It’s the day I wait for all year long: college basketball season is upon us. Having grown up in Virginia in the days of a nine-team ACC (yes, I’m dating myself), college basketball has always been one of my favorite sports to watch, cover or bet on, especially because of the sheer number of games available. I won’t turn this piece into an all-college set of games, but I’ve got several good options for college hoops as well as other games today. Here are my best bets for November 9.
MOUNT ST. MARY’S-VILLANOVA U132
These are two of the slowest-paced teams in the country, and Villanova’s got reason to hold back. The Wildcats have a huge game with No. 2 UCLA in Los Angeles later in the week, and they certainly don’t want to use up energy against the Mountaineers. Both teams will patiently wait for their shots, which means there won’t be a lot of offense here. This game looks like it’ll end with Mount St. Mary’s in the 40s, which should suit an under quite nicely.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN-MISSOURI O143
What do you get when a team that badly needs a win runs into a fast-paced team that can’t play defense? A recipe for an over. Central Michigan’s defense ranked 330th in the metrics, but the Chippewas were 29th in tempo, which means they give up a lot of points. Missouri has a quality offense that should have no problem pushing its number into the 80s, so as long as the Chippewas do their part, the over should cash.
Virginia’s not going to try to run against anybody, and certainly not against an experienced Navy squad that can likely keep the game close. The Mids don’t like to push the tempo either, so don’t expect this game to be all that aesthetically pleasing. It’s Bennett Ball, and that means long possessions and low scoring. The Cavaliers will have to work for a win, but they’ll do that work on defense, not offense.
Boston gets a lot of pucks to the net, and that’s exactly what you want to do when you play Ottawa, which gives up a lot of good scoring chances. The Bruins should be able to fire away at the Senators’ decidedly un-Virginia-like defense, and this game should produce a fair amount of goals. As long as Ottawa’s attack can find the net twice, the over’s hitting.
These teams just played five days ago, and they both held each other in check very well. Now they’re facing off again in the altitude of Salt Lake City, with the Jazz traveling from Florida two days ago and the Hawks just having played Monday at Golden State. Atlanta’s second-half collapse suggested this is a tired team, which does not bode well for an over cashing. Throw in how well these teams rebound, and the under looks solid.