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College Basketball Odds & Picks: Stuckey’s Betting Spots for January 29

College Basketball Odds & Picks: Stuckey’s Betting Spots for January 29 article feature image
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Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images. Pictured: JD Davison (Alabama)

Here are the nine games I had circled from a matchup and/or situational angle for Saturday’s college basketball slate prior to the lines coming out.

I also included some quick-hitting notes on three other games at the end.

As always, check out the Action Network App to see my full card.


Louisville (+6.5) vs. Duke 

Noon ET on ESPN

I have to assume this is the best effort we will see from Louisville after head coach Chris Mack’s departure. The rumors around the team were toxic, and it showed on the court.

Now, in the first game without him, Louisville hosts Duke at the KFC Yum! Center.

Also, Duke starting guard Trevor Keels, who missed the last two games with an injury, remains questionable.

However, if I had to guess, I’d assume he doesn’t suit up based on some of Coach K’s recent quotes about not wanting to rush him back, which would make sense. I think he’s critical on both ends of the floor for the Blue Devils.

“He has progressed very well but he has still not gotten on a court. In saying that, he is in the weight room. He’s doing all the things our sports scientists want to make sure we’re treating this injury properly and not rushing his return.”

If this isn’t a max effort spot, I don’t know what is.

Plus, there could be an element of surprise that works in the Cardinals’ favor. There will likely be some new looks under interim head coach Mike Pegues that Duke doesn’t have film on.

Lastly, it’s not like the young Blue Devils have shined on the road. They are just 1-2 in true away games, with a win at Wake Forest and losses to Ohio State and Florida State.

Duke’s defense also may have some correction coming its way. ACC opponents have shot just 26% from beyond the arc in league play.


Alabama (+3.5) vs. Baylor

4 ET on ESPN

After a bad loss at Georgia, give me the Tide at home against the defending national champs.

I personally prefer betting this Alabama team as a dog since it plays such a high-variance style, shooting 3-pointers at the 21st-highest clip in the nation.

Speaking of which, Nate Oats’ bunch is also probably due for some positive shooting regression. For the season, Alabama has shot only 30.9% from deep (286th), and an even worse 26.9% in conference play, with only Mississippi State shooting a lower clip.

The Tide only rank in the 29th percentile on unguarded open catch-and-shoot jumpers in the half-court, which shouldn’t persist for a team with many capable shooters.

You’d have to think Jahvon Quinerly and Noah Gurley eventually start hitting some outside shots.

Plus, from a shot quality perspective, Baylor’s defense has been a tad fortunate this season.

In general, I personally thought Alabama had been overrated through the first half of the season. The market simply wasn’t properly accounting for the losses of Herb Jones, Josh Primo and John Petty.

However, this may be the bottom of the market for a group that has still shown it can compete with the top teams in the country — it has wins over Gonzaga (in Seattle), Houston, Tennessee and LSU.

Hopefully Juwan Gary (facial contusion) is back in the lineup to join the recently returned James Rojas.

I’m looking to buy low.

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Richmond (-3) vs. VCU

4 ET on CBSSN

VCU is coming off of a huge road win at Davidson, but there’s no situational angle here. This is a revenge game, and both teams should come in ready to rock for the Capital City Classic.

I just think it’s a great matchup for the Spiders, who seem to be trending in the right direction after some disappointing results earlier in the season.

VCU has one of the best defenses in the country, characterized by constant pressure all over the court. Per KenPom, the Rams rank second nationally in Adjusted Efficiency — thanks in large part to the second-highest turnover rate (26.8%) in the country.

Most of VCU’s offense comes from its defense when it can get out in transition. Per Synergy, the Rams average 1.078 points per possession in transition, which puts them in the 73rd percentile nationally.

However, when forced to operate in the half-court, the offense turns sour, as it only averages 0.79 points per possession (11th percentile).

Well, that’s bad news against a Richmond team that turns it over at the sixth-lowest rate in the country. And when teams do get out in transition, the Spiders have excelled defensively.

VCU also presses at the seventh-highest rate in the country, but Richmond’s press offense has graded out in the 98th percentile so far this season. That speaks directly to how well it takes care of the ball.

Richmond has a very porous half-court defense, but I’m not sure VCU can fully exploit it.

And on the other side of the ball, Richmond’s motion offense can have some success in the half-court by using VCU’s aggressiveness against itself.

We also could see some positive shooting regression work in Richmond’s favor. The Spiders have only shot 28.1% from 3 during A-10 play, which ranks last in the conference. Meanwhile, VCU has nailed an unsustainable 40.9% clip.

Richmond is a bit soft, which worries me some against a physical team like VCU, but there are too many matchup advantages to ignore in this intra-city showdown.


Denver (+7.5) vs. Oral Roberts

4 ET on Pioneers All-Access

The Pioneers have actually looked better than I thought they would this season. They’ve just come up on the short end of the stick in a number of close games, with three losses by two points or less and another pair in overtime.

We may get some value on them after a home loss to UMKC Thursday night. And you can do way worse things with your money than betting Denver at home in the altitude during conference play.

In fact, no team has been more profitable at home in league play since 2005, per Action Labs. Over that span, they have gone a ridiculous 85-54-3 (61.2%) ATS, covering by an average margin of 2.2 points per game.

And when the opponent has less than three days since their last game — as Oral Roberts will here — the Pios boast an even better 70.3% (26-11-1) ATS percentage.


