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College Basketball Picks, Predictions & Best NCAA Basketball Betting Odds [Thursday, Jan 26th]

TJ Reeves:

Well hey there, and welcome back in to the BetUS College Basketball show for a Thursday. Good to be back, with tons of action going on as we wind down the month of January. I am merely the somewhat competent host, TJ Reeves. These are the guys that you’re here to hear the wisdom from, the insight, the analysis. Hello, Mattie Cox, back for another day today. Ready to roll again for a Thursday this time. How you feeling right about now, and any thoughts on a Wednesday night?

Matthew Cox:

Ready to rock, man. I guess the Yukon demise is the top headline. Losing another game. It seems like that bananas non-conference that we saw from them way out in Portland, they now look mortal. So I think part of that, however, is a function of the Big East just being really good, man. There’s a lot of good teams in that league that have risen. Creighton’s playing well, Xavier’s playing well. Some other dangerous teams north there as well.

TJ Reeves:

Very good point. Xavier comes into stores and [inaudible 00:00:58] them last night. What’s going on with Yukon? So that’s one subject. Hello, Kyle Hunter. First time we’ve had you on for this week. Welcome back in, and any thoughts from you off of a Wednesday?

Kyle Hunter:

Yeah, good to be back. The game that stuck out to me last night, Texas A and M going to Auburn and winning easily. I thought that was a pretty surprising game there from the Aggies. And then the other one, how about San Diego State with Adam Seiko just lightening it up? I think he was seven for seven on his first seven threes. Utah State didn’t really have a chance in that one.

TJ Reeves:

Yeah. That kid came off the bench, I believe, I was watching some of that game, and was just bombing away as they got the win. Mountain West may get four teams in the NCA tournament. Pac-12 might only get three teams in the NCA tournament coming up out of the Pac-12. We’ll see. Also Indiana, Mattie Cox, quick thought here. We will get to Thursday. We will get to the games today. But Mattie Cox, you focus in some on the Big 10. You’re in that region. Kyle’s in Ohio as well in that region. Indiana gets a win at Minnesota. Any quick thought on that, as the Hoosiers seem to be rounding into form a little bit? They beat Michigan State on the weekend. Any thought on the Hoosiers?

Matthew Cox:

Yeah. Tough one. They’re on the road. TJD is playing like an all-American. Bonafide all-American. I think people are starting to whisper that he might be making a push for Big 10 player of the year. Not ready to go that far yet, but I just think the depth of Indiana is starting to really show up. I think last night was just a tough road spot, playing a desperate Minnesota team. I know they were banged up and bruised, but you can’t find a team at this point in the country that hasn’t had at least one of those head-scratching results, especially in a tough spot within this schedule. So I’m going to look at that as a disappointing opening first half, but pleased with the way they closed out. And I think in general, they’re a team on the up right now.

TJ Reeves:

Yeah, no doubt. And we’ve got some Big 10 of interest tonight, including that Michigan State team off the loss to Indiana in Bloomington, back in action with Iowa tonight. Purdue also playing at Michigan. So those games will probably come up on the show.

But let’s get ready. Let’s get into what we have for you on a Thursday. By the way, thank you for finding us. Make sure you hit that like button. Make sure you’re subscribed as we’re here live at 11:00 AM Eastern Time, talking college hoops, Monday through Friday, on BetUS TV. All the way through March, all the way through the Final Four, you can count on us being here. We’re glad to be with you here once again today.

All right, let’s take a look at the records. Here’s where we stand off a three and two day yesterday. You see Mattie Cox still climbing up towards 500. Kyle Hunter is above 500 in the show, now right back at it. We’ve had a winning week, by the way. I’m just totalling up. As I mentioned, it was three and two yesterday. It was one and two actually on Tuesday, and two and oh on Monday. Let me get my quick math. Does that make us six and three? I think six and three right now for the week. Or six and four, something like that. So we are all about being better on Thursday. And why don’t we get to it with the picks, the insight and the analysis from the handicappers?

Let us begin with a game tonight involving Southeast Missouri State and Tennessee State. This is a game at SEMO, where they are favored by six and a half. Total is 154. Again, we will talk the Power Six conferences and then we will talk games like this on the BetUS College Basketball show. Kyle Hunter, you have an official play. What is it for tonight?

Kyle Hunter:

Yeah. I like the over in this game. I think Southeast Missouri State has a good way of making every game really high-scoring. They’re 15th in tempo. They foul like crazy. 354th in defending without fouling. This is a SEMO team that I really think they just press, very aggressive defense, they give up a lot of layups. They are pretty good on offense. They’re good at getting to the line themselves. And if you look at Tennessee State, very good at getting to the line, a ton of fouls there. I would think this will be a parade to the charity stripe in this game. That’s always helpful. And then you get the really fast pace and both teams pretty bad on defense in general, even in the half court. So I think there’s going to be a lot of open looks in this game. Some second chance points. Both of these two teams are very bad at defending the paint. That’s always something you want to see if you’re taking a pretty high over. So I think the tempo’s going to be there, and when you give me so many points from the charity stripe, I think that’s going to be a big boost as well. So I look to see this be a pretty close high-scoring game here.

