Top College Basketball Picks Wednesday Feature Texas Tech & #8 Kentucky

Jay Pryce

Wednesday, November 22, 2017 2:01 PM UTC

Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017 2:01 PM UTC

Our best value picks in college basketball on Wednesday highlight a pair of totals in the Wofford-Texas Tech and Ft. Wayne-Kentucky matchups. Check out our predictions here. 

Wofford vs Texas Tech (-23.5)

The Wofford Terriers have not finished below third place in the Southern Conference since 2008. The program has represented the league four times in the NCAA Tournament in this stretch, the last a second-round appearance in the 2014-15 season. The consensus is this team will not go dancing this year. Coaches voted head coach Mike Young’s squad to finish third behind Chattanooga and East Tennessee State.

Entering his 16th year in charge, Young is a defense-first coach, incredibly poised and a great motivator. All-conference preseason pick Fletcher Magee is the team go-to. The 6-foot-4 junior guard averages 24.0 points in 32.0 minutes per game, putting up 17 or more in each of the Terrier’s first five contests.

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The best jump shooter in college basketball is Fletcher Magee. First player in Wofford history to reach 1,000pts as a sophomore. #2319

— Rashad Phillips (@RP3natural) November 3, 2017

Magee is one of three starters to return from last season, but the bench is ultra-thin. South Carolina’s reserves outscored it 28-5 in a 73-52 win over Wofford in the opener. The loss was one of two games popping up for the Terriers on the college basketball oddsboard in 2017. They also fell at Cal 79-65 as 6-point underdogs. Three other games have come against NAIA opponents.

Texas Tech, meanwhile, is lighting it up. They are 4-0 SU and 2-1 ATS, covering the number (-12.7) by 11.3 point s per game. Most of this advantage is due to routing Northwestern 85-49 as a 3-point favorite on a neutral court last time out. The Red Raiders never trailed in the game.

The team fields one of the most experienced lineups in the nation, starters made up of all upperclassmen. However, most are transfers for new second-year head coach Chris Beard. Six contributors from last year are gone, including two of the team’s top four scorers. All-Big 12 senior guard Keenan Evans is the linchpin, putting up 19.5 points and dishing out 2.3 assists per game.

Defense is carrying the Red Raiders right now, ranking 11th in efficiency to begin the year. It is allowing 51.8 points per game on an unsustainable 32.7 percent shooting. Still, the unit will likely keep Wofford close to these figures tonight.

Texas Tech received 81 votes in the most recent AP Top-25 poll, coming in at No. 27. Expect voters to put them in next week. Under Young, the Terriers are 0-9 SU on the road against ranked teams, averaging a measly 49 points. They are much overmatched here and should come up short of the 58 team total projected as of publication. Texas Tech will hit 80, but not much more as Young calls off his troops in respect. For my NCAAB pick, I will back the  ‘under’ 138.5 for your best bet. 

Free NCAAB Pick: Under 138.5Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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Fort Wayne vs No. 8 Kentucky (-19)

Kentucky has failed to cover the spread in each of its four games at Rupp Arena this year. Tipping off an 18.6-point favorite, it is falling to the number by 8.9 points per game with a 73.5-63.8 average game score. The latest disappointment came Tuesday night in a 70-62 win over Troy. The Trojans outscored head coach John Calipari’s young team 37-29 in the second half. What’s the deal?

Inexperience and lack of team chemistry is to blame. But from a betting perspective, the team is not putting up the points; it lacks any go-to scorers. Guard Quade Green is the only player record more than 18 points in a game this year. The Wildcats have not come close to reaching the market’s projected team total in any of their home contests, coming up at least 6 points shy in each. They average 73.5 points on 46.4 percent shooting. To give some perspective, Kentucky averages 81.4 points on 48.8 percent shooting when favored by double digits at Rupp during Calipari’s tenure. 

Bettors can expect Kentucky to get nearer to 80 tonight, but don’t look for it to go more than a bucket to two beyond at best. Fort Wayne has played three ranked teams on the road under head coach Jon Coffman, a combined score of 140.0 staying ‘under’ a 152.5 totals average. The Mastadons will shoot under 40 percent and reaching 60 will be a chore. The market is still playing catch-up. Pick ‘under’ 148 to profit. 

Free NCAAB Pick: Under 148Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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