The real college basketball season begins this week with conference play.
Not that there is anything wrong with all those early tournaments and enticing Top 25 matchups, but it’s conference games that create an NBA-type schedule that goes a long way to determining which teams qualify for the NCAAs.
So this week we threw in a few Big East, Big 10 and ACC matchups. Hopefully, some covers will emerge.
Tuesday, Jan. 1
Cincinnati at Louisville: The visiting Bearcats have played better of late in the cover department as double-digit dogs. Louisville had lost five straight against the spread at home. CINCY.
Wednesday, Jan. 2
Houston at UMass: Cougars come in off a nine-game winning streak, but this is their first true road game. UMass has beaten both Syracuse and BC and is off to a 9-2 start. UMASS.
Penn at Miami: Penn began 1-6 ATS, including huge losses to UNC, Virginia and Villanova. The undefeated Hurricanes won by 24 over Marist, which is on par with Penn. MIAMI.
Indiana at Iowa: The Hoosiers are playing just their second true road game, but are off to a sparkling 10-1 start. Iowa is a brutal 2-8 ATS including 1-5 at home. INDIANA.
Thursday, Jan. 3
WVU at Notre Dame: A Big East matchup of hot teams. West Virginia has won eight straight, while Notre Dame is on a six-game win streak. Mounties’ soft schedule could bite them. NOTRE DAME.
Ohio St at Illinois: Buckeyes are off a revenge win over Florida, one of six games that went UNDER the total. Illinois is struggling, going just 2-4 ATS in last six. UNDER.
UCLA at Stanford: Another matchup where the total might be the best play. Both teams have just one loss with the UNDER a combined 15-6 in their games. UNDER.
Friday, Jan. 4
Canisius at St. Peter’s: A Metro Atlantic matchup. Canisius is 1-10 overall and 0-6 on the road. Enough said. St. Peter’s beat Rutgers and is 3-0 ATS. ST. PETER’S.
Saturday, Jan. 5
Kansas at BC: It’s tough to win at Boston College, but UMass did. So it’s likely unbeaten Kansas will, especially when the Jayhawks are 12-0 and 7-3 ATS. KANSAS.
New Mexico at Wyoming: The Lobos bring their 9-2 ATS mark to Laramie and should be able to handle the Pokes. Wyoming barely beat Buffalo and is just 2-5 ATS. NEW MEXICO.
Georgia at Gonzaga: The host Zags duck nobody and have a respectable 9-3 overall record. Georgia is just 3-4 ATS and not at all used to traveling to the Pacific Northwest. GONZAGA.
Arkansas at Baylor: Only the second true road game for the Pigs, who lost by 11 at Oklahoma. Baylor is 9-1 overall, 4-1 ATS and owns a win over South Carolina. How about another SEC skin? BAYLOR.
Sunday, Jan. 6
N.Carolina at Clemson: The Tar Heels own Clemson and are 8-1 ATS. The only non-cover was the opening game against Davidson. Clemson is 10-1 but just 4-4 ATS. A key early ACC matchup. UNC.