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NCAA basketball odds, picks and predictions: Kentucky collides with Auburn in SEC showdown

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March Madness is moving in fast with February coming to a close. If you’re betting the NCAA basketball odds, we’re providing picks and predictions for the biggest Top 25 matchups on the college basketball schedule as well as need-to-know NCAA basketball betting notes for this weekend’s action.

PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS AT IOWA HAWKEYES

 

Penn State is not playing well, following two straight losses with a slim one-point win over Rutgers Wednesday. The Nittany Lions have failed to cover the NCAA basketball pointspreads in each of those contests, unable to put in a consistent 40-minute effort in those outings.

Penn State is plagued by slow starts, scoring just 26 and 24 points in the opening half in losses to Illinois and Indiana before exploding for 42 points in the opening half versus Rutgers. However, PSU went ice cold coming out of the break and scored only nine points in the opening 10 minutes of the second half and finished with only 23 points in the final frame.

Iowa has been competitive in its last three outings, covering in each of those games. That’s been fueled by strong starts, with the Hawkeyes putting up first-half efforts of 33 and 46 points in games versus Michigan State and Ohio State and averaging almost 40 first-half points at home on the year. That could offer an opportunity with Iowa’s first-half spread hosting Penn State Saturday.

AUBURN TIGERS AT KENTUCKY WILDCATS

 

Kentucky has revenge on its mind facing the Tigers at home this Saturday. Auburn dealt Kentucky a 75-66 loss in Alabama on February 1 but the real stinger was a 77-71 defeat at the hands of War Eagle in the Elite Eight of last year’s NCAA tournament.

The Wildcats bring their best basketball into this SEC showdown, winning seven straight games while posting a 6-1 ATS mark in that span. What’s more impressive is that four of those games came on the road, including tough stops at Tennessee, LSU and most recently Texas A&M, and UK has checked those foes to just 65 points per game. The Wildcats are extra stingy on their home court, allowing under 38 percent shooting from the floor while limiting visitors to just over 29 percent success from distance.

The Tigers have stubbed their toe away from home in recent weeks, losing four of their last six road outings outright while needing overtime to pick up those two victories – going 1-5 ATS as visitors in that span. Bruce Pearl’s team watches its shooting percentage dip from 46 percent to 39 percent in opposing gyms, including just 26.3 percent from 3-point range on the road. We’re going to take a long look at Auburn’s team total inside Rupp Arena, leaning toward the Under. 

MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS AT MARYLAND TERRAPINS 

 

Maryland is breathing a little heavy after a narrow one-point win at Minnesota Wednesday, edging the Golden Gophers 74-73 and playing Over the 134.5-point total. The Terrapins have topped the total in three straight games and seven of their last 10 contests heading into Saturday’s huge home date with Michigan State.

The Spartans lost at home to Maryland on February 15 in a 67-60 contest that stayed below the 138-point number despite a fast and furious opening half which produced 70 points, including 39 first-half points from Maryland. Since then, Michigan State has hung scores of 86 and 78 points on the board, including 51 second-half points in Tuesday’s victory over Iowa.

These Big Ten rivals have been a winner for Under bettors in recent meetings, with a 2-7-1 Over/Under mark in their last 10 matchups. However, with the Izzone buzzing for this 8 p.m. ET national TV start and both team capable of lighting it up – depending on the opening total – we think the Over is worth a wager between Maryland and Michigan State.

MID-MAJOR TO WATCH: MONTANA GRIZZLIES (17-10 SU, 13-12 ATS, 13-12 O/U)

The Grizzlies are battling to stay atop the Big Sky Conference with four games left on their schedule, including this Saturday’s matchup with Sacramento State – the program’s third straight road game after playing at Montana State last Saturday and at Northern Arizona Thursday.

Montana was one of the hottest mid-major wagers in college hoops, having covered in six straight games heading into Thursday but came up short as a 2.5-point road favorite in a 57-56 loss at Northern Arizona. Keep an eye on its odds against the Hornets and how much Montana may have left in the tank after a tough week of travel.

