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Harry’s How to Handicap College Hoops

Harry's How to Handicap College Hoops

My first rule in handicapping college basketball games is that you are only as good as your last game.

Even though a team may have looked great and covered the spread easily one night, that doesn’t mean 19-year-old kids will do the same the next game. Sometimes in Division 1 hoops, teams don’t produce the same effort or have the same motivation after a huge win. You’ll often see an underdog pick up a home win during the week and then lose and not cover on the weekend against a team only slightly better than them because they have nothing left after their big triumph.

Secondly, it’s important to consider a team’s depth and monitor injury reports. The loss of a key player could set back an undermanned team that doesn’t have an excess of quality bench players.

As well, upsets are nice, but you must be able to determine whether it was a fluke or if a squad is really capable of competing against teams that are better than them overall.

We are heading into the last few games of conference play and these games can be “tricky” from a wagering standpoint since teams might be more focused on being ready for their conference tournament and wanting to keep everyone healthy.

Harry’s Hypothesis on College Hoops Hidden Gems for this Weekend

My Hidden Gems were on point during the college football season, considering I never had a losing week, so we’ve decided to bring them back for college basketball. Here are a few that make sense, even though you may not be overly familiar with these schools. The bottom line is that they all pay the same no matter what team you bet on.

Friday, February 21

Sacred Heart at Merrimack

Harrys Hypothetical Spread is Merrimack -9.5

Merrimack is in first place in the Northeast Conference at 12-3 and has won 11 of its last 13 games. The Warriors won at Sacred Heart earlier this season by eight and the Pioneers are in the middle of a three-game road trip. Five of Merrimack’s last seven wins have come by double digits.

Prediction: Merrimack 77, Sacred Heart 62

Saturday, February 22

Wofford at Furman

Harry’s Hypothetical Spread is Furman -8.5

The Paladins of Furman are tied for first place in the Southern Conference while the Terriers of Wofford are in the middle of the standings. Furman has been hot lately, winning seven in a row as of Monday, but this Wofford squad has upset the North Carolina Tar Heels this year and already beat Furman earlier. The Terriers have owned Furman of late and they keep this game close and within the number.

Prediction: Furman 70, Wofford 66

California Baptist at Chicago State

Harry’s Hypothetical Spread is Cal Baptist -11

Chicago State is 0-12 in the WAC and has only one Division 1 victory. The Lancers of Cal Baptist won the first meeting by 23 and have scored 98 and 107 points in their last two games.

Prediction: California Baptist 89, Chicago State 71

Harry’s Baker’s Dozen of Big-Time College Basketball Plays

Saturday, February 22

Harry’s Hypothetical Spreads Are:

Kansas at Baylor -5.5

This Baylor team is making Vegas crazy. No matter what the line is, the Bears win and usually cover. Tuesday night’s victory at Oklahoma gave the Bears a Big 12 record of 23 straight conference wins. They also figured out how to win for the second straight game without star guard MaCio Teague. Baylor is excellent on defense and that proved to be true in the first matchup against the Jayhawks in Lawrence — the Bears won by 12 — and it will again on Saturday in Waco.

Prediction: Baylor 72, Kansas 63

Marquette at Providence +2

Marquette was stunned on Tuesday at home against the Creighton Bluejays. The Golden Eagles are ninth in the nation in three-point percentage and have the country’s leading scorer in Markus Howard (27.3 ppg) but the Bluejays only allowed Marquette to shoot 24 percent from long range and held Howard to just 14 points. That alone makes me love Marquette on Saturday in a bounce-back game on the road.

Prediction: Marquette 80, Providence 69

Duquesne at Dayton -10

The Flyers just keep winning, as they did Tuesday on the road against conference foe VCU. Dayton leads the nation in field-goal efficiency at 52.3 percent, but the Dukes are tough (18-6) and lost to Dayton by only four points in their first matchup. I’ll put my money on Duquesne with double digits after the tough game Dayton played on Tuesday.

Prediction: Dayton 71, Duquesne 65

Villanova at Xavier -2.5

The Wildcats won in their first meeting, but Xavier has won four of its last five games (including a win at Seton Hall) and at 6-7 in Big East play, the Musketeers need this win more than ’Nova.

Prediction: Xavier 76, Villanova 70

Florida State at NC State -1

NC State is 7-7 in ACC play and right on the fence of teams hoping for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. If this line is as low as I feel it will be, it could sucker bettors in on a much better Florida State team, but the Raleigh faithful get NC State to hang around and pull off this much-needed win.

Prediction: NC State 61, Florida State 58

Florida at Kentucky -8.5

Both teams are coming off wins on Tuesday night, but this Wildcats team is too deep as usual, having four players averaging 12 points or more.

Prediction: Kentucky 77, Florida 62

UNLV at San Diego State -13.5

The Aztecs remain the only undefeated team (26-0) and are ninth in the nation at shooting from three-point range. Seven of San Diego State’s last eight wins have been by double digits, the only exception a 71-67 victory over the Rebels in Las Vegas, so I’ll have faith in UNLV to keep it close in a low-scoring matchup.

Prediction: San Diego State 63, UNLV 55

Oregon at Arizona -3

These teams played a tough game the first go-around with the Ducks escaping with a one-point win. Senior guard Payton Pritchard averages 20 points a game and will be the deciding factor as the Ducks take the second game against the Wildcats as well.

Prediction: Oregon 79, Arizona 76

Gonzaga at BYU +5

This BYU team is really good and could play the Zags tough, but in the end, Gonzaga will pull away. The Bulldogs are first in the country in points scored and second in field-goal percentage, and they beat BYU by 23 the first time.

Prediction: Gonzaga 86, BYU 74

Sunday, February 23

Maryland at Ohio State -3

Maryland won by 12 in its first matchup with the Buckeyes, but the Terrapins won at Michigan State last weekend and Ohio State, at 7-7 in Big Ten play, needs it more.

Prediction: Ohio State 75, Maryland 66

Penn State at Indiana +1.5

Penn State is coming off a surprising home loss to Illinois and will be focused to rebound against a Hoosiers team that continues to spiral.

Prediction: Penn State 68, Indiana 61

Wichita State at Cincinnati -6

Is this payback for Wichita State? Cincinnati is tied for the lead in the American Athletic Conference and stunned the Shockers two weeks ago on a last-second shot to win 80-79. The Bearcats have had a run of close games, with their last five decided by six points or less. The Shockers return the favor on Sunday.

Prediction: Wichita State 82, Cincinnati 74

Butler at Creighton -3.5

Creighton, coming off its road win on Tuesday at Marquette, is making a run at its first-ever Big East regular-season championship. Butler has struggled of late, losing six of its last 10 conference games.

Prediction: Creighton 69, Butler 59

Harry’s Hypothetical Hoops Prop Shop

The Baylor Bears are ranked No. 1 in the polls and are wrecking every team that gets in their way, but the same can be said for the women of Baylor. The Lady Bears are also the No. 1 team in the land, so it got us thinking at Odds Shark how to combine both in a prop.

How Many Basketball Championships will Baylor win in 2020?

0 +140
1 +575
2 +1200