With so many games on the docket, now is not the time to jump on a game unless you feel really good about it. I’ve got a few thoughts about Indiana, for example, but I’m staying away because I just don’t know what version of either the Hoosiers or Michigan is going to show up in Indianapolis.
This is the time to make smart, well-reasoned bets…which is a terrible segue into the parlays of Thursday. But with parlays come the ability to manipulate the odds to our liking to create a winning bet, so that’s what we’ll try to do. Here are my best bets for March 10.
EARLY AFTERNOON PARLAY: WEST VIRGINIA TTU 68.5, MIAMI -5, IOWA -6, +450
Bill Self has a simple formula for success in the Jayhawks’ first Big 12 tournament game: Hold the opponent under 68.5 points and come back the next day. Sound oversimplified? It works: the Jayhawks are 15-2 in their first Big 12 tournament game under Self, and Kansas is 14-0 when it holds an opponent to 68 or fewer. The three exceptions were losses to Baylor and TCU and a win over Oklahoma State that went to overtime. This number matters.
Beyond that, Boston College has played 85 minutes over the past two days and will eventually run out of gas. Miami should use the lessons from Wake Forest’s collapse to close this one out. Iowa is also likely to roll, as Northwestern had to expend a lot of energy coming back against Nebraska. That’s poor preparation to turn around and play at the Hawkeyes’ lightning pace 18 hours later.
BIG SKY PARLAY: SACRAMENTO STATE +12.5, PORTLAND STATE-SOUTHERN UTAH O144.5, EASTERN WASHINGTON-NORTHERN COLORADO O152.5, +425
Anything involving Eastern Washington scares the heck out of me right now, because the Eagles love to ruin my plays. But it’s either that or try to make a pick on the gushing oil game between Montana and Weber, so I’ll jump on the Eastern offense to put up some numbers along with Northern Colorado. Portland State’s been an over team in the second half of Big Sky play, and I think the Vikings will be more than happy to run with the Thunderbirds after slowing down for Idaho State. Finally, Sacramento State is hot right now and got more than 24 hours to recover after surviving Idaho. I think Montana State is giving too many points here.
LATE NIGHT PARLAY: NORTH CAROLINA -4, MONMOUTH -2, NOTRE DAME +2.5, +500
The ACC has not been kind to me this tournament season, so this is a big gamble. But North Carolina is peaking at the right time and Virginia’s defense is nowhere near elite this season. Monmouth isn’t likely to shoot 30% from the floor again like it did in an overtime loss to Niagara, and Notre Dame probably isn’t going to let Virginia Tech shoot 60% from the field a second time. The Irish are a much better team now than they were two months ago, so I will gladly take points here.