Tuesday College Basketball Betting Odds & Picks: How to Play Fresno State-Oregon, Montana State-Utah State
Kelley L. Cox-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Payton Pritchard
Welcome back, college basketball!
The 2019-2020 season kicks off today with a full 82-game Tuesday slate.
In our first college hoops piece of the season, we dive into games featuring two Top 25 teams.
- Fresno State at No. 15 Oregon (-13.5) — 9 p.m. ET
- Montana State at No. 20 Utah State (-21.5) — 10 p.m. ET
Let’s get to it.
Tuesday College Basketball Betting
Fresno State at Oregon Odds
- Spread: Oregon -13.5
- Over/Under: 137.5
- Time: 9 p.m. ET
- TV: Pac-12 Network
Oregon (25-13) looks to improve on last year’s sizzling finish which featured a Pac-12 Tournament Championship and a 10-game winning streak that ended with a 53-49 loss to eventual national champion Virginia.
The Ducks were 12-5 at home against the spread including 5-0 in their last five home games. Oregon has also covered its last four games against Mountain West competition.
Head coach Dana Altman will rely on his senior backcourt of Payton Pritchard (12.9 ppg, 4.6 apg) and Anthony Mathis (14.4 ppg, 41.6% 3P). The former high school teammates were reunited when Mathis transferred from New Mexico after receiving a fifth-year of eligibility.
However, the Ducks could be very shorthanded tonight. They are already without 6-foot-11, 5-star freshman N’Faly Dante, who has not officially joined the team due to eligibility issues. Sophomore center Francis Okoro is dealing with an undisclosed injury and may not be available.
That would leave Oregon without a player taller than 6-foot-8 in an offensive system that ranked 328th in adjusted tempo last season.
Meanwhile, Fresno State (23-9) had a terrific season under first-year head coach Justin Hutson.
Senior Nate Grimes (11.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg) will have a favorable matchup in the post if Oregon is without Okoro. Grimes led the Mountain West in field goal percentage and had 11 double-doubles last season.
Hutson has brought his defensive-minded toughness from San Diego State, and the Bulldogs illustrated that on the court. They ranked among the best teams in 3-point shooting defense, allowing opposing teams to only shoot 30.6% from beyond the arc.
Fresno State is a more experienced team and should limit the offensive attack of the slow-paced Ducks. With Okoro’s status uncertain, I’ll take the 13.5 points against a Dana Altman Oregon team that has struggled to mesh new rosters in each of the past two seasons before getting hot late.
The Pick: Fresno State +13.5 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
Montana State at Utah State
- Spread: Utah State -21.5
- Over/Under: 155
- Time: 10 p.m. ET
Craig Smith led the Aggies to an incredible season in his first year as head coach. Utah State tallied the third-most victories in school history while tying for the Mountain West regular-season title and winning the conference tournament.
The Aggies return four starters from last year including preseason conference Player of the Year Sam Merrill. The senior guard averaged 20.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 4.2 assists while shooting 37.5% from beyond the arc.
Fellow guards Brock Miller (8.1 ppg) and Abel Porter (5.5 ppg, 40.5% 3P) provide shooting balance for a team that will be without 7-foot sophomore center Neemias Queta (11.8 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 2.4 bpg) as he rehabs a knee injury. Fortunately, the Aggies have 7-foot-2 transfer Kuba Karwowski available, as well as five total players over 6-foot-8.
Montana State (15-17) welcomes new coach Danny Sprinkle, who will be trying to acclimate a team that lost four seniors and four transfers from last season. The Bobcats struggled to contain Merrill (37 points) in last year’s 101-71 home-opening loss and will need to be much better against an Aggies team that finished 14-1 at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
Montana State was one of the worst defensive teams in the country last season, ranking 346th in adjusted defensive efficiency. They were also 326th in 3-point defense, which will be a problem against a Utah State team that ranked 38th best from beyond the arc.
The Aggies are a well-coached and talented scoring team that is facing a Montana State first-year coach with a ton of roster turnover.
Even without Queta, I’ll give the 21.5 for Utah State at home.
THE PICK: Utah State -21.5