The January 7 CBB lines are live on BetRivers.com, and as we enter the first full week of college basketball in 2021, we’re still figuring out how to properly assess the new normal.
Thursday night features the three best teams in the Big Ten taking on challenging, unranked foes. No. 8 Wisconsin hosts Indiana while No. 10 Iowa travels to Maryland and No. 12 Illinois battles Northwestern in Evanston. But Thursday is also a big night our west, as Oregon takes on a Colorado team that is much better than you would expect.
Rob Dauster, a longtime national college basketball writer, and co-founder of the Field of 68 Podcast Network, took a gander at the January 7 CBB lines and breaks down the numbers that matter.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL ODDS: JANUARY 7 CBB ODDS
INDIANA (7-4) at #8 WISCONSIN (9-2), 7:00 p.m.
MONEYLINE: Wisconsin -435, Indiana +335
SPREAD: Wisconsin -8.5
OVER/UNDER: 129 points
Click here for the full list of Indiana-Wisconsin odds.
This is easily my favorite bet of the day, and there’s really not all that much complicated logic behind it.
Let’s start with this: Wisconsin is really good. They are a top five team on KenPom. They are a top ten team in the polls. They quite literally have a starting lineup that is older than the starting lineup of the Chicago Bulls. Think about it like this: Brad Davison is the one guy in college basketball this season that feels like he has been on campus for 17 years, and he is the youngest player in Wisconsin’s starting five! They’re one sprained ankle away from filing for social security. It’s wild.
So Wisconsin is really, really good.
Indiana rates well on the metrics. They’re 21st on KenPom, which is part of the reason that they are only six-point underdogs according to KenPom’s projections.
But I don’t think Indiana is actually as good as their analytics suggest, especially without second-leading scorer Armaan Franklin, who had been on fire for the last month and will be out tonight with a sprained ankle. That’s a huge blow for a team that already doesn’t have much perimeter spacing around Trayce Jackson-Davis.
Speaking of TJD, the rep on him is that he struggles against elite bigs but overpowers smaller front lines. Wisconsin’s biggest long-term issue is that their best lineup essentially has two all-conference level centers in Micah Potter and Nate Reuvers. Against basically this same team last season, TJD finished with nine points and six points in two games.
So I love the Badgers. They’re my favorite bet of the night.
#12 ILLINOIS (8-3) at NORTHWESTERN (6-3), 9:00 p.m.
MONEYLINE: Illinois -315, Northwestern +250
SPREAD: Illinois -7
OVER/UNDER: 147.5 points
Click here for the full list of Illinois-Northwestern odds.
The battle for supremacy in the state of Illinois!
This should be a fun matchup, as we get two teams that enjoy playing at pace, spread the floor and get threes up. That alone leads me to lean towards the over. But there’s more to it. I don’t know how either of these two teams will guard each other.
On the one hand, this is a bad matchup for Kofi Cockburn, and that is precisely the way that we should be evaluating Illinois in these situations. Cockburn really struggles when he is forced to defend away from the paint. Northwestern doesn’t run a ton of ball-screens, but they do run a five-out system that will force Kofi to chase the likes of Pete Nance around beyond the arc.
That said, Northwestern won’t have an answer for Kofi or for Ayo Dosunmu, who should be able to get whatever they want, whenever they want. Combine that with the fact that the Wildcats want to play at pace — and Illinois will gladly run with anyone — and the over here is the play.
#17 OREGON (8-1) at COLORADO (7-3), 5:00 p.m.
MONEYLINE: Colorado -148, Oregon +123
SPREAD: Colorado -2.5
OVER/UNDER: 140.5 points
Click here for the full list of Oregon-Colorado odds.
Oregon is the better basketball team here. They’re undervalued by the market right now. I think Colorado is overvalued given where they are in the metrics, and this line is actually just Colorado (-1) on KenPom.
So everything points me to Oregon here, just like everything points me to Arizona State. They get Marvin Bagley back, so they’ll have two potential lottery picks, neither of whom are All-American Remy Martin. UCLA is coming off of the loss of Chris Smith, their most talented wing, and the Sun Devils are getting points at home.
UCLA (7-2) at ARIZONA STATE (4-3), 10:30 p.m.
MONEYLINE: UCLA -124, Arizona State +104
SPREAD: UCLA -1.5
OVER/UNDER: 144 points
Click here for a full list of UCLA-Arizona State odds.
Those are the sides my process says.
That said, playing in Colorado at altitude is never easy to do, and betting on Arizona State is never, ever comfortable. So keep those things in mind.
JANUARY 7 CBB LINES: NOTABLE GAMES
5:00 p.m.: #17 Oregon at Colorado (-2). O/U 140.5
7:00 p.m.: #5 Iowa (-6) at Maryland. O/U 154.4
7:00 p.m.: Indiana at #8 Wisconsin (-8). O/U 130.5
7:00 p.m.: Cincinnati at SMU (-5.5). O/U 143.5
8:30 p.m.: BYU at #1 Gonzaga (-17). O/U 163
9:00 p.m.: #12 Illinois (-7) at Northwestern. O/U 150
9:00 p.m.: Washington at Stanford (-9.5). O/U 135.5
9:00 p.m.: Southern Cal at Arizona (-3). O/U 140.5
9:00 p.m.: Portland at San Francisco (-17). O/U 147
10:00 p.m.: Washington State (-1) at California. O/U 129.5
10:00 p.m.: Nevada at San Diego State (-12.5). O/U 137
10:30 p.m.: UCLA (-1) at Arizona State. O/U 148.5