Top College Basketball Picks for Sunday, January 31st, 2021

Top College Basketball Picks for Sunday, January 31st, 2021
Sat 30th January 2021

SMU vs Houston 

The Houston Cougars (14-1; 9-1 Conf.) are rolling on a seven-game win streak following an 83-60 road victory over Tulane last Thursday. They top the American Athletic Conference three games ahead of the closest rivals, while the Cougars are No. 4 in the latest NCAA NET Rankings. 

Houston is one of the most dominant teams in college basketball this season. The Cougars score 114.6 points per 100 possessions (17th in the country) while yielding only 87.8 in a return (3rd). They rank first in the nation in opponent field goal percentage (36.4%), third in opponent 3-point percentage (25.4%), and sixth in total rebounds per contest (42.1). 

On the other side, the SMU Mustangs (9-3, 5-3 Conf.) are No. 55 in the NCAA NET Rankings. They are tied with Wichita State and Memphis for the second spot in the American Athletic Conference, and the Mustangs have won three of their previous four games overall. 

SMU scores 112.8 points per 100 possessions (28th) on 46.7% shooting from the field (62nd) and 36.0% from beyond the arc (86th). However, the Mustangs’ offense looked helpless in its first meeting of the season with Houston. 

Back on January 3, the Cougars beat the Mustangs 74-60 as 2-point road favorites. They won the second half by 15 points while out rebounding the Mustangs (45-32) and holding them to 40.4% shooting from the field and 28.6% from downtown. 

Senior forward Justin Gorham had a double-double of 11 points and 19 rebounds, posting a whopping nine offensive boards. On the other side, junior guard Kendric Davis led the way for SMU with 23 points and eight rebounds.

Davis is enjoying a wonderful season, averaging 17.3 points and 7.7 assists per game, but his teammates will have another tough day in the office against Houston’s D. 

We’re looking for another strong performance by the Cougars. They are 6-1 ATS in the last seven outings and 13-0 SU and 9-4 ATS in the previous 13 showings at home. Houston has won six of its last seven games against SMU, going 4-2-1 ATS in the process. 

College basketball pick – Houston by 9. 

Michigan State vs Ohio State 

The Michigan State Spartans are having a rough ride. With an 8-5 overall record and 2-5 in the conference play, the Spartans occupy the 12th spot of the Big Ten standings. They’ve dropped five of the last seven games including the previous two and are coming off an embarrassing 67-37 defeat at Rutgers.  

The Spartans will be keen to bounce back as soon as possible, and they’ve dominated Ohio State over the last few years. Michigan State is 10-2 SU and 9-3 ATS in its previous 12 encounters with the Buckeyes. However, that also means the Buckeyes will be fired up to improve their record against the Spartans and pile on their misery. 

Ohio State is 2-1 SU and ATS in its last three home matchups with Michigan State. The Buckeyes are 13-4 on the season and 7-4 in the conference play, just two games behind the best team in the Big Ten, the Michigan Wolverines. They’ve won five of the last six games overall and are 4-2 ATS in that span. 

The Buckeyes are not an elite defensive team and surrender 96.4 points per 100 possessions (73rd) on 41.7% shooting from the field (109th) and 33.3% from beyond the 3-point line (183rd). However, they score 119.4 points in a return (5th). The Buckeyes tally 17.6 points per game from the charity stripe which are the ninth-most in the nation. 

The Spartans, on the other side, rank 65th in offensive efficiency (108.9) and 51st in defensive efficiency (94.7). They shoot only 43.7% from the field (202nd), so it’s very interesting that Michigan State is 11th in the country with 18.3 assists per game. 

The visitors certainly stand a chance in this one, but we’ll lean on the teams’ current form and take the hosts to win and cover. The Buckeyes desperately need to keep the momentum on their side, though eight points could be too much to cover. If you’re satisfied with slightly lower odds, buy a few points on the Buckeyes. 

College basketball pick – Ohio State by 8.

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