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.
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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
$30.00 | CBB
The Atlantic Sun, Big South, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot and the Big Ten Conference Tournaments begin in February with the Atlantic Sun being the first to tipoff for the 2017-18 season. Odds to Win College Basketball Conference Tournaments (Feb 26)
Tonight’s ESPN2 Big Monday event pits two Big 12 schools who have slipped in February. The league event is likely to vault the winner into a position to be a No #2 seed in the bracket projections. Tipoff is schedule for 9:00 p.m. ET at WVU Coliseum in Morgantown, West Virginia. ESPN Big Monday Free Pick: Mountaineers host Red Raiders.
The Red Raiders and Mountaineers (-6.5 155) are both mathematically in the hunt for a Big 12 regular season title. For either school to earn a tie for the top spot in the conference both have to win out while the Jayhawks need to close the season with two consecutive losses.
Texas Tech and senior guard Keenan Evans are undervalued as a whole. The Raiders are easily the most balanced team in the Big 12. Evans is in contention for Big 12 Player of the Year. His 17.2 points per game are essential to Tech finding a road victory on Senior Night in Morgantown.
A court-toe injury has hampered Evans the last three games. In addition Justin Gray left Saturday’s loss to Kansas with concussion symptoms. He is a gametime decision for tonight’s tilt.. The Red Raiders did receive a roster boost with the return senior forward Zach Smith. The frontcourt big body is a huge asset to the undersized Tech staring lineup.
The Raiders are as defensively adept as are the Mountaineers. Both rosters created a large number of turnovers per game and both squad rely on protecting the paint. The Red Raiders are a high energy squad and coach Beard’s game preparation has created offensive difficulties for their opponents this season. Texas Tech has surrendered fewer than 29 points on average in the first half of their contests this season. In addition they have held foes under 40% shooting on the season. This is a key handicapping variable when the Raiders are receiving 6-points or more. Tech has a winning against the spread mark as an underdog of 6-points or more this season.
This game will be an emotional affair for the backcourt of West Virginia. The tandem of guards Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles will play their final college game in Morgantown tonight. Rim protector and center Sagaba Konate won’t be the force he has been against other smaller conference lineups. While Tech is far from deep in the frontcourt Zach Smith, Norense Odiase and Tommy Hamilton IV will be utilized tonight in the Big 12 road game. Center Konate has blocked at least two shots in six straight games and has registered 15 blocks in the last two.
All things being equal the Red Raiders are arguably the best team in the league. Their three-game losing streak is due in large was due to the toe injury to Evans. The defensive prowess of the Raiders will force West Virginia to settle for three-point attempts. Furthermore the Raiders are well versed in avoiding turnovers against pressure defenses like the Mountaineers present.
In a season in which the Mountaineers have created less backcourt steals and scuffled to hold leads late in the second half this game offers value to the visiting underdog.
FINN ALL-HOOPS ALL-ACCESS 3-GAME REPORT
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, Dave Cokin @davecokin and bookmaker Matt Holt @MatthewHoltVP from CG Technology every Thursday night as they break down sports from a Las Vegas betting perspective. WagerTalk Podcast: UFC, Teams to Fade in the NBA + Weekend Best Bets.
This week on WagerTalk
-College Basketball handicapping previews on Kansas vs Texas Tech, Gonzaga vs BYU and Auburn vs Florida.
– GambLou @GambLou joins the panel to give out his “UFC on Fox 28: Orlando” predictions and free picks.
-Aaron Brusk @aaronbruski (NBA Writer, 2015 FSWA BB Writer of the Year, founder http://www.hoop-ball.com , cohost @KozAndBruShow) is up next and goes over the teams to fade or play out of the NBA All Star Break and for the next couple weeks.
-The WagerTalk crew closes out the show with their weekly free best bets
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Kansas Jayhawks vs Texas Tech Raiders Predictions and Odds: Direct from Las Vegas, WagerTalk.com TV host Marco D’Angelo @MarcoInVegas and Ralph Michaels @CalSportsLV look. The WagerTalk team look at the Vegas odds and give their college basketball expert picks and predictions on the game between Kansas (22-6) vs Texas Tech (22-6). This Big 12 affair is scheduled to be played Saturday, February 24 at 4:15pm from United Supermarkets Arena. Kansas vs Texas Tech Predictions and Odds (Saturday Feb 24th).