The ACC tournament tips off Tuesday in Brooklyn with three opening-round bouts, two of which we’re recommending for betting action. Free College Basketball Picks: Tuesday at the ACC Tournament.
The Michigan Wolverines rolled to a Big Ten tournament championship last season, and shoot for back-to-back titles Sunday afternoon against Purdue at the Garden in NYC (4:30 pm ET, CBS). Which way are we going with our Big Ten championship game pick? Free College Basketball Picks: Big Ten Tournament Championship Game.
Nothing beats the thrill of winning and the WagerTalk Podcast prepares you to make the most educated bets possible. Listen to WagerTalk with Scott Spreitzer @scottwins, Marco D’Angelo @MarcoInVegas and Dave Cokin @davecokin every Thursday night as they break down sports from a Las Vegas betting perspective. WagerTalk Podcast: UFC 222, College Basketball, NBA and even some NHL!
This week on WagerTalk:
-College Basketball handicapping previews on Kentucky vs Florida, North Carolina vs Duke and TCU vs Texas Tech
-Quick look at the Friday NBA showdown between the Raptors and Wizards
– GambLou @GambLou joins the panel to give out his UFC 222: Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya predictions and free picks.
-Lawrence Prezman @PrezWagerTalk calls in from Canada to talk hockey handicapping and give out some free NHL picks for the weekend
-The WagerTalk crew closes out the show with their weekly free best bets
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The Shockers of Wichita State take on the Central Florida Knights tonight. Tipoff is slated for 7:00 p.m. ET on CFE Arena court in Orlando. College Basketball Free Pick: Wichita State -9 over UCF.
It has been difficult to trust the Shockers at any point this season. Despite returning five starters the team has been, at best, pedestrian on the defensive end of the floor. Tonight’s contest in Central Florida offers significant favor to the Shockers. It also assists them in their aim to secure an American Athletic Conference title in their first season in the league.
Coach Gregg Marshall had the luxury of not using his starters for excessive minutes in the squads latest win over shorthanded SMU. Tonight’s game against offensively challenged UCF is not a look-ahead game by any means. WSU meets No #10 Cincinnati on Sunday and tonight’s early tip is a must win for Wichita as they trail the Bearcats by one game with two to play. Cincy is a double-digit favorite tonight versus Tulane.
Tonight’s event against UCF is much like the Shockers last test in Dallas versus SMU. The Mustangs, like the Knights, are without key player personnel and are shorthanded in a late regular season matchup. Shaquille Morris is the steady hand for the Wheat Shockers. Guard Landry Shamet (team-high 14.6 points, ACC-leading 5.1 assists per game) recorded 10 points and four assists versus SMU in a game he was still feeling the effects of a flu bug.
The X-factor tonight for the Shockers versus the Knights is two-fold. Firstly, without center Tacko Fall the Central Florida squad is short-benched and unable to defend the rim. Fall suffered a shoulder injury in late January and is out for the remainder of the season. And the second big game variable in this matchup is on the shoulders of Markis McDuffie. The 6’8″ forward had a stellar campaign in the Mo Valley a year ago. After scuffling with his consistency early this season, and missing the first month-plus of the regular slate to injury, McDuffie has found his mojo. The WSU big scored a total of 41 points in the team’s two games last week.
Wichita State is 8-2 on the road this season. They have stepped up in their road events with wins over nationally ranked Cincinnati and then-No #16 Baylor.
With Tacko Fall UCF was a defensive monster. The school ranked third in the country in fewest points (61.2) allowed per game and could rebound with any team in Division I. Without Fall it is more than likely that the Shockers will own the glass. Wichita State is one of the nation’s best in rebounding margin (third at plus-10.2).
College Basketball Free Pick: Wichita State -9 over UCF
BIG EVENT: ACC GAME ~ MONTH (5-1)
We passed on the first round of the Big Ten tournament, because of zero betting confidence regarding any of the participants. But a couple of second-round games interest us. Here’s our take on Thursday evening’s action at Madison Square Garden. Free College Basketball Picks: Thursday Night at the Big Ten Tournament.
Direct from Las Vegas, WagerTalk TV host Scott Spreitzer (@scottwins) and special guest Matthew Holt (@MatthewHoltVP) Vice President of Business Development from CG give their college basketball picks and predictions on North Carolina Tar Heels vs Duke Blue Devils (March 3 at 8:15 PM from Cameron Indoor Stadium on ESPN) and Kentucky Wildcats vs Florida Gators (March 3 at 12:00 PM from Stephen C. O’Connell Center on CBS). College Basketball Picks: North Carolina Tar Heels vs Duke Blue Devils and Kentucky Wildcats vs Florida Gators.
Roy’s Boys have seven losses on the season but are in the hunt for a one or two seed come Selection Sunday. North Carolina’s Big Dance profile offers evidence of them playing themselves into a top seed for tournament. The Heels have 10 Quadrant 1 wins, second in the country. In addition UNC own Top-10 spots in RPI and Strength of Schedule this season.
