Swinger peruses the college basketball odds to give you the best chance at cashing in your NCAAM picks on Sunday.
The general rule of thumb (and I do mean general) of sharp cappers everywhere is to stay away from the primetime games. The television games, particularly on Sunday afternoon during college basketball season, are always on a major network attracting plenty of eyeballs because the college basketball slate is relatively limited compared to Saturday. The oddsmakers know that every square in America will be lining up to plunk down a few bucks on the "TV game" and will be hyper vigilant to deal a number that is well researched and too sharp for most pros to take a bite on.
I turn your attention to the most recent example of a primetime game featuring two college basketball powerhouses where the line ultimately proved too sharp to bet - Syracuse vs. Duke last night. I'm not going to lie, I thought the line was a bit too generous towards the number one team in the country getting six big points on the road so I cautiously dabbled with a play on the Orange as one of my college basketball picks yesterday. And so what happened? If you missed the game or haven't read about it by now, the Blue Devils dispatched Syracuse 66-60. Well, wonder of all friggin' wonders, Duke won by six, exactly what the offshore books were dealing in their college basketball odds.
Who knew?! I did - and I do. Which brings us to today's primetime showdown. It's a noon time tipoff for those of you on the East Coast and there will be plenty of action on this intrastate rivalry. But I am throwing caution to the wind because dammit I have a definite lean on one side and sometimes you just gotta break the rules.
Ranked 13th in the country and tops in the Big Ten with a record of 22-5 straight up and 16-10 ATS in lined games. Last Sunday (2/16) they hosted Nebraska and were installed as 14-point favorites in college basketball odds but were stunned 60-51 as the Cornhuskers notched their biggest win of the season due primarily to their suffocating defense.
But the Spartans shook off the humiliating loss in front of their home crowd and took out their frustrations on the Boilermakers at Mackey Arena when they throttled Purdue 94-79 on Thursday night as they drilled 17 three-pointers and easily covered the six-point impost in NCAAM odds.
Ranked 20th in the nation the Wolverines sport a record of 18-7 straight up and 12-10 ATS in lined games this season. Big Blue should be well rested because they have not taken a shot in anger since last Sunday where they uncharacteristically found themselves on the short end of the stick at home in a 75-62 loss to Wisconsin as four-point home chalk in college basketball odds.
Who do we like?
The Wolverines not only defeated the Spartans in front of the Michigan State fans at the Breslin Center on January 25th but Michigan's sophomore guard Nik Stauskas felt the urge to blow a kiss to the hostile crowd as he pranced off the court after his team's 80-75 victory. Classy.
But this time the Spartans will have senior Adreian Payne in the lineup who missed the first meeting with a sprained foot. The 6'10" power forward brought the pain to Purdue on Thursday night when he deposited 23 points, contributing mightily to the blowout victory. Some may say that Michigan has rest on their side but when you're 18, 19 or in your early 20's you don't need more than a day or two to be back at your best. Rest can become rust very easily - by changing one letter (but enough with my double entendres).
Head coach Tom Izzo of MSU has seen this movie before and he knows how to change the ending to his liking. The Spartans have depth after being saddled with injuries throughout the season. Even in today's game Brandon Dawson will remain on the sidelines as he has since January 21st and missing the first matchup between these two bitter rivals. MSU has revenge on the brain plus the opportunity to pretty much nail shut the Big Ten title. The oddsmakers, though normally sound in the big games, have the wrong favorite.
College Basketball Pick: Michigan State +2 at WilliamHill.com.