Not the greatest slate of games this weekend, but we’ll start our gambling season off anyway. Reminder: we are not good at this, so wager with us at your own risk.
#8 Wichita State (10-2) @ UConn (7-5), 11 a.m., CBS
Line: Shockers -10
Reason to Watch: Markus McDuffie is back, but only played nine minutes in a close victory over Florida Gulf Coast. How much run does he get in Wichita’s AAC debut? This one was a stretch to put on here, because UConn is simply just a name right now.
Picks: BEER BET!!!!
Mike: I’m taking the points here and it’s not because UConn is any good. This strikes me as a game that UConn needs more than the Shockers. They’ll still lose, but by less than 10. UConn +10.
Nate: Auburn just smoked UConn by 25. Arkansas beat them by 35. I get that the Shockers haven’t quite yet played to their potential, but Gregg Marshall makes a statement in the AAC opener. Shockers -10.
#24 Florida State (11-1) @ #4 Duke (12-1, 0-1), 1 p.m., CBS
Line: Dook -9.5
Reason to Watch: Every year we say, “Duke has some awesome freshmen.” Unfortunately, this year may be their best class. Marvin Bagley has some KD in his game, Wendell Carter is a monster, and the guards (Trent and Duval) are very solid. Oh, and they still have that idiot, Grayson Allen.
Mike: I have admittedly paid very little attention to college basketball outside of UD, ND and IU this year, but it was still shocking to discover that Grayson Allen is still in college. He’s managed to refrain from tripping anyone this year, but the year is somewhat young. FSU is entering a very difficult stretch of its schedule: Duke, UNC, and Miami are the next three. Outside of a complete thumping of Florida they haven’t done a whole lot. I’m taking Dook -9.5.
Nate: There is no way Duke is coming close to going 0-2 to start the ACC season. Lay the points.
#12 Oklahoma (10-1) @ #10 TCU (12-0), 1 p.m., ESPN2
Line: TCU -2.5
Reason to Watch: TRAE. YOUNG. PERIOD. The guy leads the country in points AND assists per game. Plays like Steph Curry. Need I say more?
Oh, and TCU? They are one of only three undefeateds remaining. Jamie Dixon can coach. Watch this game…unless, of course, you’re at Purcell watching the Irish or gallivanting around Cincinnati.
Mike: To the extent someone can “gallivant” around Cincinnati, I’m doing that. Along with this guy, who is making his blog debut.
Those kicks are the best.
Trae Young is so much fun to watch. Even though I won’t be able to watch the game because I’m staying with cord cutters, I’ll be tracking this one. No bet, though.
Nate: You think I’m picking against Trae Young after that opening? Give me the Sooners.
#1 Villanova (13-0, 1-0) @ Butler (11-3, 1-0), 3 p.m., CBS
Line: Nova -5.5
Reason to Watch: Since Butler joined the Big East, Nova has been in a battle every time in Hinkle.
13-14 – W by 3 in OT
14-15 – W by 3
15-16 – W by 5
16-17 – L by 8
Mike: This spread alarms me. I would have expected it to be higher. For that reason, I’m passing, but philosophically I agree with Nate’s analysis.
Nate: Butler is coming off a 2 OT win on Wednesday in DC, and is not as good as they have been in the past few years. Villanova…they’re really good. Nova -5.5.
#5 Texas A&M (11-1) @ Alabama (8-4), 5 p.m., ESPN2
Line: A&M -1
Reason to Watch: Collin Sexton is a stud for Bama, as he almost single-handedly beat Minnesota 3-on-5 earlier in the year.
A&M’s pretty solid, as their only loss came to Arizona at a “neutral site” in Phoenix. They absolutely blitzed WVU earlier in the year.
Mike: So Alabama gets to play with a full roster now? Cool. I’ll still take A&M here. Much like Nova, I think this spread is a little stinky, but I’ll still lay the single point. A&M is at least a deuce better than Bama.
Nate: Alabama is coming off a 16-point loss to Texas in Birmingham. Texas is not nearly as good as Texas A&M. Texas A&M is only favored by 1. Oh, you tricky Vegas. Fighting Avery Johnsons.
#3 Arizona State (12-0) @ #17 Arizona (10-3), 8 p.m., Pac12
Line: Zona -5
Reason to Watch: F*%$ing Bobby Hurley, as Jon Rothstein calls him, has himself a team down in Tempe. Tra Holder, Shannon Evans and Kodi Justice play fast and can shoot it from deep.
Arizona has righted the ship since their disastrous last place finish in the Bahamas. Deandre Ayton (19.5 PPG, 11.4 RPG) is HUGE (7’1), shoots threes, and is likely a Top 5 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Mike: This should be a really fun game. Super excited that it’s on the Pac12 network so almost nobody can watch it. Arizona has recovered nicely as Nate points out, but ASU has been one of the best surprises in the early season. I’ll take ASU and the 5 here. I think this will be a close one.
Nate: Logic says to take Arizona in this situation. Perfect spot for the team with more talent over the red-hot upstart, right? Lean ASU, but no pick here.
Nate’s Bonus Picks
Notre Dame -15 vs. Georgia Tech
The way ND has been playing, this seems like free money with GT. The Irish are going to turn this thing around. It starts today.
Wofford +5.5 at UNC Greensboro
This seems like a complete sucker’s bet with Wofford’s win over UNC fresh, but I’m taking the Terriers. UNCG also won at NC State.
Dayton -3.5 at Duquesne
How is Dayton favored over anyone, on the road, right now? Vegas knows. Duquesne has also played the worst schedule in the history of mankind.
Mike: I’m a little concerned about UD being favored on the road in a place that they have lost pretty frequently with better teams. If you’re smart, you should bet on Duquesne. I have a bad feeling about this one.