Virginia (+4.5) at Notre Dame

6 ET on ACCN

A red-hot Notre Dame club has yet to lose at home this season, with a number of impressive victims on that list. However, I think we are at the peak of the Irish’s value in the market, and this looks like a juicy spot to fade them as a favorite in a game where points should really come at a premium.

There’s also a chance the Irish get caught peeking ahead to a Monday home date with Duke.

Plus, there may not be a better coach in the country to back on the road in league play than Virginia’s Tony Bennett, who’s been a cash cow in this spot with a stunning ATS record of 81-53-4 (60.4%).

Since 2005, only Oakland head coach Greg Kampe has been more profitable in that spot of 724 coaches, per Action Labs.

My hypothesis is that Bennett’s style (slow pace, don’t foul or turn it over) plays very well in hostile environments, eroding some of the edge built into home-court advantage.

Bennett has also had Brey’s number, with a perfect 11-0 record in the regular season (8-3 ATS), winning by an average margin of just under seven points per game. Brey did get the best of him in their only meeting in the NCAA Tournament, though.

Still, I think there’s some issues that Virginia can cause Notre Dame from a matchup perspective.


Nebraska (+2) vs. Rutgers

6:30 ET on BTN

After a loss to Wisconsin on Thursday, the Huskers dropped to 0-9 in the Big Ten. Still desperate to pick up that elusive first conference win, they now get one of their best shots on Saturday evening when Rutgers comes to town.

Nebraska has been a feisty home dog in Big Ten play this year, covering four straight against Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio State (in a game that went to overtime). It may also have some revenge on its mind from an embarrassing 28-point loss at Rutgers earlier this month.

Rutgers has also done a lot of damage in league play at home in the RAC (4-1 ATS), but hasn’t done much of anything away from home.

The Scarlet Knights are 1-6 SU and ATS on the road this season, failing to cover by just under seven points per game. That includes losses at UMass, DePaul and most recently, against an extremely shorthanded Minnesota roster.

Amazingly, Rutgers leads the Big Ten in 3P% at 40.7% during conference play. For reference, the Scarlet Knights finished 11th at 31.5% last season.

Now, they don’t shoot a ton of 3s, but don’t be surprised if we see a few clunkers from the outside over the next few weeks, especially on the road.

Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: Kobe Webster (Nebraska)

UCF (+7.5) vs. Houston

8 ET on ESPN2

This is an all-in spot for UCF if it wants any shot at an at-large bid. And we’ve seen this uber-talented, but maddeningly inconsistent Knights bunch play up in big home spots this season against Michigan and Memphis.

On the season, UCF has been extremely inefficient attacking the rim and when in transition. Well, Houston prevents teams from doing either, so the stylistic matchup might actually work in UCF’s favor.

The Cougars will live on the offensive glass and certainly get their share of easy put backs. However, I like this spot for a home dog that can shoot the 3 against this Houston defense.

Keep in mind that Houston also really struggles at the line (319th nationally), which could come into play late to swing a cover.

I also think the market might be a bit too high on Houston at this very moment after some home blowouts. I’m still not sure some of the key injuries the Cougars have suffered are being properly accounted for.

Plus, the Cougars haven’t been overly dominant on the road. This will mark only their fifth away game of the season. In the previous four, they lost to Alabama, blew out South Florida and pulled out close wins against Temple (5) and Tulsa (2).

UCF can keep this close, and it wouldn’t shock me if it pulled off the upset.


Syracuse (+2) vs. Wake Forest

8 ET on ACCN

It may be time to sell Wake Forest after four straight convincing wins in ACC play. More importantly, I simply don’t trust its offense against a zone defense, which Syracuse plays at the highest rate (96%) in the country.

On the season, the Demon Deacons’ offense grades out in the 91st percentile against man-to-man, but only in the 40th percentile against zone across 300 possessions, per Synergy.

The Demon Deacons rank in the top-20 nationally in efficiency in both transition and when attacking the rim. Well, Cuse doesn’t turn the ball over and rebounds very well on the offensive end, which limits transition opportunities for opponents.

The Orange also limit opportunities at the rim with their zone. Plus, Wake Forest isn’t a strong offensive rebounding team that can fully exploit Syracuse’s weakness in that area.

This is just a good matchup for Syracuse, which should start to see a higher percentage of 3s fall in the near future. I think the Orange get some revenge from an overtime loss earlier this month in Winston Salem.


Nevada (+1.5) vs. Utah State

10 ET on CBSSN

I think we may get some value on Nevada Saturday night against a Utah State team coming off of an emotional home win over San Diego State.

The Aggies did look great in that victory. However, I think that game spoke more about the brutal spot for the Aztecs, who were playing their third game in five days after a COVID pause — in altitude to boot.

I still think the Aggies have major issues without the services of Brock Miller and Rylan Jones. And who knows how Justin Bean’s eye contusion will progress — although I’m assuming he’s a go.

Nevada won’t have one of its seven-footers in Warren Washington, who recently fractured a finger, but I don’t think it’ll miss him that much in this particular matchup.

I trust the superior Nevada backcourt to get this done at home.


Quick Hitters

  • Will Pacific ever cover again? The Tigers, who sit at an NCAA-worst 1-14 ATS on the season, will host BYU on Saturday night.
  • Advanced metrics suggest both Providence and Marquette have enjoyed quite a bit of luck in the shooting department. Maybe the under is worth a look when these two teams meet in the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in a battle of two of the most pleasant surprises in college basketball to date. This game was moved to Sunday due to the projected snow storm in the area.
  • Since the start of last February, Indiana has gone 0-8-1 ATS on the road in conference play. The Hoosiers will look to end that streak in College Park against Maryland on Saturday.
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