The Wisconsin Badgers couldn’t get the job done in a crazy showdown with the Xavier Musketeers on Thursday night. It was always going to be a tough call, but I chose the #15 Musketeers to enter the Kohl Center and get a win, and they did just that.
The win gives me a 1-0 record to get things rolling and hopefully you followed along and scored a win in the process. Friday offers a massive slate of college basketball games to pick from, but my sights are down to an interesting battle in the 2017 Charleston Classic between the Clemson Tigers and the Hofstra Pride.
Both teams have advanced to the semifinals of the small tournament, while both schools also remain a perfect 3-0 on the year. Hailing from the mighty ACC, Clemson is the understandable favorite going in, as college basketball betting sites like BetOnline have handed the Tigers a huge -450 Money Line advantage. That could make for an easy bet on the surface, but things get tricky in tourney settings and there isn’t much value with that.
Instead, bettors may want to look at the point spread, which is pretty favorable for Hofstra, considering where Vegas stands. Let’s break this game down and see where your bet should lie:
Clemson Tigers (-9) VS. Hofstra Pride (+9) Total: 148
When I keyed in on this bet earlier, Hofstra had a +7 spread in some spots and +8 in others. It’s grown to +9 since I started looking over this matchup and that has me locked in on the Pride to beat the spread. I always like big spreads in tournament or playoff settings and both teams will be playing hard to advance in the Charleston Classic.
It wasn’t easy for either side to get to this point, either. Both teams needed narrow wins to get here, as Clemson fended off Ohio (81-76) and Hofstra got the last laugh in a tense showdown with Dayton (72-69). With both teams playing on Thursday and in close games, the fatigue factor is a wash and I expect this to be a fairly tight game.
Clemson is easily the more potent offense. The Tigers already rank inside the top-50 for points scored and overall shooting percentage and that’s not surprising after seeing them score 81+ wins in all three games they’ve played this year.
The Tigers have a balanced attack paced by Donte Grantham (17 points, 6 rebounds per game) and Elijah Thomas (13.7 points, 9.7 rebounds per game), while the roster is producing five different scorers in double figures. Grantham and Thomas obviously give defenses an inside/outside duo to worry about, but this balanced offense can hurt you in more ways than one.
That could be bad news for most teams, but Hofstra has proven to have some defensive chops. The Pride held Dayton to 44% shooting from the floor in their last game and really tightened up on the perimeter (27%). Through three contests, Hofstra’s outside defense has been their calling card, with Army (29%) producing the best outside shooting mark against them thus far.
That might not be especially damaging against a Clemson team that doesn’t solely rely on the outside shot to win games, but it could help keep a potentially explosive game a little tighter.
Hofstra hasn’t been on the same level as Clemson as an offensive unit, but they’re still safely topping 72+ points each game. Their big issue so far has been their efficiency. Hofstra shot poorly as a whole in their last game and presently rank 258th in the nation in overall shooting percentage.
People tend to look at where teams hail from and deliver knee-jerk bets. Clemson has looked sharp to start the year and they have more talent as a team in the ACC, but Hofstra could slow this game down a bit and keep it interesting. With the point spread sitting at a friendly +9 (-105), I’ll back Hofstra to hang in this one.