This weekend (Feb 3-5) is among the slowest on the sports calendar, with perhaps the exception of the summer months when there’s nothing else to watch but baseball and golf. The NFL is taking a week off before the Super Bowl, and, while you can bet on the Pro Bowl, the annual event is no more than an exhibition game. The NHL All-Star Game is also this weekend, and several teams have already been on bye weeks; there was only six games in three days this week.
The NBA All-Star Game is two weeks away. While there’s nine games on the schedule for Friday, there’s no real marquee matchup, leaving few betting opportunities for inexperienced and sharp bettors alike. Fortunately, we’re closing in on March Madness. The NCAA Tournament is one of the most exciting sports events of the year and attracts millions of dollars in betting activity in the US alone.
With that in mind, here’s a look at the three best NCAA Basketball betting games on Friday.
San Francisco (+550) vs. Saint Mary’s (-800) – 12.5/T:131
The key games are all on the West Coast Friday night. San Francisco meets Saint Mary’s in a pivotal West Coast Conference (WCC) matchup. The Gaels are undefeated in conference play this season and have won 10 games in a row. San Francisco is sixth in the conference with a 4-5 record and 15-9 record overall.
Upsets happened often in college basketball, and this has major upset potential. Saint Mary’s barely hung on to extend its winning streak to 10 last Friday, beating BYU 57-56. San Francisco beat BYU 82-74 two weeks ago. San Francisco has also won three in a row and seems to be finding their footing offensively. Take the Dons moneyline for best value.
Oregon (+320) vs. Arizona (-400) – 9/T:150
Oregon, which won the Pac-12 North title last season with a 7-2 conference record but lost to Colorado in the Pac-12 Tournament quarterfinals, is in fifth place this season with a 7-4 conference record. They’re 13-9 overall. Arizona, last year’s Pac-12 winners, are 8-3 in conference play.
There’s plenty of value to be found here in either the spread or totals. Oregon beat Arizona 87-68 earlier this season at home, but the Wildcats will play a much more disciplined and tighter game defensively at home. Still, the Ducks should cover 9 points. The under, meanwhile, is another good value bet. Both teams have averaged fewer than 70 points per game in their last 10 contests.
Gonzaga (-1100) vs. Santa Clara (+700) – 13.5/T:159
Saint Mary’s and San Francisco isn’t the only game worth watching in the WCC Friday night. The second-place Gonzaga Bulldogs host Santa Clara, which is in fourth place with a 4-4 conference record. Gonzaga is 18-4 overall, while Santa Clara is 16-7.
This will be an important game for Santa Clara if they want to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1996. The program hasn’t been relevant since the days of Steve Nash, but are enjoying their best season in recent memory. The Bulldogs should win here, but the Broncos will make a game out of it and cover the 13.5 spread.
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