TJ Reeves:

All right, interesting. Mattie Cox, we say this sometimes about these conferences, these smaller conferences, that Southeast Missouri took a lot of losses. They took eight in a row in the out-of-conference schedule and at the beginning of conference play. I believe they lost one conference game in that stretch. Now, since then though, they have been better. I’m going to count it up. They’ve won five of their last seven games, won their last time out. They’re hosting Tennessee State. All right, do you have anything on this game to add here, Tennessee State or Southeast Missouri, or you want to move along?

Matthew Cox:

I just think both these teams are pretty talented for the OVC. I think you’re starting to see that bear out for SEMO the last few weeks. They’re really healthy. They had a bunch of guys sick, I believe around Christmas time. Head coach Brad Korn talked about that ad nauseum in the local paper. I think now they’re getting healthy and we’re seeing that talent crop that’s categorically better than what you’re used to seeing with his SEMO type program. And same with Tennessee State on the other side. Penny Collins, he’s been a talent magnet in the last few seasons. They got some guys who are starting to really pop too. I know their record doesn’t look so great, but I think they’re actually a pretty talented and dangerous team here. So I think they both can score a lot of points, and if the pace plays in favor of the over, I have no reason to believe the efficiency won’t either.

TJ Reeves:

Well then, we should say, for those that maybe aren’t as familiar on the show, Kyle Hunter is always looking at under total. So when he’s going over, when he isolates one for an over total, pay attention, kids, here on a Thursday. And this is a lot of points. This isn’t over like a 130, right Kyle? Or a 126. You’re thinking over in this matchup of 154. So we’ll lock him in officially for points, points, points for Southeast Missouri State and Tennessee State, and that game coming up this evening.

So there’s official play number one on the show. Let’s continue with another game this evening, and that is Oral Roberts in a matchup here with Denver. That is game number two on our slate. The game at Oral Roberts. Oral Roberts with Max ACE-mas, one of the leading scorers in the country over the last couple of years, laying 18 points. Total is 156 in this one. Mattie Cox, again, there’s a lot of games on the slate. What drew you to this one right away tonight?

Matthew Cox:

Well first of all, Oral Roberts is a team I’m just looking to back right now. I worry I might be too late to the party, but they’ve been a juggernaut. This is Max ACE-mas, the fun-loving major gunner that everyone knows from their run two years ago. I think people need to wake up and smell the roses. This team is categorically better than that team. The key difference is Connor Vanover up front, who’s a seven-foot four stick figure, but has a ton of skill and can block shots. He basically has been the answer to Oral Roberts’ primary issues the last couple years, and that’s been defense. So now they can guard and they have all the scoring and firepower you could ever ask for.

They’re catching a Denver team tonight who I generally like to fade on the road. I think their values are typically a little bit inflated because of their home road splits. They play at altitude, typically a very strong home court. They’re also a little bit banged up, and they just had some weird off-the-court stuff that’s going on. I believe Coban Porter, the player who was out for the year, one of the younger brothers of the Porter family, a tragic car crash happened. There’s this whole behind-the-scenes tragedy that that program’s going to have to deal with. Really sad stuff. I just think that’s not going to play well tonight. Seems like a wave the white flag type of game for Denver. I just don’t see much fight in the second half if they start to feel the margin extending.

And then finally, Oral Roberts I believe is one of the top 10 best second half teams in the country, their scoring margin relative to first half. So I think it’s a team that will extend. They’re not going to let their foot off the gas. So it’s a big number, but I’m going to lay it tonight with the fighting Max ACE-mases.

TJ Reeves:

All right. We talk about them some here and there and have this season, Kyle Hunter. For Oral Roberts, they had a 10 game win streak. New Mexico beat them back earlier in January. Now they’ve won four in a row in league play since then. They are at home. It is a big number. Thoughts on Oral Roberts and Denver?

Kyle Hunter:

Yeah, I think Matt said it well. The difference between this Oral Roberts team and the Oral Roberts team from the last couple years is defense. And like you said, they can block shots. They’re 21st in blocked shot percentage so far this year. This is a team that has been the best defense in the conference so far this year, and if you’d have said, “Oral Roberts, the best defense in the conference,” a couple years ago, people would’ve laughed at you. This has always been a really good offense. They play very fast. They’re still very good on offense, they’re much better defensively. Obviously 18 points is a lot to lay, so I don’t sit here and think, “Oh, I want to lay 18 points,” very often. I’m sure Matt doesn’t either. But this is a spot that does kind of look like a blowout spot to me as well. I would wonder about taking Oral Roberts team total over, thinking that they can score quite a few points here. I’m trying to look to see what that one is. They’re probably 87 and a half or 88, something like that. So obviously that’s not really easy to take either, but I think Oral Roberts names their score in a game like this, and like Matt was saying, Denver’s having a lot of issues going on, and they weren’t very good to start with.

TJ Reeves:

ACE-mas’ last five games, the most immediate game, 27, the one before that, 22. He had 17 in a game with St. Thomas. That’s one of the conference teams now, St. Thomas of Minnesota. But 37 against Western Illinois, who’s not very good, and in the New Mexico game he had 26 against the Lobos. He’s one of the best scorers in the country, averaging just over 22 a game. Let’s see what he can do tonight. Mattie Cox believes in he and ORU. Let’s see what happens with Oral Roberts. He will lay the 18 in this matchup this evening.

