NCAA Basketball

Morning Juice, Rivalry Week Part 2

Welcome back to the Morning Juice. This week, we’ll be doing 5 games, 10 bets. Combined record is 45-19-1, which is 69%… nice. Let’s get started.

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#5 Tennessee @ Auburn

If this game had happened weeks ago, this could be interesting. But Auburn has slipped off and they are just not fun anymore. Still, both teams have a lot to play for. Tennessee wins a share of the SEC regular season if they can win here, and Auburn can improve their resumé for the tournament. This will be a good game regardless. Bruce Pearl wants to beat Tennessee so bad, so expect Auburn to play off of his energy in the beginning. Auburn averages 79.9 points per game while allowing 68.1. Tennessee averages 82.4 points per game while allowing 67.1 points per game. This will be a slugfest and I expect it to be close. With Tennessee on the verge of winning a share of the SEC for the second time in a row (something they’ve never done in program history), they’ll play with some swagger and get it going late. I say Tennessee wins a close one thanks to Grant Williams. Tennessee 81-76. I would take Tennessee -1.5 and the over 148.

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Florida @ #6 Kentucky

After a rough stretch for Kentucky without Reid Travis, they look to close the book on the 2018-2019 regular season with a win over Florida. Folks, this game will not be close. Kentucky has played some close games recently and I love that due to the fact it gets us better prepared for March and it allows us to play important minutes without Travis. This team is now, more than ever, prepared for March and they’ll make a deep tournament run. With that said, I expect Reid to play some tomorrow. It’s senior day for the Cats and Reid will most likely be honored beforehand. If Reid is ready, I’d expect Cal to play him 10 minutes at most, just to recognize him and warm him up back to a game atmosphere. Florida is not a good team. They average 68.7 points per game while allowing 63.7. They beat a great LSU team at LSU, but that was a fluke. Kentucky is averaging 77.2 points per game and allowing a mere 65. I think PJ has a huge game. It will be his last home game in the Kentucky uniform, so I hope he makes it count. I expect PJ and Keldon to have big games and the Cats win 63-54. But, I’d take Florida +10 and the over 128.

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Louisville @ #2 Virginia

This Cardinal team has fallen down a steep cliff. What started as an unbelievable season for them, it’s turned mediocre. Now I’m not bashing Louisville or Chris Mack, honestly I thought they wouldn’t even make it this far. But they are a solid squad with one of the best offensive big men in the entire NCAA with Nwora. With this game being at Virginia, I find it incredibly hard for Louisville to stand a chance. They score 74.9 points per game while allowing 67.6. Their opponent, Virginia, scores 72.1 points per game while allowing only 54.1. Virginia wins this game easily, 72-60. I’d take Louisville +13 and the over 126.

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#4 Duke @ #3 North Carolina

We finally have the rematch, but this time the roles are switches. When these two met in February, Duke was going to blow them out. That’s all everyone talked about… but Carolina won that game 88-72. I know what you’re saying, and yes Zion was out, but I think it more so speaks to the volume of how well North Carolina has adapted this season and Roy has them in a position to make a run in the tournament. With Zion still out, it’s hard to find a way that Duke wins this game, especially on the road. For Duke to win this game, they need more offense than last time. RJ and Cam combined for 60 of Duke’s 72 points last game. That simply cannot happen if they want to win. They can combine for 60, but then their score should at least be in the 80s/90s. For Carolina, attack the rim. Luke Maye is going to have a monster senior day against his rival. With Zion out, they’ll attack the rim just like last time and I think they’ll run away with it in the end. I do expect this to be closer than the last game, but I’ll take UNC 82-77. So take UNC -4.5 and the under 167.

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#7 Michigan @ #9 Michigan State

It’s Big 10 Basketball, so you know the drill here… take the under. Michigan State won the last matchup 77-70 in Ann Arbor, so I don’t expect too much to change. Michigan State has ended their sort of stumble they fell through, so this has an opportunity to be a really good basketball game, only if there is offense. MSU averages 79.9 and only allows 66 points per game, while Michigan is scoring 70.7 while allowing 58.3. This has the potential to be very boring, especially if it falls into a defensive game which is what I think will happen. I think Michigan wins this game, mainly because Michigan State is severely overrated and Tom Izzo is on the hot seat. I’ll take Michigan +4 and the under 135. They win this one 66-62.

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