It looked like I was going to bounce back one time in college basketball last night with Iowa State by missed free throws and sloppy play by the Cyclones allowed Texas to cover with a buzzer-beating layup. That’s the kind of year it’s been for me when picking college basketball but still a lot of season left. I have four picks tonight including two in the NBA. Don’t have time to analyze each game so just posting the pick. Check back later this week for a full Super Bowl prediction and the props that I like.
Iowa State (-5) over Texas: I expect Iowa State to rebound after an upset loss at Texas Tech on Saturday. The Cyclones have a great home court and a big coaching edge over Texas. The Longhorns lost by 21 at home when they were in this ESPN Monday night spot earlier in the season.
South Carolina (-4) over Alabama: Alabama has started conference play 2-0 after wins against Texas A&M and at a rebuilding Tennessee team. The Crimson Tide will be playing in their second straight road game, and it’s very tough to win away from home in the SEC. Alabama also might be looking ahead to their weekend home game against No. 1 Kentucky. South Carolina faces a must-win situation after starting SEC play 0-2. They defeated Iowa State a week and a half ago so they are a solid team that should win this game. I’m not sold on Alabama yet and will take South Carolina here.
Georgia (-3.5) over Arkansas: It’s always a good idea to pick against a Mike Anderson team on the road. The Razorbacks are ranked but 1-2 in true road games this season. Georgia didn’t lose a game in December and their wins included Colorado, Seton Hall and Kansas State. The Bulldogs were very good at home in conference last year. Georgia isn’t ranked but there is a reason they are the favorite here.
North Carolina State (-5.5) over Tennessee: A young Tennessee team goes on the road to play North Carolina State. The Volunteers just beat a ranked opponent in Butler and I think they have a let down here. North Carolina State was just upset by Wofford so the Wolfpack will be focused.
Mavericks (-6.5) over Pistons: This line might be a little lower than it should because the Mavericks played in New York last night. The Mavericks routed the Knicks, which allowed their starters to rest late and be ready for this game. Dirk Nowitzki, Chandler Parsons and Tyson Chandler all played 25 minutes or less. Detroit is playing their first home game after a west coast trip. I love the Mavericks here but my only hesitation is that Dallas plays San Antonio in their next game on Saturday. They might overlook the Detroit but still think they will win by double-digits.
I passed on the basketball games for Thursday but have five NBA games I will pick for today:
Hornets (-4.5) over Knicks: The Hornets are really struggling but face a Knicks team that just played the Cavaliers on Thursday night.
Cavaliers (+4) over Raptors: Toronto’s first game back after a long west coast road trip. It was a costly trip for the Raptors as they lost guard DeMar DeRozan to injury. The Cavaliers will be focused for this game against one of the better teams in the conference.
Hawks (-1.5) over Nets: The Hawks are quietly 11-6. The Nets are coming off an overtime win against the Spurs.
Spurs (pick) over Grizzlies: I think the Spurs bounce back after an overtime loss in Brooklyn. Memphis is back home after a long road trip, which is a situation where I like to fade a team.
Suns (+5.5) over Mavericks: Dallas is also playing their first home game after a road trip. They went 4-0 away from home but played some close games. They won in double overtime in Chicago on Tuesday and won on the buzzer-beater over Milwaukee the next night.
Hornets (+3) over Bulls: The Bulls played a double overtime game last night against the Mavericks. Now they have to go back on the road after a brief stop at home.
Bucks (+5) over Mavericks: See above
Duke (+4) over Wisconsin: I think this is a bucket game either way. Duke is a young team and Wisconsin has a great home court advantage. However, I think Wisconsin should only be a two-point favorite and are getting respect because of their final four run last year.
Starting now until the end of the NBA playoffs, I will post basketball picks for the NBA and college.
Pistons (-1) over Lakers: The Pistons are a terrible team but so are the Lakers. Detroit will eventually play better and they can start now against a team they know they can beat. The Lakers played a overtime game on Sunday at home where they pulled out a victory against Toronto. I don’t think they show up in this game.
Bulls (-1) over Mavericks: Bulls are back at home after a long road trip and that’s why the line is low. I think it’s too low especially since the Bulls’ starting lineup is healthy for now. Dallas is a much better team at home than on the road.
Illinois (+4) over Miami: My first college pick of the year will be in the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge. I’m going to pick a team that I think is underrated and will make surprise people when conference play comes around. Illinois has a quality group of guards that I think will outplay Miami. The Illini also have revenge on their mind from when the Hurricanes defeated them in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.