Tuesday’s slate is not too much to look at, especially with giant point spreads in both top-25 games, but there are a couple good games that provide decent value and are certainly worth wagering on.
Recap of Monday's bets:
1. Southern Illinois’s veteran presence was able to control the pace, slowing down Buffalo and stretching out their own possessions the full 30 seconds consistently. While this worked against an ice-cold Buffalo team in the first half, passing up decent looks on offense combined with Buffalo connecting from deep led to the wheels falling off for SIU. The under looked like a good bet immediately with the pace being drastically slowed, and the spread was in play for about 33 minutes, until Buffalo capitalized on the Salukis’ offensive deficiencies and foul trouble, finally bringing the pace up to a comfortable level for them. Buffalo is a ranked team for the first time in school history, and looks very good, but be wary of inflated lines moving forward. SIU is still a good team, and the agonizingly slow pace it forces teams to play will wreak havoc. Look for the Salukis as a good value bet moving forward.
2. There were two points during Washington-San Diego where it looked like the Huskies had a real chance to cover: when they took a seven-point lead with just over three minutes left in the first half, and then an eight-point lead with just over five minutes left in the game. However, Washington being unable to get out of its own way due to ill-advised turnovers or bad shots combined with San Diego's solid defense prevented the Huskies from pulling away, eventually winning the game 66–63. Moving forward, betting on Washington to cover when laying large numbers, especially when facing a strong defensive team, may not be a wise decision.
Here are our best gambling plays for Tuesday night in college hoops:
1. Harvard at UMass (-3.5)
7:00 pm ET
Many had Harvard slated as the favorite to win the Ivy League this season. However, injuries with no timetable for return to the Crimson’s two best players, reigning Ivy League Player of the Year Seth Towns and starting point guard Bryce Aiken, have made things a bit more complicated for Harvard. UMass is aiming for its third win of the season and is coming off an impressive 104–75 home win over New Hampshire. Harvard is coming off an 81–71 home loss to Northeastern in which it played well offensively, shooting 51% from the field and going 11 for 23 from three, but couldn’t put together a strong enough defensive stretch against the Huskies. When the teams met last season, Harvard won 70–67 at home. Historically, Harvard has had a tremendously difficult time covering the spread, especially against UMass, going 0-3-1 ATS in their last four games against the Minutemen and 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven games following a double-digit home loss like they suffered to Northeastern. UMass pushes the pace much more, ranking 188th in adjusted tempo compared to Harvard’s 291st. UMass has shown an ability to score both big and efficiently in its first two games, averaging 94 PPG on 58% shooting from the field and 41% from three. This offensive firepower will prove to be too much for Harvard, which struggled to keep up on offense with a Northeastern team that plays slower and shoots worse than UMass. This won’t be a blowout, but Harvard’s injury issues combined with the inability to hang with a high-scoring offense will power the Minutemen to the win and cover.
Pick: UMass -3.5
2. Wisconsin (+1) at Xavier
6:30 pm ET
Wisconsin is coming off its first non-NCAA tournament season in 19 years, but looks like a team that will certainly be back in the Big Dance this season. The Badgers are led by Ethan Happ, a legitimate contender for Big Ten player of the year, and Brad Davison who is poised to have a great season as well. Though it is not ranked in the AP top 25, Wisconsin is 22nd in kenpom.com's rankings, while ranking 18th in offense and 31st in defense. Xavier sits at 64th, ranking 40th in offense and 112th in defense. The major difference between the two teams lies in the pace. Xavier ranks 123rd in adjusted tempo, while Wisconsin is 346th. Gambling history says that Wisconsin has a great chance to cover in this. The Badgers are 6–0 against the spread in their last six road games, 6–1 against the spread in their last seven overall and 4–1 against the spread in their last five following an ATS loss. Sophomore Naji Marshall, a top-100 recruit, was expected to lead Xavier this season, but has been very underwhelming so far, averaging only 9 PPG on 31% shooting. Xavier is 2–0 the season, but 0–2 against the spread, most recently beating Evansville by only six in a game where the spread was -20.5. This game is essentially a pick'em, and a healthy Wisconsin team that performs better on both offense and defense will be able to go into Xavier’s house and walk away with a win. This should be a GREAT game, but Wisconsin will come out on top.
Pick: Wisconsin +1
Overall Record: 6-10