College football is winding down. The NFL is in the playoffs. That means college basketball will be taking center stage soon. Conference play is here, and that means the teams know each other well. We'll see more of the heated rivalries, and I think college basketball fans can look forward to three more months of great action. There are a lot of very good teams this year, and there is no clear favorite to cut down the nets.
It's the third straight season for the College Basketball Weekly Schedule Spot Fade Picks here at Doc's Sports. I'll be looking at schedule spots that could be bad ones for teams throughout the course of the season and then recommending plays based on those spots. We'll track the weekly results throughout the course of the season. For games that don't have a line at the time each article is written, the Bookmaker opening line will be used for grading purposes. All plays will be one-unit plays.
We took a break for the Christmas to New Year week, so the most recent plays are from the week before Christmas. It was a 2-3 week. Wyoming failed to cover by a couple points in a really weird game against Troy. East Tennessee State ended up being a four-point favorite over Tennessee, but they lost a close one at home. Georgia built up a big lead over Oakland but fell apart in the second half. Of the three losses, this is the one that surprised me the most. Michigan State took care of business as a short favorite against Oakland earlier in the week. Also, Western Michigan kept it close against a disinterested UCLA Bruins team for the second win of the week.
Big slate with six plays for this week, so let's get to the action.
Play #1- Play on Denver (Fade South Dakota) on Wednesday, January 4
The South Dakota Coyotes just lost a really tough game at South Dakota State in their last contest. Those two are obviously rivals, and South Dakota led nearly the entire way before losing by a single point. That's the type of game that takes the wind out of your sails. Now, South Dakota has to travel to Denver to take on the Denver Pioneers. Denver has one of the biggest home-court advantages in all of college basketball. Their gym is at a very high elevation, and many opponents wear out playing there. I think Denver has a strong advantage in this spot.
Play #2- Play on UC Irvine (Fade Long Beach State) on Wednesday, January 4
Long Beach State has some significant injury issues that make this spot even worse. No team in the country has traveled more than the Long Beach State 49ers to this point in the season. Long Beach State made a long trip to play Eastern Michigan last week, and now they go back to the left coast to take on UC Irvine. Long Beach State hasn't won a true road game all year. UC Irvine has played a very tough schedule so far this year also, but they are much more rested. UC Irvine has been at home since before Christmas. Importantly, Luke Nelson is UC Irvine's star player, and he is finally back in action after missing the team's first 15 games due to an injury.
Play #3- Play on Loyola Marymount (Fade Pepperdine) on Thursday, January 5
Pepperdine has played six straight road games. The Waves now come home for this home contest against a much-improved Loyola Marymount team. Pepperdine's six-game road trip included a rare long trip all the way to Louisiana. The Waves aren't a very deep team (pun intended), so I think there is a good chance they have less energy than normal in this spot. Loyola Marymount is going to surprise some people in the West Coast Conference this year, and I'll back them here.
Play #4- Play on Cal State Fullerton (Fade Hawaii) on Thursday, January 5
Hawaii has been at home all season thus far. It's hard to believe that a team could play in their home state all the way to January, but that is exactly what Hawaii has done. The young Warriors now go to Cal State Fullerton on Thursday night. Fullerton hasn't had a road game since December 18, so they are well rested here. Hawaii is way down from a year ago, and I think this is a good spot to against them as they are inexperienced and in their first road test. The Warriors have also played one of the weakest schedules in the country thus far.
Play #5- Play on Portland State (Fade Sacramento State) on Saturday, January 7
Sacramento State is going to be at or near the bottom of the Big Sky Conference this year. The Hornets were beaten badly at home by Northern Colorado last week before losing a heartbreaker at home against North Dakota on Saturday. North Dakota led by more than 20 points in the second half before Sacramento State rallied to put the game into overtime. North Dakota ended up winning that one in overtime. That's a really discouraging way to lose. Portland State is a quality team coming off a disappointing performance, and I'll back them as the team who should be more motivated.
Play #6- Play on UC Irvine (Fade Hawaii) on Saturday, January 7
I'm going to fade Hawaii twice this week. Hawaii will play their second game in the mainland on Saturday. UC Irvine has played a much tougher schedule to this point in the season than Hawaii, and I believe the Anteaters are going to be much better now with Nelson back in the fold. UC Irvine has that senior leadership while Hawaii has a bunch of inexperienced guys who are still on their first trip to the mainland. UC Irvine will be favored here, but I think the price will be reasonable. I'll take UC Irvine.
Schedule Spot Fade Picks Record From Last Week: 2 Wins 3 Losses (-$130)
Schedule Spot Fade Picks Record Season to Date: 5 Wins 4 Losses (+$60)
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Read more articles by Aaron Smith
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