The NCAA Weekly Rundown For January 21st

The NCAA Weekly Rundown For January 21st

ncaa weekly betting

I wrote last week about how this season has been more hazy than any season in recent memory in the world of college hoops. This past week has only further reinforced that. Auburn lost two lopsided games last week to Bama and Florida and fell drastically in the poles.

Butler, who I wrote about in the futures portion last week, dropped two games as well. San Diego State remained undefeated and remains the last undefeated team in the country. Dayton survived a scare against St. Louis on a buzzer beating three. Meanwhile, Baylor took over the top spot in the polls, following two tough conference wins this week. This, of course, means they’re due to lose this upcoming week at least once. 

It’s wild we’re just halfway through the season and the #3 ranked team has three losses (Kansas). Though there’s been a lot of movement in the polls, I don’t expect Gonzaga or San Diego State to drop out of the conversation for a #1 seed in the tournament, due to their equally lax schedules down the stretch.

I heard a take today from Mark Titus and Tate Frazier on Fox’s College Hoops podcast and I couldn’t agree more with their take that if you took the top 10 teams from last year and transported them to this year, they’d be the top 10 teams again. It’s not that the teams this season are lacking in overall talent, it’s just the talent is spread across so many teams and so many teams also have glaring weaknesses, the parity it’s created is unprecedented in the history of NCAA Basketball

The Top 10 and their weaknesses:

  1. Baylor – Depth/Shooting (34% from three but just 43% from the field)
  2. Gonzaga – Inexperience (Three starters now on NBA rosters from last season)
  3. Kansas – Offensive inconsistency/Free Throws (66% FT and 58 PPG in three losses)
  4. San Diego State – Unproven/Can’t get to FT line (12.4 FTA/Game and only big win vs Iowa)
  5. Florida State – Inexperience/Rebounding (Lost two starters to the NBA. Only 34 RPG)
  6. Louisville – Weak Guard play (Best guard offensively averages 8.7 PPG)
  7. Dayton – Rebounding (+3.2 RPG differential and just 35 RPG)
  8. Duke – FT Shooting/Turnovers (67% FT and 13.7 TO/game)
  9. Villanova – Scoring/Rebounding/Blocks (44% FG and just +2.7 RPG. Also, -.6 BPG differential)
  10. Seton Hall – Scoring/Rebounding (43.9% FG, 32.4% from three, 35.7 RPG with a negative diff)

Maybe it’s not the doom and gloom situation everyone fears this season in college basketball, but after last season’s talented teams, strong shooting, and entertaining tournament, this season seems to be a big letdown thus far.

So, where does that put us from a gambling perspective? It puts us in very favorable positions to bet on underdogs until we get a clearer picture of the landscape of college basketball.

Best bets of the week

January 21st: 

Florida at LSU (-2.5)

Florida is coming off a big upset victory over Auburn last week. However, it’s important to note Auburn looked awful last week in losses to both Alabama and Florida, so the Gators are definitely being over-inflated in this game on the road at LSU. I like the home team in these situations, and when you look at both teams by the numbers, the Tigers are better in four of the five main categories.

They’re a better team shooting from the field, they score more points per game by six. LSU also holds the edge in rebounding and free throw percentage (5% better RPG). I like the Tigers to get a big win at home tonight. 

January 22nd:

Penn State at Michigan (-5)

Penn State knocked off Ohio State last week, but so did everyone else. The purpose for noting that is because Penn State will undoubtedly get a bump going into this game. Despite the better record and the +5 RPG average on the season, Michigan holds the advantage in every other category.

The key here for me will be if Isaiah Livers plays for Michigan. If he plays, take Michigan. If he doesn’t, take Penn State. It’s really that simple. Neither team has been hot lately as both have dropped three of their last four, but Michigan is a much different team at home (4-1 ATS at home and 0-5 ATS away). The rebounding advantage for Penn State is huge, but if Isaiah Livers can return to action, I love the Wolverines chances to cover at home.  

Western Kentucky (+1.5) at Marshall

The Hilltoppers are one of those teams that seems to pop up every March and provide us with some entertainment in the tournament. Though they’re -4 in the rebounding comparison against the Thundering Herd, they’re much better shooters (6% better from deep) and offer tremendous upside offensively.

Western Kentucky also should benefit from a sense of urgency as the clock is running out on their chances to make the tourney. They are winners of five of their last six and beat Arkansas earlier in the season. Marshall, on the other hand, doesn’t exactly benefit from home court as one might expect, as they’re just 3-7 ATS at home this season. Though the Thundering Herd hold the advantage in rebounding, their play as of late (lost three of their last five games) hasn’t inspired much confidence in me. 

Northern Iowa (-5.5) at Southern Illinois

Northern Iowa at Southern Illinois is my favorite pick of the week. The Panthers hold the advantage in all five major areas. They are +15 PPG, +5% FG, +6% 3P, +3% FT, and +7 RPG. Though the two typically play close games, the Panthers are 16-2 on the season while the Salukis are just 9-10. The spread is definitely lower than we should expect, but one team is on a mission to make mayhem in March while the other is still trying to figure out how to get a rhythm on offense (SIU averages just 62 PPG). I like the Panthers coming in and winning this game by 15+. 

Next week, we’ll recap the movement in the Top 25, go over more best bets of the week, and talk about the hottest teams in Division I hoops.