CBB Picks: Trust Memphis, Utah as Favorites on the Spread

All of the games I'm betting on Thursday night have similar themes.

There are either significant mismatches that have my attention, or there are rematches from earlier in the season that favor the teams that won the first time around.

Memphis falls into the first category of teams with an overwhelming edge over its opponent, while Utah and a few other mid-majors fit into the second category of teams with previous victories against their Thursday foes.

There are also a few programs on the Thursday slate that I have to come to love to fade and that will not change.

Thursday CBB Picks

Overall Record: 74-77-5

SMU at Memphis (-13) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

SMU has struggled against the top half of the American Athletic Conference.

The Mustangs lost by 34 points to Houston, fell to UCF by 32 points and managed to score just 52 points versus Cincinnati.

Memphis' only two slip-ups in the AAC were close road losses against Tulane and UCF.

The Tigers hold a significant edge on offense, as they average over 10.2 points per game more than the Mustangs.

Memphis should control the game, and given SMU's shortcomings against top teams, the Tigers can break open up a double-digit advantage early and keep it.

Coastal Carolina at James Madison (Over 152) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

James Madison has one of the best offenses in the country.

The Dukes average 84.5 points per game and they rank in the top 50 in two-point offense.

Coastal Carolina averages 75.8 points per game on its own, but it also allows 71.8 points per contest.

Coastal ranks in the bottom tier in most defensive categories, and it will be forced to play catch up against the Dukes, which makes for a fast-paced type of contest.

Green Bay at Northern Kentucky (-17) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Green Bay has become my favorite team to fade.

Green Bay is 6-15-1 against the spread this season and it is 2-5 ATS in its last seven games. The Phoenix have not covered in their last five games.

Green Bay comes to Northern Kentucky after firing its head coach, but I don't think that will change much because the team is just so poor.

Northern Kentucky just beat Green Bay by 19 points 12 days ago. The Norse started a three-game run holding teams under 60 points with that win.

NKU's defense should contain a wretched Green Bay offense and produce another huge win.

UL-Monroe at Marshall (-16) (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Marshall has been the class of the Sun Belt thanks to an offense that produced over 80 points in four of its last five games.

UL-Monroe is 5-3 in the Sun Belt, but it suffered losses to Southern Miss, Troy and Louisiana, all of whom sit in the top half of the conference standings.

Monroe lost to Louisiana by 13 and fell to Troy by 24 points, both of those losses came in the last three games.

Marshall has a massive edge in two-point offense. The Herd are ranked 30th in two-point offense, while Monroe is 348th. That will hurt the WarHawks over 40 minutes and that is why the spread is so high for two teams in the top half of their league standings.

Monmouth at UNC Wilmington (-17) (7 p.m. ET)

Monmouth falls into the Green Bay category of teams.

The Hawks are 1-19 overall and 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games.

Monmouth gives up 78.5 points per game and resides in the bottom 10 of most metrics on both offense and defense.

UNC Wilmington should blow out Monmouth with ease. The Seahawks have any statistical advantage you could ask for, and they need a get-right game after losing three of their last five games.

Milwaukee (+4.5) at Wright State (7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Alright, enough about the bad teams.

Milwaukee and Wright State played an overtime battle 12 days ago that Wright State won by four points.

Milwaukee sits on top of the Horizon League and it could very well go into Dayton and earn revenge against the Raiders.

The two offenses are fairly level, so the difference comes on defense with Milwaukee. The Panthers give up five fewer points per game and there is a 200-plus-spot gap between the two sides in two-point defense on KenPom.

Denver at Oral Roberts (Over 156.5) (8 p.m. ET)

It's a shame that we will have to search for a stream somewhere on the internet for Denver-Oral Roberts.

Denver is 15-5 to the over and averages 74.5 points per game. The Pioneers possess a top-50 two-point offense and shoot 50.4 percent from the field.

As you know, Oral Roberts has the wonderful Max Abmas leading its offense. The Golden Eagles average 84.2 points per game and hit the 80-point mark in five of their last seven games.

Long Beach State (-4.5) at Cal Poly (10 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Cal Poly is usually on the list of teams to fade.

Cal Poly is 11-7 ATS, though, so it makes for a trickier fade than usual.

The difference for me in the Big West clash is Long Beach State's offensive output. The Beach averages 15 more points per game compared to the Mustangs.

LBSU just beat Cal Poly by 19 points two weeks ago and its defense has gotten a bit better by holding two of its last four opponents under 70 points.

Utah (-7.5) at Oregon State (11 p.m. ET, CBSSN)

Utah brings its top 10 defense to Corvallis to face an Oregon State team lost six of its last seven games.

The Utes beat Oregon State by 19 points in their first meeting, keeping with the theme of the day, so that's a positive going in our favor.

Oregon State got over 70 points once in its last nine games, while Utah has found some consistency on offense with 70-plus points in four of its last seven.

I could see a similar game playing out between Utah and Oregon State with more points scored by the Utes.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored Content