A reminder again, thank you for finding us. If you’re joining us live here in the 11:00 AM Eastern Time hour, we’re here Monday through Friday, as you see on the screen. Hit that like button to help us out. Make sure that you are subscribed. You’ll get notified about the show. Share us out as well. It’s going to help us grow the show as we head towards March and we keep adding subscribers. Keep doing that, keep sharing it out, and we’ll get to some live Q and A in a little bit. You see we still have three games to discuss here. We’ll get to some of your questions.

Game number three on the show is Seattle and Sam Houston. This is a matchup in Texas at Sam Houston, with Sam Houston laying six and a half, total 137 in this matchup. Kyle Hunter, we come back to you. You will have the official play and lead us off on the discussion on this game.

Kyle Hunter:

Yeah. I wanted to bet Sam Houston in some way in this game, and I was thinking about whether I wanted to lay the points with Sam Houston or whether I wanted to take the team total over. I ended up going with the team total over in this one. Look at Seattle and what they’ve done so far this year defensively. I was doing a deep dive on a lot of different games, box scores wise, over the last few days, and I was seeing that nobody can make a shot from three point range against Seattle. Tarleton was one for 13 from three point range, and then Southern Utah one-upped them by going one for 25 from three point range.

TJ Reeves:

Wow.

Kyle Hunter:

Now, I think the group of us could do better than one for 25 from three point range.

TJ Reeves:

Well, we only have to hit two. We only have to hit two. I don’t know what Mattie can do with a hand in his face. If it’s a closeout and a hand in his face, I don’t know how well Mattie can hit him, but he would only have to hit one, and you and I would have to hit another one. So you need space? Yeah.

Matthew Cox:

I need time and space.

TJ Reeves:

I don’t know how that would work, but one for 25? Good gracious. All right, so how much of that is their defense, how much is bad opponents, Kyle, on your point?

Kyle Hunter:

Well I’m glad you asked, TJ, because Seattle defensively, if you look at what they’ve done as far as open three rate allowed, they’re 310th out of 363. So people are just missing wide open threes against them. I’m just going to guess that at some point somebody’s going to start making some threes against Seattle. Sam Houston State’s a pretty good team. This is a Seattle team that’s for the year now 10th best at three point defense. Sam Houston, 40.2% from three point range so far this year, which is fourth best in the country. 41.4% in the conference. I think the Bearkats are going to knock down some of those shots, and I think that Seattle, the pace that they play at, this game could get a bit higher scoring, especially if those shots are going down. So I’m going to go with Sam Houston team total over.

TJ Reeves:

I know the WAC has had defections. I get that. But could we have won money, Mattie Cox? Who’s leading the WAC at seven and oh? And the answer is Seattle Redhawks. I didn’t have that. Okay, so that’s what they are. They’re on the road here. Any thought on what Kyle had to say on the matchup, on a side, or anything else with this on Seattle and Sam Houston State?

Matthew Cox:

Yes. Seattle did this last year too. I think we looked at last season’s surge as largely a function of Darrion Trammell, who’s now pacing San Diego State’s very impressive run lately. But they still have a lot of talent. They’ve got a guy in Cam Tyson who basically was like a fringe starter at Houston a few years back. So they have some real players there. I like the Sam Houston angle that Kyle was talking about. I think the key guy to keep an eye on is Cam Huefner. He’s the Aussie sharpshooter, been absolutely draining from long distance. I think he’s the guy they’re going to have to hope to make shots. And Dante Powers as well. So Sam Houston, while offensively they can struggle and go through scoring droughts, they do have shooting. I think a lot of their scoring lulls are more pace-driven as opposed to shooting-driven. So I think they knock down some shots tonight against this Seattle defense. I’m with Kyle on that one.

TJ Reeves:

Some good discussion here, and Kyle Hunter says, “Lock me in on Sam Houston State,” or just Sam Houston, whatever they prefer, and their team total of 72 to go over that total in the matchup this evening in the WAC.

All right, let’s continue. This is one of the more intriguing games of the night. We’ve got it on the discussion panel here. That’s UCLA and USC in a rematch. Six Pacific time, nine Eastern Time, national TV, I believe on ESPN for tonight. They played a wild game at Pauley Pavilion earlier in January, where UCLA led by 18 in the first half, only to have USC come back and tie the game in the second half. Eventually UCLA won it. All right, tonight the Bruins, road favorites by four and a half cross-town at the Galen Center on the USC campus. Total is 131 and a half. Mattie Cox, I’m going to come back to you. You don’t have an official play here, but this is a very intriguing game tonight. Revenge opportunity for USC, home dog for them. Thought real quick here, Mattie?

Matthew Cox:

Yeah. If you remember the first matchup between these two, UCLA opened as a 13 point favorite. Ridiculous line. Everyone came in betting USC in that game. I believe they closed closer to 10. UCLA gets up 20 in the first half and then USC comes all the way back, nearly beats UCLA at Pauley. So now they take the trip up to USC, and I don’t think there’s a ton of home court value here. I think UCLA is alerted and reengaged after that scare they took from USC. They’re also coming off the loss to Arizona last week. I think it’s a great spot to back the Bruins here. I think five’s actually a little bit cheap. I do worry about the historical matchup trends in USC’s favor. Andy Enfield has done very well against Mick Cronin. Their defense has a ton of length, ton of size. It seems to bother the Bruins at times. I still put all that aside. I think the spot and the price, given the short home travel, makes UCLA where I lean in this one. But again, yeah, no official play for me.

