The numbers bettors need to win on big day of college basketball

With college football’s regular season in the rearview mirror, college basketball will soon dominate sports betting on Saturdays.

Fans will get a taste of that today with several marquee matchups. Let’s see how betting markets have been evaluating the programs you’ll be watching on TV. Late-week computer rankings posted by Ken Pomeroy at kenpom.com are in parentheses to help you see the national picture.

  • No. 10 Oregon (14) at No. 5 Michigan (17), noon, CBS: This is the biggest game of the day according to the AP poll. But, you’ll see in a moment that Pomeroy’s rankings are pointing toward a much later matchup. Both see it as a potential Sweet 16 caliber battle. Michigan recently won the Battle 4 Atlantis with wins over Iowa State, North Carolina and Gonzaga. A couple of wipeouts since. The Wolverines, at +5¹/₂, lost by 15 at Louisville, then fell at Illinois by nine as a very short ’dog. They are still 6-4 against the spread overall, but no longer are a secret. Oregon has shocked the market to the tune of 7-2 ATS, but did lose close games straight up to North Carolina and Gonzaga in the Bahamas. Note that today’s tipoff is a bad-body-clock start time for the Ducks.
  • No. 13 Memphis (34) at No. 19 Tennessee (21), ESPN, 3 p.m.: Pomeroy’s not nearly excited about Memphis as pollsters are. The market has overpriced the Tigers in three of their past five outings. Tennessee’s last three games have landed within a point of the number, suggesting the market is rating the Vols correctly. Both look to be at least “round of 32” caliber Dance entries.
  • UCLA (110) at Notre Dame (63), 3 p.m., ABC: A storied matchup in terms of basketball history, but potentially just a preview of NIT-bound teams, given current skepticism. The Bruins are
    60 percent to cash so far this season, and did cover two of three in a big Maui tournament. Overrated Notre Dame is 3-6-1 ATS, with poor showings as favorites versus Marshall, Presbyterian, Toledo and Boston College. Body clock shouldn’t be an issue for the Bruins.
  • No. 22 Seton Hall (18) at Rutgers (69), 4 p.m., Big Ten Network: Unfortunately you can’t bet either team in New Jersey sportsbooks. But, obviously a game of great local interest that got even better when Rutgers waxed Wisconsin 72-65 Wednesday night at pick ’em. That put the Scarlet Knights in the black for the season at
    5-4-1 ATS. Seton Hall had covered six of its first eight before losing at Iowa State. It’s a huge game for Rutgers in terms of further building its résumé.
  • No. 6 Gonzaga (8) at No. 15 Arizona (12), 10 p.m., ESPN2: This is Pomeroy’s best game of the day. Set your DVR if you’re not a night owl. Gonzaga has tested itself with road games and the trip to Atlantis. It won’t be intimidated in Tucson. Arizona has been overrated of late, dropping four of its past five ATS.

Always remember that betting smart means evaluating the market in addition to evaluating teams.

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