By Ryan Coleman
Well I am 14-4-1 on the week so I will either come crashing down to earth or continue my hot streak, hopefully for you it’s the latter. For all you football fans who are just now tuning into some college basketball, welcome. You picked a pretty awesome weekend to sit on your couch all day Saturday to watch some college hoops. These are my picks against the spread for today’s matchups.
Disclaimer: I write this article the night before and it’s published the morning of the games. I use the best lines I can find but sometimes they change before gametime. If you have any questions on if I would play certain lines that have changed, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @ryancoleman_98.
Louisville at Duke
5:00 pm central, ESPN
Line: Duke -7.0
The Pick: Duke -7.0
Listen, you know that I have been on the Louisville bandwagon since the get go, as they were my pre-season favorite. I don’t think I’ve bet against them yet. But the fact is simply that Duke is the better team here. Louisville may have been ranked top-10 to start the season but they really haven’t beaten anyone. Sure, they cruised by Michigan, but that win is looking less and less impressive as the season wears on. If you have listened to any podcasts or read any article relating to this game, you have probably seen that the guard play of Duke is better than the guard play of Louisville and when the Cardinals’ guards struggle, so does the team. Well let me reiterate it for you: Tre Jones is good. Duke is good. Duke is coming off a bad loss. Duke is at home. Cameron Indoor might be the hardest place to play in the country. Of course, with me going against my championship team I don’t expect the betting gods to be too happy and can see this being an incredibly close loss for Louisville. But I expect Ville to be down by five or six the entire game, and for some late free throws to push this line over. I’ll take the Blue Devils on this one.
Oregon at Washington
2:45 pm central, CBS
Line: Oregon -1
The Pick: Oregon -1
I had an easy argument for this one in the fact that the books haven’t seem to adjust for Washington losing Quade Green, but then Washington casually beat Oregon State with ease. But I still think there are some leftover repercussions and regardless, Washington is 2-4 in their last six games including a loss to 188th ranked Cal. The Huskies are a pretty erratic squad, and perform a bit better at home, but with Oregon coming off a tough loss, I expect the Ducks to be quacking for vengeance. Washington’s interior defense may be elite but I am not sure if they will have much of an answer for Oregon’s top-10 perimeter shooting. Furthermore, Oregon excels with second-chance points and the Huskies are awful at limiting offensive rebounds. I am not crazy confident on this one, sometimes Oregon just doesn’t show up, but confident enough to make a play. Go Ducks.
Purdue at Maryland
1:00 pm central, ESPN2
Line: Maryland -5.0
The Pick: Maryland -5.0 (Play of the Week)
I’ll keep this short and sweet: Purdue is awful away from Mackey Arena. They are 2-6 away from home straight up and 1-4 in true road games straight up and against the spread this season. Meanwhile, Maryland has yet to lose at home and after two road losses, I am sure they are excited for this opportunity to play in front of their home crowd again. Terrapins take it.
Colorado at Arizona
1:30 pm central, FOX
Line: Arizona -6.0
The Pick: Arizona -6.0
While I did not expect this line to be so big, I guess I am not too surprised with Arizona coming off a whooping of Utah and Colorado having to play two different road games in the span of about 36 hours. Arizona hasn’t been too consistent, but their only loss at home is to Gonzaga and are 8-6 ATS at McKale. I don’t have much more to say on the analytical front but this Wildcat team is quite talented and they (hopefully) appear to be putting the pieces together. They have had more time to prepare for the Buffaloes, both teams are solid, but I think Arizona surprises here, and might even win by double-digits.
Butler at DePaul
12:00 pm central
Line: Butler -3.5
The Pick: Butler -3.5
If this weren’t a Big East inter-conference game, I would tell you to absolutely hammer this pick and have it as a play of the year. For newbies, my Big East plays usually happen the exact opposite as what I think but I am 3-0 in the last three games so maybe I am taking a turn for the better. Butler is coming off a loss to Seton Hall but let me make something clear: Seton Hall is good. Butler is also good #analysis. Tristan Freeman made a solid point in a tweet earlier this week, if Butler had Villanova on their jerseys, they’d be the clear cut favorites to win it all. I am saying this because I firmly believe it to be true. The Bulldogs only two losses are by one on the road to Baylor and this past Wednesday against Seton Hall. DePaul’s early season magic has seemed to wear off as they have now lost four-straight games, including a home loss to Providence. Butler’s defense is pretty elite, they have shown they can play on the road, and their slow pace will most likely disrupt the Blue Demons play. I am riding the Bulldogs all the way here.
