NCAA CBB Best Bets: Timme for Takeoff

Nov 11, 2022
NCAA College Basketball Best Bets (November 11)

College basketball made its much-anticipated return on Monday to kick off the 2022-23 campaign. While it has been nice to have college hoops back in our lives on a nightly basis, we haven’t had many marquee matchups to zero in on.

Until now.

Clear your schedule for Friday because there will be a handful of games worth watching from start to finish. A battle between No. 2 Gonzaga and Michigan State figures to be the main attraction, but matchups between Stanford-Wisconsin, Toledo-UAB, and Villanova-Temple are all compelling in their own right.

In the first of these weekly columns, I’m going to share my best bets for a loaded Friday card. If you’ve been following my plays in the 4for4 Discord, we’ve obviously gotten off to a hot 5-0 start to the season. The undefeated run will likely end here, but at least we will be watching competitive hoops when the streak ultimately dies.

Today’s CBB Best Bets (November 11)

Gonzaga-Michigan State Game Total Over 145.5 Points (-110, Caesars)

Let’s start with the game most people will care about in this slate. This game will take place on an aircraft carrier, as the two teams will square off on USS Abraham Lincoln off the coast of San Diego for a Veterans Day showdown slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET.

These games have not always had the most success, including when a matchup between Florida and Georgetown was canceled at halftime due to the condition of the court during the 2012-13 season. But one would think we are better prepared for such a situation in 2022, right?

So, if we are to assume this will be a normal basketball game, then this total is probably too low given the firepower in this game. Bart Torvik projects an 82-73 win for the Bulldogs, which would clear this current total with room to spare.

The Spartans don’t seem to have the interior defense to contain this Drew Timme-led frontcourt. Timme is coming off a 22-point performance in Gonzaga’s 104-63 win during the opener, in which six different players finished in double figures. On the other side, the Bulldogs have some questions to answer on the defensive end after losing Chet Holmgren to the NBA Draft.

Gonzaga’s team total is worth a look when that market is released, but the over seems like the best way to play this marquee matchup for now.

Risk: 1.1 units at Caesars to win 1 unit. (Playable to 149.5)

St. Thomas-Chicago State Game Total Under 144.5 Points (-110, BetMGM)

It might not be as sexy as the first game, but I cashed an under ticket in the Tommies’ opener when they suffered a 72-60 loss to Creighton. That total was 150, but the quality of the opponent was obviously much more difficult.

Ken Pomeroy projects St. Thomas to secure an 80-66 victory, so it is easy to see how oddsmakers got here with this total. But this mark feels a bit high, especially after the Chicago State Cougars mustered just 54 points in Game 1 during an 85-54 loss.

St. Thomas made the jump from Division III to Division I last year, and it certainly showed during a 10-20 campaign. Johnny Tauer’s team ranked 357th in defensive efficiency on KenPom and fired up a bunch of three-pointers, embracing a DNA that led to a lot of overs in the Summit League.

While we can’t take too much from one game this season, it is worth noting St. Thomas currently ranks 315th in adjusted tempo. The Tommies launched just 22 three-pointers against Creighton as well. This total might be a touch high due to last year’s results, but I mostly don’t expect Chicago State to do much offensively.

Risk: 1.1 units at BetMGM to win 1 unit. (Playable to 140.5)

Stanford Cardinal (+5.5) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (-115, FanDuel)

In another interesting neutral-site game, the Stanford Cardinal and Wisconsin Badgers square off at American Family Field in the Brew City Battle.

Both teams are coming off wins in their respective openers. Wisconsin handled South Dakota in an 85-59 victory, while Stanford pushed past Pacific for a 88-78 victory. Torvik’s numbers project a 68-66 victory for the Badgers, so there is value in taking the two-possession underdog in a true toss-up game.

The status of Stanford’s Spencer Jones is worth monitoring. He missed the first game with a lower back injury after leading the team with 12 points per game. Assuming he plays, Stanford has a solid squad with plenty of returning experience.

The Cardinal bring back nine of their 13 scholarship players from last year’s 16-16 squad. In the current era of the transfer portal, that level of returners should make for stronger play out of the gate. Jerod Haase’s squad will be ready, and they might just pick up a signature win in a baseball park on Friday.

Risk: 1.15 units at FanDuel to win 1 unit. (Playable to 3.5)

For the most up-to-date picks check out my Twitter and subscribe to our Discord. This sheet from Dan Rivera tracks all my betting picks (and those from the rest of the betting staff) on the year. Just click on the tab with my name on it for the results.


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