TJ Reeves:

Really on the Brothers show and podcast, Three Dog Thursday, I loved UCLA if they were getting three or four points, and they are right now on Thursday morning in this matchup. USC, if I said that wrong. I like USC as the home dog if they’re getting points here. Kyle Hunter, a thought on this? Both teams last weekend played the Arizona teams. Both teams lost to the Wildcats. Both teams beat Arizona State on the road. UCLA beat them last Thursday night, Arizona State. USC beat them Saturday in Tempe. Any thought here on Trojans/Bruins rivalry in basketball?

Kyle Hunter:

I see Trevor’s mentioning UCLA hasn’t had much success here recently at USC. This is a USC team that does match up pretty well against UCLA. Like Matt said, their length can bother them. They’re first in the nation in two point [inaudible 00:17:58] percentage defense. I like UCLA lot as a team. I think we’ve talked about this before. I think futures on UCLA are probably a good buy right now after their loss to Arizona. If they happen to lose this one, really good spot to try to buy them low. I’m interested; as we’re talking, the total has been getting steamed up. I see 134 now. So I do think the under is a good bet in this game. That would be my strongest lean here.

TJ Reeves:

If you don’t mind me interrupting, what was it earlier? Was it like 131, 132? Is it up a point or two?

Kyle Hunter:

Yeah. Last night, 130 and a half, 131, and now it’s 134. So we’ve gone up about three, three and a half points. The first game was 60 to 58 with 59 possessions in it. I don’t see this game being a really fast-paced game either. So I think the only way you lose an under is both teams being pretty efficient on offense. So my strongest lean would be that. UCLA’s defense is sneaky, really good. Third in defensive efficiency in the country. They don’t get to the line much on offense, but they’re pretty efficient on offense. I think this UCLA team has a really high upside, but I do think this is a tough matchup for them.

TJ Reeves:

Again, Arizona beat UCLA, snapping their 14 game win streak. There’s a lot of chatter in the chat about this matchup. ESPN-2 will have it. Can I get me some Bill Walton on a UCLA-USC game? I think we might have that on the commentary for tonight. And we’ll see how fired up the Trojans are in the revenge mode here for these two teams this evening in the Pac-12.

All right, we’re going to get to your live questions. You see that on the slate in just a moment. One more game to go over with an official play. No official play on UCLA-USC, so let’s get to our final game on the docket. And this one is in the West Coast Conference, not far from the Galen Center where Loyola Marymount plays in the Los Angeles suburbs. Loyola Marymount gets set to host Portland. The matchup coming at seven Pacific time, with Loyola Marymount favored by six and a half here with a total of 153. All right, Mattie Cox, to you. What angle do you have on a West Coast Conference game on Thursday?

Matthew Cox:

Looking at taking the road dog here, the Pilots, who have been struggling lately after a really strong start to the non-conference. They’re catching a Loyola team who just beat Gonzaga. So just put yourself in that head space. If you’re the Lions, you just went into the Kennel and knocked off Gonzaga, something that no team in the WCC ever does. Not even St Mary’s. They’ve been off for a week. Plenty of time to feel fat and happy, read the press clippings, all that good stuff.

Now, Portland does have a tough spot where they come down to LA today and then have to go back to the Kennel to play this weekend. I think that’s negated by the fact that they’re struggling and just got healthier, got a couple key guys back in the rotation. They need this win. They’re pissed that LMU just smacked them at home a couple weeks ago in their building. That was without Moses Wood. I think with all hands on deck, the Pilots are a great play here tonight. I think this game should be closer to three-four. So basically you’re catching two extra points of value at six. I would try and shop for a seven out there, but six is plenty. Give me the Pilots on the road, plus six.

TJ Reeves:

And full confession here, I’m still infatuated with that magical story of the 1990 Loyola Marymount team, the death of Hank Gathers, what they did in the NCA tournament. I do not want to accept, boys, that that was 33 years ago. Mattie Cox may not have been on the planet. I think Kyle Hunter was on the planet in 1990, but Mattie may not have been on the planet. That was such a magical situation out of a horrible tragedy of Hank Gathers dying on the court, and that’s the last time on a consistent basis that Loyola Marymount was really relevant. Those two or three years in the early ’90s. Now they are right in the thick of things in the WCC. They’ve won at Gonzaga. Kyle, do you have a thought? They are at home, they have had a week off, as Mattie is saying. Any thoughts on this matchup with Portland?

Kyle Hunter:

Yeah, I was on the planet. I don’t really remember that, but I know it’s a great story. I think he makes a good point that they’ve got to feel really good about themselves. They’ve had extra time to sit there and think about how good they are coming into this game. I think Portland has underachieved my expectations. Shantay Legans is a really good coach. I know that for sure. I think this team will probably play better late in the season. Probably a good buy low spot. This is a Portland team that can make shots. Defense has been their issue at times. Loyola I think is a good team, but they’re probably not as good as the market would have them priced right now based on coming off that win.

