Once again, college basketball totals and I are on the same page, as I managed to pull out a 4-1 performance on my Tuesday plays. Granted, there was a razor’s edge of difference between victory and defeat on Kentucky-Vanderbilt and Eastern Kentucky-North Alabama, but the extra point proved just enough for me to cash my under plays. Always, always jump on your number the second that you feel confident.
We’re now fully into conference play, and in some cases, we’re starting to see rematches of earlier meetings. With that being the case, we’ve got some extra information at our disposal. Here are my best plays for January 12.
VILLANOVA ML, +110
Wait a minute, what? Villanova just throttled Xavier in Pennsylvania three weeks ago, and now the Wildcats are underdogs going to Cincinnati? Playing on the road is a different animal, of course, but Villanova is 15-2 all-time against Xavier since the Musketeers joined the Big East. Xavier doesn’t really have the type of team that you need to beat Villanova, which is why this feels like more of the same for the Musketeers rather than a Georgia-over-Alabama type situation.
LSU +3, -110
Florida’s been getting by against a bunch of weak teams and LSU is rock-solid on defense. The Tigers’ only setback of the year is at Auburn, and Auburn is a lot better than Florida is. The Bayou Bengals already own a win over Kentucky; I don’t think they’re going to be scared of going to Gainesville.
ILLINOIS STATE +13.5, -115
Illinois State doesn’t play much defense. What Illinois State does do is find good shots and hit them, and the Redbirds usually hang around for a while as a result of that. Drake is not playing particularly well at the moment, and I do not feel comfortable giving this many points against a team that I know can score.
VIRGINIA TECH ML, +105
I don’t like going against my cousin, but I’m pretty sure she’s going to agree with me here that Virginia is favored on nothing more than reputation at this point. It’s become clear that this is not one of Tony Bennett’s better teams, and other than a rout of Providence where the Friars faded in the second half, there’s nothing to suggest things are getting any better this year. The Cavaliers are 2-10 ATS in their past 12 in Charlottesville, and with the Hokies only getting 1.5 points, I’ll just go for the higher payout with my sister’s alma mater on the moneyline.
NHL PARLAY: BRUINS/STARS ML, -108
The Canadiens making it to the finals last year is one of the most ridiculous things we will ever see. Montreal is proving that it is a horrible hockey team without Carey Price, and Seattle has just one win in its past 10 games. Backing the Bruins and Stars at home together seems like a layup.
ARKANSAS -14.5, -110
Missouri at Mizzou Arena? Not a bad team. Missouri in any building but Mizzou Arena? Shield your children’s eyes. The Tigers had one decent showing in Jacksonville in beating SMU in overtime. Since then, Mizzou has lost by 23 in Jacksonville to Florida State, 21 at Liberty, 37 at Kansas, 25 to Illinois in St. Louis and 27 at Kentucky. One thing those numbers have in common: they’re all a lot more than 14.5. Arkansas should roll in Fayetteville.
CALIFORNIA +2, -115
It’s not getting better for Washington. It does seem to be getting a little better for California, which rebounds the ball pretty decently and should absolutely bludgeon the Huskies on the boards. Cal is 12-4 ATS on the year, so just to be on the safe side and because I already have two moneyline upsets, I’ll take the free bucket with the Golden Bears.