CBB best bets: Favorites to back in early-season tournaments
It was a rough start to Feast Week, with multiple bad beats hampering our Monday and Tuesday slates.
As the week continues, we take a look at some of the best favorites on the board with neutral-site games largely removing home-court advantage in key matchups.
Saint Mary's vs. Wisconsin (-1, 120.5)
Nov. 24, 5 p.m. ET
Wisconsin and Saint Mary's play similar brands of basketball - slow, methodical and mistake-free. That's how both squads made it to the Maui Invitational finals, despite not topping 69 points in any game.
The difference is the Gaels don't have Johnny Davis, Wisconsin's sophomore star, who's scored 51 points in his last two games. Look for Davis and the Badgers to pull out a tight one.
Pick: Wisconsin -2 or better
East Tennessee State vs. Kent State (-1, 135)
Nov. 24, 8 p.m.
Kent State has looked awfully impressive during Feast Week, with a collection of skilled players hitting shots at a high clip. Duquesne transfer Sincere Carry has led the way, shooting 50% from beyond the arc.
Meanwhile, East Tennessee State has allowed three of its five opponents to nail at least 10 threes. With such a small spread, side with the Golden Flashes' talent.
Pick: Kent State -2 or better
Ohio State vs. Florida (-1.5, 139.5)
Nov. 24, 8:30 p.m.
Florida's defense has been off the charts this season, allowing just 55.2 points per game. The Gators face their stiffest test of the early schedule against Ohio State, a team that runs almost entirely through forward E.J. Liddell.
The bet here is that elite defender Anthony Duruji can at least put some pressure on Liddell and force the rest of the Buckeyes to step up. The hope is also that Ohio State doesn't shoot 50% from deep like it did against Seton Hall on Monday.
Pick: Florida -2 or better
George Mason vs. South Dakota State (-4, 151.5)
Nov. 24, 9:30 p.m.
George Mason made some noise early after knocking off Maryland, but have lost three straight since. The Patriots take on South Dakota State's juggernaut offense, a group that can score from inside or out. Five of the Jackrabbits' six games have reached a total over 153.
Both squads love to jack up threes and play with pace, which makes the over a nice play here, but also consider taking South Dakota State to knock off a slightly overrated George Mason group.
Pick: Over 153 or better, South Dakota State -5 or better
Pepperdine vs. TCU (-10, 137.5)
Nov. 24, 10:30 p.m.
TCU's offense has struggled early on, but its defense has done a good job forcing turnovers and protecting the paint. The Horned Frogs take on a Pepperdine group that starts two freshmen guards who've never faced a power conference team before.
Look for TCU to impose its physicality early and often against the Waves and run away with this one.
Pick: TCU -12 or better
Belmont vs. Drake (-2, 150)
Nov. 25, 7:30 p.m.
Drake and Belmont both return a large contingent of last season's rosters and are seen as two of the best mid-majors in the country. However, Belmont has struggled early in the season with physicality down low, and Drake has the size to take advantage, especially on the offensive glass where the Bulldogs excel.
This total is also surprisingly low, considering how efficient both teams run offense. Expect a high-scoring affair and for Drake to pull away down the stretch.
Pick: Over 154 or better, Drake -3 or better