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Betting Preview: Battle 4 Atlantis Opening Games

The Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis college basketball tournament's opening games offer great betting value. Here's what to target.

Thanksgiving is a time for family. It’s a time for football. And yes, it’s a time for early-season college basketball tournaments.

Two of the marquee tournaments in the coming week are the Battle 4 Atlantis and the ESPN Events Invitational. The only lines available so far are for the Battle 4 Atlantis, so we'll begin with our best bets for the opening games.

Enjoy the Thanksgiving hoops.

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Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis

Nov. 24-26

Loyola Chicago Ramblers (4-0) vs. Michigan State Spartans (3-1)

Time: Wednesday, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN
Spread: Ramblers +2.5 (-110) | Spartans -2.5 (-110)
Moneyline: Ramblers (+120) | Spartans (-143)
Total: Under 140.5 (-110) | Over 140.5 (-110)

The Ramblers, darlings of the NCAA Tournament a few years back, have romped to an undefeated start. So far, Loyola Chicago’s closest margin of victory is 12 points, and the team’s average margin of victory is better than 30 PPG. The Ramblers are No. 34 on and are ranked 20th in offensive efficiency. Ryan Schwieger leads the team in scoring with 14.8 PPG.

The Spartans rattled off three straight 20-plus point wins over lesser opponents following an 87-74 loss to No. 3 Kansas in the season opener. MSU is ranked 21st on and boasts the No. 3 defensive efficiency in the nation. Michigan State’s leading scorer is Gabe Brown, who averages 14 points per game (PPG).

Spread pick: Spartans - 2.5
Over/Under pick: Over 140.5

Bruce Pearl

No. 23 UConn Huskies (4-0) vs. No. 21 Auburn Tigers (3-0)

Time: Wednesday 2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Spread: Huskies -3.5 (-110) | Tigers +3.5 (-110)
Moneyline: Huskies (-167) | Tigers (+140)
Total: Under 143.5 (-110) | Over 143.5 (-110)

The Huskies are rolling. They average 92 PPG on 50% shooting and have five players averaging double-digit points. UConn’s average margin of victory is better than 40 points per game, and the team has a pair of 50-plus point victories under its belt. The Huskies rank 22nd on, and their calling card has actually been their 21st-ranked defense while its adjusted offensive efficiency is ranked 33rd.

The Tigers won their first two games convincingly before eking out a road win against South Florida, 58-52. Still, Auburn remains in the upper echelon of college hoops with a No. 29 ranking on Bruce Pearl’s squad is perfectly balanced on offense and defense, ranking 32nd in both adjusted efficiency metrics.

Spread pick: Tigers +3.5
Over/Under pick: Under 143.5

VCU Rams (2-2) vs. Syracuse Orange (2-1)

Time: Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Spread: Rams +6 (-110) | Orange -6 (-110)
Moneyline: Rams (+205) | Orange (-250)
Total: Under 133 (-110) | Over 133 (-110)

The Rams are one of the slower-paced teams in the nation. As such, they have a stellar defense, holding opponents to 51.8 PPG. Their offense is an issue, though. VCU averages 50.8 PPG for a negative point differential. VCU comes in at No. 110 on with a quality road win against Vanderbilt on its resume—the Rams held the Commodores to 37 points in an 11-point victory.

The Orange kicked the season off with a pair of wins before a 15-point home loss to Colgate on Saturday. Syracuse can score at will, averaging 85.7 points per game with the No. 16 adjusted offensive efficiency per The issue has been their 116th-ranked defense. All told, the Orange come in at No. 50 in KenPom’s rankings led by Buddy Boeheim, who averages 20 PPG.

Spread pick: Orange -6
Over/Under pick: Under 133

No. 9 Baylor Bears (4-0) vs. Arizona State Sun Devils (2-2)

Time: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Spread: Bears -11.5 (-110) | Sun Devils +11.5 (-110)
Moneyline: Bears (-699) | Sun Devils (+500)
Total: Under 143.5 (-110) | Over 143.5 (-110)

The Bears have dominated every opponent they’ve faced this season, doing very well to live up to their top-10 ranking. KenPom is even more bullish on the defending national champions—Baylor ranks fifth in adjusted offensive efficiency and sixth in adjusted defensive efficiency. The Bears are led by the sharpshooting LJ Cryer’s 18.5 PPG and have four other players who average double-digit points.

The Sun Devils are five points away from being 4-0. Losses by one and two points to San Diego State and UC Riverside, respectively, prevented that undefeated start. Arizona State ranks 66th on with top-75 adjusted offensive and defensive efficiencies. Senior forward Kimani Lawrence, who averages 16 points and 10 boards, leads the Sun Devils in both categories.

Spread pick: Bears -11.5
Over/Under pick: Under 143.5

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