After a 265-day layoff due to COVID-19, college basketball is finally back, and the NCAA basketball odds are live on BetRivers.com, giving you a wide variety of ways to stay involved in the game.
The opening day features over 75 college basketball games, and while there is much to learn about the teams, there’s a lot we already know about how the games will play out.
Rob Dauster, a longtime national college basketball writer and co-founder of the Field of 68 Podcast Network, breaks down the NCAA basketball odds for opening day and provides his take on the numbers that matter.
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NCAA BASKETBALL ODDS: NOVEMBER 25 PREVIEW
No. 22 UCLA at SAN DIEGO STATE, 10:00 p.m.
Spread: UCLA -3
Over/Under: 132 points
In the best game of the opening night of the college hoops season, we get a local rivalry between a San Diego State team that lost their best player to the NBA Draft and a UCLA team that got their best player back.
Chris Smith returning to the Bruins gave Mick Cronin his go-to scorer, which will be huge against an SDSU team that should still be quite tough on the defensive end of the floor even without Malachi Flynn. It’s that defense that makes me lean to the Aztecs here. Matt Mitchell should definitely be able to slow Smith down, and considering the fact that SDSU is a small favorite at home, I tend to lean in that direction.
For my money, this game is closer to a pick-em, so I like the Aztecs. And if you’re going to bet the Aztecs (+3), you might as well take their moneyline of (+143).
MEMPHIS vs. SAINT MARY’S, 2:00 p.m. ET
Spread: Memphis -8
There are two reasons that I lean Memphis here beyond the simple fact that I love this year’s Tigers.
For starters, their athleticism is going to totally overwhelm Saint Mary’s. With Moussa Cisse and Landers Nolley both eligible, Penny has added the two pieces that he needed the most, and when you combine them with the sophomore class that he brings back, the Tigers are a borderline top 25 team. And considering that they play in a league without a ton of great wins available, they have quite a bit of incentive to win the Bad Boy Mowers Classic.
The other part of it is that the Gaels play in a state where they weren’t allowed to get practices in over the summer, and they now have to replace Jordan Ford, who did EV.ER.Y.THING for them last season. That’s going to be tough to do in an opener against the Tigers.
TENNESSEE TECH at INDIANA, 8:00 p.m. ET
Spread: Indiana -21.5
Over/Under: 138 points
This is simple. Tennessee Tech’s John Pelphrey is out due to COVID-19, and they are likely going to be missing a pair of starters and their sixth man. I don’t love Indiana this season, but I do love them to cover in this spot.
UC RIVERSIDE at PACIFIC, 5 p.m. ET
Spread: Pacific -6
Over/Under: 127 points
Riverside not only was forced to change coaches in the middle of a pandemic, when David Patrick made the decision to take over as an assistant at Arkansas due to questions about the athletics budget at Riverside, but new head coach Mike Magpayo is not going to be coaching this game after his wife’s water broke. Damon Stoudamire is now the coach at Pacific, and he’s proven to be a winner at the WCC level. He should be able to cover the 5.5.
NC-CENTRAL at No. 5 IOWA, 4:00 p.m. ET
Spread: Iowa -25.5
Over/Under: 149.5 points
NC-Central came out of COVID quarantine three days ago. Now they get to go play Iowa and Luka Garza, the Preseason National Player of the Year, in the opener. Good luck.