CBB early-week betting preview: UNC to pull out road win at Miami
The early-week college basketball slate is busier than usual, and we're taking advantage of the packed schedule.
Monday and Tuesday's best bets cover it all - home underdogs, road favorites, and a matchup between two teams that struggle to score.
Notre Dame (-11, 149.5) @ Howard
Jan. 17, 2:30 p.m. ET
This is arguably one of Howard's biggest games in recent memory - a national television spot at home against a power conference opponent in Notre Dame. The Bison fell as a favorite Saturday but are in a good spot here as a double-digit underdog in such a high-profile contest.
Howard's biggest strength is its 3-point shooting, but the team struggles to take care of the ball and the glass. However, Notre Dame doesn't pressure the ball or attack the offensive boards. While the Fighting Irish could pull away if Howard isn't hitting shots, it's worth taking the home side with such a large spread.
Pick: Howard +10 or better
Utah @ Arizona State (-2, 136)
Jan. 17, 4 p.m.
Arizona State's offense has been dreadful this season. The Sun Devils have failed to top 70 points since November, including a pitiful 51-29 loss to Washington State. Their defense is what's kept them somewhat competitive, and that should continue against a Utah team missing its best player.
The Utes have gone 1-6 in conference play and averaged 17.4 turnovers per contest over a five-game losing streak. It's likely neither team will want to play in transition in this early-afternoon matchup, so expect this total to stay below the number.
Pick: Under 135 or better
Indiana (-8.5, 144.5) @ Nebraska
Jan. 17, 6 p.m.
Nebraska has played well at home as of late, covering games against high-powered Ohio State and Illinois this month. Indiana's offense is nowhere near as potent, and the Hoosiers are 0-4 outright on the road this season.
Additionally, Nebraska's struggling 3-point defense will face an Indiana team that has just one player with more than 20 made threes this campaign. The Cornhuskers will get destroyed on the interior, but they should get an extra boost of perimeter offense with the expected return of Trey McGowens, the team's second-leading scorer last season.
Expect Nebraska to speed up the Hoosiers and keep this game tight at home.
Pick: Nebraska +8 or better
North Carolina (-3, 163) @ Miami
Jan. 18, 7 p.m.
North Carolina and Miami have two of college basketball's most efficient offenses and defenses that leave a lot to be desired. Most notably, though, the Tar Heels are the country's best jump-shooting team, per Synergy, while the Hurricanes are 317th in 3-point percentage defense.
Beyond that, Miami struggles to defend the glass, and North Carolina's Armando Bacot and Dawson Garcia each rank in the top 100 in offensive rebounding percentage. In a game filled with talented scorers, take the team that's likely to put up more shots.
Pick: North Carolina -5 or better
Davidson @ VCU (-1, 131)
Jan. 18, 7 p.m.
This game was originally included in our betting preview two weeks ago before it was postponed. VCU's matchup edge - being an uber-athletic group that defends the 3-point line exceptionally well against a Davidson team that's heavily reliant on the long ball - still stands.
The Wildcats struggled with turnovers in a tight win over Richmond on Friday, and they should have similar difficulties against a Rams team ranked fourth nationally in turnover rate. Simply put, VCU's speed and physicality should throw Davidson off its game on the road, allowing the Rams to come away with an important conference victory despite a shaky offense.
Pick: VCU -3 or better
Ohio (-1, 147) @ Miami (Ohio)
Jan. 18, 7 p.m.
Led by all-league point guard Mark Sears and an experienced core, Ohio is plowing its way through the MAC. The Bobcats have only lost to elite teams in Kentucky and LSU, and that shouldn't change against rival Miami (Ohio).
Ohio will feast inside against a Redhawks team ranked second last nationally in average height, per KenPom. Pull the trigger on a veteran Bobcats squad, and the MAC's best player, against an undersized rival with a one-possession spread.
Pick: Ohio -4 or better