By: Mark Scarlett
Here at Smokehouse Sports, we don’t just solve your biggest problems by teaching you how to destroy the Heat in NBA Jam, and we don’t just give you basketball insight from some of the finest minds in the world. We also make you money.
There are a lot of good games tonight in college basketball. Not necessarily great for gambling, but great for people that like to watch the sport for the sport itself. Unfortunately, this column is not for the people that can watch a basketball game and hope there isn’t a backdoor cover from a Deonte Burton half court 3 (happened to me last year. Deonte and I have a bad relationship). This is for those of us that watch every game hoping that we can make a buck off of our basketball knowledge.
The first game of the night will be taking place in upstate New York as the Blue Devils visit the Orangemen. Syracuse has been a nice surprise in ACC play this year and has only one loss at home in ACC play: an OT game with Louisville. The line is currently -3 in favor of Duke. I think Syracuse has a legit shot to win this game, but I am terrified that Kennard and Allen will shoot the shit out of the ball against the zone. The bottom line here is that I am staying away from this game and hoping to enjoy it as a pure basketball fan. This just feels like a game that can go either way and is a heart attack waiting to happen.
At 8:30 the Terps of Maryland are at home against the Golden Gophers of Minnesota. The line is currently at -5 in favor of the Terps and I really think they’ll cover. I’ve seen Minnesota play twice and haven’t been impressed yet. I also can’t name a player on Minnesota, yet I can name many Terps with ease. That’s not always the best way to gamble, but it’s not the worst way either, right? I see this game being a ten point game pretty much the whole way. My money will confidently be on Maryland here.
The best game of the night will probably be when #8 North Carolina gets a visit from #7 Louisville. I’ve seen the line jump from anywhere from -5 to -7 in favor of the Tar Heels. I really love this Tar Heels team, and I’ve been on record saying Louisville is overrated this year, BUT… -7!. We are banking on the Tar Heels beating another top 10 team by 8 points. I just can’t get behind that. I love throwing money around as much as the next guy, but it feels like I’ll be begging Joel Berry to start pulling treys while trying to maintain the 3 point lead they have down the stretch. You won’t find me anywhere near Chapel Hill and I advise you to steer clear as well.
I love to quack. It’s one of my favorite sounds in the world, especially this year. This is not because I am a duck enthusiast, but because I am a big Oregon basketball fan. I’ve been quacking all year long. Through the highs and lows, I have quacked. Oregon heads to Berkeley tonight for a matchup against Jabari Bird, Ivan Rabb and the rest of the Golden Bears. The Ducks are favored by 4 and as much as I love quacking, I will probably avoid this game (I’d like to think). This is because the Ducks struggle on the road, and road games in conference are never easy. Oregon managed to lose at Colorado, who at the time were a pathetic 2-7 in conference play. I think Cal is a good team, and on their home turf, they will give the Ducks a good game. I do think Oregon will pull out the W, but I feel a backdoor cover coming from the Golden Bears, I feel it in my plums.
Finally, Butler heads to Villanova to take on the Wildcats at 9. The spread here is 10 points in favor of the reigning national champs. I never like spreads of more than roughly 7 because, well, I’m just not that stupid. But tonight, I am that stupid. I think the Wildcats may be the best team in the nation and Butler beat them in their last meeting in Indianapolis. I really think that any Big East team is lucky to have two competitive games with the Wildcats, let alone win one and then put up a fight again. I think Nova comes back with an ass pounding at home and covers the spread here in front of the home crowd.
Well, there’s your guide to making money, or even just not losing money. Because that’s what it’s all about and that’s what I’m here for. I’m not always right, quite the opposite actually. But let’s just see how right I am today. And always remember, good teams win, great teams cover.