UAB vs Toledo Odds, Picks & Predictions | College Basketball Betting Preview (Friday, Nov. 11)
Justin K. Aller/NCAA Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Walker of the UAB Blazers.
- The UAB Blazers and Toledo Rockets meet on Friday, Nov. 11 for an early-season college basketball clash of the titans, mid-major edition.
- UAB and Toledo are among the elite mid-major programs in the country, and the teams will go head-to-head on a neutral court as part of the Barstool Sports Invitational.
- UAB opened as a 4-point favorite, and the point spread has swelled to UAB -5.5 since open. Read on for updated odds, picks and predictions for UAB vs. Toledo on Friday, Nov. 11.
UAB vs Toledo Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
On college basketball's first major slate, it's hard to find a game better than this one.
This game is a mid-major heavyweight battle between two teams favored to win their respective conferences and earn a bid to the NCAA tournament. It's also on a neutral floor.
Therefore, UAB is the two-possession favorite here. Do we ride with the Blazers? Or take the upstart Rockets to pull off a huge early-season upset victory?
UAB is going to be the must-watch mid-major team this season.
If Jordan "Jelly" Walker doesn't entertain you…
Jelly Walker is quickly stepping into the new season.pic.twitter.com/LUdPtCniTV
— Mid-Major Madness (@mid_madness) November 8, 2022
Can I interest you in some Eric Gaines?
UAB is going to be must-watch TV this season. pic.twitter.com/NMy9A5Mq7r
— Heat Check CBB (@HeatCheckCBB) November 2, 2022
These two are liable to make an unbelievable play whenever they touch the ball.
Gaines finished UAB's opening-night victory with 11 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals. Meanwhile, Jelly poured in 38 points on just 19 shots.
UAB dropped 111 points in the win. Even against lowly Alabama State, that's a Gonzaga-like number.
UAB will push the pace relentlessly with those two guards, but look out for shoot-or-slash ETSU transfer Ledarrius Brewer. Walker and Gaines can drive and dish it to him, where he'll fill it up from deep (he shot 4-for-5 from 3 in the opening-night win) or head straight downhill.
After a one-year rebuild, Andy Kennedy went 49-15 with the Blazers over the last two seasons. He's compiled more offensive talent than ever in Birmingham, and the sky is the limit now that Walker won't be shouldering the ball handling, scoring and winning duties by himself.
I'm not convinced this can be a high-level defense yet, but the upside is tremendous.
Gaines slides into Kennedy's pressure schemes almost perfectly, especially after finishing fourth in the SEC in steal rate with pressure-happy LSU last season. Moreover, 7-foot-0, 260-pound Trey Jemison returns as the paint disrupter and rim protector.
Opposing C-USA offenses will have a tough time scoring if they're getting hounded on the perimeter and the interior.
Rebounding is a potential weakness, but that should get cleaned up as Kennedy makes the pieces fit.
UAB is a powerhouse, nonetheless.
Toledo is like UAB in that it's an up-tempo offensive juggernaut, but it scores through the frontcourt rather than the backcourt.
Tod Kowalczyk uses his forwards to invert and space the floor, and then the Rockets bomb away. Returning big men Setric Millner Jr. and JT Shumate made a combined 116 3s last season at a 43% rate.
But those frontcourt shooters are almost a mirage, a sleight-of-hand trick that allows wide-open driving lanes for the Toledo guards. With forwards scrambling out towards the perimeter, guys like Ryan Rollins got to the rim and scored at the rim at above-average rates.
Photo by CBB Analytics
Rollins is gone, but expect returning guards RayJ Dennis and Ra'Heim Moss to make up for the 19 points per game hole in the Rockets' backcourt. The two combined for 38 points on 13-for-22 shooting from 2-point range in the opening-night win over Valpo.
In the past, Toledo's offensive approach came at a defensive cost, as MAC opponents were more physical on the interior during the tournament. This season, Kowalczyk brings back towering shot-blocking center AJ Edu, who's been injured in two straight seasons.
In 2019, Toledo cruised to a 25-8 (13-5) record and a MAC West regular-season title behind the best defensive team Kowalczyk has put together in his 12 seasons at the helm. Anchoring that interior was Luke Knapke and backup Edu.
Edu played only 35% of the minutes that season, but finished with a 12.2% block rate. He could be the difference-maker for the Rockets this season.
UAB vs Toledo Pick
UAB has the better backcourt. However, I worry that Jemison and Brewer will get pulled out by the more athletic Toledo frontcourt, and the Rockets will cook on the interior.
Here's where the addition of Gaines is so vital. Gaines ranked in the 86th percentile in spot-up PPP allowed (.699) and in the 87th percentile in isolation PPP allowed (.476). If there is anyone you want on an island with the Toledo guards, it's him.
Moreover, this is a much stiffer test for the Toledo guards than Valpo. How will Dennis and Moss handle the best mid-major backcourt in the country? If they struggle, Rollins is not walking through that door.
I am worried that UAB will struggle to rebound against the Toledo bigs. The Blazers allowed 16 offensive rebounds to Alabama State, which bodes very poorly.
There's a chance that Toledo will put up 25 second-chance points in this game.
Moreover, both teams run at a breakneck pace, and neither turns the ball over, so we should see loads of highly-efficient shots.
However, neutral courts are an Under bettor's dream, hitting at a 53.1% clip for +93 units since 2005. So, the total becomes a pass for me, especially at a number over 155.
Instead, I'm going to bank on a bounce-back rebounding performance from the Blazers. I know the better backcourt will be up for this game, and I think Toledo is in for a mini wake-up call against this loaded roster.
Toledo dropped a game to Oakland and lost by 13 to Michigan State in non-conference play last season. MAC teams are mortal.
The market is also screaming UAB, as the Blazers are getting about 50% of the tickets but over 80% of the handle at the time of writing. I'll tail the smart money.
But if this spread inflates to 5 or higher, it's a hard pass.