Saturday's Late Tips
February 2, 2018
By Brian Edwards
Editor's note: Brian Edwards owns a 28-16 record (63.6%, +10.97 Units) on his guaranteed plays since Dec. 8, so don't miss out on tonight's pay-if-it-wins-only selection!
**Michigan State at Indiana**
-- The Wynn in Las Vegas opened Michigan State (21-3 straight up, 13-10 against the spread) as a 9.5-point favorite.
-- Michigan State has won outright in three of its four road assignments, but it is struggled to a 1-2-1 spread record in those spots.
-- Tom Izzo’s team went through a brief rough patch in early January, going 1-2 SU and 0-3 ATS in a trio of Big Ten games. The outright losses came by double-digit margins and the only victory was a fortunate one, as the Spartans got a tying free throw and last-second stop to force overtime at home vs. Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights lost 76-72 in the extra session, but the easily took the money as 22-point road underdogs.
-- Since that three-game slump, however, Michigan State has won five in a row with three of the wins coming by margins of 13 points or more. One of those came against Saturday’s foe, Indiana, which took an 85-57 shellacking as a 14.5-point road underdog at Breslin Center two Fridays ago. Miles Bridges made 9-of-13 field-goal attempts and 4-of-6 launches from 3-point range en rout to a game-high 22-point scoring effort. Nick Ward added 18 points and 13 rebounds, while Cassius Winston contributed 10 points, four boards and eight assists compared to merely one turnover. IU’s Robert Johnson scored a team-best 21 points in the losing effort. The 142 combined points slithered ‘under’ the 145.5-point tally.
-- MSU is 6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS in the past seven head-to-head meetings between these Big Ten rivals. When they met at IU last year, the Hoosiers collected their one outright victory in the last seven encounters by capturing an 82-75 triumph as five-point home ‘chalk.’ Johnson dropped 17 points on the Spartans in the win. Bridges scored 13 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and handed out four helpers without committing a turnover, but the then-true-freshman forward was an abysmal 4-of-17 from the field. Ward finished with 15 points and six boards.
-- Bridges is averaging 17.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game while shooting at a 48.1 percent clip from the field and making 91.4 percent of his free-throw attempts. Ward (13.4 PPG, 7.9 RPG) has 38 blocked shots in 24 games and has hit 68.4 percent of his FGAs. Winston (12.5 PPG) has a 157/66 assist-to-turnover ratio, and he’s splashing the nets at a 53.6 clip from 3-point land and at a 92.5 percent from the FT line. Jaren Jackson Jr. (11.4 PPG, 6.3 RPG) leads the Big Ten and is third in the nation in blocked shots, averaging 3.4 per game.
-- MSU is ranked fifth in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll and it is 24th in the RPI Rankings. The Spartans are 1-3 versus the RPI Top 50 and 6-3 against the Top 100. A neutral-court win over North Carolina (RPI #10) is MSU’s best by far. Sparty has home wins over Notre Dame, Nebraska and Maryland, in addition to a victory at Maryland and a neutral-court scalp of UConn.
-- MSU is efficient at both ends of the court, currently ranking second in the nation in FG percentage (51.7%), 11th in 3-point accuracy (41.1%) and 20th in scoring with an 84.0 PPG average. The Spartans are ranked tops in the country in FG percentage defense (35.7%) and 21st in scoring ‘D’ (64.3 PPG).
-- Indiana (12-11 SU, 12-11 ATS) owns a 10-4 SU record and a 9-5 ATS mark. This is the Hoosiers’ third game as home underdogs. They’ve been feisty as hell in the two previous spots, although their 0-2 SU record and 1-1 ATS mark might not indicate that. Archie Miller’s team hosted Duke on Nov. 29 as an 8.5-point home ‘dog and was ahead of the number for 90 percent of the game. IU led by one with six minutes remaining and the game was tied with five minutes left. However, the Blue Devils finished the game with a 16-6 run to narrowly get the cash.
