Will Tuesday's college basketball betting schedule go to the 'dogs? We're looking at a few games were riding the chalk line might not be the best course of action for bettors.
Count me among those who are not in favor of assignments like these. It's usually tough enough to simply pick winners, much less specific types of winners on the college basketball betting card, so going into the fray looking just for underdogs to bet leaves you with only half a card to begin with.
The schedule is also a little lighter right now as colleges finish up their finals before the Christmas break, not to mention oddsmakers still aren't confident enough in their ability to release totals more than 10-12 hours before tip-offs, decreasing options even more.
So take these previews and NCAA basketball picks with a grain of salt, or the whole shaker of salt for that matter, and think of these three games as merely suggestions to consider the underdogs.
Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Wichita State Shockers
Gregg Marshall has another fine squad at Wichita State, the Shockers 11th in both conventional polls and two slots higher on the Pomeroy ratings. They've only stubbed their toe once up to now, and that was a tight overtime loss in Utah where the Shockers still managed to cash as small road 'dogs.
Wichita State will now be asked to cover a 13½ point line according to SBR's live college basketball odds when the Alabama Crimson Tide come to Charles Koch Arena. ESPN2 will be on hand to beam the affair across the airwaves, and Dick Vitale haters should set their televisions to MUTE at 9 PM (ET).
Both teams stack up fairly even on the offensive end of the floor, each averaging around 78 points per game and hitting field goals within a few ticks of one another. Wichita State has the advantage on defense, and that all starts with an excellent group of rebounders, especially grabbing offensive boards to set up second-chance points.
Alabama is going to have to negate some of WSU's glass work to stay within the spread, much less pull off the outright upset. That means a extra effort from lesser-known's on Anthony Grant's squad like Shannon Hale and Jimmie Taylor, and I'm counting on them being able to sit 10 points or less from the Shockers at the final horn.
Arizona State Sun Devils vs. Marquette Golden Eagles
Extra coaching experience on the bench along with an extra player to work into the rotation are two of the reasons I like the Arizona State Sun Devils tonight in their matchup with the Marquette Golden Eagles.
Tip-off at Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee is scheduled for a few minutes past 9 PM (ET), FOX Sports 1 providing the broadcast of this Pac-12/Big East clash. Marquette was sent out as 2½ point chalk before that spread dropped to an even 2 in overnight trading, and SBR's live college basketball odds will have a total later this morning.
Herb Sendek has nearly 700 games worth of experience coaching at the collegiate level, compared to Marquette's Steve Wojciechowski's eight. Sendek also has a deeper roster than Wojciechowski, and will add to that depth with former UNLV transfer Savon Goodman set to make his debut for the Sun Devils. Gimme' ASU and the bucket.
Oakland Golden Grizzlies vs. Arizona Wildcats
Here's one that my crystal ball says there's less than a 50-50 chance of the underdogs covering despite it being the largest gift of points from oddsmakers on Tuesday's NCAA basketball betting card. The Oakland Golden Grizzlies are in the middle of a grueling 6-game road trip, and this matchup against the Arizona Wildcats should be the toughest one.
The Pac-12 Network brings this one to the little screen at 9 PM (ET); Arizona has been pushed up to 25½ point chalk after beginning -25.
Greg Kampe and crew have their work cut out for them to even look respectable against a Wildcats bunch that is one of the best in the land. Oakland wasn't able to stay within 18½ a couple of days ago in East Lansing where the Grizz fell by 26 to Michigan State, and they still have games at Pitt, Clemson and Maryland before the end of 2014, a schedule that is bound to wear on the team. Still, I'm liking Arizona to have an uninspired effort in front of its first true road game of the season, so I'll take the 25½ on a lark for my free picks.
NCAA Baskebtall picks: Alabama +13.5; Arizona State +2; Oakland +25.5 at 5Dimes
Season: 2-4 (-2.40)