We moved to 2-0 ATS on the young college basketball season, and while I wrote early in the day and had a relatively peaceful, relaxed victory, I understand that with the large line move on the Toldeo/St. Joes game, some of you had a much more exhilarating experience.
The line opened at -5 (or even -6 in a few outlets). It quickly moved down to -4 and finished at a slim -2.5. St. Joes led by four with the game (seemingly) over. Toledo hit a garbage time three pointer at the buzzer to leave the game as a 77-76 final score. Either way – winner for me. If you were late to the party, you got a Chris Duhon Final Four Classic (google it if you are lost). It’s college hoops folks, and there are going to be some bumpy ones this season…
Of course, the goal is to find a safe haven and a soft place to land. That’s the mission today on a landscape completely devoid of any games any of you would consider watching over NFL football otherwise. But there is a game I like from a wagering perspective, so let’s dive in.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Mercer Bears at Florida Gators -16
The Gators pulled away from Florida Gulf Coast in their Jacksonville opener after being pushed by the Eagles for a solid 28-30 minutes. The final score was a wide, easily-covering margin, but the Gators took a while to find their rhythm. They will have a similar test tonight; low-major who has recently played the role of March Cinderella looking to slay a giant for a valuable chip in the hopeful-seeding pile come March. Of course, for schools like FGCU and Mercer, that “seeding” discussion only becomes relevant if they win their conference tourney, but nonetheless, a win in a game like this can be the difference between a #13 and a #15 – a large distinction.
So can Mercer contend today? They aren’t the elite of the SoCon this year; that belongs to Chattanooga (who opened the season with an impressive convincing win at SEC Tennessee) but they are picked to be in the mix for second with Wofford and ETSU, both good clubs. The SoCon has emerged as one of the better mid-major leagues. A clear peg below the second tier; WCC, MWC – but ahead of most other non-major conferences.
Mercer is always a smart, disciplined club (ask Duke), and this year should be no exception. They don’t have the talent to win outright barring a terrible effort from Florida, but they should be able to at leats compete for the majority of the game. This could flirt with the line at times, but I think Mercer can keep this is the eight to twelve range most of the night and hold on in garbage time to get the cover.