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Matchup Selection W/L
NCAA-B  |  Jan 24, 2015
Washington State vs. Colorado
Play Type: Premium

Washington State plays at an extremely fast pace under new head coach Ernie Kent.  The Cougars are all offense and no defense, and they are completely lost when forced to play in a half court, slow-paced game.  The Cougars have been held to less than 70 points nine times this season.  Washington State is a terrible 1-8 SU in those games with their lone win coming by just 3 points (69-66) over California.  The Cougars will be forced into a half-court grinder, and they are not built to win in low-scoring games.  Washington State will also have to deal with the thin air and altitude of Denver, and they are also on the dreaded back-to-back road game swing after playing in Utah on Wednesday night.  The Cougars’ offense has struggled on the road all season as they only average 63.1 points per game on 40.5% shooting from the field.  Things won’t get any easier tonight against a stout Colorado defense that is holding opponents to just 59.3 points per game on their home court this season.               

Colorado is a completely different team than Washington State.  The Buffaloes play at an extremely slow pace while frustrating their opponents in the half court.  Washington State’s offense relies heavily on scoring points from beyond the arc.  But since they’ll wear down as this game goes on, we do not expect them to shoot a high percentage from 3-point land.  Colorado has a strong interior defense, and only allow 49% of the points scored on them to come from 2-point range, so the majority of Washington State’s points will have to come from the perimeter.  Colorado has pace, scheduling, and matchup advantages in this game, so we’ll lay the points with the Buffaloes on Saturday night.           

9* Play COLORADO (-).

Matchup Selection W/L
NCAA-B  |  Jan 24, 2015
UCLA vs. Oregon
  at  5DIMES
Play Type: Premium

UCLA is not having a good season, and their poor start has been well documented.  The Bruins are just 11-8 on the season, but the team is playing much better basketball right now.  UCLA was on a 3-game winning streak going into their last game at Oregon State, but we can easily forgive the Bruins for that loss.  We had a Best Bet on Oregon State over UCLA simply because the Beavers were going to grind UCLA in a slow-paced, half-court game.  That’s exactly what happened in UCLA’s 66-55 loss.  UCLA needs to play fast in order to be a their best, and they will get their preferred pace today against Oregon.  The Bruins have a good offense that is averaging 72.4 points per game.  UCLA will score at will on a poor Oregon defense that has allowed 70 points or more in five of their last nine games.    

Oregon was in a tremendous spot for a blowout win in their last game against a terrible USC team.  The Ducks only won that game 75-67 as they shot just 36.2% (21-58) from the field and 32% (8-25) from three-point land.  Oregon was able to get by USC while shooting poorly, but that won’t be the case in this game against UCLA.  The Ducks are in poor current form as they are just 2-3 SU over their last five games with a negative 4.8 points per game scoring differential in those games.  Oregon’s defense has allowed 79.2 points per game on 47% shooting from the field over their last five games.  To compare, UCLA’s defense has allowed just 67.6 points per game on 42.5% shooting from the field over their last five games.  UCLA has played a brutal schedule against Oklahoma, North Carolina, Gonzaga, Kentucky, and Utah.  They are getting a major class relief in this game today, so we’ll take the points with the better team on Saturday afternoon.         

9* Play UCLA (+).

Matchup Selection W/L
NCAA-B  |  Jan 24, 2015
USC vs. Oregon State
Oregon State
Play Type: Premium

USC is in their second season under head coach Andy Enfield; he of the Florida Gulf Coast NCAA tournament run fame.  Enfield has struggled to implement his frenetic style of play at USC as he simply doesn’t have the right personnel to run his schemes.  The Trojans are in poor current form as they’ve lost five of their last six games in conference play.  USC’s defense has allowed 75.8 points per game on 45.8% shooting from the field and 35.3% shooting from three-point land over their last five games.  The Trojans’ offense has been unable to help as they are only averaging 65.6 points per game on 42.2% shooting from the field and 26.3% shooting from three-point land on the road this season.  USC’s offensive troubles will continue in this game against the stout Oregon State defense.

Oregon State is quietly having a very good season.  The Beavers are flying well under the radar under new head coach Wayne Tinkle.  He has Oregon State playing a very sound, half court style of basketball that is simply frustrating their opponents.  The Beavers play at one of the slowest paces in the country while playing outstanding defense.  Oregon State is holding their opponents to just 51.9 points per game on 33.5% shooting from the field and 25.5% shooting from three-point land at home this season.  The Beavers have bought into Tinkle’s system, and the team simply knows how they need to play in order to be at their best.  “We want to muddy the game up,” said Langston Morris-Walker.  “We want to play at our pace. It’s no longer a race to 80 anymore. It’s kind of nasty to watch.”  Oregon State’s style will frustrate USC, so we’ll lay the points with the Beavers in this game on Saturday night.

10* Play OREGON STATE (-).

Matchup Selection W/L
NCAA-B  |  Jan 24, 2015
Illinois vs. Minnesota
Play Type: Premium

Illinois comes into this game with a 13-7 record, but twelve of those wins have come at home or on a neutral court.  The Illini are just 1-4 SU in true road games with all four losses coming by 8 points or more.  Illinois has struggled to score points on the road this season as they are only averaging 60.4 points per game on 37.4% shooting from the field and 29.5% shooting from three-point land.  Illinois is also ravaged by injuries right now with four key contributors out of action.  “There’s a lot of things happening that make things very, very fluid,” head coach John Groce said.  “Of course we’re playing lineups that are different from what we played prior. We don’t have that luxury right now.”  Illinois won their last game at home over Purdue despite shooting 35% (21-60) from the field and 30% (3-10) from three-point land.  They are not going to be competitive on the road while shooting that poorly, especially against a strong offensive opponent. 

Minnesota is a team we’ve played against twice over their last three games.  We won both of those games, but the Golden Gophers were in bad match-ups and pace scenarios for those two games.  The opposite is true now as Minnesota holds all the advantages in this game.  Both teams want to play fast, up-tempo basketball and that style suits Minnesota extremely well, especially at home.  The Golden Gophers are averaging 84.4 points per game on 51.1% shooting from the field and 39.1% shooting from three-point land at home this season.  Illinois’ poor offense will be unable to trade points with Minnesota.  The Golden Gophers’ last two home losses have come against explosive and efficient offenses, and Illinois’ offense is anything but that as detailed above.  This is a good spot for Minnesota to get an easy blowout win, so we’ll lay the points in this early game on Saturday afternoon.     

9* Play MINNESOTA (-).


Steve Merril is considered one of the best sports analysts in the nation. He credits his success to employing a variety of different handicapping techniques such as statistical analysis, trends and systems, and fundamentals such as matchups and emotion. By relying on numerous handicapping methods, Steve continues to beat the pointspread on a consistent basis in both college and pro football, basketball, baseball, and auto racing.

Steve was the first person to ever win the prestigious $100,000 Insiders Handicapping Invitational and his unique knowledge and understanding of the gaming industry is what separates him from other handicappers. Steve has spent the past 15 years studying the odds and probabilities associated with all forms of gambling such as poker, casino games, and even the stock market. Steve has transferred this unique knowledge and understanding of statistics and probabilities into the sports world, which has enabled him to win on a consistent basis.

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