Matt, has Portland underachieved your expectations for the season overall? And why do you think that is?

Matthew Cox:

I think it’s been a tale of two seasons. I think the non-conference, you look at what they did at the MTE. They almost beat Michigan State. They did beat Villanova. I guess that’s not really that impressive. But they almost beat North Carolina. They probably could have won that game too. Then they got injured, I think three weeks ago when Wood went out of the lineup, and Meadows, their point guard’s been out. They are a deep team, but you’re right. I think that’s sort of the issue with Portland, is they’re not good defensively. When they step up in class against the right matchups, they’re sometimes exposed. And we’ve also seen them play well against better teams because of how tough they are to prepare for. I think there’s a pretty big schematic X and O edge in this one. I think this is where the inflection point starts for the upswing.

TJ Reeves:

And you mentioned they’re getting healthier for this game. Still though, for Loyola Marymount, you look at the non-con schedule, they have a win over Wake Forest, they have a win over Nevada, who looks good in the West Coast Conference. Georgetown’s not any good. We neglected to mention earlier this week, the Hoyas actually won a game. The Hoyas actually won a Big East game. But they have a win over Georgetown, they have a loss to Colorado State, they have a loss to Utah State. But what else? They have another one too out of the conference that’s a pretty good win. I’m looking for that one, wherever it was. Tulsa. Tulsa’s not very good, but they beat Tulsa out of the American Conference. So that’s before they upset Gonzaga on the Cam Shelton go-ahead bucket last week. He’s averaging right at 19 a game. Loyola Marymount at home, but let’s lock Mattie Cox in. He says this is a spot for Portland to hang in, if not win. He will take the six and a half. Is that still the Gersten Pavilion as it was in the early ’90s, or did they rename that arena for Loyola Marymount? We’ll double check on that. From the days of Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble, that place, they would cram 6000 people in a 4500 seat place for Loyola Marymount. And so they have the matchup tonight, a conference matchup with Portland in that battle in the WCC.

I was looking for my name of the arena. Did you guys get it before I got it?

Matthew Cox:

Yeah, no, you’re right. How do you say it? Yeah, it’s-

TJ Reeves:

Gersten Pavilion still. Yes. For that matchup this evening. All right, let’s see what happens in that one. Here we go, kids. Time for the Q and A. If you’re live and if you’re with us, we’ll get to as many questions as possible. First of all, a lot of you have joined us in the live audience since the show began. Hit that like button, make sure you are subscribed. Thank you for finding us. We do always, at the end of the show, spend a good eight, 10 minutes talking about games that we haven’t covered on the slate. You see the slate right down the side of the screen. We’ve already talked about those five games this evening, including UCLA and USC. Let’s get to some other ones and see what you guys think here about some of these matchups.

All right, let me look at what we have first. FSU Ed gets in first. Says, “Good morning, TJ and friends. Michigan State-Iowa. Does Izzo get it done?” He’s interested in the side. Michigan State trying to bounce back off a loss to Indiana. Any thoughts, Kyle Hunter, on Michigan State at home with Iowa?

Kyle Hunter:

Iowa’s not been playing too well, especially on the road here of late. Michigan State, I don’t know that their upside’s really high, but I kind of lean Michigan State. Iowa, not a very good look against Ohio State there the other day, an Ohio State team that’s not playing well at all. I lean Michigan State.

TJ Reeves:

Mattie Cox, a thought on Sparty? They were in that game with Indiana, but Indiana outplayed them, obviously, on Sunday. Are they angry tonight against Iowa?

Matthew Cox:

I think they’re angry. I’m not sure if they’re good enough, though, to beat Iowa without [inaudible 00:26:21]. I haven’t checked the up/down on his status. It keeps changing by the day, it seems like. Different team without him. They looked really competent with him back, but they’ve looked a little more vulnerable with him out of the lineup. So I know they’re feisty. They’ve played better still. But I just don’t all the way trust this team.

TJ Reeves:

Stay away. I hear that in your voice. Stay away from Michigan State and Iowa in the two and a half short line there. Douglas is watching us. Thank you. He says, “St. Francis-Wagner.” Okay, we cover it all. We go in the weeds sometimes. He’s interested in the total. Kyle Hunter, any thought on the St. Francis-Wagner total?

Kyle Hunter:

I always lean under with Wagner games. The tempo they play at make the games pretty ugly. I’m trying to see what this line is here for tonight.

TJ Reeves:

I see 124 and a half, I think, for the total for tonight. And Wagner favored by nine and a half.

Kyle Hunter:

That’s pretty low. I think this is a game I would pass on, honestly. Just that’s sitting so low. I would hope for a 126, a 126 and a half if I was betting an under, but I don’t want to bet an over. I’ll say that. This is a CBS Sports Network game at five o’clock. So these two teams don’t really get on TV too much.

TJ Reeves:

That’s a good point. Yep.

Kyle Hunter:

I don’t know what that does to a total, but I’ve seen it go both ways. Sometimes it’ll speed them up tempo wise, sometimes they brick every shot because they’re not used to it. But they know they’re on the big stage.

