While most of the public remains focused on the upcoming Super Bowl, there's plenty of action on the college hardwood this week, meaning plenty of betting opportunities. Monday night brings a Big East matchup at Ntre Dame when the Irish host Marquette. Tuesday's key tip comes from the Big 12 as the Texas Longhorns travel to Baylor. And on Wednesday, a huge ACC contest when Duke takes Tobacco Road to Wake Forest.
Let the sound of cash registers ring from every mountainside. The defending champion Kansas Jayhawks are 15-4 SU and 9-4 ATS, sweeping their last four games in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year.
The Memphis Tigers have also survived the loss of Derrick Rose to check in at 16-3 SU and 11-7 ATS. The higher the expectations, the harder it is to overcome the betting odds – as the 8-9 ATS North Carolina Tar Heels have discovered. Our latest betting tripleheader begins with two teams on opposite ends of the fame spectrum.
Marquette at Notre Dame (-3, 157)
Monday, Jan 26, 7:00 p.m. (ET), ESPN
We featured the Fighting Irish (12-6 SU, 4-8 ATS, No. 48 Pomeroy) in our last tripleheader; they’re the No. 20-ranked team on the public money charts over the past month, which is indicative of one of the most highly recognized sporting brands on the market. But their 69-61 loss to visiting UConn (+2) is also indicative of the Irish not being that great a basketball team. The efficiency stats agree, rating Notre Dame’s defense No. 134 in Division I.
The Marquette Golden Eagles (17-2 SU, 7-6-1 ATS, No. 24 Pomeroy) are only No. 88 on the hit parade for action this month. This has been a successful basketball program over the years, but the school itself is tucked away in Milwaukee and only joined the Big East in 2005 after a long history as an independent and a mid-major. Marquette is No. 12 in the nation in offense under the steady influence of three senior guards: Wesley Matthews, Jerel McNeal and Dominic James. This is another bad matchup for the Irish, who are much stronger inside than on the perimeter.
Texas at Baylor
Tuesday, Jan 27, 9:00 p.m. (ET)
Bettors have abandoned the Longhorns (14-4 SU, 7-8 ATS, No. 27 Pomeroy) since that disappointing 67-63 home loss to Michigan State (+5½). Texas has dropped to No. 63 in the betting market, although they still have a long way to fall before they reach Baylor-level anonymity. The Bears (15-4 SU, 6-5 ATS, No. 28 Pomeroy) are being ignored by the betting public despite cracking the AP Top 25 and upsetting Kansas State (-3½) by 18 points on the road.
It’s only been five years since the NCAA imposed heavy sanctions on the Bears program after their perfect storm of scandals, capped by the murder of Patrick Dennehy by a fellow player. Perfectly logical, then, that Texas has won 10 in a row against Baylor. The Bears managed to split the cash at 5-5 ATS, though the spreads have been shrinking to the point where Texas took both last year’s games, -7 at home and -1½ on the road. The two teams are almost equal in production level at this point; Tuesday’s matchup will revolve around Baylor’s offense (No. 8 in Division I with a 55.7-percent effective field-goal rate) and the Longhorns defense (No. 35 with an eFG% against of 44.5).
Duke at Wake Forest
Wednesday, Jan 28, 7:00 p.m. (ET) ESPN
There won’t be an undefeated team in Division I this year. Wake Forest (16-1 SU, 8-5 ATS, No. 12 Pomeroy) spoiled things for everyone with a 78-71 loss to Virginia Tech (+13). Duke has won 10 straight to improve to 18-1 SU, 10-7-1 ATS and No. 1 on the Pomeroy charts. Not that winning necessarily matters to the betting public. The hated blue Devils are just one spot ahead of Baylor in this month’s public money rankings at No. 95, while the tiny Baptist college near Raleigh is No. 126, raking in less action than teams like Pepperdine and Georgia Southern.
This ACC blockbuster ought to bring in a few more bettors than usual, given the primetime matchup on ESPN. Duke is proficient at so many aspects of the game; one weakness is 3-point shooting, where the Devils connect on 35.2 percent of their shots, or No. 123 in the country. The Deacons are even worse at 33.3 percent (No. 194). This is going to be a land war inside the paint, with Wake Forest’s tall trees in a good position to take Duke down a notch.