CBB midweek betting preview: Villanova to stay hot at home
Despite a shaky 1-2 mark yesterday, a hot 3-0 Monday still has us in the green for this week of college basketball thus far.
The mid-week slate brings all sorts of interesting matchups as we highlight some power conference tilts from Wednesday's schedule and some mid-major competition on Thursday.
Wake Forest (-2.5, 140.5) @ Georgia Tech
Jan. 19, 7 p.m. ET
Wake Forest has been excellent on the interior - both offensively and defensively - all season long. One of the tallest teams in the nation, the Demon Deacons rank first in the ACC in 2-point percentage on both sides of the ball. Meanwhile, Georgia Tech is 13th in the conference, allowing opponents to shoot 54% inside the arc.
The Yellow Jackets have struggled mightily on offense as of late, topping 72 points just once since mid-November, a stretch that has included two overtime games. With Wake Forest likely to dominate the paint as per usual, Georgia Tech will need to produce an offensive performance that simply hasn't been materializing this season.
Pick: Wake Forest -3.5 or better
Marquette @ Villanova (-13, 138)
Jan. 19, 8 p.m.
Villanova has been a juggernaut at home this season, going 5-1 against the spread with an average margin of victory of 29 points. The Wildcats are coming off a dominant 82-42 drubbing of Butler on Sunday. While Marquette is on its own hot streak, winning four straight, the Golden Eagles are still a clear notch below their Wednesday opponent.
Marquette thrives on speeding up its competition, playing only one game all season with less than 67 possessions. Meanwhile, Villanova refuses to be sped up, topping that possession threshold just once. The Golden Eagles aren't built to succeed in a slow-paced game where efficient execution is key. That should lead Villanova to another home cover.
Pick: Villanova -14 or better
Appalachian State @ Georgia State (-4, 136)
Jan. 20, 7 p.m.
Even if you forget that Georgia State hasn't won a Division I game since Nov. 21, Appalachian State is a horrible matchup for the Panthers, highlighted by the Mountaineers' 3-1 record against them last season. With both squads returning most of their production, that advantage should still hold for Appalachian State.
Georgia State's struggles this season have largely been due to an inability to guard the 3-point line and difficulty preventing second chances. Meanwhile, Appalachian State takes 43% of its shots from deep and grabbed 36 offensive rebounds over its last two contests. The Panthers are desperate for a win, but don't expect it to come in a poor matchup against the Mountaineers.
Pick: Appalachian State +1.5 or better
South Dakota @ Western Illinois (-6, 148)
Jan. 20, 7 p.m.
Western Illinois was one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the nation. Then it went on a stretch of six of seven games on the road in which it shot below 35% from deep in every single one. Expect the Leathernecks to get back to their sharpshooting ways at home - where they've made at least nine threes in every game this season - against a South Dakota team ranked 351st nationally, allowing opponents to shoot 40% from beyond the arc.
South Dakota can score too, though. The Coyotes are most efficient from the free-throw line, which they get to more frequently than almost any squad in the country. Western Illinois fouls a ton, giving South Dakota plenty of opportunities for points. Since both teams have favorable pathways to score, the over is the right side here.
Pick: 151 or better
McNeese State @ Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (-8, 144)
Jan. 20, 8:30 p.m.
Not much attention is paid to the Southland Conference, but more buzz should be given to a 14-4 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi squad. The Islanders play a hyper-aggressive style, ranking second nationally in turnover percentage while getting to the free-throw line at an elite rate. They also have arguably the best player in the conference: JUCO transfer Isaac Mushila.
The Islanders take on a McNeese State team they just beat by 13 on a neutral floor less than two weeks ago when they forced the Cowboys into 22 turnovers. This game will feature a ton of free throws on each side, but McNeese State ranks second-last in the country at just 58.7% from the line, while Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is second amongst Southland schools at 75.2%.
Pick: Texas A&M Corpus Christi -10 or better
Boise State @ Utah State (-1, 133)
Jan. 20, 9 p.m.
Just how good is the Mountain West? Utah State just lost three straight tight games to potential NCAA Tournament teams and now has to face another when it hosts Boise State on Thursday. The Aggies have struggled mightily from deep during their losing streak, hitting just 21.4% of their threes over that stretch.
Utah State needs to hit perimeter jumpers against Boise State - one of the best interior defenses in the country - but will likely be without its two best shooting wings. The Broncos haven't lost since November and use their size and length at all positions to cause havoc on opponents. Utah State has proven it can't compete with the upper-echelon of the Mountain West when its shots aren't falling, so a date with one of the best defenses in the nation is far from what will fix its losing streak.
Pick: Boise State -2.5 or better