Bet: Over 139 @ -104
I don’t have a great feel for the winner of this game. Both UConn and USC have looked strong against weak opponents this season, and either one could end up covering tonight with such a tight spread (1.5 points). However, I do love the over, because both of these teams can score points and have talent across the board.
UConn’s James Bouknight will be the best player on the floor and comes in averaging 19 points per game on 51.9% shooting from the field. He’s one of the best guards in the country and I expect him to get his fair share of open looks tonight. The Huskies average 85.5 points per game thanks to balanced scoring from Bouknight, R.J Cole and Isaiah Whaley.
For USC, they come in averaging over 83 points per game as a team and are led by the Mobley brothers, along with junior guard Drew Peterson and senior Tahj Eaddy. The balanced scoring for both teams means it’s going to be tough for one side to shut down the other. The total is relatively low at 139, and I see something like a 79-75 finish coming out of this one.
Bet: Iowa -32.5 @ -110
Iowa, led by Naismith Trophy candidate Luka Garza, has been destroying bad opponents this season, and that’s going to continue on Thursday as they face one of the worst teams in the entire country. Sure, 32.5 points is a lot to lay, but Iowa could easily win this one by 50 and it wouldn’t shock me.
Garza is, for my money, the best player in the entire country. He’s averaging an insane 33.5 points per game on 86.2% shooting. Now, a lot of that goes with who they’ve played so far, with lopsided wins over NC Central and Southern, but Western Illinois is an even worse team.
According to Ken Pomeroy’s rankings, Iowa is currently the 12th best team in the entire country. Way down at the bottom of the list, in spot 345-of-357, is where you can find Western Illinois. This is a team that went 5-21 last season with a 33-point loss to Indiana in its season opener. This year, they face the No. 3 ranked Hawkeyes to start the season and I expect it to get ugly, fast.