This handicapper found Tuesday's college basketball slate tough to handicap, because a couple of teams we liked also fell into a fade category. Not to be deterred, for he has found the edge.
Wisconsin -16 vs. Indiana
The Big Ten-leading Badgers look to solidify their grip on first place as they host one of their closest pursuers, the Hoosiers, at the Kohl Center.
Wisconsin leads the Big Ten at 7-1, and has won four in a row, after taking care of business Saturday at Iowa 74-63. And in only being favored by six points the Badgers picked up a cover. But Wisconsin is only 1-3-1 ATS over its last five home games, because it's been favored by some big numbers. The Badgers blew out Iowa two weeks ago, covering at -10, but just before that they could only manage a push against Nebraska at -15, and they lost their previous three home games ATS, favored by 16 over Purdue, 19 over Penn State and 22 over Buffalo.
Meanwhile, we had our doubts as to whether Indiana could make it back to the 2015 NCAA Tournament this season, but so far the Hoosiers have topped our preseason expectations. They started Big Ten play 5-1, then lost back-to-back games at Ohio State and at Purdue. But last time out they picked up a victory, beating Rutgers Saturday 72-64. So Indiana is 6-3 in conference play and would probably make the Big Dance if invitations were sent out today.
The bottom line here is that Wisconsin should win this game, but the NCAA Basketball odds point spread is inflated. Indiana shoots the ball well enough to keep this one close. We'll take the underdog Hoosiers in this spot, plus the points.
Free College Basketball Pick: Indiana +15.5 at SportBet
West Virginia vs. Oklahoma: Three More, Just for Kicks
Oklahoma, coming off a minor upset victory at rival Oklahoma State, hosts West Virginia.
We backed the Sooners for a winner Saturday against the Cowboys, and in general we like the Sooners and Coach Kruger, their style of play, and usually have no qualms about betting them. But we're concerned about a letdown in this spot, following the tough road victory over Oklahoma State. Meanwhile, the Mountaineers have won three in a row, after dispatching of Texas Tech Saturday 77-58, and now sit in second place in the Big 12.
Free College Basketball Pick: We like the underdog in this spot so take West Virginia +5.5 at The Greek.
Boise State vs. Utah State
Evansville and Illinois State are tied for fourth place in the Valley at 6-4, heading into their game in Peoria tonight. The Aces had won three games in a row, but got upset last time out, Saturday at Drake, losing 70-65 as six-point favorites. The Redbirds, meanwhile, have won four of their last five games SU, after beating Loyola Saturday 48-45, but they've also lost six in a row ATS. Bottom line here, we like Evansville's chances for a bounce-back effort; take the Aces at +6.5 for your NCAA Basketball picks today.
Boise State has won five in a row, both SU and ATS, heading into its match-up with Utah State in Logan.
The Broncos had lost four in a row a while back, including a 62-61 decision at home against the Aggies, falling outright as nine-point favorites. But they've regained their balance, and are back in the Mountain West race. Utah State, meanwhile, since beating Boise, has gone 3-4, after losing at San Diego State Saturday 62-42. Tonight's game cuts across two of our key handicapping tools; Boise State is probably the better team, and playing on the road is dealing with a more manageable spread. On the other hand the Aggies might be ripe for a bounce-back effort, after the loss to the Aztecs. Putting all that aside, our guess is the Broncos, while not necessarily looking for revenge for the loss to Utah State a month ago, will manage a split of the season series.
Free College Basketball Pick: We'll take Boise State, at -1.5 at 5Dimes