Saturday Slate: Best Bets for February 4

There’s only so much you can do when trying to find a winner. You can search stats, look at recent history, examine all the numbers and then none of it matters when a 3-point shooting team has a bad night. Boise State shot 2-for-18 and went down 20 in the first half, and it was all academic from there.

And that’s why it’s important never to get too low or too high after a result. Sometimes, you’re going to see things go well, and sometimes, the bounces don’t go your way. That’s betting for you. The goal is to win more than you lose, which is achievable over time. Here are my plays for February 4.


We’re going to ride this horse until it dies. Union Berlin continues to be dynamite in the Iron Fortress, scoring two goals in all but one home game this season. The one exception was a 1-1 draw with Bayern Munich, a perfectly reasonable outcome. Against Mainz, which has been breached for five goals in three matches since the break, the Iron Ones should keep the goals coming. If your book will allow it, pair this with Union Berlin double chance to get to +185, as Union haven’t lost at home all season.


This is risky and will not be pleasant. Betting on Bristol Rovers is rarely an enjoyable experience. My Pirates are in poor form and have been outscored 7-1 in our past two matches. But Milton Keynes Dons enters in even worse form, having failed to beat anyone but last-place Forest Green Rovers in its past seven matches. MK Dons have been shut out in four of five matches against non-Forest Green foes, so this looks like a 1-0 win for the Gas to me.


The odds keep moving away from the Sounders in facing the Egyptian champion, so this might have even more value by kickoff. Al-Ahly won easily against Auckland City, but Seattle’s a step up in quality. The Sounders play their best in big tournaments, and they shouldn’t be bothered by facing a defense-heavy side in Al-Ahly. One goal likely wins it, so if you want to be aggressive, backing Seattle to nil at +360 looks solid.


We’re looking for a little more McBrayer Magic out of the Colonels here. Eastern Kentucky has played very well at home this season, losing just once all year and none in the ASUN. Kennesaw State sits second in the ASUN to Liberty, but there are potential cracks in that record. The Owls haven’t yet played Liberty, drew Jacksonville at home and haven’t yet gone to Eastern. They fell to North Florida on the road, and I think they’d have a couple more losses against a stronger slate. Eastern has been dynamite at home all year, and I like their chances with this small spread.


After four straight losses, Idaho probably doesn’t have another strong effort in it to close out this week. Sacramento State is better than it showed in the second half against Eastern Washington, and I think the Hornets get back on track here. They’ve played Montana State and Eastern in back-to-back losses, and this represents an opportunity to take out frustrations on the league’s weakest team. This should work well for the Hornets.

XAVIER -8.5, -110

Xavier is deadly in transition and St. John’s is in trouble. The Red Storm come in as losers in three of four and only barely escaped Georgetown to avoid making it 0-4. Go beyond that, and St. John’s has really struggled, going 3-8 over its past 11 against Big East opponents. The Red Storm played well at Connecticut, but more often than not, they’ve gotten crushed on the road. Going to Cincinnati to play a Xavier squad that loves to run and won’t turn it over inspires no confidence. The Musketeers look solid.

QUEENS TTO 75.5, -110

You can put up numbers on Austin Peay. The Governors send teams to the foul line far too often and have lost seven in a row coming into this game. They already gave up 81 to Queens in Charlotte and have seen six different ASUN opponents get to 80 or higher against their defense. We only need 76 to cash, and Queens loves to run. The Royals got stymied by Lipscomb last time out, so they should welcome the chance to set the pace here.

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