Stuckey’s Favorite College Basketball Situational Spots: Hofstra-Northeastern, 5 More for Saturday
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Northeastern head coach Bill Coen
- Which college basketball teams are primed for a letdown on Saturday? Which could come out flat?
- Stuckey runs through six appealing situational spots, including his favorite of the day: Hofstra-Northeastern.
Yes, it’s Super Bowl weekend! I can’t wait to root for all of my props and look for live betting opportunities, but we have a whole weekend of action before we get to kickoff on Sunday night.
That starts with our first massive February — March is coming! — college basketball card. And like I’ve done the past two weeks (and will do each Saturday leading up to the NCAA tournament), I’ll highlight my favorite situational spots.
The four most popular situational angles include letdowns, lookaheads, sandwiches and revenge (which I went into greater detail on in last week’s article).
These are just the first level of factors to consider; there are plenty of others that pop up. I simply use this exercise to circle the best situational spots on the card, then I use my numbers and analyze the matchups to finalize my bets.
There’s no easy formula with situational spots; it’s definitely more art than science. But you should at least be aware of the non-mathematical angles when capping college kids playing basketball.
It’s not a particularly great Saturday card for situational spots. I usually have at least 10 circled that make the final cut, but only six made my card. (Mississippi State just missed as the seventh if you’re curious.)
Let’s dive in, starting with an ACC clash that tips at 4 p.m. ET.
Season Record: 9-11 (-2.88 units)
>> All odds as of Saturday at 3:30 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NCAAB odds and track your bets.
Miami +20 at Virginia
2 p.m. ET on ACCN
Yikes, but I think I have to buy low on Miami in this spot at this number.
Virginia comes off a hard-fought win at N.C. State and has a week off after this game before getting Duke and North Carolina in a three-day stretch next weekend.
I just can’t see the full focus being there for 40 minutes against a reeling Hurricanes squad. This game should also be ugly, which makes the +20 even more appealing. And with a slower pace and fewer possessions, I’m not as afraid of Miami’s depth issues hurting it in the second half.
It also doesn’t hurt that three of Miami’s primary contributors played on the team that upset Virginia in Charlottesville two seasons ago. The Canes also have a few guys who are capable from the perimeter.
I don’t think they have a shot at pulling off another shocker — they were only 8-point dogs in that meeting in the 2016-17 season — but I think they can hit enough 3s against the pack-line to keep this within 20 against a potentially very flat UVA team.
St. Mary’s -5 vs. San Francisco
4 p.m. ET
St. Mary’s is just a different team at home.
This is a good spot to buy the Gaels, who lost two straight in conference at BYU and Pepperdine (in OT). They’re one of the best shooting teams in the country, but hit a rough patch in those two games, going 12-of-52 (23.1%) from deep.
The week off and getting back home will serve them well.
The revenge angle is also in play here as St. Mary’s lost a close game at San Francisco in early January. The Dons could also be peeking ahead to a rematch with Gonzaga on deck.
St Mary’s is also a fantastic free-throw shooting team (34th in the nation), which is important with a spread of -5 if it has a short lead late in the game. For what it’s worth, San Fran is one of the worst (303rd) from the stripe.
Kansas 1H vs. Texas Tech
4 p.m. ET on CBS
If you can’t play Kansas in Allen Field House after two straight Big 12 losses, when can you?
I’m not a huge trend guy, but as you might expect, Bill Self is 20-9-1 against the spread at home after a loss since 2006 at Kansas. He’s also 29-1 straight up in those games.
I do worry about the Jayhawks’ free-throw shooting, which has been horrid, so I actually prefer the 1H. I expect Self to have his troops ready at home after losing three of their past four.
You should get their best effort of the season in the first half.
Stetson -2.5 vs. Kennesaw State
4 p.m. ET
This is your weekly “hold your nose” play, as the Hatters are absolutely dreadful. Stetson sits at 4-19 overall and 0-9 in the Atlantic Sun. It also really hasn’t been close in any conference loss outside of a one-point loss to North Alabama.
The good news is Kennesaw State is also dreadful.
How bad are the Owls? Well, out of the 353 D-1 teams, they rank 353rd in effective field goal percentage. Kennesaw also finds itself in a horrid spot after getting its first conference win after upsetting North Florida as 10-point underdogs.
I think this game plays out similar to what we saw last season after Kennesaw State pulled off a massive weekday upset to hand Florida Gulf Coast its first conference loss. The next game, on a Saturday, the Owls lost by 12 at Stetson.
I just can’t see Kennesaw State getting up for this awful, awful game against an awful, awful Stetson team that should at least have motivation to get that first conference win, as this might be its best shot to avoid an 0-er in the A-Sun.
Northeastern -1.5 vs. Hofstra
4:30 p.m. ET on MSG
This is my favorite of the six, if you’re curious.
You might not be aware of the fact that Hofstra currently owns the longest active winning streak in D-1. Yes, Hofstra.
Led by senior guard Justin Wright-Foreman, who ranks third in the country in scoring at 26.0 points per game, the Pride have won 16 straight after a 3-3 start.
Hofstra is certainly a lot better than I had projected preseason, but it has had quite a bit of fortune during this impressive winning streak, which hasn’t come against the stiffest competition.
The Pride won three straight conference games by three or fewer points. Two came on the road against two dreadful teams in William and Mary (in triple overtime) and Elon, and the other came at home over Northeastern.
In the win over Northeastern, Hofstra actually trailed by nine with 4:09 left before making an epic comeback, capped off by a Wright-Foreman game-winning (absolute prayer) banked-in three at the buzzer.
Best way to cap off a 42-point game? How about a 40-footer for the WIN!
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) January 6, 2019
Northeastern, on the other hand, has not been as fortune this season.
The Huskies had to deal with an injury to star senior guard Vasa Pusica, and while all six CAA wins came by at least nine points, all three of their conference losses came by five or fewer points.
Well, Pusica has returned, and not only will Northeastern be looking for revenge from that heartbreaking January loss, this game means much more for in the CAA standings for the Huskies than it does for Hofstra. The Pride sit at 9-0 in the conference — three games clear of Northeastern, which sits in a logjam of teams.
This is a great spot to sell high on Hofstra in its third straight road game.
San Diego +22.5 at Gonzaga
8 p.m. ET
It’s a scary proposition, but I think now is the right time to fade this Gonzaga team in conference.
The Zags are undoubtedly rolling, having just finished a 3-0 conference road trip by a total margin of 112 points. After such a stretch of dominance on the road, Gonzaga could come out a little flat for San Diego.
And while Gonzaga played on Thursday at BYU (and had a late-night flight home for a quick turnaround for this game), San Diego has had a week off to prepare for this game.
The Toreros have also proven that they can compete with superior teams on the road:
- Lost by three at Washington
- Lost by seven at Ole Miss
- Lost by 10 at Oregon
Gonzaga is clearly better than all three of those opponents, but it’s something USD can draw on. San Diego also is a senior laden group — four starters when healthy, although guard Olin Carter may sit out again — led by stud forward Isaiah Pineiro down low.
San Diego won’t be intimidated by the road environment, especially considering they played Gonzaga tough in both meetings last season (lost by five and 10).
This is a gritty USD team that remains a little undervalued in the market after a slow start in conference play, primarily due to injuries in its backcourt to Carter (might not play) and Isaiah Wright (has returned).
Editor’s note: The opinions on these games are from the individual writer and are based on his research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.