CBB weekend betting preview: Take the points with a pair of top-20 teams
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We're off to a blazing 7-1 start against the spread in college basketball this season, a campaign that's been light on marquee matchups but heavy on value so far. It's the same story this weekend, which features only two games between ranked opponents, but plenty of contests worth targeting.

Here are a few of my favorite bets for the weekend.

Troy at No. 17 Texas Tech (-26), Dec. 4 @ 9 p.m. ET

Texas Tech was one of my favorite teams entering the year, and I'm compelled to bet the Red Raiders in every big-chalk spot like this one. They demolished their first two opponents by a combined 75 points before Sunday's loss to a really good Houston team that benefited from a cold night from Texas Tech's top two shooters.

This matchup more closely resembles those first two games, as Troy can't score in an empty gym and will struggle to work the perimeter - where the Trojans are most efficient - against a Texas Tech defense that ranks third in adjusted efficiency and is a nightmare for ill-prepared offenses.

The Trojans lost by 23 to UNC-Wilmington on Saturday, so good luck backing them here.

Pick: Texas Tech -26

South Alabama at Auburn (-10.5), Dec. 4 @ 9 p.m.

I entered the year skeptical of Auburn after it self-imposed a postseason ban, essentially punting on the season and giving its players that much less reason to try in what was already a rebuilding campaign. Since then, St. Joe's (+7.5) took the Tigers to overtime, and they lost by 23 to Gonzaga (-17.5) and by eight to UCF (-1.5).

This line is probably a bit low with the Tigers facing a South Alabama squad that hasn't been challenged yet, but the Jaguars can shoot threes with the best of 'em, and Auburn has yet to find its touch despite attempting the eighth-most 3-pointers in the country. That alone could swing this matchup if the Tigers' lackadaisical play doesn't do them in first.

Pick: South Alabama +10.5

No. 1 Gonzaga (-3.5) vs. No. 2 Baylor, Dec. 5 @ 1 p.m.

This is easily the best game of the young season, as the two top teams in the country face off in Indianapolis. So why is Gonzaga giving 3.5 points to Baylor in a coin-flip contest?

The Bulldogs have impressed with two wins over top-11 teams, though the Bears are coming off their own statement victory over No. 5 Illinois and have looked every bit as dominant en route to a 3-0 start. And while Baylor doesn't possess the size of Gonzaga inside, its elite rebounding rate - coupled with lethal outside shooting - puts the Zags in a tough position if they can't gain traction against the Bears' top-10 defense.

The X-factor is Jalen Suggs, who briefly left Wednesday's win over West Virginia with what looked like a serious injury before returning with a limp in the second half. He finished the game with four points over 26 minutes, and Gonzaga's offense simply didn't look the same without him in top form. If he's not 100% in this one, that's all the more reason to take the points and run.

Pick: Baylor +3.5

No. 12 Villanova (-2.5) at No. 17 Texas, Dec. 6 @ 1 p.m.

I've had this game circled on my calendar since the season began, just hoping Texas would be the underdog. Sure enough, even after Villanova's overtime loss to Virginia Tech on Saturday, it's still giving points to a Longhorns squad coming off impressive wins against Indiana and North Carolina. Both of those teams struggled to generate any offense against Shaka Smart's second-ranked defense.

Texas allowed 17 more rebounds and 18 more free throws than UNC in that contest, and it still won on the back of its outside shooting, and an aggressive defense that flummoxed the Tar Heels. Those margins won't exist against Villanova, which was dominated on the boards versus Virginia Tech and has struggled to get to the line this year.

Instead, the Wildcats rely on ball control and a deliberate tempo to power one of the country's most efficient offenses. That won't work against Texas, which should control the rhythm of Sunday's game and find enough success against Villanova's leaky perimeter defense to win this heavyweight fight.

Pick: Texas +2.5

C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.

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CBB weekend betting preview: Take the points with a pair of top-20 teams
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