The problem with parlays is that when one little thing goes wrong, it all falls apart. Case in point: Panama and Texas Tech. The Red Raiders had Duke on the ropes after 20 minutes, which would have finished out my basketball parlay beautifully, but the Texas Tech defense fell apart at the worst possible time.
In the soccer world, I blame myself for overthinking it. Initially, I wanted to take all four unders in CONCACAF and just ride that, but I thought Panama might claim a multi-goal win over Honduras, which had lost five straight and looked awful. So I changed that one to a Panama win, figuring that was more likely.
Turned out, Panama drew 1-1 and every other match had two goals or less, so my initial bet would have won. And that’s why these bets are so hard to hit, it’s so easy to overthink things. Hopefully, I won’t do that today; here are my Friday plays.
KANSAS -7.5, -110
Providence has done a great job at defending the 3-point arc during this tournament, and when facing a team that relies on the triple, the Friars have successfully taken that away. But that is not Kansas, which prefers to get the ball inside whenever possible or take mid-range jumpers. The Jayhawks are a good but not great team from deep, but they can pound the ball inside. I expect them to do just that.
IOWA STATE TTU 64.5, -110
This number seems Washington State-esque in terms of a miss. Miami held Auburn to 61 points and has played pretty good defense since the regular season ended. Iowa State has scored 59 points or fewer in four of its past five games. So how the heck are the Cyclones supposed to get to 65 against the Hurricanes? I just don’t see this happening.
NORTH CAROLINA-UCLA O142, -110
UCLA likes a lower-scoring game than this, but the Bruins aren’t going to get to set the pace here. North Carolina plays fast, rebounds well and hits shots, and UCLA doesn’t really have the interior game to keep the Tar Heels from putting up numbers. This game seems too close to call as far as who will win, but I expect points to come.
SAINT PETER’S-PURDUE U133.5, -110
This isn’t a great number for a Purdue team that plays little defense, but I think the Peacocks are going to play enough defense for the both of them. Saint Peter’s has a top-30 defense and can make life difficult for Jaden Ivey and Sasha Stefanovic, which means Purdue will have to work the ball inside. Scoring two at a time is a great way to win, but not a great way to hit an over.
PENGUINS ML, -120
To hear the Pittsburgh people on my Twitter timeline tell it, the Penguins’ game against Buffalo was a crime against the senses. But the Sabres have long been a thorn in the Penguins’ side. Pittsburgh has performed much better against the Rangers, making this an ideal buy-low spot on the Penguins tonight.