ODDS TO WIN 2020 MARCH MADNESS

TEAM ODDS TO WIN
KANSAS JAYHAWKS +800
BAYLOR BEARS +1,100
GONZAGA BULLDOGS +1,100
DUKE BLUE DEVILS +1,500
LOUISVILLE CARDINALS +1,600
DAYTON FLYERS +1,700
MARYLAND TERRAPINS +1,800
SAN DIEGO STATE AZTECS +2,200
MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS +2,500
KENTUCKY WILDCATS +2,500
OREGON DUCKS +2,500
SETON HALL PIRATES +2,800
ARIZONA WILDCATS +3,300
PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS +3,300
VILLANOVA WILDCATS +3,300
CREIGHTON BLUEJAYS +3,300
FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES +3,300
AUBURN TIGERS +4,000
OHIO STATE BUCKEYES +4,000
MICHIGAN WOLVERINES +4,000
BUTLER BULLDOGS +5,500
IOWA HAWKEYES +5,500
WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS +5,500
VIRGINIA CAVALIERS +5,500
COLORADO BUFFALOES +6,000
BYU COUGARS +6,000
XAVIER MUSKETEERS +7,000
PURDUE BOILERMAKERS +7,000
WICHITA STATE SHOCKERS +7,000
MEMPHIS TIGERS +7,000

BETTING TRENDS AND NOTES

• One of the best under-the-radar NCAA basketball bets has been taking the Over in Seattle Redhawks road games this season. Seattle is just 4-7 Over/Under at home but a remarkable 10-2 Over/Under in the role of visitor. The Redhawks average 70 points for and allow 76.4 points against away from home – not exactly stat sheet-stuffing results – but continue to come in above the number in those road games. Bettors get one last kick at the can with Seattle road Overs when the team visits California Baptist this Saturday, its final away game of the regular season.

The Butler Bulldogs could have guards Kamar Baldwin and Aaron Thompson back on the court for this Saturday’s showdown with DePaul. Both players were injured in a bad loss to Creighton on Sunday and are officially listed as day-to-day, but Bulldogs coach LaVall Jordan told a radio show that he believes the two starters will be available. Baldwin leads the team with 15.9 points per game while Thompson is scoring 6.8 points and dishing out almost five assists per outing. Both are among Butler’s best defenders, headlining a defense giving up only 62.8 points per game this season.

• A number of mid-major conferences play their final games of the regular season this weekend, with regular season titles and No. 1 seeds in the conference tournament still up for grabs. The Big South has a battle at the top between Radford and Winthrop, Wright State and Northern Kentucky play for No. 1 in the Horizon League Friday, and Robert Morris and St. Francis (PA) will duke it out for the Northeast regular season crown (in a weird twist with true No. 1 Merrimack ineligible to compete in postseason) on Saturday.

Verlander injury shuffles Astros’ MLB futures odds

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MLB betting got a shake-up Sunday afternoon, specifically on World Series odds and AL pennant odds, with news that Astros star pitcher Justin Verlander could miss the rest of the season – or at least a significant chunk of it – with an arm injury.

Initial reports suggested Verlander had an elbow ailment, but both he and manager Dusty Baker quickly denied that. Baker called it a forearm strain and said that Verlander would be re-evaluated in “a couple of weeks.” The reigning AL Cy Young winner pitched a solid six innings in an 8-2 Opening Day rout of the Seattle Mariners on Friday.

Verlander’s injury led oddsmakers to shuffle futures book odds on the defending AL champions. Covers checked in on the MLB odds moves with a couple of Las Vegas sportsbooks.

How does Verlander’s injury affect Astros’ World Series odds?

At CG Technology books, risk analyst Rich Zanco said the Astros quickly moved from +1,200 to +1,800 in World Series futures. The SuperBook at Westgate also had Houston pegged +1,200 prior to Sunday’s news and initially went to +1,600, then dialed it a little further to +1,800.