TJ Reeves:

All right. Mattie, any thoughts, or are you good? You want to move on from Wagner-St. Francis?

Matthew Cox:

You’re betting a total in a Wagner game, it comes down to free throw. If you can look into your crystal ball of free throw shooting, that’s all that really matters. I’ve mentioned this before. Opponents are shooting a free throw for every two field goals. It’s an insane clip. You’re going to get 20 free throws plus, probably, from St. Francis. Maybe even close to 30, depending on how much Wagner extends their pressure. So there’s just a lot of variability in how many free throws are going to be made here, especially in a low possession game. So I don’t know. I don’t have a good handicap edge on that. Maybe the guy asking in does. That’s just the one thing I would caveat with this game.

TJ Reeves:

Be careful on that, especially for the total. BJ is watching us. Says, “Hey guys. Any thought on a total in Arkansas State and Southern Miss in Hattiesburg?” Anything on that gentleman? Kyle?

Kyle Hunter:

Yeah. Southern Miss plays relatively quickly, but they’re not that efficient on offense. Arkansas State wants to slow the game down. This is a tough game. I probably would lean Arkansas State plus the points as far as the side. So if I lean Arkansas State plus the points, then I probably slightly lean to the under here.

Matthew Cox:

Yeah, I agree with that both ways.

TJ Reeves:

All right, good enough on that one tonight in Sunbelt action. All right, Betton Wicho says, “Arizona-Washington State. Any insights on this?” Arizona off the big win over UCLA. That is at Wazoo. Am I correct on that? That is at Wazoo tonight. Arizona still favored by five on the road. Mattie Cox, quick thought?

Matthew Cox:

Yeah. Remember, Arizona got beat by Washington State at McKale Center on Jan seventh, so not so long ago. I think Arizona is locked in for this game, despite coming off the UCLA win last weekend. I think the price is about right though. I still respect Washington State. I think they’re a good matchup for Arizona. I think that first game in Tucson, some of those advantages that played out there will still play up at home, despite the revenge angle for Arizona. They’re big, they’re physical. They make Arizona’s guards beat you, which is where Arizona is relatively more vulnerable, as opposed to when they can dominate you up front, which is harder to do against Washington state. So again, stay away for me.

TJ Reeves:

Kyle, any thought here? This will be on Fox Sports 18 Pacific, 11 Eastern time tonight from the [inaudible 00:30:12].

Kyle Hunter:

If they hadn’t lost at home to Washington State, I think I would probably lean Washington State here in this game. But road revenge can be a pretty good angle in college basketball, so I have to pass here.

TJ Reeves:

All right. Ninja 13 is always in with us. Thank you for watching. Says, “St. Thomas-South Dakota State.” St. Thomas of Minnesota, South Dakota State. He’s interested in the over. Any quick thought, guys, from either of you on that?

Matthew Cox:

I bet the over first game. Did not pan out well. St. Thomas’s pace control is usually pretty impressive, and I think at home they always play better. And I think Plate set the pace that they want. But I think it’s also a very efficient game. So if you’re betting an over based on efficiency when you don’t love the pace, I typically stay away from that, just as a simple handicapping narrative, I suppose. But I do think both teams score on the possessions they have. I just don’t know if there’s enough possessions to feel good about NCAA Basketball betting the over here.

TJ Reeves:

Kyle, any thought real quick, St. Thomas-South Dakota State? Or you want to move on?

Kyle Hunter:

I think St. Thomas is an incredibly difficult team to bet totals on because of what Matt was saying there. They’re not good on defense, they’re very good on offense, but they play really slow. So in general, if you’re a tempo-based handicap or you want to bet an under, if you’re efficiency based, you’d think it’d be a good over. I think it’s a tough total to always make in those games. The first game was 135 points. Shot quality thinks it should have been 149. That probably doesn’t make Matt feel too much better about his bet in the first game, but-

Matthew Cox:

Nope, sure doesn’t.

Kyle Hunter:

But it does kind of show that it should have been higher than it was. I would lean the over if I had to bet it. But just a lean.

Matthew Cox:

These two teams did play 71 possessions first matchup this year. Ken Palm has it projected at 65. So if you think it plays closer to the first matchup, that’s the better indicator. Then yeah, you actually could have a pace angle on this one.

TJ Reeves:

Great stuff, and the live audience continues to grow. We’ll sit here for a couple more minutes with some games. Let’s shoot through a couple of more. Let’s stay West Coast Conference. Mr. Greg watching us, says, “Thoughts on the over 162 for the Pepperdine-San Diego game?” This one at San Diego-

Matthew Cox:

Over.

TJ Reeves:

Over, Mattie Cox?

Matthew Cox:

Over. It’s a massive number. Neither team plays defense. Both teams have high octane NBA level talent on offense. I think they both want to showcase, strut their stuff. Think of a Rucker Park M-1 mixtape type of game, where I think it’s just all offense, no defense. That’s just the MO of both teams. I love the over here. I don’t care if it’s so high. I think this game gets 90 to 85.

TJ Reeves:

Kind of like the California weather in January. They love it in the 80s. He believes this game’s in the 80s for 162. Kyle Hunter, any quick thought, or you agree?

