Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:54 AM
Wednesday's Best Bets
Wednesday's slate on the college hardwood is an intriguing one to say the least, as there are plenty of ranked teams in action, many of which are on the road. In a year where there really isn't one program – at least in any of the Power 5 conferences – that hasn't established themselves as the dominant squad, it's games and spots like these where you can find some nice value.
That being said, it's actually two games featuring teams that aren't ranked in the polls currently that I've honed in on, so let's get to it.
Marquette at Xavier (8:30 p.m. ET)
Best Bet #1: Xavier -1.5
Early money has come in on Marquette tonight, pushing the opener of +2 down to where it currently sits. I suspect much of that has to do with Xavier's poor current form (2-5 SU last seven), their 5-14-1 ATS record overall this year, and the fact that it was just two weeks ago that these two met at Marquette and Xavier got their asses handed to them in a 20-point defeat (85-65). You get that kind of head-to-head result and it's easy to figure that the team on the right side of that outcome should be able to at least beat the same foe once again. Just looking at the betting percentages up at VegasInsider.com, you can already see a healthy 80%+ of the ML action already on the plus-money with Marquette.
However, you've got to remember that blowout games like that often have a more lasting impact in the memory banks of the loser, and if/when they get another crack at that team, they will want to do everything in their power to prove to the world that they are much better then what they showed in that first meeting.
Yes, Xavier has been far from their best of late, but they were able to fix a few things in their last home game (66-57 win over Georgetown) after dropping two in a row on their own floor, and still come into tonight's game with a 10-2 SU record at home. There is arguably no other sport in the betting market where home court/field means more than it does in college basketball, and it's why you routinely see teams that get blown out on the road against a particular team, come back and beat that same squad at home.
That's the way I see this game playing out, as Marquette has to be feeling a little down themselves after coughing up that game at Butler over the weekend. The Golden Eagles are also just 2-4 SU on the road themselves this year, and outside of beating a highly inconsistent Georgetown team on the road, Marquette's other Big East road games have resulted in losses by 17, 14, and 4 points (vs Butler over the weekend).
I'll back those long term results for both sides in relation to their home/road splits, and considering Marquette is just 2-5 ATS in their last seven games as an underdog as it is – both covers coming in their last two tries as 'dogs – I just don't see that current form holding up here.
Arizona State at Washington State (11:00 p.m. ET)
Best Bet #2: Arizona State -2
The Sun Devils are a road team that I am looking to back tonight, as I've got Washington State rated much lower then what seemingly the majority of the market has. Washington State has one solid performance in conference play – home win over Oregon as +9 dogs – but other then that, they tend to get blown out by the better foe, regardless of venue. Twice they've been home underdogs in a similar range as tonight - +3.5 vs Oregon State and USC – and while they split those meetings outright, the 9-point loss to USC is the much more comparable opponent to ASU.
Now, there is some possible letdown concerns for the Sun Devils after they were able to knock off rival Arizona last time out, but the flip side of that argument is that they can also build plenty of momentum off a win like that. Arizona State's performances on the road have left a lot to be desired this year, but there is still plenty of season to go, and if they indeed use that win over Arizona as a stepping stone to catapult them the rest of the year, this is the type of game, against the type of opponent that they've got to have.
Arizona State is on a 4-1 ATS run away from home against a team that's won at least 60% of their home games at the time, and the Sun Devils are also on a 4-1 ATS run against a winning team overall. With Washington State just 5-12 ATS the last 17 times they've been catching points, and 3-9-1 ATS when coming off a loss, this line looks about a bucket too short to me.