The January 2 CBB lines are live on BetRivers.com, and the first Saturday of 2021 is shaping up to be a doozy, with some of the strongest games of the college basketball season taking place.
Rob Dauster, a longtime national college basketball writer, and co-founder of the Field of 68 Podcast Network, took a gander at the January 2 CBB lines and breaks down the matchups and numbers that matter when you go to make your bet.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL ODDS: SATURDAY, JANUARY 2 CBB ODDS
No. 8 TEXAS (7-1) at No. 3 KANSAS (8-1), 12:00 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Kansas -200, Texas +168
SPREAD: Kansas -4
My initial thought when looking at this line was that we need to be on Texas here.
It’s simple: Texas would be able to play David McCormack off the floor with the ability of Kai Jones and Greg Brown on the perimeter, and that they would be able to lock up Jalen Wilson, Ochai Agbaji and whoever else Kansas plays at the four and the five in their small-ball lineups. Add to that the fact that the strength of the Texas defense is two-fold: A) they are terrific at running teams off of the three-point line, and B) they do a great job of forcing opponents to win 1-on-1. Kansas gets more than a third of their points off of threes, and they do not have any player on the roster that I would classify as a great creator.
But the problem there is that we would be betting on Shaka Smart on the road against Bill Self and only getting four points. That doesn’t seem optimal, not when so much of what Texas does offensively comes via Matt Coleman. When he’s shut down, the Longhorns can go through long scoring droughts. And Kansas? They have a kid named Marcus Garrett, who is one of the best on-ball defenders in the country.
Put it all together, and I think the under is the play here. I don’t think this game gets into the 70s, which means that under 136.5 is the best bet.
#10 IOWA (8-2) at #14 RUTGERS (7-1), 2 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Iowa -152, Rutgers +128
SPREAD: Iowa -3
OVER/UNDER: 159 points
Full disclosure: I am writing this column late on Friday night. The lines are only just getting released now, and we still do not have information on who is going to be playing tomorrow.
That’s relevant here, because Rutgers is currently dealing with two starters that are banged up: Their star wing Ron Harper Jr., and their star freshman center Cliff Omoruyi. Neither of them practiced yesterday.
I don’t want to touch the total until we get word on those two, but I do think that it is worth noting that Rutgers overs are 6-1-1 this season and Iowa overs are 8-2. I feel very comfortable saying that there are going to be a lot of points scored in this game, but if Rutgers won’t have the guy that averages 23.4 points playing, that’s a major blow for a team that is going to have to try and keep pace with Luka Garza and the Hawkeyes.
So here’s my take: I think if you must get action on this game before the tip, the play is Iowa (-3). The Hawkeyes can absolutely cover that number even if Rutgers is fully healthy — especially if Jordan Bohannon plays well — but if it turns out that one of, or both, Harper and Omoruyi are out, that like will balloon up to (-7) or (-8). Jumping on it now makes sense.
But what is more enticing to me is the over on the Iowa team total, especially if it turns out that Omoruyi isn’t playing. Myles Johnson cannot play 40 minutes against Luka Garza. He doesn’t have the stamina and he definitely doesn’t have enough fouls. That number, right now, would be 81 points. There’s been one game this season where Iowa was held under 87 points.
#2 BAYLOR (8-0) at IOWA STATE (2-4), 1 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Baylor -2000, Iowa State +1000
SPREAD: Baylor -15
OVER/UNDER: 148 points
The Bears are so much better than Iowa State.
Like, so much better.
KenPom has it at -14. BetRivers.com has it at -15. I think Baylor is closer to 22-24 points better than the Cyclones.
There are a couple reasons for it. For starters, Iowa State’s offense is iso-heavy. You cannot iso defenders like Davion Mitchell, Jared Butler and MaCio Teague, to say nothing of Mark Vital. It won’t work, especially when one of those starting guards is Tyler Harris, who stands all of 5-foot-8. He’s going to get eaten alive.
But the other part of it is that Baylor is going to get a thousand extra possessions. Why? Because Baylor is 4th nationally in offensive rebounding percentage while Iowa State is 305th nationally in defensive rebounding percentage. Baylor is also 9th nationally in defensive turnover rate, while Iowa State turns the ball over on 23 percent of their offensive possessions, which is 297th nationally.
ALABAMA (6-3) at #7 TENNESSEE (7-0), 6 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Tennessee -560, Alabama +420
SPREAD: Tennessee -10
OVER/UNDER: 142 points
I don’t feel as good about this one. But I will say this: Alabama’s offense is built around taking quick shots that are either threes or layups. It’s very Daryl Morey/Moneyball. Tennessee is top 30 nationally if defensive three-point percentage and Alabama only shoots 30.6 percent from three.
That’s the stats argument.
But mostly, I just think that Tennessee is still quite underrated by the books and by the metrics that project these games. I make the Vols around 13-14 points better than Alabama.
NOTABLE SATURDAY, JANUARY 2 CBB ODDS
12 p.m: #8 Texas at #2 Kansas (-4). O/U 136.5
12 p.m: #11 Creighton (-4) at Providence. O/U 146.5
12 p.m: #12 Missouri at Arkansas (-6.5). O/U 146.5
1 p.m.: #2 Baylor (-15) at Iowa State. O/U 148.5
2 p.m.: #10 Iowa (-3) at #14 Rutgers. O/U 159
4 p.m.: #9 West Virginia at Oklahoma (-1). O/U 144
4 p.m.: Oklahoma State at #13 Texas Tech (-8). O/U 134
6 p.m.: Alabama at #7 Tennessee (-10). O/U 143.5
6 p.m.: Purdue at #15 Illinois (-8.5). O/U 149
8 p.m.: San Francisco at #1 Gonzaga (-19.5). O/U 162.5
8 p.m.: #17 Michigan State (-8.5) at Nebraska. O/U 152
10 p.m.: Stanford at #21 Oregon (-5.5). O/U 141