-- Indiana’s other home underdog situation came this past Sunday afternoon vs. Purdue at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, where IU was again installed as an 8.5-point puppy. Miller’s club raced out to a 14-4 lead and led outright for a good chunk of the game. In fact, the game was tied with 6:55 remaining and the Boilermakers were never able to get ahead of the number. But a 9-2 Purdue run in the last three minutes allowed it to prevail by a 74-67 count, hooking up its supporters for second-half bets (hand raised!) as a 6.5-point ‘chalk’ when it was trailing by two at intermission (therefore, Purdue was -4.5 adjusted).
-- In the losing effort vs. Purdue, IU’s Juwan Morgan went for 24 points, seven rebounds and a pair of blocked shots. Robert Johnson finished with 21 points, six boards and three assists.
-- Indiana is No. 126 in the RPI, going winless in seven games against the Top 50 and 3-7 versus the Top 100. The Hoosiers have home wins over Maryland and Northwestern and they also beat Notre Dame on a neutral floor.
-- De’Ron Davis, IU’s third-leading scorer (9.6 PPG, 4.3 RPG), went down with a season-ending injury in early January. Collin Hartman (6.0 PPG, 3.6 RPG) is also ‘out’ with a leg injury but he’s expected to return in mid-February.
-- Morgan is averaging team-highs in scoring (16.3 PPG), rebounding (7.1 RPG), FG percentage (59.3%) and blocked shots (1.3 BPG). Johnson is averaging 13.4 points and 4.6 RPG.
-- The ‘under’ has been a remarkable money maker in IU’s past 11 games, producing a lucrative 9-1-1 record. For the season, the Hoosiers have seen the ‘under’ go 13-9-1 overall and 7-7 in their home contests.
-- The ‘over’ is 14-9 overall for the Spartans, but they’ve seen the ‘under’ produce a 3-1 record in their four true road assignments.
-- Tip-off is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
**BYU at Gonzaga**
-- The Wynn opened Gonzaga (20-4 SU, 9-11-1 ATS) as an 11.5-point home favorite. Mark Few’s team is 10-1 in West Coast Conference action, leaving it one-game back of the 11-0 Gales of Saint Mary’s.
-- Gonzaga is 12-1 SU and 5-5 ATS at home. The Bulldogs are mired in a 0-6 ATS slump. They have posted a 4-4 spread record in eight games as double-digit home favorites.
-- Since taking its only loss both at home and in WCC play to Saint Mary’s by a 74-71 count as a 7.5-point ‘chalk,’ Gonzaga has won four games in a row. The Bulldogs beat San Diego 69-59 Thursday night as 19.5-point home favorites. They trailed by two with 14 minutes remaining and only led by two with 3:42 left. Johnathan Williams had 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Josh Perkins and Zach Norvell added 13 points apiece.
-- Gonzaga is ranked 14th in the latest AP poll but is only No. 54 in the RPI. The ‘Zags are 4-3 against the Top 50 and the Top 100. They have a home win over Creighton, a win at Washington and a pair of neutral-court triumphs over Ohio State and Texas. On the flip side, the Bulldogs lost on neutral courts against Villanova and Florida (111-105 in double OT), in addition to the previously mentioned home loss to the Gaels.
-- Williams, the senior center, is averaging team-bests in scoring (13.7 PPG) and rebounding (7.2 RPG) while making 55.6 of his FGAs. Perkins (13.2 PPG) is shooting at a 43.5 percent rate from long distance and has a 123/55 assist-to-turnover ratio.
-- BYU (18-6 SU, 11-10 ATS) is in third place in the WCC standings with its 7-4 record in league play. The Cougars are 5-3 SU and 4-3 ATS in their road outings. This is their fifth game as underdogs and the first time they’ve been double-digit ‘dogs. Dave Rose’s squad won 65-56 at Princeton as a four-point puppy, but then it dropped a 71-59 decision to Alabama while catching eight points on a neutral floor. Since then, BYU was a two-point home ‘dog in a 74-64 overtime loss against Saint Mary’s, and then Cougars lost 75-62 at Saint Mary’s when they were catching 8.5 points.
