Best Bets: Tuesday Conference Slate

By Ryan Coleman

Well, the New Year started off rough on Saturday for my betting column. That said, I’m confident I’ve shaken off the rust and am ready to once again send a few winners your way! Tuesday brings some important early conference matchups and I am here to analyze them and give you your best options. As a reminder, I do not actually bet on any of these games and they are to be used for entertainment purposes only. Enjoy!

Ohio State at Maryland
6:00 pm central, ESPN
Line: Maryland -2.5
O/U: 134.5

The Pick: Maryland -2.5

Well, well, well… look at what we have here. If you told me a week or so ago that I would pick Maryland to cover a spread and beat Ohio State, I would say that’s crazy. But a lot can change in a week and Ohio State sure has. The Buckeyes have dropped two straight with one being against Wisconsin at home. Now, they have to travel to a Maryland team that just took it to the house against Indiana and seems to be putting the gears into place. The Terrapins’ only two losses have come on the road so they should gain a boost from playing on their home court. and can draw fouls from inside to earn points from the charity stripe. While I could still absolutely see Ohio State coming out and crushing Maryland, I am taking the Terrapins and their overwhelming momentum in this matchup.  

Penn State at Rutgers
6:00 pm central, BTN
Line: Rutgers -1.0
O/U: 142.5

The Pick: Penn State -1.0

Rutgers favored against a ranked opponent?! Now this one I did not see coming. I really wanted to pick Rutgers here, seriously, and there is the “Vegas knows” pit in my stomach sitting telling me how I am going to be wrong – but there is one major x-factor in this matchup and that’s two-point shot. Rutgers as a team cannot shoot threes and depends greatly on pounding it inside, ranking third in the nation on point dependency. This wouldn’t be too big of a problem, but they are facing a Penn State team that boasts the 13th best two-point defense, limiting teams to 41.8% from inside-the-arc, eight percentage points lower than the D1 average. Penn State isn’t all that great at shooting threes either but they still spread out their scoring far more than RU does. I think this will be a low scoring matchup, and Penn State will take it.  

Baylor at Texas Tech
8:00 pm central, ESPN2
Line: TTU -3.0
O/U: 129

The Pick: Texas Tech -3.0 

Another tough choice, but aren’t they all? What this game will come down to will be who can win on the glass. Baylor is efficient when it comes to offensive rebounding but Texas Tech might be the best team the Bears have faced all season at limiting offensive boards. Both teams play at a relatively slow pace so if Baylor is missing shots, they won’t have as many second chance opportunities as they are used to. If Baylor can consistently make outside shots, they can win this game but that is not something I usually count on. A defensive slugfest is in the making for this Big 12 matchup and the Red Raiders will win and cover.  

Villanova at Creighton 
8:00 pm central, FS1
Line: Creighton -3.0
O/U: 147.5

The Pick: Creighton -3.0

I thought the last Villanova game at Marquette might have been a trap game, but I went against my gut so I am learning from my mistakes. Big East conference play may be the hardest conference to predict the outcome for but I think Creighton can pull it off. They are coming off a loss to Butler but are heading home, and beat a Marquette team that Villanova just lost to before playing the Bulldogs. The Bluejays have yet to lose at home all year, and the Wildcats have not performed up to par on the road yet this season. Both these teams are loaded with three-point shooters so there is a chance for a lopsided outcome if one team is hot or cold, but the Big East is a legitimate conference this year, it isn’t just Villanova, and I am seeing a Bluejays victory and cover in this one.  

Last time: 4-4
Season total: 88-56-2*

While I do not publish all of my plays, you can find each of my picks on the Action Sports Network app by following me @RcCola3

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