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Bunnell’s Bounces: Goodbye 2020

TCU (-20) matches up against Prairie View A&M for the final game of 2020.

NCAA Basketball: North Dakota State at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

TCU Basketball will close out 2020 with a home game against Prairie View A&M this evening at the Schollmaier Arena in Fort Worth.

In their last outing, the Horned Frogs beat North Dakota State in a close, high-scoring game 89-82. This was the highest scoring game for TCU thus far and also the most points allowed.

For some reason, the over/under against NDSU closed at 124.5 in most sportsbooks yet the game finished with 171 combined points. I had picked the over on my card but I never expected it to hit by nearly 50 points. Sheesh.

The Frogs have now hit the over in five of their last six and six of their nine games this season. Meanwhile, Prairie View A&M has hit the over in each of their last two games so this trend of high-scoring games may continue into 2021 for the Horned Frogs.

The Panthers shouldn’t pose as much of a challenge for TCU as NDSU did, and I am expecting TCU to put this one away by the first-half buzzer. Mike Miles is going to keep doing Mike Miles things, RJ Nembhard might drop a 30 piece, and Kevin Samuel will grab another easy double-double — we’re in for a fun night in the Fort.

Despite a solid 7-2 record overall, the Frogs haven’t done too hot against the spread sitting at 4-5 ATS on the year. Prairie View A&M has only played four games so there isn’t much to take away from their 3-1 ATS record, but they did cover a noteworthy +26 point spread against Louisville on the road a month ago.

Maybe it’s a gut feeling, or maybe it’s because the Panthers lost to Washington State by 28 their last time out, but I think TCU is going to have a big night and cover the spread with ease.

Let’s see where the oddsmakers have the lines set for the Horned Frogs final game of 2020:

TCU vs Prairie View A&M

  • Tip-off: 7:00 p.m CST
  • Spread: TCU -20, Prairie View +20
  • Over/Under: 137.5
  • Money Line: TCU -5000, Prairie View +1400

My Pick: Over 137.5, TCU -10.5 (1H)

Prairie View A&M has had an average combined score of 146 points in their last two games while TCU games are averaging 152.2 combined PPG throughout their last five. I’m going to ride with the over until this trend comes to an end; plus, I think the Frogs could put up 80+ points again tonight on a weak Panther defense.

Over 90% of public bettors are siding with the Horned Frogs to cover the -20 point spread and with good reason. I like the Frogs to cover the full game spread tonight, but I chose to go with the first half as my official pick because I think TCU will come out hot from the get go; it’s a lock.

As for the over/under, more than 90% of public bettors are taking the under and I couldn’t tell you why. One of my favorite scenarios to buy in on is the “fade the public” philosophy. Typically when such a large majority of the public leans one way, sportsbooks rake in a big payday. It certainly doesn’t happen every time, but there is a reason people say “the house always wins” after losing what was thought to be a sure bet.

The fact that both teams are hot on the over and such a large percentage of public betters are taking the under is even more of a reason to go with the over tonight.

Somewhat of an interesting fact: TCU is 6-2 against the spread in their last eight games following an ATS loss.

Last time out, I posted a 2-0-1 record on my best bets thanks to Iowa and Drake taking care of business. Drake is the gift that keeps on giving. The Bulldogs are a perfect 11-0 overall and have yet to lose against the spread all season.

Heading into tonight’s picks I’m sitting at 15-8-1 overall, enough for a 65.2% win percentage. I’m happy with anything above .500 but staying above .600 all year would be a dream come true.

Anyways, here are my three best bets for today’s college basketball slate:

Pick 1: Fresno State @ Colorado State under 140

  • Tip-off: 3:00 p.m. CST

Why: This matchup is another one of those unique COVID-19 situations where teams play each other back to back to limit travel and exposure. On Monday, Colorado State won this contest 75-53 hitting the under (141.5) by quite a bit. As long as Fresno State has decent coaching, they shouldn’t get blown out back to back like that again considering now they have a full look into the Rams scheme. Typically, teams score less combined points in their second meeting of the season compared to the first, and the fact that these games are back to back makes this line even more appealing. Colorado State is 3-0 against the under this season, and Fresno State is 1-2. This is one of my favorite situational spots on the board tonight. Back a low-scoring affair in a high-altitude matchup.

Pick 2: Notre Dame +6 against Virginia

  • Tip-off: 5:00 p.m. CST

Why: If this was a podcast rather than a blog, I would be chanting OVERRATED right about now. The Cavaliers are good, don’t get me wrong, but they aren’t what they were back in 2018. Sure, Notre Dame might have a rough 3-4 overall record this year, but they have had one of the toughest opening schedules in the country taking on Ohio State, Kentucky, Duke, and Purdue in some of their most recent games. Virginia got exposed early in the season falling 61-60 against San Francisco. Most recently, the Cavaliers got obliterated 98-75 against top-ranked Gonzaga. Then again, it is Gonzaga, so I’ll cut them some slack. However you want to look at it, I sense an upset brewing in South Bend this evening.

Pick 3: Xavier -2.5 against Seton Hall

  • Tip-off: 6:00 p.m. CST

Why: Both of these teams have been playing phenomenally against the spread recently. Seton Hall has a 4-1 record ATS and Xavier has a 5-0 record ATS in their last five games. Depending on how you look at it, this game is a coin flip. I’m taking the Musketeers to cover tonight mostly because they are coming off their first loss of the season in a close battle with Creighton, and I expect them to play well back on their home court. Xavier could have beaten Creighton if it weren’t for an absurdly bad shooting performance in the second half, making just 2/16 from three-point land in the second half. Xavier won’t stay cold like that forever, take the Musketeers to cover in what should be a close game.

The comment section is open! What are your favorite picks today? Do you think TCU will cover the -20 point spread against Prairie View A&M? Will the over or under hit in today’s game? Let us know!