Despite not having a bevy of holiday tournaments taking place this week, the slate of Saturday, December 26 CBB lines is mighty fun, with a potential National Championship preview between No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 16 Virginia.
Place your College Basketball sport bets online at the BetRivers Sportsbook. Read below the latest odds and previews.
Rob Dauster, a longtime national college basketball writer, and co-founder of the Field of 68 Podcast Network, analyzed the December 26 CBB lines, and is here to break down the numbers that matter in the key matchups.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL ODDS: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 26 CBB LINES
#1 GONZAGA (6-0) vs. #16 VIRGINIA (4-1), 4 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Gonzaga -345, Virginia +275
SPREAD: Gonzaga -7.5
OVER/UNDER: 136.5 points
Click here for the full list of Gonzaga-Virginia odds.
I’m going to talk you through why I feel this way, but for those that aren’t actually looking for reasoning or logic and just want picks, it’s Gonzaga (-7). It’s over on the Gonzaga team total, which is implied at about 74. The Zags are the best team in the country. They have the most talented and potent offensive attack of any team in the country. Virginia lost to San Francisco and got taken to over time by Kent State. My guy is that one team is going to look like it is from a mid-major league on Saturday, and it’s not going to be Gonzaga.
The long version is this: Virginia just doesn’t have the horses to run with the Zags.
And the Zags, we know, are going to run. They’re going to run off of misses. They’re going to run off of makes. They’re going to get shots up quick. They’re going to try and have a clean look, whether it’s a layup or an open three or a post touch, within the first 12 seconds of the shot clock. That’s just how they do. Virginia, on the other hand, is going to try and take 30 seconds off on every possession. They’re not going to go to the offensive glass. They’re going to send four or five players back to prevent against run-outs.
But here’s the thing: I just don’t see this working all that well. Gonzaga is good enough that they are going to get their points. They are going to score. Remember, 5-foot-7 Kihei Clark plays 30 minutes a game. Gonzaga’s four-guard lineup goes 6-foot-4, 6-foot-5, 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-7. The shortest player on the floor? Jalen Suggs.
If (when?) Gonzaga is able to get that lead, what is Virginia going to do?
Which brings me back to the original point: Virginia is just not good enough to hang with Gonzaga.
KENTUCKY (1-5) at LOUISVILLE (5-1), 1 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Louisville -186, Kentucky +155
SPREAD: Louisville -4
OVER/UNDER: 132.5 points
Click here for the full list of Kentucky-Louisville odds.
I know how crazy this is going to sound, but I think I’m going to be on Kentucky in this spot. They’re coming off of a game where they were just utterly embarrassed by North Carolina, blowing a double-digit lead in the first half to lose by 12. At least one player had a meltdown on the bench and behind closed doors that was bad enough to get him sent home and publicly lambasted by Coach Cal.
All that before heading into a rivalry game. THE Rivalry Game!
Now, I’ve been steadfast in making this point: The point guard play, the shooting, the issues matching with teams that play four-out, those are all real concerns. But the biggest problem that Kentucky has right now has to do with chemistry and effort and leadership. If that’s ever going to change, you’d think that it’s going to happen in this game.
The other reason I like Kentucky here is that they will actually have an advantage up front. North Carolina’s frontline bullied Kentucky. Louisville does not have the bodies to be able to do that, but they are also not going to try and space the floor like Richmond did. Isaiah Jackson and Olivier Sarr should be able to win that battle.
#23 OHIO STATE (7-1) at NORTHWESTERN (5-1), 2 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Ohio State -157, Northwestern +130
SPREAD: Ohio State -3
OVER/UNDER: 136.5 points
Click here for the full list of Ohio State-Northwestern odds.
Northwestern is coming off of a couple of impressive wins, pounding Michigan State at home and winning in Bloomington. They’re doing something new offensively this season, playing more five-out and spreading the floor.
But Chris Holtmann is one of the best coaches in the country. He now has two games worth of Big Ten film to breakdown, to find a way to stop what Northwestern wants to run. Will that be enough? Maybe, maybe not, but I do think that combined with the fact that Ohio State is the best team that the Wildcats have played this season makes me want to lay the 2.5 points even though this game is being played on the road.