NCAAB Odds, Picks for Bethune-Cookman vs Iowa | 2 Ways to Bet Hawkeyes
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Kris Murray (Iowa)
Bethune-Cookman vs. Iowa Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Due to the timing of the election, the college basketball season does not kick off with the bang of the Champions Classic this year. However, that does not mean bettors cannot find value down the board.
Notably, the Hawkeyes played an official exhibition game, whereas the visiting Wildcats did not. That could give the hosts an early edge.
Additionally, Iowa returns three starters and several other key contributors.
Bethune-Cookman returns its top four scorers, but it will also be integrating several talented newcomers. That muddies the Wildcats’ early-season forecast as the team figures out its pecking order.
The Wildcats may seem like a nondescript SWAC school marching into Iowa City to collect a buy-game paycheck. After all, they went 9-21 overall last year and were ranked eighth in the league's preseason poll.
That reputation is deceiving, however.
The Wildcats have the SWAC’s Preseason Offensive Player of the Year in Joe French, and they added a few enticing pieces via the transfer portal.
Most notable among those is Zion Harmon, a former top-100 recruit who never got on the floor at Western Kentucky. A dynamic speedster at point guard, he could immediately be one of the best players in the league.
Joining Harmon is Derrick Carter-Hollinger Jr., an athletic forward from Montana, and Donovann Toatley, who began his career at Monmouth.
Toatley may be out hurt, but Carter-Hollinger is an athletic 6-foot-5 wing capable of guarding multiple positions.
Along with returnee K.J. Davis, the Wildcats have two players capable of matching up with Kris Murray and Patrick McCaffery.
Coach Reggie Theus will also mix defenses, and he is smart enough to temper the tempo against superior talent. That’s easier said than done against Iowa, but expect Bethune-Cookman to try and shorten the game.
For better or worse, we have come to know what to expect from Iowa under Fran McCaffery. That means lethal offense, leaky defense and a vacation on the second weekend of the NCAA tournament.
March Madness is a long way off, though, so any postseason foibles are irrelevant on Monday.
Fortunately, Iowa has the next best thing to replace Murray: his twin brother, Kris. A no-brainer breakout candidate given his talent and likely role, the “other” Murray is ready to build his own case as an NBA draft prospect.
He will have plenty of help. Fran’s younger son Patrick emerged down the stretch last year, and steady Connor is also back as a smart ball mover.
Wings Tony Perkins and Payton Sandfort also look like tantalizing cogs in a new edition of the Hawkeyes. Perkins is a rangy athlete who gives the perimeter defense some juice. Sandfort is the next elite gunner in Iowa City.
Another key factor worth noting: McCaffery is the king of blowing out early-season competition. Per BetLabs’ database, McCaffery is 42-14-2 against the spread (.750) as a favorite of 10 points or more in November and December. He is — by far — the most profitable coach in such situations.
His high-octane offenses are built to demolish lesser foes, and he has never shown an inclination to call off the dogs.
Bethune-Cookman vs. Iowa Betting Pick
McCaffery’s dominance as a huge favorite certainly rings in my head as I handicap this game. Additionally, though Bethune-Cookman is objectively loaded with talent for a SWAC team, the roster may take time to gel.
Another betting angle worth noting: the SWAC as a conference went 73-53-4 ATS in non-league play last year. It might seem like a one-year blip, but I think it matters.
With the advent of immediate eligibility in the transfer portal, SWAC destinations become more appealing for talented down-transfers searching for playing time.
The caliber of player in the league has risen, allowing the individual teams to outperform expectations. It will be a trend worth monitoring this year.
That said, I think Murray, Perkins and the McCaffery army will be too much in the opener. The Hawkeyes have a proven track record of steamrolling in these buy games. They also have the weapons to continue that trend.