We have games galore on Saturday’s stacked college basketball card. All lines that I reference are what the numbers were as of late Friday afternoon. Okay, let’s hit on some trends, tweets, teams, injuries and other news from across the country.
—Drake (19-1 straight up, 15-3 against the spread) is a 2.5-point home underdog Saturday vs. Loyola-Chicago. The Bulldogs will be without their leading scorer and rebounder, ShanQuan Hemphill, who averages 14.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. Hemphill had surgery to repair his fractured foot and is expected to be out for about a month. The Ramblers bring a 10-game winning streak to Des Moines, and they’re 10-1-1 ATS in their last 12 contests. The Missouri Valley Conference rivals will run it back again on Sunday afternoon.
—Georgia is in its richest underdog situation of the season on Saturday. Tom Crean’s team is listed as a 14-point road underdog at Alabama. The Bulldogs are 5-2 ATS with four outright victories in their last seven games as underdogs. I backed UGA on Wednesday night when it covered the spread in backdoor fashion as a 12.5-point ‘dog in an 89-81 loss at Tennessee. The Volunteers snapped UGA’s three-game winning streak. Alabama is mired in a 1-3 ATS slump with two outright defeats — at Oklahoma and at Missouri on consecutive Saturdays — in its last four outings. Star senior forward Herb Jones is ‘questionable’ vs. UGA due to a back issue.
–After losing back-to-back games to Nevada in Reno last week, Boise St. is on the bubble. The Broncos got back on track with Thursday’s 78-66 win over UNLV as nine-point home ‘chalk.’ They’re unbeaten in eight home games with each victory coming by a double-digit margin. BSU is a 10-point home favorite Saturday night in a rematch with the Runnin’ Rebels.
–Since losing at home to Florida two Saturdays ago, West Virginia has ripped off three straight wins, including a 91-79 home win over Kansas and an 82-71 victory at Texas Tech. Listed as a four-point home favorite for Saturday’s 1:00 p.m. Eastern tip vs. Oklahoma in Morgantown, WVU will be seeking to avenge a 75-71 loss to the Sooners in Norman last month. Trailing 38-20 at intermission in the first meeting, I jumped all over the Mountaineers as three-point favorites in the second half (+15 adjusted). They caught up and even briefly surged into the lead before losing by four.
–Here are some other squads that have been cashing tickets — like Drake with its 15-3 ATS mark — at a frenetic clip this year: Toledo (16-5 ATS), Morehead St. (15-5), Nevada (15-5), Belmont (15-5-1), Prairie View A&M (10-1), Baylor (13-4), Cleveland St. (13-5-1), Houston (13-5) and Grand Canyon (10-2).
–Nevada’s two games at San Jose St. this weekend have been postponed.
—Nation’s Top FADE Teams: Eastern Illinois (5-17 ATS), St. Francis (PA.) (4-14), No. Iowa (3-13), Duke (3-12), Arizona St. (3-12), Michigan St. (4-13), Western Carolina (4-13-1), Tennessee St. (4-13), Portland (4-12), Marquette (6-14) and Kansas St. (6-14).
–One team that has suddenly caught fire in the last two weeks is Ole Miss. Since losing back-to-back games by double digits at Arkansas and at Georgia, the Rebels have won three straight games both SU and ATS. First, they rallied to nip Tennessee, 52-50, as 3.5-point home underdogs on Feb. 2. Then after trailing by double digits for a good chunk of the second half, Kermit Davis’s team forced overtime at Auburn last Saturday. Ole Miss captured an 86-84 win as a four-point underdog in OT. Then on Wednesday, the Rebels destroyed Missouri from start to finish in an 80-59 triumph.
–Ole Miss went into the Auburn game sporting the nation’s best ‘under’ record at 15-2. However, the ‘over’ has hit in back-to-back contests for the Rebels.
–Florida will miss its third straight game Saturday. The Gators had to pull out of road games at LSU and at Tennessee due to COVID issues. Then it was Texas A&M that received several COVID positive test results this week, forcing the Aggies to back out of Saturday’s trip to UF.
–In Joe Lunardi’s latest edition of ‘Bracketology’ filed to ESPN.com this morning, the Gators are a No. 7 seed slotted to face 10th-seeded North Carolina, with a likely date against second-seeded Villanova set for the winner in the Round of 32. UF and UNC have only met once in NCAA Tournament history, when the Gators topped the Tar Heels in the 2000 Final Four to advance to the finals where they lost to Tom Izzo’s ‘Flintstones’ squad.
–Lunardi’s ‘Last Four Byes’ include UNC, Seton Hall, Drake and Boise St. His ‘Last Four In’ are VCU, Stanford, Oregon and Colorado St. Lunardi’s ‘First Four Out’ are UConn, Saint Louis, Richmond and Western Kentucky. His ‘Next Four Out’ consist of Penn St., Maryland, Syracuse and St. John’s.
–The Red Storm saw their six-game winning (and 8-0 ATS surge) end earlier this week in an overtime loss at Butler as a 1.5-point underdog.
–California is on a 6-2 ATS run in its last eight games after covering the spread in Thursday’s 76-75 loss to Utah as a four-point home underdog. The Golden Bears are 11-point home underdogs Saturday vs. Colorado. The Buffaloes are 5-4 both SU and ATS in nine road assignments after winning impressively Thursday at Stanford. Mark Fox’s team is 3-1 ATS in four games as a double-digit underdog this season, and it is 6-2 ATS in its last eight contests when listed as an underdog of eight points or more.
–Auburn is a two-point underdog Saturday at Rupp Arena. After going 5-0-1 ATS in Sharife Cooper’s first six games, the Tigers are 0-2-1 ATS in their last three contests. The ‘over’ is on a 4-1 run for AU and is 6-3 when Cooper is in the lineup. Kentucky (5-13 SU, 5-12-1 ATS) has lost seven of its last eight games both SU and ATS.
–In the below tweet, it doesn’t appear as if Justin Powell will be returning from a concussion to play for Auburn on Saturday at UK:
–Ohio St., a 6.5-point home favorite Saturday vs. Indiana, is 8-1 in its last nine games with a 7-2 spread record. The ‘over’ is on a 7-2 run for the Buckeyes. The Hoosiers are 5-2 ATS with three outright wins (and two narrow losses in overtime) in seven games as underdogs this year.
–Minnesota is basically automatic at home. The Gophers pulled out a three-point win at The Barn last night as 2.5-point home ‘chalk’ vs. Purdue.
–Two outstanding Saturday games that have been postponed: Texas Tech at Baylor and Louisville at Virginia Tech.
—Saturday’s Best Games:
1-Oklahoma at West Virginia
2-Villanova at Creighton
3-Loyola-Chicago at Drake
4-Indiana at Ohio St.
5-Arkansas at Missouri
6-Tennessee at LSU
–I own the following future tickets to win the 2021 NCAA Tournament: Florida (50/1), Colorado (60/1), Alabama (40/1), Illinois (15/1), Ohio St. (25/1) and West Virginia (25/1). We shall see…
–A couple of quick tidbits: You can follow me on twitter at @vegasbedwards. You can follow MajorWager’s twitter account for injury information and other gambling goodies at @majorwagerUNO. Also, I’m now co-hosting a sports betting show with Allan Bell on Tuesdays and Fridays at 2:00 p.m. Central. The AtoZ Sports Picks Show is sponsored by AtoZ Sports out of Nashville, which is co-owned by a couple of buddies I’ve worked with in the past in Zach Bingham and Austin Stanley.
–Okay, folks. That’s going to be a wrap for me on this Friday. Best of luck with your bets and I hope everyone has a great weekend!