NCAA Basketball Betting 3-Point Play: Three Interesting Opening Lines Tuesday
by Alan Matthews - 1/5/2015
Anytime that Kentucky plays this season, it's pretty much must-see TV because we could be witnessing one of the best teams in the modern era of college basketball. At this point, it would be a surprise of UK didn't enter the NCAA Tournament without a loss. Does Mississippi have any shot of the big upset Tuesday in Lexington? The Rebels' history against top-ranked teams would seem to say no. Here's a look at that matchupand two other intriguing ones with odds from BetOnline.
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Ole Miss at No. 1 Kentucky (-23)
Four ranked nonconference foes couldn't put a dent in Kentucky, so perhaps Mississippi can in the SEC opener for both (shown on SEC Network)? I'm not exactly counting on it, although the Cats could be flat and rusty having not played since their 58-50 win at Louisville on Dec. 27 that was the closest anyone has come against UK this season. The Kentucky defense was stifling in that one, holding Louisville to just 25.9 percent shooting and one -- yes one! -- assist. The Cards were the eighth opponent to shoot under 30 percent vs. the Cats. They have held 11 of their 13 opponents to 55 points or fewer and 10 of 13 to their lowest point total of the season. Kentucky wasn't exactly great offensively itself against Louisville, hitting just 21-for-50 from the field. Only freshmen Tyler Ulis (14) and Karl-Anthony Towns (10) reached double-digit points. How big is Kentucky's frontcourt? It is blocking an absurd 22.4 percent of its opponents' 2-point attempts. UK is the only team above 20 percent in that stat. The Wildcats have blocked 10 or more shots seven times in 13 games. The Cats have won 31 of their past 33 games when ranked No. 1.
Ole Miss has faced one ranked team thus far, beating Creighton by seven in a holiday tournament. The Rebels then beat a pretty good Cincinnati team by 12 the next night. They warmed up for this one with a 92-63 rout of Austin Peay on Saturday. That easily could have been a look-ahead game, but Ole Miss shot a season-best 55 percent from the field. Ole Miss entered the game leading the nation in free throw percentage at 78.5 percent and was 13-for-17 from the stripe. Ole Miss is 0-15 all-time against the nation's top-ranked team, last playing No. 1 Kentucky in 2012 and losing 77-62. Twelve of those 15 losses are against UK.
This is the only scheduled game between the Rebels and Wildcats this season. Kentucky was 2-0 against Ole Miss last year, winning each by at least 14 points. In the 80-64 victory in Lexington, UK was only up a point at the half.
Key trends: Ole Miss has covered four of its past five after a win of at least 20 points. The road team has covered four of the past five in the series.
Why take the underdog: This line feels at least 5 points too high.
Oklahoma State at No. 17 Iowa State (-7)
ESPN2 shows this Big 12 opener for the Cyclones but game No. 2 in the conference for the Cowboys. With Kansas looking rather mortal, ISU might be the best team in the Big 12, a conference the Jayhawks have owned forever. That said, Iowa State comes in off a 64-60 loss in Brooklyn to South Carolina on Saturday. It was USC's first win over a Top-5 team in five years and first against a Top-10 nonconference opponent since Feb. 15, 1997. Jameel McKay, playing his third game for Iowa State after becoming eligible, scored 15 points. He's one of many transfers on this team. No club uses more transfers than Fred Hoiberg's Cyclones.
OSU opened Big 12 play Saturday with a 61-47 win over Kansas State. The Cowboys turned a 29-27 halftime deficit into a comfortable lead with a 25-4 run. Phil Forte led OSU with 20 points, seven during that run. If you care about common opponents, OSU also has played South Carolina this year. It lost by 26 at USC. The Pokes' only other loss is to ranked Maryland. No Big 12 team has shot more 3-pointers than OSU, which has attempted 284 through its first 13 games. Oklahoma State has just two road wins over a ranked opponent under Coach Travis Ford, who took over in 2008.
Iowa State swept two games vs. the Pokes last year, but they couldn't possibly have been closer. ISU won 98-97 in triple overtime in Stillwater in the first meeting in one of the best games all season. It was Iowa State's first victory in Stillwater since March 2, 1988 -- a span of 18 games. DeAndre Kane was a monster with 26 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. The rematch in Ames was an 85-81 ISU overtime win. Kane again was huge with 27 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Naz Long forced OT with a long 3-pointer at the buzzer; he also hit a 3-pointer to force triple OT in the previous meeting.
Key trends: The Pokes have covered just four of their past 21 road games. ISU is 4-0 ATS in its past four vs. the Big 12. The Cowboys are 0-4-1 ATS in the past five meetings.
Why take the favorite: ISU is a different club at home.
No. 22 Ohio State at Minnesota (pick'em)
It's just the second true road game of the season for Ohio State. The Buckeyes' only other was at Louisville in early December in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, and OSU lost 64-55. Those are the fewest points OSU has scored this season.
Minnesota is 9-0 at home but hasn't played any Power 5 Conference teams there yet. The Gophers have started Big Ten play with losses at Purdue and Saturday at Maryland. Minnesota shot just 33.8 percent against the Terps in its lowest-scoring outing of the season. Maurice Walker led the Gophers with 20 points and 10 rebounds. The Gophers were ranked second nationally in assists entering the game and led the Big Ten in 3-point shooting. However, they had only five assists and shot 13.6 percent from long range. The Buckeyes opened conference play with a home loss to Iowa but bounced back Saturday with a 77-61 win over visiting Illinois. Star freshman D'Angelo Russell had 22 points. He's third in the Big Ten in scoring at 17.7 points per game.
The Buckeyes and Gophers split two meetings last season, each winning by double digits at home. In the Gophers' 63-53 home victory, the Buckeyes were ranked No. 11, and it was the first big win at the school for Coach Richard Pitino. Elliott Eliason had 12 points and 13 rebounds to lead Minnesota. The Gophers beat Ohio State for the first time in seven meetings, a feat previously accomplished at home in 2010. Under Thad Matta, OSU is 3-5 at Minnesota.
Key trends: Ohio State is 1-7 ATS in its past eight Big Ten games. Minnesota has covered seven of its past 11 vs. teams with a winning record. The Buckeyes are 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings.
Why take the Gophers: OSU isn't very road tested yet.
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