Catching all of the ranked teams on Thursday's college basketball betting card will mean staying up late into the evening. Join us for previews and free picks for three of the games.
SMU vs. Memphis
Larry Brown takes SMU out on the road for a pair of games this week with the Mustangs clinging to a half-game lead in the American Athletic Conference. The first stop is in Memphis, where the Mustangs have triumphed just once in nine previous matchups with the Tigers.
ESPN2 begins its broadcast of the clash at 9 PM (ET), the Mustangs listed at -1½ after opening a half-point lower on the NCAA basketball odds. The total has yet to be released.
Southern Methodist (22-5 straight up, 12-10-2 against the spread) looks to break a 6-game losing streak in Memphis and sweep the Tigers on the schedule after picking up a 73-59 win in Dallas back in early December. The Ponies were favorites in the 9½-10 point range, the 10th time in the last 11 meetings in this series that the home team covered.
Memphis (17-10 SU, 12-12 ATS) has won three straight to keep itself in contention for at least a share of the AAC title, though it would take the Tigers winning out and all of the other dominoes to fall just right to make that happen. All three victories were spread-beaters as 2-8 point chalk.
There are some strong 'under' trends for college basketball totals bettors to consider when the scoreboard mark is released; 13 of the last 17 Memphis home games failed to reach the number while 10 of SMU's last 14 road games never reached the figure.
I'm expecting a total around 127-128, and the 'under' is the way I'll go for the free pick.
NCAA Basketball Pick: SMU-Memphis Under
Arizona State vs. Utah
This is a big weekend for the Utah Utes, one that could make or break them as far as the regular season Pac-12 title goes. Larry Krystkowiak's first task will be to keep his team focused on Thursday's title against the Arizona State Sun Devils, and not on the Arizona Wildcats who come to Salt Lake City in two days.
Tip-off at Huntsman Center is slated for a little past 10:30 PM (ET) with FOX Sports 1 on hand to document the action. Overnight wagering pushed Utah to -12½ at most shops.
Arizona State (15-12 SU, 11-14-2 ATS) is hanging around the middle of the conference standings at 7-7 thanks to a 3-game win streak the Sun Devils bring to Utah. They've managed to split their last four road tilts after dropping the first three Pac-12 road affairs. Utah (21-5 SU, 18-7 ATS) will be looking to extend its 17-game home win streak and sweep ASU after an easy 76-59 victory in Tempe as 5 point chalk in mid-January.
That triumph was the third for the Utes in the last four clashes, and their 8th-straight cover in the series. Let's bank on the Utes extending that streak to nine.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Utah -12.5 at BetOnline
San Diego vs. Gonzaga
You didn't think I'd leave Gonzaga off my Top ATS Plays for Thursday, did you? Having already clinched their third consecutive West Coast Conference title, and 16th in the last 18 seasons, the Bulldogs close out their regular season slate with a couple of games at home, beginning with the San Diego Toreros tonight.
ESPN2 will carry the contest commencing at 11 PM (ET), and as you'd expect, the Zags are burdened with a big spread to cover on the college basketball odds at -17½.
San Diego (14-14 SU, 11-14 ATS) might be coming to Spokane at just the right time. Gonzaga (28-1 SU, 13-11-2 ATS) is not only facing a hangover effect from last Saturday's big comeback and win at rival Saint Mary's, the Bulldogs also know that BYU is on deck to cap a possible unbeaten conference campaign.
The Zags may run away with it, but taking the points and the visitors is the way I'll go for my final college basketball picks.
NCAA Basketball Picks: San Diego +17.5 at 5Dimes