NCAA Basketball Betting 3-Point Play: Three Interesting Opening Lines Sunday
by Alan Matthews - 1/17/2015
Sunday is perhaps the greatest NFL day of the season with both conference championship games being played, and that no doubt will take up most of your betting attention at sportsbooks. However, if you are looking for a few solid college basketball options, perhaps to use on a multi-sport parlay with the AFC or NFC title game, here's a look at three intriguing matchups on the schedule.
Indiana at Illinois (-5.5)
This game tips off at 1 p.m. ET on the Big Ten Network. The Hoosiers (13-4, 3-1) got some bad news early this week when forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea was ruled out indefinitely after he suffered a knee injury in Monday's practice. Indiana is lacking in size as it is so this is a big blow as Mosquera-Perea is one of the team's few big guys at 6-foot-9, 225 points. He had started every game before the injury and was averaging 7.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and a team-high 1.6 blocks in 20.9 minutes per game. Indiana, one of the nation's highest-scoring teams, beat visiting Penn State 76-73 on Tuesday in its first game without Mosquera-Perea. A tying 3-pointer by the Nittany Lions was waived off and confirmed on replay that it was shot just after the buzzer sounded. Mosquera-Perea was replaced in the lineup by sophomore Collin Hartman, who had eight points and five rebounds. However, Indiana was outrebounded by seven. The Hoosiers already have the worst defense in the Big Ten, allowing 71.2 points per game.
The Illini (12-6, 2-3) continue to play without perhaps their best player in Rayvonte Rice, although they have gone 2-1 without their leading scorer and rebounder. He won't be back for at least a few weeks due to a broken hand. Illinois has had a challenging Big Ten schedule thus far with just one home game, and it upset Maryland in that one. The Illini come off a 72-67 win at Northwestern on Wednesday. Kendrick Nunn led Illinois with a career-high 25 points, including four key free throws late. The Illini had just three turnovers, all coming on offensive fouls, in their first road win of the season.
Illinois won two of three against Indiana last season, taking an 83-80 home win and 64-54 victory in the Big Ten Tournament.
Key trends: Indiana is 1-4 ATS in its past five after a win. The Illini are 5-2 ATS in their past seven at home. The home team has covered six of the past eight meetings.
Why take the favorite: Illinois is the only team in the Big Ten that has not lost at home (8-0).
Virginia Tech at No. 15 North Carolina (-21.5)
It's a 6:30 p.m. tip for this ACC matchup on ESPNU. Virginia Tech (8-8, 0-3) is probably the worst team in the conference, although Georgia Tech is currently in the ACC basement. This is Game 2 of a killer four-game stretch against Top-15 teams for the Hokies so I don't expect that first ACC win to come soon. Tech comes off a 78-63 loss at No. 6 Louisville on Tuesday. The Cardinals jumped out to a 17-2 lead in the opening minutes and never trailed. Tech trailed by as many as 29 points in the second half. Adam Smith led all scorers with 19 points for the Hokies. Freshman Justin Bibbs, the team's leading scorer, didn't start for the first time but still finished with 15 points.
North Carolina (13-4, 3-1) nearly was caught in a bit of a letdown game on Wednesday at NC State off a big home win over Louisville last weekend. The Heels held on to beat the Wolfpack 81-79 behind 23 points from star Marcus Paige (no turnovers) and 15 points and 10 rebounds from Kennedy Meeks. Paige's nine assists without a turnover equaled his best single-game assist/error ratio. Meeks now leads the ACC with seven double-doubles. I recommended giving 3.5 points to NC State in that one and it looked like a cover with the Heels up 11 with about four minutes left. However, UNC went the final 4:38 without a field goal. The Heels played without backup point guard Joel Berry, who aggravated a groin injury on Tuesday and will be out for two weeks. Thus Paige played a season-high 36 minutes.
These teams played just once last season, a 60-56 North Carolina win in Blacksburg.
Key trends: The Hokies are 5-11 ATS in their past 16 road games vs. teams with a winning home record. UNC is 1-8 ATS in its past nine vs. the ACC. Tech is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings.
Why take the underdog: Feels like a bit of a letdown game for the Heels after two close games.
Oregon at Washington (-3.5)
Your final NCAA betting option Sunday is this 8:30 p.m. tip and televised by ESPNU. The Huskies will be starting forward Jernard Jarreau for the next 4-6 weeks due to a knee injury. Jarreau injured his knee during Washington's defeat to Washington State last Saturday. The 6-10 junior practiced Monday and Tuesday, but UW officials said he suffered a setback. He averages 5.1 point and 4.9 rebounds in 22.3 minutes. Washington played Thursday also without reserve guard Darin Johnson, who strained his quad in practice Tuesday. He plays 13.5 minutes per game and averages 3.1 points. Washington (12-4, 1-3) beat Oregon State without those two Thursday, 56-43, to end a four-game skid. Robert Upshaw moved into the starting lineup in place of Jarreau and had 12 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks. Upshaw leads the nation with 72 blocks, already a UW single-season record.
Oregon (12-2, 2-2) lost 108-99 in overtime at Washington State on Thursday to continue a rough week for the athletic program. The 207 points were the most in the history of that series. Oregon got 32 points from star Joseph Young and 26 points and 10 rebounds from Elgin Cook, but the Ducks allowed WSU to shoot 58.9 percent from the field. There were 23 lead changes and 18 ties in the game overall.
The Ducks and Huskies split two meetings last season, each winning a close game at home.
Key trends: The Ducks are 1-6 ATS in their past seven overall. Washington is 1-5 ATS in its past six. The underdog is 7-0 ATS in the past seven meetings.
Why take the underdog: Did you see that dog trend?
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