The Thanksgiving weekend college basketball action has come and gone, and the Division I action returns mostly to campuses with students energized after a short break. Today’s games are highlighted by six intriguing ACC/Big Ten Challenge games, three involving teams ranked in the newly released AP top 25. Our three top wagers for today all involve those key non-conference games, with a moneyline play, ATS, and team total bet all represented.
Here are our best bets for Tuesday’s college basketball action. (Odds courtesy of DraftKings)
Virginia vs. Michigan ML
Few would have predicted just one ACC team to be ranked in the top 16 of the AP poll entering the fourth week of the season. And if anyone did, they certainly would not have predicted Virginia to be that team, given that North Carolina was the preseason No. 1 and Duke was also in the top ten. But alas, the Cavaliers have used their experience (rank sixth in the country in D-1 experience) to beat excellent teams like Baylor and Illinois in a three-day span. While this is Virginia’s first true road test, Tony Bennett’s squad is unflappable and is not easy to speed up (362nd in tempo) or rattle (top 40 in turnover percentage).
Bennett is not going to let Wolverines big man Hunter Dickinson beat him. Dickinson ranks fifth in the Big Ten in scoring at 18.5 ppg, but Bennett will mix up his coverages on the big man and double-team him often in various ways. Dickinson’s teammates have yet to be able to knock down perimeter shots with consistency (31.8% from 3-point range, ranks 230th), which is necessary against Bennett’s pack line defenses.
Maryland-Louisville Team Total Under
Maryland is six games into the Kevin Willard era, but already the Terrapins have bought into the aggressive defensive principles he brought with him from Seton Hall. Maryland ranks 41st in adjusted defensive efficiency, 32nd in effective field goal percentage defense, and has allowed opponents to connect on just 26.3% of their 3-point attempts (ranks 24th). Louisville was outscored by 25.6 points per game in its three losses in Maui and has not scored more than 62 points in any of its last four. The KFC Yum! Center crowd will become restless early, especially if the 0-6 Cardinals get off to another poor start.
Georgia Tech vs. Iowa Spread
Iowa was the only team to drop out of the top 25 this week after losing by 13 points to TCU in the finals of the Emerald Coast Classic. But we are not worried about the Hawkeyes’ outlook going forward and are chalking up two consecutive games where it underperformed (failed to cover as -8.5 point favorites in a 74-71 win over Clemson) to them not liking the surroundings and sightlines at the arena at which the Emerald Coast Classic was played.
Iowa shot 53.6% or better from two-point range in three of its first four games and connected on 46% or better from beyond the arc in two of its first four. The Hawkeyes have averaged 100.3 ppg in their first three home games and are prepared to shoot their way to success against whatever defense Josh Pastner throws their way, especially if it is a majority of the 1-3-1 zone.
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