Happy Saturday and welcome to another edition of Cap’n Kielar’s Best Bets. We didn’t fare too well for the first time this year on Tuesday, going 2-3. But let’s try to bounce back with a better day today as one of the biggest betting days of the year approaches, in the Super Bowl. There are a handful of big matchups in college basketball, including the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Let’s dive right into the best bets.
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Duke (-6.5) vs. Louisville
Duke barely escaped against Clemson on Tuesday, winning 71-69 behind freshman guard Paolo Banchero‘s 19 points. Louisville, on the other hand, has lost two in a row and five of their last six. The Cardinals fired head coach Chris Mack following their loss to Virginia on Monday. Even though Duke didn’t play too well last game, this is a great game to get their weaknesses right. The Blue Devils lead the ACC in scoring with 82 points per game, led by Banchero who averaged 17.9 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. They may have lost some of their offensive identity on Tuesday, but they regain it against a lowly team.
Cap’n Kielar’s Best Bet: Duke (-6.5)
LSU vs. TCU under 124
Both these teams have elite defenses and don’t play particularly fast offensively. LSU has dealt with injuries to Xavier Pinson and Darius Day, so they have had to rely on their defense. Against the Tigers, opposing teams have shot under 43 percent from the field and they have been disruptive in forcing turnovers and blocking shots. The last time out, TCU only managed 50 points in their loss to Texas and have been shaky offensively. The Horned Frogs have played well defensively as well, and with LSU shorthanded this won’t be too high-scoring.
Cap’n Kielar’s Best Bet: Under 124
Michigan vs. Michigan State (-3.5)
This will be a very good matchup. Michigan State enters off a narrow loss to Ilinois on Tuesday, while Michigan narrowly defeated Northwestern on Wednesday. This game is a bit of a toss-up, as both teams are playing at a similar level of late. The line is just not large enough to ride the underdog in this one, and the Spartans are just the better team. They play well in the post and have the proper defense to match up with Marcus Bingham Jr. Michigan state shoots well from behind the arc, while the Wolverines give up consistent good looks from the outside. The Spartans are also top-20 in effective field goal percentage defense. They have the edge and have the home-court advantage.
Cap’n Kielar’s Best Bet: Michigan State (-3.5)
Oklahoma vs. Auburn (-9.5)
Auburn got off to a bit of a shaky start as the new number one, but still held off Missouri, 55-54, on Tuesday. But against the Sooners, they should return to form as it was a very uncharacteristic performance. It was their worst offensive game of the season, as they scored 0.91 points per possession, and future lottery pick Jabari Smith was way off his game. Smith only shot 2-of-15 from the field. The defense, however, was on its game which has been terrific all season. Seven-footer Walker Kessler leads the country in block rate as he has blocked over 18 percent of two-point attempts. Smith will have a matchup advantage in this one while the Sooners will have a tough time getting by Kessler in the paint.
Cap’n Kielar’s Best Bet: Auburn (-9.5)
Baylor (-3.5) vs. Alabama
St. John’s vs. Villanova (-12.5)
Kentucky vs. Kansas (-5)
Good luck with all your bets!
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