Top Picks in American Doubleheader – NCAAM January 28

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Three of the top four teams in the underrated American Athletic Conference take to the hardwood on Thursday night. Memphis and Houston aim to complete season sweeps of conference foes SMU and Tulane, respectively. With both games being rematches, there is plenty of value presenting itself after closely dissected their earlier meetings. Odds and stats provided by Betonline.

7:00 p.m. ET – Memphis at SMU (-4) O/U 142½

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Memphis +4 (-110) +155 O 142½ (-110)
SMU -4 (-110) -175 U 142½ (-110)

The 9-5 Tigers travel to Dallas to take on the 8-3 Mustangs. The two teams met just Tuesday in Memphis, where the Tigers prevailed 76-72. Memphis was led by guard Alex Lomax who provided a spark off of the bench with 14 points and five assists. Memphis center Moussa Cisse tallied a double-double for the Tigers and is averaging 12.3 points and 9.6 rebounds per game over the Tigers’ last three contests. SMU’s leading scorer also came off the bench, with guard Tyson Jolly putting up 15 points. Both teams shot well from the field, with Memphis shooting 50 percent and SMU shooting 48 percent. The difference in the game came down to the Memphis defense forcing 17 SMU turnovers.

Memphis has been led on the season by guard Landers Nolley II, who averages a team-high 12.8 points. Nolley was held to his season average of 12 points in Tuesday’s game. SMU has been led by guard Kendric Davis who averages 18.3 points and 7.6 assists per game. Davis struggled mightily in the matchup Tuesday, managing to score just eight points while shooting 4-of-14 from the field.

The best bet for this game is betting the Over-Under total. Memphis Overs are 3-11 this season and with both teams meeting two days prior, the defensive adjustments should be there from both coaching staffs. It is hard to shoot above 48 percent from the field against a team twice, and that is exactly what both teams are trying to accomplish. While the Under is the best bet of the game, there also is value to be had on picking a side. SMU boasts a 5-3 record against the spread as a favorite this season and this is Memphis’ first game as an underdog the entire season. SMU is a veteran team coming off a four-point loss in a game when its best player played his worst game of the year. It is hard to beat a team twice in a season, much less twice in three days. Kendric Davis will not turn the ball over six times in this one. In addition to grabbing the Under, take the Mustangs to make the necessary adjustments and cover the spread in this one.

The Bets
SMU -4
UNDER 142½

9:00 p.m. ET – No.6 Houston (-17½) at Tulane O/U:127

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Houston -17½ (-110) -2000 O 127 (-115)
Tulane +17½ (-110) +750 U 127 (-105)

The 13-1 Cougars head to New Orleans to face the 6-4 Green Wave. The Cougars handled Temple 68-51 on Saturday to collect their sixth straight win. The Green Wave have not been in action since Jan. 16, when they played the same Temple team and lost 65-57. Houston and Tulane met back on Jan. 9 in Houston, where the Cougars dominated from start to finish in a game they won 71-50. Houston’s Marcus Sasser led all scorers in that contest, scoring 28 points. Tulane’s leading scorer was Jordan Walker with 13 points on just 11 field-goal attempts. The Green Wave shot 28 percent from the field as a whole and had no answer for the suffocating defense the Cougars bring to the table.

Tulane is led by guard Jaylen Forbes, who averages 15.2 points per game. Forbes was held to 11 points in the matchup earlier this season. Houston is led by guard Quentin Grimes, averaging 17.6 points per game. Grimes scored 14 in the prior matchup.

This number is large for a reason, Houston does not just beat teams, they beat the brakes off of them. Houston is 5-1 against the spread in conference games where they have been favored by double digits. Houston is 10-3 against the spread on the entire season. The Cougars are one of the best teams in the country, and they know they have no room for error with the NCAA tournament committee because they play in the often overlooked American conference. The danger with a number this large is that the backdoor cover is always a possibility. Take Houston to cover the first-half spread, as the Cougars have have led by 15 or more at the half in three straight contests, all against opponents better than Tulane.

The Picks: Houston 1H -10.5 at Bovada.


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Joe Menzer / Author

Joe is an award-winning writer and editor who has covered the NBA, NFL, NASCAR, golf, various collegiate athletics and other sports for newspapers, Turner Sports, Fox Sports and ESPN. He has been on the beat for seven Super Bowls, six Daytona 500s and numerous NBA playoff series and All-Star Games. He once was dispatched to Rome, Italy to spend time with an NBA draft choice who opted to play overseas, after which he produced an award-winning series of stories. He also is passionate about fantasy sports and breaking down games in ways that even novice gamblers can use to make their most intelligent wagering decisions.

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