The Wildcats head into the final weekend of the regular season with three straight wins. All three victories were against probable NCAA tournament teams. And all three “W’s” were by double digits. John Calipari has morphed his primary rotation into smaller lineup with PJ Washington or Jarred Vanderbilt in the center of the paint.
Get the latest College Basketball odds direct from Las Vegas via WagerTalk Live Lines
The Bulldogs (-2, 147) take the Carnesecca Arena court in Queens, New York on Wednesday night to square off against the Red Storm. Tipoff is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. Big East Basketball Free Pick: Butler -2 over St. John’s.
Butler’s last two contests, both wins, all but clinched an NCAA Tournament bid for the school. A win tonight in the Big Apple over league foe St. John’s would raise their potential seed. The Bulldogs win over Providence on Feb. 17 followed by a victory over then-No #24 Creighton by a 20-plus point margin was icing on their Big Dance cake.
To contain a explosive Blue Jays offense to just 70-points paints the picture of how good this Butler team can be. “Defensively, to hold Creighton to 70 points, that requires a great effort,” Bulldogs head coach LaVall Jordan told the media in his postgame presser. “We had really good energy and our communication was the best it’s been all season. Our guys really took the game plan and executed it.”
Senior forward Kelan Martin is the dominant offensive force for the ‘Dogs. Martin has averaged 26 points per game across the team’s last six contests. He leads the Big East in conference game scoring this season averaging 23.3 in league events.
The young Storm are guided by Shamorie Ponds. The shooting guard leads the Big East overall in scoring averaging nearly 22 ppg. The youth of this St. John’s squad has been inconsistent this season. In addition senior guard Bashir Ahmed has scuffled as of late with his shooting connecting on just 1-for-12 from 3-point range over the last five games.
Heading into March squads that have had extended rest have dominated over the last decade. After a long and grueling non-conference schedule and the physicality of sixteen Big East affairs Butler comes into this road event well rested. The Bulldogs last played eight days ago and a win tonight improves their conference mark to 10-7 on the season.
Big East Basketball Free Pick: Butler -2 over St. John’s
FINN WED WCC GAME ~ WEEK (55-35)
It is Senior Night at Thomas & Mack Center is Las Vegas tonight. UNLV hosts the league’s best and instate rival Nevada. Tipoff is scheduled for 11:00 p.m. ET with the host Rebels honoring their three seniors. West Coast Conference Free Pick: Wolf Pack -2 over Rebels.
The celebration in Reno on Sunday night gave No #21 Nevada at least a share of their second straight Mountain West regular season championship. The Wolf Pack earned a home court win over the Colorado State Rams. The ‘Pack also secured the No #1 seed for next week’s conference tourney which will be played in the same venue as tonight’s event.
Nevada (-2, 164) coach Eric Musselman verbalized with the local media that he will not rest players for tonight’s contest. The goal for the coaching staff and the players is to win. And most important take home the conference crown next week and secure a high seed for the NCAA title tournament.
Former NBA tutor, Musselman, was confident and definitive in Sunday night’s post-game presser. “I was raised only one way and it was to try and win every single game,” Musselman said. “There’s going to be a scoreboard. I’ve got competitive players and we are going to UNLV. We are not resting anybody.”
The Runnin’ Rebels have lost three in a row. Another little known variable for the Rebs is that the squad isn’t well oiled nor do they mesh when taking the court. And while the squad has had their share of impressive performances this season as a whole they are not as talented, deep or as focused as their foe tonight.
There will be a sense of revenge for the Wolf Pack tonight. In the first meeting between the two state-foes the Rebels upset Nevada by an 86-78 score in Reno. Senior guard Jovan Mooring scored 31 points in the event. However, Nevada was without Mountain West Player of the Year candidate Caleb Martin (foot).
Martin and the Wolf Pack are healthy, save Lindsey Drew (Achilles) coming into the regular season finale while the Rebels have question marks surrounding their guard Mooring. The senior is questionable for tonight’s game after suffering a foot injury in the team’s 91-90 loss at New Mexico on Sunday. Kendall Stephens, a transfer from Purdue, has not been slowed while playing through a right thumb injury. Despite the ailment Stephens has knocked down over 100 3-pointers this season.
The Martin brothers, Cody and Caleb, are too much for the soft Rebels lineup tonight. And physical frontcourt stalwart Jordan Caroline (17.1), senior guard Stephens (13.6) and Cody Martin (13.6) will all score in double digits and contain UNLV 7-foot McDonald’s All-American Brandon McCoy and 6-9 forward Shakur Juiston.
Furthermore, Mooring, if inactive will be seriously missed. He not only leads the Rebels with 58 made 3-pointers but also averages 3.2 assists and is the team’s best defender. UNLV with an injured Mooring will be outrebounded, outscored and will continue to be sloppy with the ball as they have the entire season. The Rebels average nearly 15 turnovers per game which ranks near the bottom in Division I hoops.
Consequently backing the visiting Wolf Pack tonight is a value-packed investment.
West Coast Conference Free Pick: Wolf Pack -2 over Rebels
MAIN EVENT 5% ESPN GAME ~ MONTH
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