Villanova-Seton Hall, Duke-Pitt, UT-Florida and the rest of the Tuesday college hoops gambling prime
Can't lie: Over the last six months or so, I believe Aaron Torres Online has become a pretty damn cool place to collect all sorts of good betting information. Austin Montgomery has crushed his NFL picks all season long and I did the same in college football.
But the one place we've been lacking (and I blame myself for this) is in college hoops. With college football's regular season bleeding into late December, which led right into bowl games and the NFL playoffs, we just haven't dedicated enough space to college hoops overall.
Well, that is about to change today, as I am ready to make a solemn promise to you: From now on, at least during the loaded Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday mid-week slates, Aaron Torres Online will become your home for college hoops gambling coverage.
Now before we get to that, I want to make one thing clear:
This is not a place to come if you're looking for "guaranteed winners." I would never tell you to bet a game that I wouldn't bet myself, and instead, what I want this to become a place for, is a spot for good, useful info. A place you can come - and just get a feel for how two teams play and how a game will likely go. If you want to ride with my picks, that's fine. If you want to fade them, that's fine. If you want to bet a game I don't like, that's fine too.
My only goal is to make you a smarter college hoops fan with these articles.
Oh, and before we get started a quick reminder: As always, the point spreads are provided by the folks at MyBookie: If you're gambling for the first time tonight, use promo code "TORRES" to double your first deposit.
Here is a look and preview at some of Tuesday night's bigger games. I will start with my best bet, then give you leans on all the other big games.
Seton Hall at No. 3 Villanova (9 p.m. ET, FS1)
Point Spread: Villanova (-9)
Welcome back, Villanova! Incredibly, the Wildcats are coming off nearly a one month pause - yes, you read that correctly, one full month! They last played before Christmas against Marquette and have since had six straight games cancelled because of Covid but are back tonight to face Seton Hall. The Hall is coming off a short break of their own, with a nine-day layoff since last playing two Saturday's ago.
And while I've been hesitant all year to take teams off extended breaks, I am jumping two feet in here for a few reasons.
First, it doesn't seem as though Covid breaks have had as big of an impact as many of us expected. Florida State came off a big Covid pause and has managed to rip off three straight wins since then. UConn, when healthy didn't miss a beat because after multiple pauses. And I kind of expect the same here. Especially after Jay Wright commended his team's "resiliency" in dealing with this process.
This Villanova team will be fired up to get back on the court this evening.
The other reason: Neither of these teams is particularly good on the defensive end of the court. Villanova ranks 256th in field goal percentage defense and Seton Hall 205th, which are rather stunning numbers for two teams that have that old-school, tough Big East vibe to them. Seton Hall is especially bad defending the three-point arc, as they rank 284th in that category, which is bad news going up against a Wildcat squad that shoots nearly 38 percent from three as a team.
Am I hesitant to take Villanova off that extended break? A bit. But that number of 140 is just too juicy and low.
The OVER here is an official play.
The Pick: OVER 140
Extended Thoughts and Leans:
The Villanova/Seton Hall OVER is the only "official play" today. Here are some thoughts on the other big games, with my leans listed below.
Maryland at No. 7 Michigan (7:00 p.m. ET, FS1)
Point Spread: Michigan (-11)
No one has been higher on Michigan all season long than I have, but this is a natural stayaway to me. There are simply too many divergent things at play here for me to feel confident on one side.
On the one hand, Michigan is coming off a loss: Advantage Michigan. On the other, Maryland has weirdly been better on the road than at home, beating Wisconsin and Illinois, away from College Park: Advantage Maryland. Michigan has already beaten Maryland once, which is seemingly advantage Maryland to keep things competitive. Of course Michigan has won its last three home games by 15+ points, which would make it advantage Michigan. Oh, by the way, Maryland also has its leading scorer, Eric Ayala, back from injury. Advantage Maryland.
See where I'm going here?
Because Maryland struggles with big, physical low post players (Hunter Dickinson had 26 and 11 the first time these two teams met) and because Michigan is so good at home, I'd lean Wolverines.
But I don't feel confident enough in either side to definitively say that I feel confident betting
The Pick: Stay Away, but lean Michigan (-11)
No. 6 Tennessee at Florida
Point Spread: Tennessee (-7.5)
I'm just going to keep it 100 percent real with you here: When the lines first came out late Monday night and into Tuesday, Tennessee (-6) was officially my best bet. But this line shot up by a point and a half since then and I have to stay.
On the one hand, Florida just isn't all that good and has been flat out abysmal since Scottie Lewis left the lineup the last few games. They're 1-3 overall in their last four, with their only win coming against Ole Miss when they trailed late in the half. That's bad news against a Tennessee team that is one of the best in the country.
My only issue though is that Tennessee isn't great defending the three-point line and Florida can in fact shoot. The fear of the backdoor cover also is in play here.
Had it been six, I would have taken Tennessee. But asking the Vols to win by 8+ in Gainesville might be asking a bit too much.
The Pick: Stay Away, Lean Tennessee (-7.5)
No. 18 Alabama at LSU (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
Point Spread: Alabama (-1)
We live in wild times and nothing might be wilder than the fact that Alabama and LSU might be the two best teams in the SEC. The Tide are 6-0 and steamrolling the league, with its wins coming by an average of 15 points per game. LSU is quietly 5-1 with their only loss in league play to Florida in Gainesville.
As for the line, well, let's all admit, it's a little weird. Alabama is coming in off back-to-back 20+ point wins over Kentucky and Arkansas - and is just a tiny favorite. At first glance it makes no sense, but on further thought, my initial hunch is this: Is tonight the game where Alabama's injury woes catch up to them? Leading rebounder Herb Jones is limited with a hand injury, and second leading rebounder Jordan Bruner is out after getting knee surgery last week. And this is a bad spot to go in without them, as LSU is loaded up front with Darius Days and Trendon Watford each grabbing 7+ rebounds per game.
So yeah, I'll probably stay away from the point spread, and if anything, the play might actually be the OVER. In its last five games, LSU has allowed an average of 78 points per game, which is bad news as they get set to face an Alabama team which has averaged 88 points over their last four.
This is another stay away for me personally, but my lean would be the over here.
The Pick: Stay Away, Lean OVER 164.5
Duke at Pittsburgh
Spread: Duke (-3.5)
I'm just going to keep it real with you here: I have a buddy who is a professional gambler who loves Duke here. I just can't stomach the thought of taking their side. Their totality of wins is as follows: Coppin State, Bellarmine, at Notre Dame, Boston College College (by one) and Wake Forest. They've lost to every legit team on their schedule.
There will be days and times to fade Duke, but I'm just not sure this is it.
Another one I'll be staying away from.
The Pick: Stay Away, Lean Pittsburgh (+2.5)
OFFICIAL PICKS: Seton Hall at Villanova OVER 140