College Basketball Betting: Two Picks for Tuesday’s Card
Due to COVID adjustments to many league schedules, the early week slates don’t offer much heft. Many leagues have shifted to a Friday/Saturday or Saturday/Sunday cadence, but fortunately, we still have enough quality games on the calendar to uncover some value. Let’s check in on two games for tonight where I see some value:
Duke -4 at Pittsburgh O/U 143
Hit the panic button, Blue Devils! Duke fell out of the AP Poll for the first time since 2016, which surely means the apocalypse is coming and that we should buy up all of the canned goods we can find.
Seriously, though, this Duke team is in a rut. Virginia Tech controlled the game from the opening tip last Tuesday, and Coach K needs to figure things out against one of his former pupils in Jeff Capel and Pittsburgh. For their part, the host Panthers have been terrific lately, sweeping Syracuse in their only two appearances since Christmas. So why will Duke suddenly get a big road win?
From a matchup perspective, the Blue Devils’ discipline on the defensive glass is pivotal. Pitt shredded the Orange 2-3 zone for a staggering 36 offensive boards in two games, and with Justin Champagnie back on the court, second shots have become an easy source of points for the Panthers. They rank 13th nationally in offensive rebounding rate, but Duke’s stout work on the boards (55th in defensive rebound rate) should neutralize that edge. Plus, Jalen Johnson – by far Duke’s best glass eater, by rate – made his return to the court a week ago and practiced fully all week. He’s a 5-star freshman who should make a major impact in multiple facets of the game.
One last factor: shooting luck. It’s hard to predict, but Pitt’s opponents are currently making just 25.9% from downtown, eighth in the country, while Duke’s foes are hitting a torrid 37.7%, 300th nationally. Teams only have so much control over that, so some regression in both directions would be an added benefit for the visiting Blue Devils.
Southeast Missouri State +5 at Tennessee State O/U 134
To close out our Tuesday picks, let’s go off the beaten path to the OVC, where the Redhawks of Southeast Missouri State head to Nashville for a rematch with Tennessee State. SEMO actually took the first meeting in Cape Girardeau, prevailing in double overtime thanks to a preposterous 40-for-51 performance from the free throw line.
Except the thing is maybe it wasn’t that preposterous. The Redhawks live at the line, ranking 26th nationally in free throw rate thanks to two physical guards in DQ Nicholas and Chris Harris, while Tennessee State’s defense cannot help but hack, ranking 339th in defensive free throw rate.
The concerns here are twofold. First, Tennessee State’s fouling is a by-product of its pressure, and SEMO has been sloppy with the ball (289th in turnover rate). Second, Tennessee State undoubtedly has revenge on its mind after the tough luck loss in the first meeting. Still, this game is a near-coin flip to me, meaning that five points is too appealing to refuse.
Follow Three Man Weave’s Jim Root @2ndChancePoints.