Sunday College Basketball Best Bets

By  Jonathan Willis

Sunday, March 31st, 2019

Sunday College Basketball Best Bets

There are just five NCAA Tournament games left this season, so there are only a few more times to make money before the long college basketball offseason sets in. Saturday’s two Elite Eight games were both great games, and you would have made money if you would have followed me on both as I had Texas Tech outright and Virginia to cover. The Cavaliers’ miracle cover made my day a little brighter than it should have been, but I’ll take it. Let’s keep it rolling.

Kentucky Wildcats -4.5 vs. Auburn Tigers, O/U 140.5

We’ve already seen a good deal of movement in this game. Kentucky opened as a 2.5-point favorite, and the line has since shot up to 4.5. The total has been the biggest mover on Sunday’s card though, falling four points since it opened.

I’ll come right out and say that I don’t see this line closing at 4.5, so grab Auburn at this number while you still can. The Tigers have been shooting the lights out in their last two games, and there’s no indication that will stop any time soon. They have been red hot over the last month, winning their last four regular season games and four games in four games to win the SEC Conference Tournament.

It’s been more of the same in the NCAA Tournament. Auburn only beat New Mexico State by one, but that was simply a case of the Tigers taking their foot off the gas pedal a bit too early. They were up 13 with seven minutes left and were never in real danger of losing if you look at Ken Pomeroy’s Win Expectancy charts.

In their last two games, it was a lot more one-sided. Auburn hit over 52 percent from the floor against Kansas and knocked down 13 threes, and the Tigers sunk a school record 17 threes against North Carolina on Friday.

Meanwhile, Kentucky has not been shooting well, and the Wildcats were fortunate to beat both Wofford and Houston. They needed to come from behind to beat Houston and Wofford would have sent them packing if all-time NCAA three-point leader Fletcher Magee didn’t go 0-12 from distance.

Auburn won’t have Chuma Okeke, but I think the Tigers rally around Bryce Brown and make it to the Final Four in an upset over a Kentucky team that beat them twice in the regular season.

Pick: Auburn +4.5 and Over 140.5

Duke Blue Devils -2 vs. Michigan State Spartans, O/U 151.5

This is a flawed Duke team. The Blue Devils have been sizable favorites to win the NCAA Tournament all season with Zion Williamson leading the way, but it’s become clear that Williamson, RJ Barrett, and Cam Reddish are the only guys on this team that can score reliably. Tre Jones is a defensive specialist that can get hot from time to time, and they haven’t found a consistent fifth that can score either.

Duke nearly lost to both UCF and Virginia Tech. Cam Reddish and Jack White are both questionable, and I think the Blue Devils are prime to be upset.

Michigan State has continued to overcome injuries throughout the season. People wrote off the Spartans after Joshua Langford went out for the season in January, and their depth took a ding when Kyle Ahrens was lost for the NCAA Tournament. Nick Ward has been banged up too, but this team keeps rolling along.

Ken Pomeroy ranks them as the third-best team in the country, and his ratings have them ahead of Duke. The Spartans have won all three of their NCAA Tournament games by double-digits, and they are sharp on both sides of the ball. Cassius Winston is one of the top players in the country, Provided Ward is healthy, I think the Spartans can limit Duke’s offensive options and control the glass. Duke would have a hard time overcoming that.

Pick: Michigan State +2

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