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Bunnell’s Bounces: Home sweet home

The Frogs are off to a hot start, posting a 3-0 record including a tournament championship in their last outing. Here we focus not only on overall record, but also TCU’s record against the spread.

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NCAA Basketball: Montana at Southern California Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

It’s game day in Fort Worth! Your 3-0 TCU Horned Frogs are back home at the Schollmaier Arena to take on the Northwestern State Demons.

Even though the Frogs have only played three games this season, they have already been crowned champions of the Hall of Fame Classic tournament thanks to a 56-52 win over Liberty in the championship game.

Over the weekend I was right about TCU winning without covering the spread of -5 against Liberty, but boy was I wrong for taking the over of 120. TCU hasn’t looked fantastic this season offensively considering they average only 65 points per game, ranking 191st in the country for teams with at least one game played. Where the Frogs lack on offense, they make up for it on defense, allowing an average of just 54 points per game, which ranks 8th in the country.

Are TCU unders the play this season? So far, the under is 2-1 in TCU games and with the way the Frogs are playing defensively, that might be a trend that continues depending on where Vegas sets the lines.

Speaking of Vegas, let’s take a look at where the lines are set for tonight’s matchup against NW State:

TCU vs Northwestern State

  • Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: TCU -18.5, NW State +18.5
  • O/U: 140.5
  • Money Line: TCU -10000, NW State +1600

The spread originally opened at TCU -20, but after a decent amount of public bets siding with NW State +20 the line has shifted a 1.5 points in the Demons favor. Frankly I couldn’t tell you why NW State is receiving public support considering they are 0-3 and just 1-2 against the spread this year. Then again, TCU is 1-2 against the spread as well this year so who knows.

Personally, I am going to pass on tonight’s TCU game lines because I am not 100% confident in either pick. If I had to say, I would side with TCU -18.5 and the under of 140.5.

Instead, I will focus on my non-TCU picks, which are currently 5-1 on the year. I won’t lie, there aren’t many lines I find appealing tonight, but regardless I have put together what I believe to be the three best best for tonight’s slate of college basketball games.

Pick 1: Drake -9 against Omaha

  • Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. CST

Why: Every time I see a Drake game on the board, I get a decent chuckle thinking about the fact that the university shares a name with a famous rapper, but maybe that’s just the Gen Z in me. The Bulldogs have looked solid so far, upsetting Kansas State 80-70 in their season opener and beating South Dakota 69-54, covering the spread in both games. Omaha on the other hand hasn’t shown much of anything. In Omaha’s last 21 games against teams with a winning record, the Mavericks are 5-15-1 against the spread. I really like this Drake team, and if all things go well with COVID-19 protocols, I wouldn’t be surprised if they played spoiler come March Madness.

Pick 2: Montana -1.5 against Southern Utah

  • Tip-off: 8:00 p.m. CST

Why: I’m siding with the sharps here. Southern Utah originally opened as one-point favorites, but after a large influx of bets placed on Montana, the line shifted in favor of the Grizzlies. Not only are sharps taking this line, this is also a system play. Montana -1.5 fits The Action Network’s Poor ATS vs Good ATS Teams pro model which has an all time record of 1728-1391-71 (55%). This might not be the most exciting game tonight, but it’s a smart play. I’m taking Montana to cover -1.5 before it shifts to -2.

Pick 3: Boston College vs Florida over 140

Why: Florida has had to deal with nearly as many COVID-related issues as TCU’s basketball team has this season, and now they are playing in back-to-back games to open the year. Typically when teams have tired legs, they focus on scoring rather than playing rigid defense which is partially why I like the over tonight. Boston College showed they are capable of putting up big numbers in their last outing against Saint Johns, losing 97-93 (190 combined points). I am also tempted to take BC +6, but I think the over is a lock. Look for the Eagles to shake up Mike White’s Gators in a high-scoring contest.

The comment section is open! What are your favorite picks tonight? Do you see any upsets happening? Let us know!