This has been a wild college basketball season. Outside of undefeated Ohio State, can you really say there is a dominant team. Heck, the Buckeyes have played multiple one possession games as of late pulling them all out. Yesterday helped me reaffirm a few of my basic gambling tenets. First, the road favorite is like kryptonite at times for me. If you've followed these picks, you'd probably notice I'm on mostly home teams. Something about the fans being behind the team makes me want to take the home squad. Ideally, I'd like them to be favored, but that's not a must as in college basketball, the home underdog is money. I feel more confident when the team I bet on is at home.
Tenet number two is that I rarely take the under. Ironically, I have no problem doing so in college football, but for some reason in basketball I just can't do it. It doesn't feel right rooting against baskets. It's like rooting for the Russians during the Cold War or throwing money on the "don't pass" in a craps game. It's hard to watch a game and root for ugliness. I'm not saying that the under is a bad bet because there are some with the stomachs and non-white hair to make bets like this. I stick to the overs.
Tenet number three is to NEVER say "this looks good" or "that's a guaranteed winner." You might as well rip up that ticket if someone tells you that. I guarantee Mark Buerhle doesn't throw a perfect game if someone told him about it. You just don't jinx someone in a situation like that. There's so much that can happen especially in a short period of time. Let's take the case of the over in the Houston/Marshall game on Tuesday night. After the first 25 mins or so, these two teams were on a great pace for the over when it suddenly turned into a defensive struggle. Not making excuses, but you'll also hear the consummate gambler say this..."I was on the right side, with the wrong result."
Basically, the above exercise was a way for me to apologize to the reader for the poor day. It happens in gambling. It's why the Yankees, Lakers and Flyers don't win all of their games. Yes, I put the Flyers in there, because I love hockey and I love my Flyers. We'll bounce back with these winners.
Providence -6.5 -- The Friars return home after losing at Seton Hall. They'll host South Florida who has yet to win on the road this season. In five conference road games, they have put up 66 points or less in each contest. The team has lost nine of their last 11 games. One of the wins in that stretch was at home against Providence who has equal issues on the road. The Bulls average just 63 points per contest which is good for 133rd overall. They lean on Augustus Gilchrist (12.9 ppg), Jawanza Poland (10.3 ppg) and Hugh Robertson (9.2 ppg). Meanwhile, Providence is averaging almost 78 points per game. They are giving up over 72 per contest which is why they are 13-9, 2-7 in the Big East. The Friars are led by Marshon Brooks (23.3 ppg), Vincent Council (14.5 ppg) and Gerard Coleman (10.9 ppg). They have won two straight at home knocking off Louisville and Villanova. The Friars have the edge at guard in this one and should be able to make up for the lack of forward depth.
Ohio -2 -- The Bobcats hit the road for the 2nd straight time as they take on Central Michigan on Wednesday night. Ohio has won two straight and is almost at .500 for the season. The team is playing better basketball as of late coming off a win at Ball State last time out. Ohio has won at Akron, at Ball State, at Illinois State and at Santa Clara. The Bobcats score 73.5 points per game while also allowing nearly that much. D.J. Cooper (17 ppg), DeVaughn Washington (11.7 ppg) and Tommy Freeman (10.6 ppg) join two others who average nine points per contest on this balanced Bobcat squad. Central Michigan is in the midst of a lost season. The Chippewas are 5-15, 2-5 in the MAC conference. They score just 57.8 points per contest with the majority of them coming from Trey Zeigler (17 ppg) and Jalin Thomas (15.2 ppg). CMU has scored over 60 points in just four games since December 20th. Their five wins have come against Illinois Chicago, Cal State Fullerton, Cornerstone University, Toledo and Northern Illinois. Most good teams with a pulse that have come to their building have walked away with an easy victory. We think Ohio will do the same.