Trio of Bets for Friday: It's Tipoff Madness!

Jay Pryce

Friday, November 10, 2017 1:44 PM UTC

Friday, Nov. 10, 2017 1:44 PM UTC

After a lengthy wait, the college basketball season is finally upon us. Here are a trio of top picks for opening night, including a bet in the ranked Texas A&M-West Virginia matchup.

No. 25 Texas A&M vs. No. 11 West Virginia (-6)

West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins revealed he might pull off the full-court gas pedal some this season due to a depleted and inexperienced roster. The Mountaineers led the nation last year with an average of 10 steals, 20 takeaways and a 7.7 turnover margin per game. For a variety of different reasons (injuries, ineligibility, graduation, etc.), five key players are missing from that NCAA Tournament regional semifinalist squad, leaving just 11 players on the roster. Out of this group, only four average more than 10 minutes per game in their collegiate career, and all five players manning the paint are sophomores.

Great news for Aggies fans, as the team returns the best frontcourt in the SEC. Center Tyler Davis (14.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and forward D.J. Hogg (12.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg) should excel in the opener, although Robert Williams, a potential NBA lottery pick in next spring’s draft, is suspended for the first two games for a violation of university policy.

Although each team is defense-first, Texas A&M will contend for the win, pushing the score north of the game total. In the last decade, the ‘over’ is 11-5 in neutral-court openers when the combined points scored for each team the prior season are greater than the 'over/under.' The Aggies and Mountaineers tallied 134.5 points, equal to the current number. Monitor the SBR college basketball oddsboard and watch it fall more. Oddsmakers opened with a 141 total Thursday afternoon. The adjustments are too much. Pick ‘over’ 134.5, or gamble a bit and hold out for a better figure.

Free NCAAB Pick: Over 134.5Best Line Offered BetOnline

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Detroit at Virginia Tech (-19)

The University of Detroit Mercy returns 11 players and four starters for head coach Bacari Alexander’s second year in charge.  Preseason pollsters voted the experienced group to finish fourth in the Horizon League. A road opener at Virginia Tech in the first game of the 2K Sports Classic Benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project will not intimidate Alexander’s men.

The Hokies earned an NCAA Tournament appearance last year for the first time in a decade, losing to Wisconsin in the first round. They finished 22-11 overall and 10-8 in the ACC. Head coach Buzz Williams has improved the team in each of his three seasons in charge, but the media isn’t expecting much gain this year, projecting an 11th place league finish and an NIT birth. Top scorers Zach LeDay (16.5 ppg) and Seth Allen (13.3 ppg) graduated, and the frontcourt is ultra thin. Laying 19 points to a tough Mercy bunch is too much.

Since 2007, Horizon League teams are 14-7 ATS on the road against ACC opponents when catching more than 10 points on the oddsboard. The scrappy mid-major conference covers a 16.7 average line by 3.4 points per game in this spot. Expect Detroit to stay within the number here.

Free NCAAB Pick: Detroit +19Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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Cal State Fullerton at No. 10 USC (-23.5)

Head coach Dedrique Taylor guided the Cal State Fullerton Titans to their first winning season (17-15) since 2011 last year. The program has improved in small increments each season since Taylor took charge in 2013. This year might be the year. The team is balanced all over the court, owning a nice blend of experience and new talent, size, speed and athleticism. The Titans won 8 of their final 10 conference games last year and look to carry that momentum over to its opener at USC. Taylor has some explosive players who relish the chance to run with the Trojans.

USC is the same team as last year, literally. It brings back 97 percent of its minutes from last season’s 26-win team, returning the most experience in the country. Duke transfer Derryck Thornton is the lone newcomer. The team is projected to own a Top-10 offense, but the 151 game total is a tad too high with the Titans owning the 292nd least efficient offense in 2016. The pick here is Cal State Fullerton to stay within the 23.5 points, the first half in particular. USC is just 1-4 ATS laying more than 20 points under head coach Andy Enfield, averaging a 6.0-point lead entering halftime. 

Free NCAAB Pick: CS Fullerton +23.5Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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