CBB weekend betting preview: Expect fireworks between UNC and Purdue
The weekend is often where some of college basketball's most intriguing games of the week take place. It's also where you can find some of the best value.
Here, we back two squads that have gotten off to perfect starts and a high-powered all-ranked matchup set to rack up the points.
Wichita State vs. Arizona (-5, 139)
Nov. 19, 10:00 p.m. ET
Arizona has been an absolute juggernaut in the early season, beating its mid-major opponents by 39, 54, and 52. Numbers so lopsided lead to some pretty crazy statistics as well. The Wildcats have assisted on a nation-best 74% of their field goals and are allowing opponents to shoot a nation-worst 29.3% from two-point range.
The Wildcats are also the tallest team in the country, which should pose a challenge for a Wichita State squad with only one player over 6-foot-8. Stopping star big man Azuolas Tubelis down low will be a challenge for the Shockers, and that's before mentioning 7-foot-1 Christian Koloko, who's hit 16-of-21 shots from the field this season.
On the defensive end, Arizona should be able to use its size to provide rim protection against a Wichita State group that attacks the basket with reckless abandon. The key will be to keep them off the line, where the Shockers hit at an almost 80% clip. Despite a step up in competition, there's no reason to believe Arizona's hot start won't continue.
Pick: Arizona -8 or better
Chattanooga @ VCU (-5, 125)
Nov. 20, 4:00 p.m.
VCU might be 2-1, but the Rams' offense has been one of the worst in the entire country due to key injuries and poor shooting. They've yet to top 57 points in a game this year and just completed a ghastly 48-37 win over Vanderbilt. They'll take on one of the slowest-paced teams in D-I on Saturday when they host Chattanooga. Off the bat, it's certainly worth an investment on the under, despite a low total.
Siding with Chattanooga to cover is an even better play. The Mocs have taken excellent care of the ball offensively, a key component against a VCU team known to pressure ball-handlers. They're also near the top of the country in offensive rebounding, while the Rams have allowed at least 13 second chances in each of their games.
VCU's defensive aggressiveness has bailed out poor offense and bad rebounding, but Chattanooga shouldn't fall victim to that trap. So long as the Mocs hold on to the ball, their size and a couple of timely jumpers should carry them to at least a cover.
Pick: Chattanooga +2 or better, Under 123 or better
North Carolina vs. Purdue (-9, 153)
Nov. 20, 4:00 p.m.
None of North Carolina or Purdue's six total contests this season reached below a total of 148, even though neither team has played a program that placed in the top 75 in offense last campaign in KenPom's rankings. Sure, these offenses have beaten up on bad teams, but its defenses haven't been tested, and the games' scores still reached near or above the projected total for this marquee matchup.
Purdue's two-headed monster of Zach Edey and Trevion Williams has been better than advertised, combining to hit 31-of-42 shots from the field. They also rank second and third nationally in offensive rebounding percentage. While North Carolina has more size than a mid-major, it certainly doesn't have the chops to defend Purdue's elite interior.
The Tar Heels will likely push in transition to mitigate the size disadvantage, something they've done a ton of early on. While driving the pace may not give North Carolina a victory, it certainly bodes well for the over. Unless Purdue slows the game down to a screeching halt, there's enough offensive talent on the floor here to blow past a relatively high total.
Pick: Over 155 or better