Baylor at Oklahoma St.
11:00 am central, ESPN2
Line: Baylor -6.0
The Pick: Baylor -6.0 (Play of the Day pt. 2)
Really Vegas? Have you been watching college basketball recently? Y’all see the Baylor defense limit each of their last five opponents to respective season lows? Watching their 13-game win streak? I guess not. Considering Oklahoma State has lost each of their last four games and seven of their last nine, I fully expected this spread to sit at double digits. But it isn’t so go us. As I mentioned before, Baylor’s defense is elite and with OK State’s struggles, the Hokies might have trouble eclipsing 50 (they have scored 50 or less in three of their last four games). Meanwhile, Baylor just put up 67 on the road against Kansas and 68 against Iowa State, winning both games by double-digits. I expect quite a similar outcome in this game, and for Baylor to cover along the way.
BYU at Gonzaga
9:00 pm central, ESPN2
Line: Gonzaga -13
The Pick: BYU +13
Hooray! A legitimate underdog! In all honesty, the foundation of this pick is mostly based on a hunch: Gonzaga hasn’t played a top-100 team in seven games, since 2019, so I wouldn’t be surprised if BYU catches the Bulldogs sleeping a bit. BYU has also performed well on the road, losing in OT to Saint Mary’s, but beating Houston earlier in the season. Furthermore, when BYU has been ranked in the Ken-Pom top-60 in the last seven seasons, the Cougars are 3-3 against Gonzaga. That may not sound that impressive but if I am seeing a team that has a .500 winning percentage be a 13-point underdog, I am pounding that line. This should be a good game and I would be quite surprised if Gonzaga cruises to a victory here. BYU may be without Yoeli Childs, one of their best players, but they seem pretty competent without him. I never feel great picking a team that lives and dies by the three but the Bulldogs perimeter defense isn’t even that special, ranking 135th in the nation. I am projecting a high scoring shootout here, and potentially the most exciting game of the weekend. Gonzaga wins. BYU covers.
West Virginia at Kansas State
1:00 pm central, ESPNU
Line: WVU -6.0
The Pick: WVU -6.0 (Play of the Week pt. 3)
I don’t know what it is about these smaller-than-normal Big 12 lines but it appears Vegas doesn’t have too much confidence in the favorites. West Virginia has the best defense in the league and although their offense isn’t too special, their dominance on the glass will provide a plethora of second chance opportunities. The Mountaineers will bring in their waves of reinforcements and tire any team out, with Kansas State as no exception. Kansas State’s best win is a two-point home win over 105 ranked Tulsa and the teams has dropped four-straight. I expect WVU to absolutely cruise here.
- Stanford at USC (-2.5): Stanford +2.5
- Florida State (-6) at Miami: Florida State -6
- Georgia State (-7.0) at Troy: Georgia State -7.0
- La Salle at URI (-10.0): URI -10.0
- Toledo at Akron (-5.5): Akron -5.5
- Richmond (-1.5) at George Mason: Richmond -1.5
- Lipscomb at Liberty (-14.5): Liberty -14.5
- USF at UCF (-3.0): UCF -3.0
- Central Arkansas at Nicholls (-8.5): Nicholls -8.5
- Middle Tennessee at FIU (-8.0): FIU -8.0
- UMES at Norfolk State (-13.5): Norfolk St. -13.5
- Howard at Morgan State (-13.0): Morgan State -13.0
These are big games that I am not confident enough to provide a pick for, but will provide what my pick would be if I were forced to choose for your entertainment.
- Kentucky at Arkansas (-1.5): Kentucky +1.5 (Wildcats matchup well with the Razorbacks)
- Ohio State (-1.0) at Penn State: Ohio State -1.0 (They won by 80 last time, why not again?)
- Auburn at Florida (-1.5): Florida -1.5 (More momentum and playing well at home)
- Marquette at Georgetown (-3.5): Marquette +3.5 (Who can stop Markus Howard?)
- Houston at Wichita State (-3.0): WS -3.0 (Houston hasn’t played too great on the road)
- Seton Hall (-5.0) at St. Johns: Seton Hall -5.0 (Adrenaline of Butler win still pumping)
- Nevada at San Diego State (-13.0): SDSU -13.0 (Will they ever lose?)
- Kansas (-8) at Texas: Texas +8 (88% of early money on the Longhorns)
This week: 14-4-1
Plays of the Week: 2-0
Season total: 112-74-3*
*While I don’t publish all my plays, you can follow all my picks on the Action Sports Network by following me @RcCola3