NCAA Basketball Opening Lines: Thursday, 1/16
Now that college football is over and the NFL season is winding down, we’ll turn our attention to the hardwood. I’ll provide some quick notes, thoughts, and injury news for the following day’s action. Please keep in mind: I’m writing this the night before with opening numbers in a limited market. They will move. These numbers will go stale. I’m just looking to provide some big-picture thoughts as more people look to transition into college basketball over the next few weeks. We started the column off with an easy winner on Wednesday night, recommending the over between Kentucky and South Carolina.
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Memphis -5 vs. Cincinnati – How ugly can Cincinnati make this game? If the Bearcats can slow the Tigers’ tempo down, then the opening total of 141.5 feels a little too high. Only one of Cincinnati’s last seven games has been played with a pace over 70 possessions. Both teams shoot a pretty dismal 67-percent from the free throw line, so getting easy points at the foul line certainly isn’t a given. This is an interesting clash of youth vs. experience. Among the seven players that are playing over 20 minutes per game for Memphis, five of them are true freshman (Courtesy Down the Drive). Whereas Cincinnati is led by a trio of upperclassmen in Jarron Cumberland, Trevon Scott and Keith Williams.
BYU -16.5 vs. San Diego – This one has all of your favorite situational handicapping buzzwords: Revenge. Look-ahead spot. Injuries. Let’s start with the look-ahead angle: BYU plays at Gonzaga on Saturday. The only thing standing between the Cougars and a date with the No. 1 team is a game against a San Diego team that hasn’t won a conference game yet. Okay, now let’s look at the revenge angle: San Diego eliminated BYU from last year’s conference tournament. The Toreros embarrassed the Cougars in Las Vegas with a 23-point beating to end BYU’s season. BYU forward Connor Harding said, “I think it left a horrible taste in our mouth. Ever since the end of that game, I think a lot of players recommitted themselves to this next season. Saying, that’s not going to happen to us again. Because not only were the coaches embarrassed, we were embarrassed, and we knew we were better players than that.” Finally, we look at injuries as BYU’s leading scorer will miss his third-straight game. Senior Yoeli Childs was averaging a double-double before suffering a dislocated finger last week.
North Florida -1 at Jacksonville – Let’s go under-the-radar a little bit. These two schools are separated by 10.2 miles and play like polar opposites. North Florida has a top-75 offense with a defense ranked No. 320. Jacksonville has a top-100 defense with a non-existent offense. North Florida is the No. 1 team in the country in three-point rate. Nearly 53-percent of the Ospreys’ field goal attempts come from beyond the arc, and they hit 38-percent of them. In the non-conference schedule, North Florida traveled to Florida, Iowa, Creighton, Florida State, Syracuse and Dayton. Jacksonville has played the No. 225 schedule in the country. North Florida was picked to finish second in the A-Sun by both the coaches and media. This feels like a game within their wheelhouse.
Don’t wait until March Madness to brush up on your college basketball betting strategy. Direct from the WagerTalk TV Studios in Las Vegas, host Kelly Stewart talks with sports betting experts Marco D’Angelo and Dave Cokin about some of their personal college basketball betting tips.
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