CBB early week bet preview: Back Oklahoma to stay hot against Butler
To start off the new week in college hoops, we're taking a look at some major mismatches on either end of the floor to determine our Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday best bets.
Towson @ Kent State (-5, 133)
Dec. 6, 7:00 p.m. ET
Kent State has done a great job defending the perimeter this season, allowing opponents to shoot just 23.7% from beyond the arc. The three players with the most minutes for the Golden Flashes all stand at 6-foot-3 or shorter and are pests defensively. However, as one of the smaller teams in the country, they may struggle with Towson's strength and physicality.
Towson makes a living by scoring on the inside and at the free-throw line, and grabbing offensive rebounds. As good as Kent State is on the perimeter, its interior and rebounding defense is one of the worst in all of Division I. Look for the Tigers to impose their will and keep this game close throughout.
Pick: Towson +3 or better
Belmont @ Saint Louis (-1, 152)
Dec. 7, 8:00 p.m.
Most of Belmont's struggles this season have come against teams with length that can disrupt its fluid offensive motion. As one of the smaller rotations in the country, Saint Louis shouldn't cause major concern.
With projected star Javonte Perkins getting hurt during the preseason, the Billikens have become dependant on forcing turnovers and scoring in transition due to a lack of half-court talent. Belmont does a great job of taking care of the ball and making opponents work defensively, which should pose a problem for Saint Louis.
With the added importance of this game for Belmont's slim at-large hopes, take the Bruins to win a tight contest.
Pick: Belmont -1 or better
Butler @ Oklahoma (-7, 125)
Dec. 7, 9:00 p.m.
Oklahoma just won a home game against a ranked Florida team in large part by limiting the Gators to only four 3-pointers and forcing 16 turnovers. The Sooners now host Butler, a worse team who is heavily reliant on threes and turns the ball over on more than 25% of its possessions. Yet, the spread is similar to the seven-point final score of Oklahoma's previous win.
Offensively, the Sooners should be able to score on the interior, playing through big man Tanner Groves. Butler's defensive weak spot is in the paint, and Oklahoma is second in the country from two-point range at over 60%. All of the numbers say the Sooners should coast at home.
Pick: Oklahoma -9 or better
Chattanooga (-8, 131) @ UNC Asheville
Dec. 8, 6:30 p.m.
Chattanooga pounded UNC Asheville by 30 less than a month ago, and despite the game being in Asheville this time, there isn't much reason to think things will be different. The Mocs are elite on the offensive glass, while UNCA has allowed double-digit offensive rebounds to every Division I opponent it's played this season.
Just like last time out, Chattanooga should be able to dominate the interior and force the Bulldogs to shoot over its size. On top of that, the Mocs are 4-0 against the spread on the road this year, which bodes well for another strong performance here.
Pick: Chattanooga -10 or better
McNeese State @ Louisiana (-13, 147)
Dec. 8, 8:00 p.m.
Both McNeese State and Louisiana love to push the pace, which probably makes up for the fact that these are two of the least efficient offenses in the nation. Both teams rank in the bottom 50 in effective field goal percentage and the bottom 20 in turnover percentage, per KenPom.
Both sides are tall, long, and athletic defensively, making what would already be an offensive challenge even more difficult. Add in the fact that the Cowboys and Ragin' Cajuns are a combined 8-4 on unders, and it's obvious what the bet is here - no matter how many possessions these teams combine for.
Pick: Under 145 or better
Wyoming @ Arizona (-13, 146)
Dec. 8, 10:00 p.m.
Undefeated Wyoming (8-0) and Arizona (7-0) are two of the hottest teams in the early season. Case in point, the Cowboys are No. 1 nationally in half-court offense, while the Wildcats are No. 1 in half-court defense, per Synergy Sports.
However, dig deeper and you can see this matchup is a nightmare for Wyoming. The Cowboys push in transition less than any team in the country, but the fast break is one of the few ways Arizona gives up points. Instead, Wyoming runs more post-ups than any other D-I team, but smaller interior scorers Hunter Maldonado and Graham Ike will likely struggle against Arizona's monster front line.
If the Cowboys can't unleash their inside game, their path to points becomes quite unclear. Meanwhile, the Wildcats - known for blowing out opponents this season - should take advantage and ruin Wyoming's perfect start with ease.
Pick: Arizona -15 or better