Injuries Offer Up Angles in College Hoops Picks Tuesday

florida Texas A&M

Jay Pryce

Tuesday, January 2, 2018 2:11 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018 2:11 PM UTC

Injuries present some betting value in our top NCAAB picks Tuesday as Florida squares off against an ailing Texas A&M squad, while Northwestern is without its best player, Bryant McIntosh, hosting Nebraska. The circumstances offer up a pair of valuable totals bets.

Florida at No. 11 Texas A&M (-3)

The Gators (9-4 SU, 5-7 ATS) head to College Station winners of three straight, including an 81-74 victory over Vanderbilt in the SEC opener on Saturday. Still, the program is underachieving, failing to cover six of its last seven on the college basketball oddsboard.

The issue with head coach Mike White’s squad is defense. All but one opponent (Cincinnati) has surpassed its projected team total in the betting market. Florida yields 73.8 points per game on 43.9 percent shooting. In six contests with a single line, signaling more competitive matchups, opponent scoring balloons to 80.0 points per game. The pieces are there, but communication lacking.

Texas A&M (11-2 SU, 5-5 ATS) climbed to No. 5 in the AP Top 25 last week, before sliding six spots to 11 following a 79-57 drubbing at Alabama Saturday to begin conference play. Injuries are mounting for head coach Billy Kennedy and adversity growing stronger. Starting point guard Duane Wilson (12.1 ppg) sustained a knee knock late in Tuscaloosa and his status in the air for this one. Leading scorer D.J. Hogg (14.6 ppg), meanwhile, will miss his third and final game due to a suspension for violating team rules. Admon Gilder (12.7 ppg) is also a question mark after sitting out the last three games due to a knee injury. That’s three of the team’s top four point-getters in trouble.

The Aggies shot just 30 percent last time out with half of their first team banged up. Star forward Robert Williams also sat out the second half, but is probable for the contest. The good news here is the Gators are undermanned in the paint and the Aggies should hold their own on the offensive end with Williams, center Tyler Davis and forward Tonny Trocha-Morelos down low. The trio is arguably the best front in the country.

Rim protection will force the Gators to the perimeter, and they should have a field day behind the arc against a second-string backcourt. The Florida defense, however, isn’t about to fix itself in the team’s first true road game of the season up against a ranked opponent. The ‘under’ is typically an automatic lean when the Aggies host a conference opponent as home chalk under Kennedy. It is 20-10 since 2013. However, circumstances here are unique with injuries marring the squad. Florida makes it high scoring and the Aggies keep it close in front of the home fans. Pick ‘over’ in this coin-flip ending.

Free NCAAB Pick: Over 144.5Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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Nebraska at Northwestern (-8)

Northwestern (10-5 SU, 5-7 ATS) surrendered 177 points over its last two contests (Oklahoma 104, Brown 73), the most allowed by the program in at least the last 10 years in back-to-back non-overtime games. You can bet head coach Chris Collins spent every bit of practice since emphasizing defense. Expect vast improvement. Historically, this has proven a good spot for the unit. Since 2015, the Wildcats allow 62.9 points per game on 40.3 percent shooting as home favorites vs. Big Ten opponents.

Nebraska (10-5 SU, 8-5 ATS) enters with the 109th-most efficient offense in the country per KenPom. Most of the damage has come against cupcake opponents. In five contests as favorites of 4 points or more, the Cornhuskers post 87.2 points per game on 48.0 percent from the floor. In the other seven to hit the board, they average 65.4 per night on 38.8 percent shooting. The ‘under’ is 6-1 in these contests, the final tally staying 9.1 points south of a 147.5 average total.

Expect Nebraska to stay in the low 60s for a team total. Northwestern, which ranks 301 out of 351 programs in tempo, will sit on the lead late and run the clock. Couple this with the fact starting point guard Bryant McIntosh, the Wildcats’ most valuable player, is out with a left knee injury, and both teams should come up short of the mark offensively. Pick ‘under’ 142.5 for your best bet.

Free NCAAB Pick: Under 142.5Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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