College Basketball Bet to Watch: Uncovering Value in Minnesota-Boston College
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jarvis Omersa
College Basketball Betting: Minnesota at Boston College
- Odds: Boston College -1
- Total: 150
- Time: 9 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN2
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It’s rare that a game like Minnesota-Boston College can own the night in college basketball, but that type of mediocrity defines the slate this evening.
You could make the case for Nebraska-Clemson as well, since both have tournament aspirations. You may not even be able to find a channel to watch new-No. 1 Gonzaga dismantle an overmatched North Dakota State.
But the good news is, as a gambler, it doesn’t really matter how good the games are. Only that there is value. And in Minnesota vs. Boston College, there indeed may be quite a bit.
Initial modeling, just using adjusted efficiencies and pace this season, doesn’t seem to reveal very much about this game: I made it Minnesota -0.16 and the total 150.13 using just those metrics. That’s basically what the market is currently.
But this early in the season, it’s rare that those components can tell the full story in a game between major-conference opponents, because the teams have played so few games and the level of competition they’ve faced has been so wide-ranging.
The first important thing to note is that Minnesota’s competition has been much stronger. The Gophers’ KenPom strength-of-schedule is 138th, and they already have two wins over top-100 opponents.
Boston College, meanwhile, is just 313th, and the best team (by far) they’ve played so far this year is Loyola Chicago, a game the Eagles won by 12. The Ramblers may still have Sister Jean, and they’re a much bigger name than they were just 12 months ago, but a “typical” Loyola team doesn’t win that BC game very often.
It’s likely that the ratings we are getting for Minnesota are hampered slightly compared to Boston College’s because of this difference in competition. If this is true, then the small margin in favor of Minnesota may actually deserve to be quite larger in projecting the game.
The other compelling point in this matchup is the nature of how Boston College has struggled so far this year. In their loss, to lowly IUPUI, the Eagles were absolutely crushed on the offensive glass, allowing 16 offensive boards. It’s what allowed a team that’s very substandard offensively to win the game because it created so many extra possessions that Boston College didn’t have.
Indeed, offensive rebounding has been problematic for the Eagles, as they’re just 169th in the country in offensive rebound percentage allowed. Considering the bad teams they’ve faced, that’t not promising heading toward conference play.
The game Monday night could prove particularly problematic for them, because Minnesota is exceptional at offensive rebounding, top 20 in the country (and remember, Minnesota has played better teams, too). It’s the one criteria when comparing a lot of metrics (including the popular “four factors“) that is so different between the teams so far this season.
Considering I had a small amount of value on Minnesota anyway, and these extra criteria seem to create even more, I think Minnesota is worth a bet at the current spread of +1 Monday night.