The college basketball season tipped off with authority, led by Duke, Auburn and Buffalo’s impressive wins over ranked teams (Kentucky, Washington and West Virginia), respectively.
Let’s pivot our attention to one of those programs (Buffalo, which faces Southern Illinois on Monday), along with Oklahoma-UTSA to find some betting value.
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Betting odds: Buffalo at Southern Illinois
- Spread: Buffalo -3.5
- Over/under: 152.5
- Tip-off: 8 p.m. ET
- TV channel: ESPN+
The Bulls, who entered the season as KenPom’s 27th-most experienced team in Division I, are coming off a stunning upset at West Virginia on Friday. Buffalo two-guard CJ Massinburg carried the group down the stretch, making one of his nine 3-pointers to send it into overtime.
He finished with a career-high 43 points, along with just one turnover amid his 29% Possession Rate.
Although the public might expect a letdown, especially after the Salukis hung around with Kentucky in their season opener, that outcome shouldn’t affect your judgement too much.
The Wildcats cost themselves throughout the contest, amassing 19 turnovers while missing quality 3-point looks (4 of 14).
SIU — KenPom’s fourth-most experienced program — will aim to slow down the pace (70.1 Adjusted Tempo), but I don’t expect it to be successful. Buffalo has the 11th-highest AdjT and one of the best up-and-coming scorers around.
Buffalo has an effective half-court defense, too. The Salukis won’t stand a chance if the opposition blitzes across the floor consistently. In Rupp Arena, they shot just 31.2 percent from deep.
Buffalo forward Nick Perkins could play a significant role for the second straight game, aiming to slow down Southern Illinois’ Kavion Pippen.
Perkins and his teammates have flexed their muscles thus far, generating the 53rd-best Block Rate (16.1%) in the nation.
Jeremy Harris (6-foot-7) — another key member of the Bulls’ frontcourt —struggled with his shot versus the Mountaineers because of a wrist injury.
If his efficiency improves on Monday, they could surge toward a double-digit win. Massinburg was the lone Buffalo sharpshooter to find a rhythm from the perimeter in Morgantown.
Buffalo went 5-3-2 as a road favorite last season. With a similar core, bet on Nate Oats’ bunch.
The Pick: Buffalo -3.5
Betting odds: Oklahoma at UTSA
- Spread: Oklahoma -7
- Over/under: 157.5
- Tip-off: 8 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS Sports Network