Riding the momentum from the Super Bowl, we are back only two days later to shell out some hopeful winners. As one sport came to an end, it only makes sense to jump full force into the remaining sports at play. We have a healthy dose of college basketball games set to take center stage tonight. Among those, I can promise you, Tulane visiting South Florida will not be the most thrilling. However, my favorite side of the night comes from that game, so I don’t care if it’s not the most entertaining or watch-worthy. Let’s just win some bets.
Tulane -3.5 @ South Florida (USF)
These two teams previously met on Jan. 8 at Tulane. The Green Wave pulled out a 68-54 victory behind 51 combined points between Kevin Cross, Jalen Cook, and R.J. McGee. Each scored 17 points. The team’s second-leading scorer Jaylen Forbes only contributed five points. But he averages 16.4 points per game, and you have to believe he’ll shoot better than 1-for-5 in tonight’s game.
Let’s get right to it. This is a bad matchup for USF. Understandably, they are going to draw some interest as a home underdog. However, Tulane’s defense does an excellent job of forcing opponents to shoot further out. They own the third-best proximity ranking versus average opponents. Guess what the Bulls struggle with? Shooting the three-ball. USF ranks dead last in the country with a 24.2 percent three-point field goal percentage.
Conversely, the Bulls do a solid job of forcing opponents to shoot further away from the rim as well, ranking 51st in shooting proximity allowed versus average opponents. However, that’s not all that helpful in this matchup. Tulane can fill up the cup from long range. They rank eighth in the country in three-point field goal percentage versus average opponents, shooting nearly 40 percent.
I’m riding the Green Wave in hopes of filling my account with more green. Additionally, this game will take place at the Yuengling Center in Tampa, Florida, which is incredibly on-brand for me and makes me love this play that much more. Let’s lay the points with Tulane. I’d play this number up to 4.5.
Memphis Grizzlies -4.5 @ New Orleans Pelicans
The Grizzlies get started with the first game of a back-to-back, as they’ll take on the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday night at home. The Grizz have been a covering machine. They are the best team in the NBA at covering the spread with a 39-19 ATS record and 67.2 percent clip.
The biggest question in this game isn’t whether Memphis is better than New Orleans. The Grizzlies are third in the Western Conference, while the Pelicans are 23-34 and sit in 11th place. However, will Ja Morant play in this game? Morant tweaked his ankle in Saturday’s game against Charlotte. If Morant sits this one out, you might want to consider buying out of this pick.
New Orleans isn’t terrible, especially after the addition of C.J. McCollum at the trade deadline. Still, behind Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr., the Grizzlies are the better team on paper and in the standings. If Morant’s status gets confirmed that he’s playing, this number will likely shoot up to -6 or -6.5. I’ll lay the -4.5 with Memphis and hope he gets the nod tonight. Monitor the news closely before the game tips off at 7 PM CST.
Deandre Ayton Over 24.5 Points + Rebounds (-122 FanDuel)
Ayton is fresh off a double-double against the Orlando Magic on Saturday, in which he recorded a combined 27 points and rebounds. Before that, against the Milwaukee Bucks, he registered a combined 34 points and rebounds. For the season, he averages 26.7 points and rebounds per game.
Tonight, he gets a matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers, who allow the fourth-most points per game to opposing centers and the eighth-most rebounds per game to opposing centers. I think he should find success and get at least 27. I’d play this number up to 25.5.
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