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College Basketball Gambling Primer: March 4, Bubble Teams Everywhere That Need A Win

YTD: 120-118-5 (Started the best 3 week stretch of college hoops off 4-1 yesterday with North Florida at +300 in the semifinals of the A-Sun. Let's keep the good times going, please.) 

Picks

Indiana -3.5

Rhode Island +4

Fairleigh Dickinson +4.5

Creighton -12

Virginia -2

Jacksonville State +2

St. Francis (PA) to win NEC +140

Note: We are officially entering the best 3 week stretch of the year. We have conference tournaments starting tonight. The regular season is ending in major conferences this week too. Next week we have all the major conference tournaments underway and then bam the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament. Just the best. I'll give out some conference tournament picks as I see them and anything sticks out. Either way let's go, it's here. 

Minnesota at Indiana (-3.5/135) 

Going to stick with my strategy of taking home teams that really need a win just to avoid any bubble talk. Indiana is currently projected as a 10 seed on bracketmatrix and fairly safe barring a collapse. You can't lose to Minnesota at home if you're Indiana in this spot. Throw in that Minnesota has lost two heartbreaking games in a row, just feels like they are due for a letdown at some point here. Minnesota, especially Daniel Oturu is excellent at crashing the offensive glass. Indiana takes that away. If they show up defensively, the cover is there with ease. 

Pick: Indiana -3.5

Dayton at Rhode Island (+4/146)

Plain and simple.

I don't doubt Rone and Caleb. They are magic, I swear. Also this is a bit (I stress a bit) of a letdown spot for Dayton here. They have Gameday coming on Saturday. They are the talk of the country. Obi Toppin is about to win National Player of the Year. They are playing a bubble team in what's a crazy environment before all that. 

Pick: URI +4

Fairleigh Dickinson at LIU (-4.5/156) 

Hoping this is bit more momentum than anything else here. FDU has won its last 3 games and 5 of 7. LIU has 4 of its last 6 to end the year. I know LIU swept FDU. I know that it's a road game for FDU. But, I really like Greg Herenda, FDU's head coach and their ability to dictate tempo offensively. LIU wants to beat you by launching threes. They are 25th in the country in 3PA/FGA. They shoot it fairly well too at 34.5% as a team. Here's to hoping it's an off night. 

Pick: Fairleigh Dickinson +4.5

Georgetown at Creighton (-12/152.5) 

Listen, what Patrick Ewing has been able to do this year at Georgetown with everything going on from guys leaving and injuries has been damn impressive. That said, Creighton is coming off a shitty loss at St. John's where they got their doors blown off in the 2nd half. They are still alive for a share of the Big East title (unless Seton Hall wins tonight). Georgetown is one of the worst 3pt defensive teams in the country. Creighton is one of the best shooting teams in the country. Both teams want to get up and down which favors Creighton. I'm playing a big bounceback after that loss to St. John's here. 

Pick: Creighton -12

Virginia at Miami (+2/118.5) 

Virginia coming off of the big win against Duke and now being a small favorite on the road? That's typically auto fade for me. HOWEVAH, Tony Bennett has really found something with this group and they can slow down Chris Lykes, etc. This is more just blind trust in Bennett as a coach and not letting them slump in this game. These are my least favorite games to bet, but feel like we have to here. Virginia, despite the awful offense they've had for so long this year, seemingly figured shit out. 

Pick: Virginia -2

Jacksonville State vs Eastern Illinois (-2/138) 

So you're telling me two equal teams, playing on a neutral floor and you're giving me free points with the best tournament coach in the country? Yep, I'm taking it. Ray Harper, the head coach for Jacksonville State just wins in March. As a D2 head coach, he made 6 straight title games. As an NAIA coach he made 3 straight title games. At WKU he won the conference tournament 2 out of 5 years. He won it already in his first two years at Jacksonville State. He just fucking wins. These teams only played once and it was a 1 point game. I'll take the points here. 

Pick: Jacksonville State +2

NEC Tournament 

It's bullshit that the regular season champs aren't playing in this because Merrimack is in its first year of Division I hoops and in this transition period they aren't allowed to compete. So everything is a bit skewed when you look at seedings and things like that. That said, I'm going to take St. Francis, who had a chance to win a share of the conference the last game of the regular season but loss at Robert Morris. They have the best player in the conference in Keith Braxton. They also finished the season strong as hell. After a 3 game losing streak in January, they won 8 in a row before that RMU loss. We'll take the Flash here. 

Pick: St. Francis (PA) +140 to win