Kyle Hunter:

I like the over too. Eric Williams, Jace Townsend, really good scorers. Pepperdine plays no defense, and really San Diego is probably just as bad if not worse on defense. So tempo’s always going to be there with these two teams. 161 and a half right now on BetUS. I do like the over there as well.

TJ Reeves:

Real quick while we’re out West, let’s go all the way to the islands. We’ve talked a lot about Hawaii on this show. Very interesting. Late night, last game of the night, midnight Eastern time is Hawaii and Santa Barbara. UC Santa Barbara. UC Santa Barbara actually in the outright lead in the Big West right now at seven and one. Hawaii has been so good at home. They split two games in the mainland, losing to Irvine, but beating UC Riverside. Now they’re back home. Hawaii six and two in the conference. Thought on this one tonight, guys? Anything real quick?

Matthew Cox:

Yeah, a huge game for Hawaii. I just don’t want to fade UC Santa Barbara. I think their talent is very real and they’re starting to figure it out after a sluggish start to the year. But man, Hawaii at home. You know I like to bend my bows, so tempted to do it, but I can’t do it against this UC Santa Barbara team right now.

TJ Reeves:

The Rainbow Warriors favored by one, Kyle. Short favorite. The Gauchos come in, as I mentioned, 16 and three. Again, this is in the middle of the night. It’s the last game of the night, but it might be worth staying up and watching some, or at least DVRing and watching some. Hawaii has been very competitive. They’re long, they defend. Gauchos have won … good gracious. What do I see? Looks like about about 11 out of 12 here. UC Santa Barbara. And they’re seven and one in the conference. Any quick thought, Kyle?

Kyle Hunter:

I like UCSB in general, and I would want to bet UCSB, but I hate going against Hawaii at home. UCSB does have some nice road wins already, especially that win at UC Irvine, another really good team. So I think UCSB is the better team, but I hate to fade Hawaii at home.

TJ Reeves:

All right, good enough on those. Couple of more real quick. Let’s go all the way back across the country to the Eastern time zone. Josh watching us says, “Northeastern versus Towson, laying 10 here. Any thought on that game?”

Matthew Cox:

It feels high to me. I’ll be honest. But Towson’s starting to play a lot better. And this Northeastern team is the hardest nut to crack for me. A lot of young freshmen. They’ve had lineup inconsistencies all season. It’s a coach I respect in Bill Cohen, but he’s just had a tough last couple of years, trying to get his roster fully solidified. And because he hasn’t, you’ve seen some weird up and down results. Can’t trust them, so no play here.

TJ Reeves:

Towson here in this matchup, Towson favored by 10, or Northeastern favored by 10? I’m trying to find the line.

Matthew Cox:

Towson is favored by 10.

TJ Reeves:

Towson favored by 10. Kyle, any quick thought on that game?

Kyle Hunter:

I’ll be honest, I don’t really even have a lean in this game. I think Northeastern’s a tough team to handicap. Cohen’s been there a long time and is a good coach, but as Matt said, I think this is a tough team to handicap this year.

TJ Reeves:

Matthew, one more real quick, says, “Lean on Stetson and Liberty?” Stetson had a couple of good out of conference wins early on in the year. I’m looking for the line on that. That’s Liberty by 14 at home in the Atlantic sun. Liberty, seven and one in the conference. Any thoughts, Kyle, on that real quick?

Kyle Hunter:

Yeah. Liberty’s too good for Stetson. I mean, efficiency-wise, Liberty’s going to score points here, even with the total, even with a slow pace. So I lean to the over. Stetson’s defense is not very good. Do I want to lay that many points? I don’t know. It’s tough to lay that many points in a slow paced game.

TJ Reeves:

Mattie-

Matthew Cox:

I like Stetson a lot here. They can shoot the crap out of it. That’s the only way you can really soften up this packed line defense that Liberty plays. Just think of Liberty as Virginia Lite. Diet Virginia, I suppose. And they’ve been a wrecking ball offense, by the way. They’ve been shooting. I think there’s a little bit of regression coming. I think you’re catching a good price here at Stetson, who can absolutely throw it in the hole.

TJ Reeves:

Let me see. So many of you in the live chat. Thank you. We can’t get to all the questions. A lot of you are asking a duplicate question about a game that we’ve already covered here during the Q and A. I’m looking for one more that might be different. Mario asks about the Merrimack game. Says, “Merrimack under?” Kyle, you smirked on that. Anything on that one?

Kyle Hunter:

I love Merrimack unders. I mean, how can you not like Merrimack unders?

TJ Reeves:

Who’s the matchup tonight? I don’t even have the matchup. That’s so far in the weeds, I don’t even have that.

Kyle Hunter:

Merrimack against Central Connecticut. Not exactly a marquee matchup, that’s for sure.

Matthew Cox:

  1. 118 total.

TJ Reeves:

118 is the total. I don’t think it will lead Sports Center, but there may be an opportunity here, Kyle, on an under?

Kyle Hunter:

I still lean the under, but you know what I’m going to say. 118 is such a low number. The money has been made on Merrimack unders earlier in the year. I’m afraid that the odds makers are catching up a bit. I think I’d wait around and see if they get hot at some point in this game and maybe take a second half under, or live under, or something like that. Because Merrimack games, I’m looking at their games through the season, I think the highest score they’ve had of any game this year is 130 something, other than their first game against St. John’s, which obviously nobody in their conference is going to play like St. John’s.

