The start of the NCAAM basketball season has been slow with some uninspiring games between top teams and garbage local schools. As we enter the first weekend, we start to see some better quality of games and I have a few plays as we start with the Friday slate.
Michigan State vs. Gonzaga
Both teams have started their season with really easy games against teams that you’ve probably never have heard of before. Gonzaga was able to drop 104 points on a team and even without #2 overall pick Chet Holgrem from last season, they showed they still have solid offensive efficiency. The quality of players they face tonight should stifle the offense a bit more than North Florida did. Gonzaga is still led by Drew Timme and he should be one of the better, or best players in the game. Michigan State started the year against Northern Arizona and won by nearly 20 points. There aren’t as high of expectations for the Spartans this year, but I do think they have the chance to be solid by the end of the year. Right now, Gonzaga is in better form than them though. I’m taking Gonzaga to cover in the first half of this game at -6.5 at -110. I think we are looking at a spot where Michigan State could make adjustments after half that keep it a little closer.
Stanford vs. Wisconsin
Sometimes a line tells you a little bit about what they expect out of a game. In Stanford’s opener, they combined to score 166 points. In Wisconsin’s opener, we saw the teams combine to score 144. Now the game opens at 135 between the two teams. Both of the winners (Stanford and Wisconsin) scored over 80 points in the game and with a total that low it indicates this game will likely be a more defensive battle. My thought in this one is pretty clear though – in order for Stanford to win their game, they had to shoot 60% and only won by 10 points over a mediocre Pacific team. Wisconsin is the team to bet on in this game and even if this will be low scoring, I think Wisconsin pulls away late. Give me the Badgers -4.
College of Charleston vs. North Carolina
I mean, we know who will win this game, right? North Carolina is -7000 on the moneyline, which means that if you want to invest $7,000 to make $100 in about two hours’ time, go for it. Of course, if all hell breaks loose and they lose… Right now though North Carolina, the #1 ranked team in the nation is just kind of feeling things out. They played a closer-than-expected game against UNC Wilmington and they now face Charleston. What could possibly be the motivation here? They really don’t play a game that matters until almost two weeks from now. These are warm up games. Mentally, the team won’t care if they win, cover, or anything. They just will go out and work on getting the kinks out of the offense. I’m not playing the spread, though I think they do cover because the other game was probably closer than they would’ve liked (a 13-point win). I’m instead playing under 92.5 points for North Carolina. After a while, you start to run the offense and try and run the clock down. They have the capability to rack up the points, I just don’t see a reason they try to in this one.
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