Only three ranked teams are in action on Thursday and I see little chance that any of them -- No. 3 Gonzaga, No. 11 Utah and No. 25 SMU -- lose. But here are three dogs on BetOnline's NCAA basketball odds that may not just cover but win outright.
Ole Miss (+4.5) vs. Florida
This line is clearly based on what Florida used to be and not what the Gators are right now, which is a .500 team with a loss here. UF (12-11, 5-5 SEC) is going to miss the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven years. The Gators also are likely to be flat after playing perhaps their best game of the season on Saturday but still losing by seven at home to No. 1 Kentucky -- a win might have saved Florida's season. Billy Donovan's club has lost five of seven and it could easily be a seven-game skid. In addition, the team's best player, junior guard Michael Frazer II, is going to miss at least this game with a sprained ankle that he injured against UK. Frazier is UF's leading-scorer (13.2 ppg), best 3-pointer shooter (55 made) and top free-throw shooter (87.7 percent). Ole Miss (16-7, 7-3), meanwhile, has won five straight games, including two straight on the road, where the Rebels are 5-1 in SEC play. Mississippi already beat Florida once, 72-71 in Oxford on Jan. 24 on two Jarvis Summers free throws with 9.8 seconds left. Florida's Kasey Hill failed to get a contested layup off as time expired. Frazier had a season-high 27 in the loss.
Key NCAAB Betting Trends: The Rebels have covered six of their past eight on the road at sportsbooks. Florida is 2-5 ATS in its past seven home games against teams with a winning road record. Ole Miss has covered the past six meetings overall, including four in Gainesville.
Michigan (+6) vs. Illinois
I had Michigan on this list last Thursday, but the Wolverines were 1-point home favorites on NCAA basketball odds and I liked the Hawkeyes there: Iowa won 72-54. The Wolverines (13-11, 6-6 Big Ten) followed that with a 70-67 loss at Indiana on Sunday for its third straight defeat, and they remain without injured starting point guard Derrick Walton for the foreseeable future. This isn't going to be an NCAA Tournament team. So why would I like Michigan on Thursday at Illinois, which has won three straight? Desperation for one. But mainly because it appears Illinois (16-8, 6-5) will again be without two suspended players, Rayvonte Rice and Aaron Cosby. Rice leads the team in scoring (17.2 ppg) and rebounding (6.9 rpg) while Cosby averages 7.8 points and 3.6 boards. Both have been suspended three games, but Rice also missed the previous six before that with an injury. Illinois lost at Michigan 73-65 in overtime in the Big Ten opener for both on Dec. 30. UM rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit. Rice had eight points, 11 rebounds and six assists for the Illini.
Key NCAAB Betting Trends: Michigan has covered five of its past six games overall and four of its past five on the road. Illinois is just 3-7 ATS in its past 10 after a win. Michigan has covered eight of the past nine meetings.
California (+9) vs. Colorado
There's a key injury to monitor here for the Buffs that would greatly improve Cal's chances of the outright upset. That's to Colorado leading scorer Askia Booker. He missed CU's 79-51 blowout home loss to Utah on Saturday with a hip injury. The senior, who averages 17.6 points, 3.3 assists and 3.2 rebounds, says he is planning to play here but likely won't be 100 percent. Fellow guard Jaron Hopkins also plans to play despite missing practice this week with an illness. Colorado (11-11, 4-6 Pac-12) has lost two straight and is 9-3 at home, matching the most home losses ever in Tad Boyle's five seasons as coach. This line just seems way too high. California (15-9. 5-6) has won four straight to give itself hope of an NCAA berth, although it needs to do a lot more. The last three wins have come down to the final minute in which the Bears won in a 3-pointer which is why they are dangerous dogs for our free college basketball picks.
Key NCAAB Betting Trends: The Bears are 5-2 ATS in their past seven road games. Colorado is 1-4 ATS in its past five vs. teams with a winning record.