College Basketball officially kicks off on November 7th as the first full cycle of name, image, and likeness (NIL) rules take place. Today, we are going to take a brief look at the best games to watch, bet and avoid during the first week of the best sports season on the calendar.
Games to Watch NCAA Basketball 2022
Monday, November 7th, 8:00 PM: Memphis at Vanderbilt
It is always fun when a (semi) highly touted team hits the road on opening night. Memphis was just 5-6 SU on the road last season and experienced a ton of attrition in the offseason, losing Landers Nolley (LSU), Emoni Bates (E. Michigan), and Jalen Duren (PRO).
Wednesday, November 9th, 9:00 PM: South Dakota State at Boise State
There aren’t many quality games on Tuesday and Wednesday of the opening week but if you want to see one of the best players in the Mountain West play, tune in for Marcus Shaver. Sophomore Tyson Degenhart will be looking to take a big step forward to fill the void of departed Derrick Alston Jr. as well.
Thursday, November 10th, 10:00 PM: Vermont at Saint Mary’s.
Thursday is another fairly weak slate. However, if you’re a night owl, you might as well watch two of the most underrated coaches in the nation go head-to-head. Catamounts coach John Becker is 37-13 straight up in true road games since 2018, while Gaels coach Randy Bennett is 53-9 at home over that period.
Friday, November 11th, 7:00 PM: West Virginia at Pittsburgh
The weekend kickoff slate is a decent one, but you have to tune in for a rivalry game like this. The basketball version of the Backyard Brawl features a Hall of Fame coach in Bob Huggins, on the road against a coach in Jeff Capel, that is likely coaching for his job.
Saturday, November 12th, TBD: Georgia Tech at Georgia State
Jonas Hayes takes over the best basketball program in the state of Georgia this season and will have an opportunity to prove it early. The Panthers will host their cross-town rivals Georgia Tech and look to start the Jackets off on the wrong foot a la 2020 when they defeated Josh Pastner’s group 123-120 in four overtimes.
Wagers: Games to Bet and Avoid
Friday, November 11th: Southern Methodist at #24 Dayton
Obviously, the spreads have yet to be released, but if you visit predictive databases, you can expect the spread to be somewhere around Dayton (-13). For the sake of the pick, let’s call it 12.5.
Home court obviously matters more in college basketball than almost any other sport sans College Football. That said, Dayton coach Anthony Grant hasn’t exactly lit it up from a betting standpoint at home during his time leading the Flyers. Grant is just 33-34-2 against the spread at home as the favorite since taking over in 2017.
Meanwhile, if you aren’t on the Rob Lanier fan train, you need to jump aboard. The former Georgia State and Siena coach is a rising star in the country and has assembled a nice roster via the transfer portal. Former high school standouts Samuell Williamson (Louisville) and Xavier Foster (Iowa State) will join the pony express this season with an emphasis on the express part. Lanier is also a noteworthy 42-31-1 against the spread on the road as a head coach dating back to 2003-04.Avoid:
Friday, November 11th: Michigan State vs. Gonzaga
I would have mentioned this game as one to watch above, but I already knew I was going to discuss it here. The Zags are once again one of the best teams in the country, with Drew Timme and Julian Strawther returning while joined by Malachi Smith.
On the flip side, Michigan State has lost their three leading scorers with no real impact freshman joining the fray. That said, are you going to bet against Tom Izzo with an experienced backcourt and a preseason All-Conference selection? I think not.
The game is to be played on the USS Abraham Lincoln, with the expected spread to be somewhere between Gonzaga (-6.5-7.5). We need to see both of these teams play before safety wagering on either.