TJ Reeves:

Mattie Cox, anything on that game, or you want to move along real quick and we’ll get out of here in a minute?

Matthew Cox:

Well, Merrimack has gone under every single game this season except for the first game of the year against St. John’s. Makes sense. And then two games ago against Wagner, went over by I believe a few points. But this is the lowest total they’ve posted all season. So yeah, the odds makers have finally, I think, had enough. But I certainly wouldn’t bet the over. That’s all I’ll say.

TJ Reeves:

Stay away largely on that. Real quick TJ question. Perdue-Michigan. Perdue favored by five on the road at Ann Arbor. Any quick thought? Total 136. Anything there, Mattie?

Matthew Cox:

I like Michigan quite a bit. They’ve actually owned Purdue relatively in recent matchups. I think they actually are built to match up somewhat with [inaudible 00:39:13]. Obviously Hunter Dickinson’s a big body. You’ve got to check on the status of Jed Howard though. I’m not sure how healthy he will be. He’s critical for the Wolverines here. I still think, even with that concern, you’re getting a pretty good bargain for a team that’s still undervalued, in my opinion.

TJ Reeves:

Kyle, any quick thought? Purdue at Michigan tonight. Nine Eastern time.

Kyle Hunter:

I can’t say I like Michigan, but I do think they’re the right side in a game like this. Purdue has been a bit inconsistent at times. Michigan’s upside is definitely still there. I think Michigan’s a well-coached team. Getting that many points at home, I think the Wolverines are probably the right side.

TJ Reeves:

Guys, I think we’ve got about a live audience record here in late January so far for the show this season. We have got a ton of people that have joined us in the last 15 or 20 minutes. Thank you for finding us. We’re live at 11:00 AM Eastern time. We have covered a ton of games, including the ones you see on our slate. Make sure you hit that like button, make sure you’re subscribing, you’re with us here early. We’ll give them one more game. I know our buddy Corby Craig, who will be on the show tomorrow, he’s watching. He’s already interacted in the chat. That’s how I know he’s watching. UAB hosting Louisiana Tech. Again, Jordan Jelly Walker has been iffy with the ankle. They are favored, UAB, by six and a half against LO-Tech. CBS Sports Network will have this one at eight local time, nine Eastern time. Any quick thought from either one of you on that or on the total?

Kyle Hunter:

I think this line suggests that Jordan Walker will either not play or only play for restricted minutes, because they should be favored by more than that if he was healthy. So do you want to lay the points and have the unknown? I don’t know. Maybe Corby has some information. Corby, if you’re watching and you have some information on Walker, feel free to put it in the chat. But-

TJ Reeves:

Yeah, he’s been hurt with the ankle injury and it’s kind of affected them as of late. And I’m just looking at Louisiana Tech, because they’re middle of the road as well, whether they can take advantage.

Matthew Cox:

Do not bet UAB. Do not bet UAB. I’m sorry, Corby. This team has been an absolute calamity on defense. Listen to Andy Kennedy’s post game. He can’t believe how lost they are on defense. They’ve tried to make changes, it hasn’t worked. They haven’t played one good defensive game in weeks.

TJ Reeves:

UAB did beat Louisiana Tech two games ago. Beat them by seven.

Matthew Cox:

I think actually it works in the favor of Louisiana Tech. I think that revenge angle negates that matchup angle, in my opinion. It could go both ways. We’ll see. It could go the other way too, I guess.

TJ Reeves:

Andy Kennedy’s ripping his own defense. Just take that into account. All right, good conversation on a ton of games. Well done, guys. Here are the official plays. If you joined us late, you’ll see it graphically, what the two handicappers, Kyle and Mattie are on. Mattie’s on two different sides and Kyle has got two overs, one on a total for the game and one on a Sam Houston team total for the matchups tonight. Busy, busy show. Final thought, either one of you gentlemen? Kyle, final thought before we’re gone.

Kyle Hunter:

Yeah. Two overs seems weird for me. If I do badly tonight, TJ, I’m going to give you the freedom tomorrow to say, “What were you-

TJ Reeves:

Well, either that or blame me. Blame me for not stopping you. Is that what you’re saying?

Kyle Hunter:

I’m just saying you can bash me tomorrow for the fact that I strayed from my normal unders. But no, not a lot of marquee matchups tonight, but there’s definitely plenty of college basketball action. I’m looking forward to all the games.

TJ Reeves:

No doubt. Mattie Cox, final thought?

Matthew Cox:

No, let’s go bets. [inaudible 00:42:37] would be preferred.

TJ Reeves:

Let’s see what happens here. Great interaction in the chat again. On the way out, hit the like button. Hit subscribe. We’re all good here for a Thursday. Don’t forget to check out our sportsbook website. We’re back tomorrow, one final time for this week. Join us Monday through Friday at 11:00 AM Eastern time. My thanks to Kevin and everybody behind the scenes at BetUS. Fantastic job. I think it’s a live audience record today. Well done, guys. It’s only January and we rock on on the BetUS College Basketball Show.

 

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