If you’ve been following my pieces on a regular basis, you know that Tuesday is usually the toughest day of the week for me to win my picks. But when it comes to college basketball, I can actually figure out totals a fair amount of the time, as basketball is such a game of tempo that you can use the numbers to reach the right conclusion.
True to form, one of the games I whiffed on was the last bowl game of the season, as K-State embarrassed the LSU defense and nearly hit the number on its own. But I was 4-1 on basketball totals yesterday, even if one of them was better lucky than good. Yes, I’m going to call attention to when I get away with a misread, because I’m just honest like that.
Here are my best plays for January 5.
DEPAUL +5, -110
I know, I know, don’t get sucked into DePaul. The Blue Demons have long been anchored to the foot of the Big East table, but this is a good matchup for them. St. John’s is a bad team going nowhere, and the Red Storm are very weak on the defensive glass. DePaul actually grabs a fair amount of offensive boards, and with how fast these teams play, there will likely be plenty of possessions. That favors the Blue Demons to land the road cover and possibly win outright.
CHATTANOOGA TTO 67.5, -110
This feels a little too good to be true. Wofford cannot stop anybody (the Terriers rank 322nd in opposing field goal percentage) and the Mocs are good shooters, hitting 48.4 percent from the field. Chattanooga has only been held under this number twice all season, by VCU and the College of Charleston, and the Mocs got 66 in the game against Charleston. They should have enough to get to around the 70s.
FLORIDA GULF COAST -12, -110
I think Dunk City is about to turn this into Blowout City. North Florida was my darling two years ago on its way to winning 21 games and the A-Sun title, but the Birds of Trey are not the same team they were back then. The Ospreys still hit the 3 pretty well, but they’ve got a hard time connecting on anything local and they can’t play much defense. In a possession-filled game like what you face against Florida Gulf Coast, that’s not ideal.
YOUNGSTOWN STATE-ROBERT MORRIS O144.5, -110
If the Colonials don’t get it figured out now, they’re probably not going to figure it out. Robert Morris appears in over its head in the Horizon to this point, and this appears a bad matchup given that the Penguins rebound pretty well. I think you’ll be fine with either taking the Penguins minus-4 or the total, but given how bad these defenses have been all season, I think you’ll see points in western Pennsylvania.
NORTHWESTERN -8, -110
Penn State has played a true road game twice this season. It didn’t go well, as the Nittany Lions got pasted by Massachusetts and took a 16-point loss at Michigan State. Northwestern’s looking to bounce back after falling to the Spartans and the Nittany Lions are likely still thinking about how they caught Indiana unaware last time out. This is a prime letdown spot for Penn State, and the Wildcats should roll.