NCAA Basketball Opening Lines: Tuesday, 2/11
Just how crazy has this college basketball season been? If the season ended today, the top five teams in the NCAA’s NET ratings would come from the Mountain West, West Coast, Big XII (x2) and Atlantic 10. With just a couple weeks left in the regular season, how many teams have a realistic shot at cutting down the nets in Atlanta? Fifteen? Twenty? More?! Tuesday night brings a handful of big games across the country, including Dayton-Rhode Island and Arkansas-Tennessee. Keep an eye on WagerTalk’s Live Odds page for updated numbers from a variety of offshore and Las Vegas sports books.
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Purdue -5 vs. Penn State – No team in the country has more drastic home-road splits than Purdue. Some eye-opening numbers, courtesy of BangTheBook: In Purdue’s 12 home games this season, the Boilermakers are No. 1 in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency, No. 36 in effective field goal percentage, and No. 10 in three-point shooting. In their 12 road and/or neutral site games, the Boilermakers are No. 190 in offensive efficiency, No. 342 in effective field goal percentage and No. 315 in three-point shooting. Penn State averages 75.4 points per game away from University Park, so the Nittany Lions are capable of scoring in any environment. The key to this game will likely be offensive rebounding. Purdue is No. 1 in the Big Ten at rebounding its misses, while Penn State is twelfth out of 14 teams in allowing offensive rebounds. If Purdue can generate second-chance points and keep Penn State from turning rebounds into fast breaks, the Boilermakers should be in pretty good shape on Tuesday night.
Maryland -16.5 vs. Nebraska – The Terps can’t get caught in the sandwich. Maryland pulled off an impressive road win over a ranked Illinois team over the weekend, and they have Michigan State coming up next. The only thing standing in the way is a team on an eight-game losing streak. I’m intrigued by the total of 144 in this one, and more specifically Maryland’s team total. Nebraska is last in the Big Ten in effective field goal defense, last in rebounding, last in two-point defense, and 13th in defensive efficiency. Pretty bad, right? The Huskers are No. 1 in offensive tempo and shortest possession length. So they are playing very fast on offense, and not playing a lick of defense. It’s the kind of game that Maryland’s offense should thrive in. During this eight-game losing streak, Nebraska is giving up 79 points per game. Here’s the kicker: It should be even more. Big Ten opponents are shooting 63.9-percent from the free throw line against Nebraska. The national average from the foul line is almost 71-percent. Obviously you can’t play defense on a free throw and Nebraska is basically just getting lucky, but if teams start hitting their free throws against the Huskers, Nebraska’s defensive numbers are going to be even worse.
San Diego State -15.5 vs. New Mexico – This one makes you scratch your chin a little bit. KenPom has San Diego State as a 19-point favorite in this contest. Bart Torvik has SDSU -20.5 and Haslametrics blows both of them out of the water with a -25 projection in this spot. So why is the opening spread only -15.5? New Mexico got senior guard JaQuan Lyle back in the lineup after missing their last four games. Lyle didn’t play in the Aztecs’ 28-point win over the Lobos two weeks ago. Here’s a fun fact for you: KenPom had New Mexico rated higher than San Diego State heading into this season. Obviously the Aztecs are a lot better than everyone gave them credit for, but at the same time, it shows you that these two teams shouldn’t be that far apart. When these two teams met in San Diego last season, the spread was Aztecs -6.5. New Mexico’s core rotation consists of three seniors and three juniors. Let’s see what kind of fight they have in them.
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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