Tomorrow is the inauguration of the College Basketball season, my favorite sport to bet. This column today is going to be a bit different than the ones in the future because all games are 1-unit plays. I will be doing this for the start of the season because there are too many unknowns. Personally, I use Kenpom for a lot of my picks so I will include his predicted score. Finally, I use Bovada to bet so all lines are from there. Okay that’s a lot of talking let’s get into it.
Michigan -14 vs Bowling Green: Ken Pom Projection 83-65
All I have to go on for this pick is last years stats. Michigan continues to retool and I expect them be a real contender this year. Some of you may know that you don’t want to play Michigan in the beginning of the year or the end, they always win then. Last year Bowling Green had one of the worst 2 point field goal percentages in the country at 45.3, now imagine that with a strong and tall Michigan defense. You may think that this would mean Bowling Green would shoot a ton of threes, but you would be wrong, Bowling Green only shot 32% of their shots from deep, only slightly above the average. Michigan returns a lot and I expect them to roll. I don’t think Bowling Green will keep this close.
Oklahoma State -6.5 vs UT Arlington: Ken Pom Projection 76-65
To start, when Ken Pom has a 4.5-point discrepancy you listen. If you aren’t familiar this is rare. Since this game is taking place in Arlington I’m sure that’s why this line is so low, but I don’t buy it. Both teams are defensive oriented, and not the best offensively. I wouldn’t be surprised if the score is lower than what Ken predicts here, but we will see. Oklahoma State has high expectations this year and I would expect them to see this as a tone setter early.
Purdue -11 vs Liberty: Ken Pom Projection 71-57
Liberty was a very good basketball team last year. However, they are losing 4 seniors who just so happen to be there 4 most used players according to Kenpom. Purdue doesn’t have this problem and return a lot this year. I think Liberty will be able to figure it out later, but I’m backing the more talented and experienced team here. It will also be tough for Liberty to open the season against a team as strong on defense as Purdue.
Florida Atlantic +4.5 vs South Alabama: Ken Pom projection 69-68 SA
South Alabama losses their 4 most used players, so I expect them to struggle finding their guy here. Florida Atlantic is the better team according to Ken Poms ratings and I’m not sure homecourt will be a large advantage here because South Alabama has the 295th home court advantage according to Ken. So why is the worst team favored after losing their four most ball dominate player? That’s what I’m asking myself.
Santa Clara -12 vs Idaho State: Ken Pom Projection 80-65
Idaho State is the 301st ranked D1 team in the country (357 total). Idaho State has some of the worst defensive states I have ever seen. Santa Clara has lost no one and comes back with a very good offense. For example, Santa Clara mad 52% of their 2-point field goals last season, above the average of 49%. Now Idaho gave up a 55% 2-point field goal percentage last year. Bad enough to have them ranked 348th in this category last year. I don’t see a way that this game stays close.
Saint Peter's vs Saint John’s under 140.5: Ken Pom Prediction 76-63 St J
This is an absurd line in my opinion. Last year St. Peters had the 300th ranked offense and the 80th ranked defense. St. Johns had the 104th ranked offense and the 53rd ranked defense. 104th doesn’t really tell the story because their shooting percentage was flat out horrible, they just played quickly. St. Peters is one of the slowest teams in the country so I don’t expect this to become a track meet. Under City here.
I would usually have more plays, but don’t want to force anything early. Hoping to start off strong and knowing myself will be live betting some of the bigger games. Good luck to all and remember to play responsibly.
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