However, there were apparently buyers on the Astros at that point, prompting the SuperBook to reel the price in to +1,400.

How does Verlander’s injury affect Astros’ American League odds?

In AL pennant futures, the Astros initially moved from +600 to +800 at The SuperBook, then ticked back to +700.

World Series odds

Team Odds to win
Los Angeles Dodgers +350
New York Yankees +350
Houston Astros +600
Atlanta Braves +1,600
Minnesota Twins +1,600
Tampa Bay Rays +1,800
Washington Nationals +2,000
Cleveland Indians +2,000
New York Mets +2,000
Chicago Cubs +2,000
Oakland Athletics +2,000
St. Louis Cardinals +2,500
Cincinnati Reds +2,500
San Diego Padres +2,500
Philadelphia Phillies +3,000
Chicago White Sox +3,000
Los Angeles Angels +3,000
Milwaukee Brewers +4,000
Boston Red Sox +5,000
Arizona Diamondbacks +6,000
Colorado Rockies +8,000
Toronto Blue Jays +10,000
Texas Rangers +10,000
Pittsburgh Pirates +20,000
Detroit Tigers +20,000
San Francisco Giants +30,000
Seattle Mariners +30,000
Miami Marlins +30,000
Baltimore Orioles +30,000
Kansas City Royals +30,000

Odds courtesy The SuperBook

MLB picks and predictions for Opening Day

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It was a long and scary road, but we finally get MLB betting back on Thursday, July 23. Opening Day of the pandemic-shortened 60-game baseball schedule is headlined by a pair of matchups, with the New York Yankees visiting the Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers rekindling their rivalry with the San Francisco Giants.

Like we do each MLB season (COVID-19 or not), we’ll be taking a swing at today’s baseball odds and giving our best MLB picks and predictions. Up first: Opening Day 2020.

MLB picks for today

New York Yankees vs Washington Nationals

Yankees slugger Aaron Judge was supposed to miss the start of the season back in the spring, but the delay to the 2020 campaign allowed the outfielder to heal up from broken ribs and return to his longball-launching self.

Judge looked great in New York’s warmup games, albeit for a limited number of at-bats. He went 3-for-7 with all three hits leaving the ballpark. And he wasn’t alone, with the Yankees’ other power bats providing plenty of pop around him in the order. He’ll get a chance to go yard again on Opening Day.

PREDICTION: Aaron Judge home run (+210)

San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers

The Giants are no strangers to Clayton Kershaw, who has long dominated the Dodgers’ divisional foes. In 49 career appearances against San Francisco, The Claw is 23-12 with a 1.74 ERA and has allowed just 0.71 hits per innings pitched in those starts.

The Giants don’t pose much of an offensive threat, averaging 8.22 hits per game in 2019. San Francisco has managed 45 total hits in its last eight starts against Kershaw – an average of 0.86 hits per inning faced. Given the Dodgers’ ace looked ready for work in his tune-up efforts, we could see him go seven innings or more on Thursday, panning out to a little over six hits for San Fran.

PREDICTION: Giants between 6-7 total hits (+235)

Mookie Betts has reportedly landed a whale of a contract extension with the Dodgers after joining the ballclub this offseason via a trade with the Boston Red Sox. And what better way to lock down that deal than an impressive effort on Opening Day.

Betts recorded 313 total bases in 2019 (30th) and 353 in 2018 (fourth). He’s been swinging well in training sessions this offseason: in 27 at-bats during the spring/summer schedule, he has 13 total bases, including two doubles and a home run, while hitting leadoff during Summer Camp. We like that to continue into Opening Day.

PREDICTION: Mookie Betts two or more total bases (-182)

Top MLB consensus for today

Want to know who today’s biggest MLB betting and consensus bets are right now? Check out our top MLB consensus picks.

Opening Day betting card

  • Aaron Judge home run (+210)
  • Giants between 6-7 total hits (+235)
  • Mookie Betts two or more total bases (-182)