Conference tournies continue to roll along for the smaller schools while the big schools are still trying to polish off their resumes before postseason play begins. This is what the beginning of March brings every year and from a betting standpoint it’s one of the best times to attack. We have a lot of teams in must win mode for a variety of reasons and we get to see some of the schools that will be trying to play Cinderella come tourney time.
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Friday’s are usually the worst day for CBB, but not this week as we have a bunch of potential plays in the sports betting world. Plus as I said before it’s never a bad idea to get some info on teams we will be using in our brackets next month. This article is going to breakdown a few matchups that I think have some value and could make for good bets on this big time Friday slate.
CBB Games Against the Spread
5 PM EST VMI -4 at Samford, O/U 153.5
Opening round of the Southern conference tournament so we have some of the bottom dwellers facing off. The 8th and 9th seeded teams play here and the winner will have the opportunity to most likely get decimated by East Tennessee State tomorrow. Furthermore this conference has 0 days off so if anyone does make a miracle run they will have to play four straight days of basketball. That’s not going to happen and isn’t even important, but this game does pique my interest in the betting market.
VMI has had a rough season going 8-23 on the year and just 3-15 in the conference. If I was trying to find a bright spot it would be that down the stretch they were competitive with just one loss by 10+ points over their last 10 games. Some of that competition includes teams like ETSU and that shows the Keydets are still fighting down the stretch and are a dangerous team. They rely on the three ball as they take the second most in the country so if they are to win games it has to be because of hot outside shooting. Other than their 3 point abilities nothing really stands out and defensively they struggle.
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On the other side Samford also had a bad year which is why they find themselves in this opening round of the tournament. The terriers are just 10-22 on the year and 4-14 in conference play. They did sweep VMI during the year winning both matchups and will be looking for the rare feat of beating a team three times in a single season. Samford unlike VMI relies on an inside presence and an extreme tempo where they really want to get out and run.
Its rare to see a team with tempo and not shoot a lot of threes, but that’s what this squad is going to give us. They are a quality free throw shooting team (74%) and will look to get in the bonus and rack up easy points. Similar to VMI they are a bad defensive squad and have to find ways to limit the 3’s if they are going to survive and advance here.
I was a little surprised to see VMI a 4 point favorite here, but they have been better down the stretch despite the poor record. What interests me from a betting standpoint in this game is the total which sits at 153.5. The way VMI shoots from beyond the arc is going to be a problem and when you factor in the pace Samford plays its an environment that should produce a lot of points. The last game for both teams was vs each other and that produced 162 points with Samford coming out as a six point winner. With tournament games we also see the late game fouling magnified which can give these overs even more runway. Ill back this one coming in similarly to the last matchup of these two teams and think over 153.5 is firmly in play on this slate.
My Pick: Over 153.5
7:30 PM EST Citadel vs Wofford -15 , O/U 147
Second opening game of the Southern conference and another I have interest in on the betting side of things. The Citadel Bulldogs went 0-18 in conference play and sit at 6-23 on the season. Naturally when you don’t win in conference play you come into the tournament with quite a losing streak and theirs currently sits at 18 straight games.
The Citadel is another team in this conference that wants to play fast ranking 10 in tempo per Kenpom while shooting the 12th most 3 pointers in the country per game. That combination makes them high variance, but unfortunately they don’t shoot a great % and have absolutely resistance on the defensive side of the ball. That has to change as they cannot keep up offensively with teams and its why they come into this game having lost seven straight by 10+ points.. If the Citadel has any chance to pull the upset then guard Kaelon Harris needs to be the leader as he comes in averaging 14 points per game.
Last year Wofford was a historically good Southern conference team and showed that to the country by beating Seton Hall and then losing a battle to Kentucky in the second round of the tournament. That team naturally was a different unit and Wofford suffered some major losses to graduation which is why they find themselves in a different situation that season. The Terriers sit at 16-15 on the season and really aren’t considered live to do much damage in this conference tourney.
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Wofford doesn’t play fast like the Citadel, but they also love to shoot the three ball ranking 11th in the country in 3 pointers attempted per game. They shoot a much better percentage from both 2 and 3 point land and that is why they are a sizeable favorite in this spot. Senior Nathan Hoover leads this team and they will try and lean on the experience from last year during postseason play even if the personnel is vastly different.
Another game where although I have a slight lean to the lowly Citadel in terms of a side I have more interest in targeting this total, which sits at 147. The way both of these teams aren’t afraid to take threes will give an opportunity for points to be had and this to get out and moving. Avoiding the blowout is somewhat important as the cheap intentional fouls late are huge, but as I said I think Citadel at least stays in the game relative to where the spread sits.
These teams met twice during the season with the first game being a close 73-71 Wofford win and the second being a 79-56 blowout. In both games Wofford shot under 30% from 3 and the Citadel wasn’t much better shooting 30 and 21% in the two matchups. I think both teams eclipse those numbers from behind the arc and that is a main reason I think this gets over the 147 total.
My Pick: Over 147
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