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Gonzaga vs Loyola Marymount

Going against Gonzaga is scary for two reasons. One, they can put up a crap ton of points, that's right, a crap ton. Two, they have been one of the best teams in the country for years. But here's the thing, I don't think that's true anymore. Gonzaga is still good, but to some extent they're running on the fumes of their reputation from previous years.

Let's talk about their scoring. They've put up 99 twice, 115, even 120! But if you remove their home games from the equation it looks a little different. Yes, they did put up 99 on the road against Pacific, but after that the point outputs are 70, 82, 75, 81, 77. Yes, this is still good--lots of teams in the country would love to score that much, but it's not so scary.

At home, Loyola Marymount plays good defense. They've allowed 74, 70, 60, 84, 72, 59, and 64 in conference play. They gave up 67 to this Gonzaga team in the first game, which was in Spokane. This is the only thing that worries me here--Gonzaga lost the first one so they may come out with some purpose.

Every bet can lose, but this line seems way too wide to me, so I can't be scared off by the revenge game narrative or the ghosts of Gonzaga teams past.

Pick: Loyola Marymount +8.5 (-110) DraftKings

Purdue vs Maryland

We go from one potentially scary pick to another, this time against the former #1 team in the land, fresh off an end-of-game disaster against Northwestern that led to another loss on the road and the loss of their #1 designation. Yes, this could be a bounce-back spot, but I'm going the other way.

The truth of the matter is that Purdue hasn't been very good on the road all season, which has been masked by a lot of close wins. Take Minnesota out of the equation and they've won by 5, 1, 2, and 3 against Big Ten teams. Not to mention that they've now dropped two straight on the road.

Maryland has been dominant at home in Big Ten play. Yes, they failed to cover the spread against Penn State (winning by 6 with a 7.5-point spread), but before that, they won by 11, 19, 6, and 7. So their closest home game in the Big Ten has been a 6-point win.

I also think teams are learning how to play Purdue better. They'll continue to be a very good team, especially at home, but their guard play and press break leave something to be desired. I'll be on Maryland to get another one at home.

Pick: Maryland ML (+105) BetRivers

Ohio State vs Iowa

We'll wrap things up with one more matchup from the Big 10. This breakdown isn't too complicated. Ohio State has lost 11 of their 14 conference games. Two of those were the first two games of the conference season. Do you know what the other one was? A 93-77 drubbing of Iowa in Columbus. This is likely to erase any chance that Iowa looks past them.

At this point, Ohio State is a dysfunctional team without much shooting. Iowa has the capacity to light it up offensively and have actually been okay on defense lately when they decide to lock in, which they don't always do. Iowa is the better, hungrier, more cohesive team, playing at home. 7 is a lot of points to lay in the conference, but in this situation, I'll take that chance.

Pick: Iowa -7 (-110) PointsBet

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