CBB weekend best bets: Duke to keep things close vs. Gonzaga
Thanksgiving didn't slow down college basketball, with games played from morning until night, and there's so much action to follow.
We take a look at juicy Friday and Saturday slates to determine our best bets of the weekend, including one of the games of the year in Gonzaga-Duke.
Oklahoma State (-10, 149), @ Oral Roberts
Nov. 26, 4:00 p.m. ET
Oral Roberts star Max Abmas lost his sidekick, Kevin Obanor, this offseason, and the results have been poor. In the Golden Eagles' most recent loss to lowly Central Arkansas, Abmas shot 2-for-18 from the field and had only one assist.
Now, he has to face an uber-athletic, long, and physical bunch in Oklahoma State. The Cowboys rank near the top of the country in steal rate and offensive rebounding percentage, and they should use their high-major size to dominate Oral Roberts in all facets while keeping Abmas relatively in check.
Pick: Oklahoma State -12 or better
Iowa State vs. Memphis (-11.5, 140.5)
Nov. 26, 9:30 p.m.
Congratulations to Iowa State for an upset victory over Xavier. Unfortunately, that win means the Cyclones have to face the nightmare that is Memphis' No. 1 ranked defense, per KenPom. The only way to score on the Tigers is from the free-throw line, and Iowa State only got there seven times against Xavier.
Memphis can often be a mess offensively, but a massive size advantage over one of the smallest power conference teams should help Jalen Duren dominate down low. The Tigers passed a difficult test against Virginia Tech on Wednesday and should be ready to win this one handily.
Pick: Memphis -12 or better
Duke vs. Gonzaga (-7.5, 154.5)
Nov. 26, 10:30 p.m.
Fun fact: Following its loss to Baylor in the national championship game, Gonzaga has played against only one first-rounder during its lengthy unbeaten streak. This isn't to say the Zags haven't played tough competition, but they haven't had to face many upper-echelon NBA prospects. Led by Paolo Banchero, Duke is stocked with high-end talent and athleticism.
Of course, the Bulldogs are loaded too and are rightfully favored in this marquee matchup. However, the three-possession spread seems excessive, as Duke should keep this game competitive.
Pick: Duke +7 or better
San Diego State vs. USC (-2, 132)
Nov. 26, 11:30 p.m.
San Diego State's offense has been dreadful to start the year, but its defense has led to a 4-1 record. As a result, none of the Aztecs' five games have topped a total of 130. They take on USC, which measures as the fourth-tallest team in the nation per KenPom, and is allowing opponents to shoot just 40% from two and 26% from three this season.
Plus, with both teams coming off a game the previous night - neither of which cleared 129 points - the contest might have a slower pace. Based on what we've seen from these two programs this season, there's no reason to believe the total should creep over its current number.
Pick: Under 130 or better
Idaho State @ Air Force (-2, 122)
Nov. 27, 4:00 p.m.
I never thought I'd see the day when a best bet was Air Force as a favorite, but here we are. The Falcons have been surprisingly competent this season on both ends of the floor.
Meanwhile, Idaho State has dropped four straight. The Bengals have been a sieve in the paint, allowing teams to shoot 60% from inside the arc. On the other side, Air Force is near the top of the country from 2-point range at 59%. Expect the Falcons to maintain their winning ways on their home floor.
Pick: Air Force -3 or better
Grand Canyon (-1, 131) @ Pepperdine
Nov. 27, 6:00 p.m.
The Antelopes are still finding their footing but have great potential, with five former power conference players on the roster. So long as this spread stays within one possession, look for Grand Canyon to get the job done.
Pick: Grand Canyon -3 or better