-- BYU had won four in a row both SU and ATS until the second loss to the Gaels at Saint Mary’s. Next, Rose’s bunch bounced back with an 80-65 win over Pacific as an 11.5-point home ‘chalk.’ However, the Cougars went down 76-69 Thursday night at Loyola-Marymount as 10-point road favorites. They trailed by as many as 16 points, only to slice the deficit to five with 3:20 remaining but would get no closer. Elijah Bryant finished with 24 points, five assists and three blocked shots in the losing effort. Yoeli Childs had 15 points, 13 boards, three assists and one rejection.
-- Bryant, a junior guard, is averaging 18.5 points and 6.4 RPG while buying 44.9 percent of his attempts from downtown. Childs is averaging 17.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocked shots per game. He is making 53.9 percent of his FGAs. T.J. Haws is averaging 11.5 PPG and has a solid 98/43 assist-to-turnover ratio, but he’s made only 39.4 percent of his FGAs and 33.6 percent of his 3-pointers.
-- BYU is No. 74 in the RPI Rankings with a 1-3 record against the Top 50 and a 3-3 ledger versus the Top 100. The Cougars have home win over Utah and Illinois State, in addition to a road win at Utah Valley.
-- The ‘under’ is 11-8-2 overall for the Cougars, 5-1-1 in their seven lined road contests. However, the ‘over’ is 4-1-2 in BYU’s past seven games.
-- The ‘over’ is 11-10-1 for Gonzaga, 6-4 in its home games.
-- This game will tip at 10:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- Florida is 12-1 SU in its past 13 head-to-head meetings with Alabama, but the Crimson Tide won at UF for the first time since 2008 in its last trip to Gainesville. Avery Johnson’s team won a 61-55 decision at the O-Dome two seasons ago. Both teams are coming off losses, as UF went down at Georgia and ‘Bama lost at home to Missouri earlier this week. The Wynn opened the Gators as 8.5-point home favorites for this 4:00 p.m. Eastern showdown on ESPN.
-- Since posting a deplorable 1-14 spread record to start the season, Vanderbilt has covered the number in four consecutive games. The Commodores opened as 13.5-point underdogs for Saturday’s game at Auburn on the SEC Network at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.
-- As of Friday night, Notre Dame senior point guard Matt Farrell (ankle) was listed as ‘questionable’ for Saturday’s showdown at North Carolina State. This is a noon Eastern tip on ESPN. Farrell is averaging 15.7 points, 5.3 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. D.J. Harvey (5.8 PPG, 2.9 RPG) and Bonzie Colson (21.4 PPG, 10.4 RPG) both remain ‘out’ with injuries, although both are hopeful to return later in this month.
-- USC junior forward Bennie Boatwright has missed back-to-back games due to soreness in his foot. Boatwright, who averages 15.1 points and 6.7 RPG, is listed as ‘questionable’ at UCLA. These cross-town rivals will collide at Pauley Pavilion at 6:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2. The Trojans are 4-2 both SU and ATS in six road games, while the Bruins are 11-2 SU and 6-7 ATS at home. The ‘over’ is on an 8-3 run in the past 11 head-to-head meetings between these schools.
-- St. Joseph’s James Demery is ‘questionable’ Saturday against LaSalle due to an ankle injury. Demery is averaging 17.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game.
-- La. Tech guard DaQuan Bracey (back) is ‘questionable’ against FIU. Bracey is averaging 15.3 points, 4.9 assists and 1.1 SPG.
-- Evansville guard Dru Smith is ‘out’ indefinitely with a foot injury. Smith is averaging 13.5 points, 4.8 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game for the Purple Aces.
-- Georgia Tech’s Curtis Haywood is ‘out’ for the season with a leg injury. Haywood was averaging 5.9 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.3 APG. Abdoulaye Gueye (6.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG & 1.1 BPG) is ‘questionable’ Saturday at Boston College due to an ankle issue. Gueye has blocked eight shots in the Yellow Jackets’ past two games.
-- Colorado State will try to snap a five-game losing streak when it hosts Nevada as a home underdog Saturday in Ft. Collins. The Rams will be short-handed in their attempt to do so. Prentiss Nixon is ‘out’ Saturday and will miss his fifth straight game due to a sprained ankle. Nixon averages 17.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Also, J.D. Paige is ‘out’ until at least late February with a broken hand. Paige is averaging 10.4 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.5 APG.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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