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With a big college basketball slate on the docket for Saturday we are going to dabble in a few college basketball plays. Hoodie AT is on vacation, so I’m going to step in to give you degenerates with the content you crave. I have a nice 6-3 start to the college basketball season, in the first few articles I have posted here. I have a good array of picks for the Saturday slate.
We will also get you covered for Saturday's NFL games coming up in a separate article in a bit.
But first college hoops, and a reminder: If you're gambling this weekend, make sure to do it with our friends at MyBookie. Use promo code "TORRES" and they'll double your first deposit. So you want to bet $25 on Auburn to rock Kentucky today, MyBookie will give you $50 to play with. It's the best deal going in sports.
Now to the picks.
Army at Boston University
Spread: Boston University (-1)
We are going to start off with a game from the Patriot league tipping off on ESPN + at 1:00 Eastern standard time. This will be an interesting game based on the fact both teams will be required to wear masks. Boston University’s players haven’t really been on board with the whole mask wearing thing. They have looked absolutely dreadful in all of their games and are off to a 1-3 start. As for mask -wearing, I don’t think that is going to bother the Army cadets. Considering these guys run with masks on in the summer and hike marathons with 60 pounds of gear, a cloth mask isn’t going to be much resistance to them.
On the basketball side, this Army team has played very well. They had a solid win against Buffalo and held a halftime lead against Florida when they were fully healthy with Keyonte Johnson. Army is very efficient on the offensive end ranking 87th in effective field goal percentage, and Boston University has not been able to defend anyone ranking 321st in effective field goal percentage. Boston University should not be favored against anyone, support the troops and take the Army.
The pick: Army +1
Kentucky at Auburn
Spread: Auburn (-2)
This is a situation where the betting market hasn’t adjusted enough to five-star freshman Sharife Cooper finally suiting up for Auburn after missing the first 11 games of the season because of eligibility issues. The Tigers are simply a different team with Cooper on the floor.
We saw Cooper almost single handedly help the Tigers steal a win against Alabama and they are coming off a game where they smoked Georgia by 18 points. Auburn’s pace should give Kentucky problems in transition. We just saw Kentucky look absolutely lost against Alabama, who plays a similar style of basketball. Kentucky is a horrible shooting team and they have not been elite on defense either.
I simply cannot trust this Kentucky team and this is a good spot to fade them as they come in winning three of their last four.
The pick: Auburn -2
Creighton at Butler
Spread: Creighton (-8)
I typically avoid big road favorites during conference play, but I am making an exception here. Butler is the worst defensive team in the Big East. They rank 314th in the country in defensive three point percentage allowing teams to shoot 38 percent from beyond the arch. They are facing a Creighton team that is arguably the best shooting team in the nation. The Bluejays rank ninth in effective field goal percentage, 25th in three point percentage, and top ten in two point percentage.
Creighton has won its last two games by a combined 52 points and I expect that trend to continue. Give me the Jays.
The pick: Creighton -8
Baylor at Texas Tech
Spread: Baylor (-5)
I was originally going to stay away from the biggest matchup on the board, but I can’t pass on the chance of getting points with Chris Beard at home. Baylor has without question been the second best team in the country. They have elite shooting, size, they rebound, play good defense, they really don’t have any visible weaknesses.
But Texas Tech is a pretty solid team, they showed a lot of resilience coming back from a 10 point deficit against a very solid Texas team.
Although Torres significantly disagrees, Beard is starting to put more trust in Mac McClung and he is starting to buy in a little bit more. I think he has a big game here. There is also a massive coaching mismatch between Chris Beard and Scott Drew. I’m not a Drew hater, but Beard is on another level.
Baylor has struggled in the first half of games. They trailed TCU at the half in their last time out, Iowa State had a lead at the 10 minute mark, and Illinois only trailed by one. Texas Tech will be Baylor’s toughest test by far. The Red Raiders have already been tested having played Houston, Kansas, and Texas.
I don’t think Texas Tech +5 is going to last very long.
We are getting great value with the Red Raiders. I have a stronger lean to the first half.
The pick: Texas Tech first half +3
Lean: Texas Tech +5 (game)
Gonzaga at Saint Mary’s
Spread: Gonzaga (-15.5)
The Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga games have been classics in the past, but we are not going to have much drama in this one. The Zags are the best college basketball team I have ever seen. They are coming off a clunker against Pepperdine - and still won by 25 points. The Zags got in foul trouble, had a poor shooting night, were bad on the boards, and still managed to win by 20+ against a talented Pepperdine team.
Looking ahead to Saturday, this is one of Randy Bennett's least talented Gaels' teams facing Mark Few’s best Gonzaga squad. I really don’t see how Saint Mary’s scores in this one. While the Gaels are good on the defensive end, I don’t think there is a single team in college basketball that is capable of slowing down the Gonzaga juggernaut offense. If Gonzaga scores their routine 80, I find it hard for the Gaels to get it above 65.
Gonzaga will be fired up and will look to make a huge statement. May have to sweat out a back door cover when Few puts in his bench when they are up by 30 with five minutes to go.
The pick: Gonzaga -15.5
Additional leans: Bama -3, Virginia -1.5, BYU/San Francisco over 145
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