College Basketball Betting: Matt Cox’s 3 Up and 3 Down
Betting is all about striking when the iron’s hot. Anyone can pick out Utah State and Alabama; two wrecking balls that have laid waste to any team in their path. Here, we mine a little deeper, searching for undetected value in conference play. Join us as we venture off the beaten path for another set of 3 Up, 3 Down.
Conference Performance: 7-1 ATS; +5.1 point average cover margin
Analysis: Utah State and Boise state are hogging the early ink in Mountain West coverage – and rightfully so, as they sit a combined 18-0 in the league and an absurd 15-2-1 ATS. But don’t snooze on the Wolfpack. Steve Alford and his revamped up-sized lineup — a far cry from the guard and wing-laden lineups he built his reputation on — are proving to be a thorn in the side of MWC foes. The Pack’s big man quartet of Zane Meeks, KJ Hymes, Warren Washington, and Robby Robinson underpin a sturdy frontline fortress. They deserve credit for the Pack’s top-50 2-point field goal percentage defense and defensive rebounding rate. Along with two dynamic shot makers in Grant Sherfield and Desmond Cambridge, Alford’s established reliable inside-out scoring balance. Sitting beneath the shadows of their Mountain West overlords, the Pack continue to fly under-the-radar in the betting markets. Rating: Buy
Morehead State Eagles
Conference Performance: 6-2 ATS; +10.2 point average cover margin
Analysis: The Eagles dummied the oddsmakers with two early non-conference rollovers at Kentucky and at Ohio State, losing by 36 and 33 points, respectively. Morehead began to right the ship however when Wright State transfer Skyelar Potter became more acclimated with Preston Spradlin’s system. Tack on freshman phenom Johni Broome, a rookie big playing wise beyond his years, and the Eagles have officially plugged key gaps in their rotation (multi-dimensional wing and interior fulcrum). A 25.3% team turnover rate is a noticeable eyesore but that figure is partially inflated by two bouts against press-happy Eastern Kentucky. Spradlin is still tinkering with his backcourt rotations, but the Eagles are bound to keep climbing, especially when they start to connect from long distance. Rating: Buy
Conference Performance: 6-0 ATS; +7.7 point average cover margin
Analysis: Bill Coen could’ve pulled the inexperience card this season. Left with a predominantly underclassmen rotation, excuses were there for the taking for this young Huskies squad. Instead, Coen and crew opted to skip the rebuild phase. Paced by the electric Tyson Walker, the Boston-based Huskies are ho-humming along, a perfect 6-0 both outright and against the spread in conference play. In hindsight, we should’ve seen the writing on the wall from impressive non-conference performances against Syracuse and West Virginia. However, this burgeoning group, even under Coen’s direction, is destined for regression. Freshman and sophomore reliant teams are always prone to hitting that proverbial wall as the dog days of conference play drag on, which could be exacerbated by a number of injury risks. The variance monster is also lurking in the shadows as Northeastern’s favorable 3-point shooting luck could be poised for a correction. The Huskies rank 66th and 22nd nationally in offense and defense 3-point field goal percentage, the latter of which is aiding a top-125 ranked defensive unit. Coen deserves praise for the hot start but sustaining this pace will be a near impossible task. Rating: Sell
Conference Performance: 1-7 ATS; -5.0 point average cover margin
Analysis: Now in the second year of the Zac Claus era, the Vandals are torpedoing into Big Sky oblivion. Currently ranked 348th overall according to KenPom, the Vandals are on par with their historically bad 2019 rendition which ultimately led to the change in regime. Injuries plagued Claus’ first season at the helm, and continue to throw wrenches into his program’s development this year. Projected starters Hunter-Jack Madden and Chance Garvin have been on the shelf for most of conference play but recently returned to the fold in the second leg of a series against Northern Colorado. However, their return doesn’t move the needle where this team needs it to, specifically ball handling and shot making. Damen Thacker and Ja’Vary Christmas are in over their heads as co-pilots of the offense while the makeshift frontline leaves a lot to be desired. The only reason we rate the Vandals as a “hold” is because of how far they’ve already fallen. Still, there’s little evidence of a resounding upswing in the near future. Rating: Hold
Conference Performance: 0-6 ATS; -8.7 point average cover margin
Analysis: Mike Farrelly deserves a quaint golf clap for manning the wheel this year with head coach Joe Mihalich, out on medical leave. The Pride played with just during non-conference play as they posted admirable results at Rutgers (covered), at Monmouth (won outright by 8),and at Richmond (won outright by 5). However, complacency set in shortly after. Hofstra squeaked by William & Mary in back-to-back games before laying three straight eggs against Northeastern (twice) and Delaware. As disjointed as the Pride have looked on both ends of the floor in recent weeks, we’ve seen how high this team’s ceiling is…when they hit shots. They Pride can score with just about anyone but have been ice cold from bonus land this season (27.9%) which should trend upward given the array of shooters littered on the perimeter. Rating: Buy
Conference Performance: 1-5 ATS; -3.1 point average cover margin
Analysis: In the wake of last year’s disaster, Mike Davis overhauled the roster in the blink of an eye. His son and program cornerstone, Antoine, shouldered a heavy burden last season but thanks to daddy’s magnetic pull on the transfer wire, baby Davis now has a myriad of outlets to spray the rock to when inevitable double teams come. Be it Bul Kuol from Cal Baptist, Matt Johnson from St. Bonaventure or Marquell Fraser from Idaho, the weight of the world has been lifted off of Davis’ shoulders this season. Predictably, building chemistry and rapport with all the new faces has been tricky, but the Titans have been competitive in nearly every game this season — just not always for the full 40 minutes. That consistency should come with time, making Detroit a sneaky darkhorse to make some noise in the Horizon League. Rating: Buy
Follow Three Man Weave’s Matt Cox @matty_cox.