Miami at Wake Forest (-1.5)
The Miami Hurricanes continue to go through major problems in the program. This time, freshman guard Matt Cross has decided to leave the team. Miami only used six scholarship players in the loss to Florida State on Wednesday and Cross was not one of them. He started nine games and ranked top five in points (6.9), rebounds (3.5) and three-point percentage (40.0%) for the season.
Miami is 6-9 overall and 2-8 in the ACC with wins over Louisville and NC State. Wake Forest is 4-7 overall with a 1-7 conference record, the lone win over Pittsburgh on Saturday (1/23). Both squads are ideal opponents for each other to get back into the win column and while it should be a close game, there are not many reasons to ride with the Hurricanes.
Wake Forest's last three losses have all come by single-digits and this will mark only the fifth home game of the season. The Demon Deacons are 4-2 SU at home, 3-2 versus DI opponents with one loss to Louisville and Virginia Tech. Wake Forest is 4-2 at home SU and 0-5 on the road. They are 4-0 ATS in the last four games overall and 9-4 ATS in the previous 13 home games dating back to last season, 3-2 this year. Wake Forest is 5-1 ATS following a SU loss, a positive sign after losing by five points to NC State on the road Wednesday.
The Hurricanes have struggled mightily on the road going 2-6 ATS in the last eight games. Overall, Miami is 1-4 ATS in the previous five games, with the upset over Louisville being the only SU and ATS win during that stretch. Miami's offense and defense from a distance have taken a beating. The Hurricanes rank 290th in three-point defense (36.9%) and an awful 339th in offensive three-point percentage (26.9%). The defensive length of possession for both teams also reach 16.1 seconds, the 24th and 39th-quickest time in the country when not broken down by decibels.
The Demon Deacons have played well from three, knocking down 35.3% of shots (100th) and holding opponents to 34.3% from deep (210th). Wake Forest is also a good free-throw shooting team, hitting 75.3% (47th) from the charity stripe. Miami is shooting 68.4% (235th) from the line. If this is close and comes down to the final minutes, I like Wake Forest to pull through.
The home team is 14-4-3 ATS in the last 21 meetings between the two programs. Wake Forest has also won the last four home games against Miami. The Hurricanes have lost four of its last five games this season by at least 12 points. I am backing Wake Forest to continue their better play at home versus a depleted Miami team who has struggled on the road.
Game Pick: Wake Forest ML (1.5u)
Alabama (-1) at Oklahoma
Alabama has won 10 straight games, while Oklahoma has won four consecutive. This will be a 40-minute battle, and unlike Texas versus Oklahoma, Alabama will not have many disadvantages entering this matchup.
The Crimson Tide were +1 underdogs last night, which did not last long. I grabbed them as soon as the Moneyline went +120 to -110. I laid off Iowa yesterday as that seemed like a trap line at +2.5/+3, but I feel confident Bama will not be falling into a trap here.
Alabama's offense is going to be the best Oklahoma has played this season. The Crimson Tide have averaged 94.7 ppg in its past three road games and rank eighth in adjusted tempo (74.6) and third in average offensive length of possession (14.3) for the season. Alabama also owns the 24th-ranked defensive effective field goal percentage (45.4%) and 86th offensive ranking (52.2%). Oklahoma ranks outside the top 100 in all five categories and struggles to defend the three-pointer, ranking 264th in the nation (35.8%).
Alabama has won the previous four road contests over Tennessee, Auburn, Kentucky and LSU by an average of 15.5 points. Alabama only beat Auburn by four and handled Tennessee by eight. The Crimson Tide beat Kentucky by 20 and LSU by 30. Alabama ranks top 15 in adjusted efficiency offensive and defensive, one-of-four teams inside Kenpom's top 10 to do so.
Oklahoma has escaped with victories over WVU, Kansas, Kansas State and TCU in their last four home games. The Sooners earned a road win over Texas in their latest outing. Oklahoma played arguably their best basketball of the entire season in the last two games versus Kansas and Texas. Now, Oklahoma will need to repeat that success for a third time, this time, against Alabama. I do not see it happening and believe the Crimson Tide will be too much offensively.
Game Pick: Alabama ML (1.5u)
Minnesota at Purdue (-2.5)
This matchup has always been about who is the home team. Purdue has won seven of the last eight games at home, and Minnesota has won three of the last five and split the last eight in the series at home. Both teams are in interesting spots.
Purdue won four straight games before losing to Michigan on Friday (1/22). Minnesota is 1-3 SU in their last four games, going 1-1 at home and 0-2 on the road. Minnesota did lose to Iowa and Michigan, two elite Big Ten squads but have also taken losses against Illinois and Wisconsin on the road. Minnesota has one of the toughest road schedules in the conference if you could not tell, and Purdue is another classic Big Ten home heavyweight.
The Boilmakers' last loss at home versus the Golden Gophers came in OT during the 2016-17 season. Purdue is 11-1 SU in the last 12 meetings at home dating back to 2005-06 and 14-3 all-time in West Lafayette versus Minnesota. Minnesota is 0-5 ATS in their last five road games and 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games following a double-digit loss at home. Purdue is 4-1-1 ATS in their last six games overall and 4-2 SU.
Purdue will be without Sasha Stefanovic for the second straight game after testing positive for COVID before the Michigan contest. The Boilermakers are allowing 68 points per game over the last five at home but struggled to score without Stefanvoic versus the Wolverines. Purdue finished the game with 53 points, and Minnesota should be a much simpler opponent to score on than Michigan without him.
Both squads are the worst three-point shooting teams in the conference, hitting 29.5% (Minnesota) and 34.5% (Purdue) on the season. I am expecting a low-scoring contest with Purdue coming out on top. Both teams have had about a week off, so expect both teams to be well-rested ahead of this matchup. I grabbed the Purdue MoneyLine at -154 on FanDuel, I would play the spread up to -2. I may revisit the spread but Under 141 is a strong lean.
Game Pick: Purdue ML (0.5u)