,000th Big 12 championship in a row. Finally, Sunday afternoon Michigan State heads to Ann Arbor for a matchup with archrival Michigan with first place in the Big Ten on the line.
Those are the games that everyone will be watching. But I am here to clue you in on a host of other games with regional significance. And while none of these are likely to make the “A” block of “SportsCenter,” they are scores that I’ll be watching intently throughout Saturday whether I have wagers down on them or not:
Xavier at Georgetown (11:30 a.m. EST)
The Hoyas are headed for the NIT. But this is a chance for them to make one last stand. They face Xavier, play at Marquette, host Creighton, and then finish up at Villanova. If Georgetown can win three of those four games they are going to have an interesting case for the selection committee because they’ve played one of the toughest schedules in the nation. But first things first: they need to get this revenge win over the X-Men.
Xavier has hit the skids after a great start to the season, losing four of their last seven games. They are on a 2-5 slide against the spread and have three of their next four on the road, with the one home game versus Creighton. Xavier had to overcome a 17-point second-half deficit in the first meeting, and they will be put to the test by the early tip time in this one.
Baylor at West Virginia (1:30 p.m. EST)
After back-to-back overtime wins and three straight victories overall, the Bears have gotten themselves back on the NCAA Tournament bubble. They are trying to elbow themselves past the surging Mountaineers, who have been playing their best ball lately while winning four of six straight up and five of seven ATS.
West Virginia has already scored home wins over Kansas State, Oklahoma and Iowa State. The Mountaineers actually won the first meeting this year, at Baylor, when Juwan Staten scored with 3.1 seconds to play for a 66-64 decision. This game is probably more important to the home team in terms of building a tournament resume. But both teams know they desperately need this one to even stay in the discussion.
South Dakota State at North Dakota State (3 p.m.)
This one will be a barnburner in the Dakotas. These are the top two teams in the Summit League, and the winner will have the inside track to the top seed in the conference tournament. These two met for the Summit title last season, and NDSU still has some revenge for falling in that game.
NDSU won the first matchup on the road by eight points. SDSU has taken four of the last six meetings, including last year’s championship game. However, prior to that North Dakota State had won 10 straight in this rivalry series. Even though South Dakota State has the revenge angle, it’s interesting to know that there has been a regular-season sweep in this series in six of the last eight seasons.
Ohio at Akron (6 p.m. EST)
The top of the Mid-American East Division is a three-way shoving match between Buffalo, Akron and Ohio. This game will go a long way in determining who claims the No. 1 slot. This is a regional rivalry with deep roots as these two teams have met in the MAC Championship Game each of the past two seasons, and they have combined to earn the last five MAC bids to the NCAA Tournament.
Naturally, the first meeting this year was a double-overtime grinder. Akron managed a three-point win in that game thanks to a ridiculous 60 percent shooting effort from 3-point land. Ohio has revenge, but they are just 3-3 in their last six games and have been banged up. Regardless, it is all hands on deck for this clash.
UCLA at Stanford (6 p.m. EST)
It is not as if these are two unknown programs, but this game is a bit off the national radar. It’s a California clash and will have ramifications throughout the rest of the Pac-12. UCLA is just a single game back of conference leader Arizona, who is wobbling. And Stanford is looking to play the role of spoiler while also tidying up its tournament resume.
UCLA is hot. They have won and covered four straight games, including a 20-point beating at Cal on Wednesday. And they are wrecking people. Eighteen of UCLA’s last 20 wins have come by at least 10 points, including all but one of their 10 Pac-12 wins. Everyone has bought into Steve Alford’s system, and these guys are rolling.
Stanford lost the first meeting by 17, and they need this game. They’ve won three of four and have gone 7-3 in their last 10 league games. But the Cardinal does not have a signature victory in the Pac-12 this year, and they need to keep winning to stay viable for The Big Dance. And if Johnny Dawkins can’t get this team into the tournament there’s a good chance he won’t be back next winter. This one is crucial.
Harvard at Princeton (8 p.m. EST)
This is a crucial game in the Ivy League. The Ivy League doesn’t have a conference tournament, so the regular-season winner earns the automatic bid. Harvard, the overwhelming preseason favorite, is actually tied with Yale for the top spot at 7-1 in conference play. But Princeton is actually considered the second-best team in the Ivy, and this is a chance for them to spring a league-altering upset.
Harvard won the first meeting 82-76 in a game that really wasn’t as close as the final suggests. Harvard took a 63-48 lead, but that one was in Cambridge. At 2-5, Princeton has had a very disappointing Ivy season. That means that this game will take on even greater significance as they try to salvage something from their down year.
Louisiana-Lafayette at Georgia State (8:30 p.m. EST)
This one is yet another tussle between two top teams in a mid-major conference. The Sun Belt title is beyond Lafayette’s reach, but they could still make a statement with an upset win here.
After a slow start, Georgia State has finally started to reach its potential. They are 15-1 in their last 16 games and have been wrecking people in league play. They beat Texas State by 27 on Monday, and they’ve won their last four home games by an average of 20.8 points per game. But Lafayette is one of the few teams in the league with the talent to take a shot at the Panthers, and I think these two teams could meet for a third time later this season with a tournament bid on the line.
San Diego State at New Mexico (10 p.m. EST)
Yes, San Diego State is a Top 10 team, so they aren’t exactly going unnoticed. But this is a huge game for West Coast basketball, and this is one of the biggest games of the year in the Mountain West. This is the first meeting of the season between the league’s top two teams, who meet again in the season finale on March 8.
San Diego State has just two losses on the season, with the most recent coming last Tuesday at Wyoming. SDSU has away wins over Creighton and Kansas. But they have been vulnerable in true road games in conference. They needed OT to escape Utah State and a miracle comeback at Boise State. Add in the Wyoming loss, and the Aztecs look road weary.
New Mexico is a game back in the standings thanks to their loss last week at Boise. But the Lobos have gotten better and better as the season has progressed. They dominated UNLV on the road on Wednesday in a potential look-ahead spot, and you know that The Pit will be going bonkers when SDSU rolls in on Saturday.
Robert Ferringo is a lead writer for Doc’s Sport and one of the top college handicappers in the country. Robert has posted 9 of 13 winning college hoops weeks and 16 of 19 winning college hoops months. He has banked nearly $8,000 in profit with his college sides and totals this year and earned nearly $15,000 in profit since Nov. 11, 2012. He will have a 5-Unit College Basketball Game of the Week on Saturday and Robert is 23-7 with his last 30 plays of 4.0 or higher. Robert is a profit machine and you can take advantage of our free, no-strings-attached $60 credit to use toward a purchase of Robert’s college basketball selections. CLICK HERE for $60 absolutely free!
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