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Bunnell’s Bounces: First time underdogs

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For the first time in 2020, oddsmakers have set TCU as underdogs as they open up Big 12 play at home against Oklahoma.

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

TCU basketball is 4-0 heading into their first conference matchup today against Oklahoma. Despite their undefeated overall record, the Frogs have struggled to cover the spread, going 1-3 ATS thus far.

Coming into today’s matchup, TCU has a slight advantage in the fact that they have already played four games compared to the Sooners’ one. Oklahoma looked solid in their season opener against UTSA winning 105-66, but a big win over UTSA doesn’t worry me one bit when it comes to the Frogs chances today.

Last week I decided to pass on making a pick on the TCU vs NW State lines, and that appeared to be a good decision considering I would have gone with the under 140 and TCU -18.5 — both lost.

This time I feel more confident in the Horned Frogs, even though they are projected as underdogs I think they have a decent shot of beating the Sooners outright.

Let’s take a look at what the oddsmakers think about tonight’s Big 12 opener against Oklahoma:

TCU vs Oklahoma

  • Tip-off: 3:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: Oklahoma -4.5, TCU +4.5
  • O/U: 138
  • Money Line: Oklahoma -200, TCU +165

This marks the first time of the season TCU has not been favored to win a game.

At the time of writing this, 60% of public bets are placed on Oklahoma to cover the spread yet 66% of the money is on the Horned Frogs. This is a slight indication that the sharps (aka the pros) are siding with TCU.

Considering Oklahoma has only played one game this season, there’s not much to take away from them beating up on UTSA, so my pick is mostly based on last year’s statistics. Oklahoma ranked 237th in effective field goal percentage and 248th 3-point percentage last year, and now have lost their leading scorer from a year ago, Kristian Doolittle.

Kenpom currently has TCU ranked 20th in defensive efficiency, which is a great matchup against a team that struggles with shooting efficiency.

We know TCU likes to shoot the three ball, and a year ago Oklahoma allowed the 14th most points from three-point land in the country. Look for TCU to live and die by the three tonight at the Scholly.

As for my pick on today’s game, I’m going with TCU to cover the spread of +4.5, and I am going to pass on the over/under. I can’t make a confident pick on the over/under until I see at least a few Big 12 games be played.

Moving on to some games outside of the Fort, we’re standing at a 7-2 record heading into the fourth edition of Bunnell’s Bounces. Here are my three favorite bets for today’s college basketball slate.

Pick 1: Army -134 to beat La Salle

  • Tip-off: 3:00 p.m. CST

Why: I’m surprised that Army isn’t a heavier favorite in this matchup. La Salle has looked rough to open the year, losing to Saint Johns 82-65 and Saint Peters 62-51, failing to cover the spread in both games. Army on the other hand has exceeding expectations relative to where Vegas has them. The Knights are 3-0 against the spread this year including a close contest with Florida, losing only 76-69 on a +23.5 spread. The Knights also upset Buffalo 78-74 despite being 11-point underdogs. Army has momentum, and I’m gonna ride the wave while it lasts.

Pick 2: Binghamton +6.5 against Marist

  • Tip-off: 3:00 p.m. CST

Why: Games like this are why I love betting college basketball, why else would I watch a matchup between two schools most people have never heard of unless I have a couple units on the line? These teams played each other just a day ago, and Marist won 68-65. In basketball it’s tough to beat the same team back-to-back like this, so I’m taking Binghamton as a situational play.

Pick 3: California +10.5 against UCLA

  • Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. CST

Why: I think Cal is going to give the Bruins some trouble defensively tonight. The Bears are allowing just 62.8 points per game so far this year and have the highest defensive efficiency of any team UCLA has played. It’s hard not to forget that it took UCLA three overtimes to get past Pepperdine, and in my opinion the Bruins might be a teency bit overrated.

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