The new year is almost here, but we still have some important college basketball games to get to, and the December 29 CBB lines signify as much.
The Big Ten takes center stage as Northwestern and Rutgers, two traditional doormats, find themselves in the Top 25 and facing strong competition in the forms of Iowa and Purdue.
In the ACC, Virginia Tech is back in the rankings and hosts a talented but inconsistent Miami team.
Rob Dauster, a longtime national college basketball writer, and co-founder of the Field of 68 Podcast Network, took a gander at the December 29 CBB lines and breaks down the matchups and numbers that matter when you go to make your bet.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL ODDS: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 29 CBB LINES
#19 NORTHWESTERN (6-1) at #10 IOWA (7-2), 9 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Iowa -770, Northwestern +525
SPREAD: Iowa -11.5
OVER/UNDER: 161.5 points
Click here for the full list of Northwestern-Iowa Odds.
Who would have thought that a game between Northwestern and Iowa would end up being one of the most interesting games in the Big Ten this season, but it is. Northwestern is maybe the most surprising team in college basketball this season after starting Big Ten play at 3-0, and I don’t think that it is a fluke. They’ve beaten Michigan State, they won at Indiana and they picked off Ohio State at home. Those are all good (well, good-ish) teams.
What the Wildcats are doing is playing a five-out style, using skilled, perimeter-oriented centers Pete Nance and Ryan Young to initiate offense and space the floor. They also have a couple of the most impressive shot-makers in the league in Boo Buie and Miller Kopp, and forcing defenses to try and guard them in space coming off of new and different actions has made it tough to figure them out. It makes them really difficult to guard, and we know that Iowa is not the best defensively.
That said, while Northwestern has been solid defensively to date, this is not a team that is designed to be able to slow down someone that has the best low-post center in America in Luka Garza. The National Player of the Year should be able to get whatever he wants on Tuesday night.
So when you combine that neither team should be able to stop each other and that both teams want to play at pace, what you get is the over.
And who doesn’t love betting the over?
MIAMI (4-2) at #24 VIRGINIA TECH (7-1), 7 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Virginia Tech -275, Miami +215
SPREAD: Virginia Tech -6
OVER/UNDER: 134.5 points
Click here for the full list of Miami-Virginia Tech odds.
This is going to be one where we have to keep an eye on the injury status of a couple of players. The Hurricanes are as banged up as anyone in college basketball right now, and we are awaiting word on whether or not Chris Lykes and Kameron McGusty are going to be able to play tonight. Those are, arguably, the two best players on Miami’s roster.
Now, Miami is starting to get healthier. Earl Timberlake is back. Matt Cross is back. Elijah Olaniyi is eligible. So it’s not the disaster that it was a couple of weeks ago. With Lykes and McGusty back, with the Canes at full strength, they are maybe the most intriguing team in an ACC that looks like it is going to be wide open this season.
So I’ll take the points here … once we find out that Miami’s two stars are going to be back.
PURDUE (7-3) at #14 RUTGERS (6-1), 7 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Rutgers -175, Purdue +143
SPREAD: Rutgers -3.5
OVER/UNDER: 136 points
Click here for the full list of Purdue-Rutgers Odds.
Rutgers, like Northwestern, is an actual competitor in the Big Ten this season. And while they’ve dealt with some injuries, they would still be sitting with an undefeated mark had Myles Johnson not fouled out at Ohio State.
Now, keeping him out of foul trouble will not be easy, not when Johnson is going to have to go up against the talented big men on Purdue’s roster, but Rutgers is simply the better team here. And they will be playing at home, where all they do is win. Lay the points.