Why You Should Bet MSU & Duke in Champions Classic 2019
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Welcome to college basketball season! The road to the Final Four in Atlanta begins Tuesday with a full slate of games, including a pair of mammoth showdowns in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden: No. 1 Michigan State against No. 2 Kentucky, and No. 3 Kansas against No. 4 Duke.
Fourteen other ranked squads are also in action, as the 2019-20 campaign gets started with a bang. Here are your five best bets for opening night, with lines from PointsBet:
- No. 1 Michigan State -2.5 over No. 2 Kentucky
- No. 4 Duke +115 ML over No. 3 Kansas
- No. 5 Louisville -10 over Miami
- No. 6 Florida -21.5 over North Florida
- No. 15 Oregon -13.5 over Fresno State
You can bet on any of these lines by clicking on “CLAIM” above, and you can compare the latest college basketball odds here.
PICK 1: No. 1 Michigan State (-2.5) over No. 2 Kentucky
Michigan State might not be fully healthy until early 2020 when wing Joshua Langford returns from a foot injury, but the Spartans remain a deep and experienced squad led by the nation’s preseason Player of the Year favorite , point guard Cassius Winston. Kentucky has one of the more interesting squads of John Calipari’s tenure, with a handful of veteran returnees added to the usual array of star freshmen.
The Wildcats should be better prepared than they were a year ago, when they were blitzed in their opener by Duke, but combinations and matchups will still be a work in progress. On opening night, give the edge to the more experienced squad with the best player on the floor.
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PICK 2: No. 4 Duke (+115 ML) over No. 3 Kansas
Mike Krzyzewski hasn’t lost an opener in 20 years, and he brings to New York an intriguing squad featuring five-star freshmen, a returning starter in point guard Tre Jones, and a potential breakout player in forward Javin DeLaurier. Kansas is also loaded, with a star guard in Devin Dotson and the return of big man Udoka Azubuike, who missed much of last season with a hand injury.
On paper, the Jayhawks are better; in reality, this is a Kansas team that’s been dealing with the distraction of an NCAA investigation for months. By March, the Jayhawks should contend for the national title. In November, take the focus of an under-the-radar Duke squad to pull a mild upset as a two-point underdog.
PICK 3: No. 5 Louisville (-10) over Miami
The Hurricanes should be better than the 14-18 team of a year ago that gave up over 71 points per game. But Louisville is the elite team in America that nobody is talking about, a legit Final Four contender that is absolutely capable of winning the ACC. Chris Mack took over a scandal-ridden program and won 20 games a season ago, and five of his six top players are back, including star forward Jordan Nwora. Miami will be improved, but the Cardinals could be great, and should cover in an oddly-timed conference game.
PICK 4: No. 6 Florida (-21.5) over North Florida
The Gators landed one of the nation’s top graduate transfers in Kerry Blackshear Jr., who averaged 15 points and 7.5 rebounds last season with Virginia Tech. Blackshear adds needed offensive punch to what was already an outstanding defensive unit, fitting in with a loaded roster that includes elite freshmen Tre Mann and Scottie Lewis and several seasoned returnees. North Florida returns four starters, and should contend in the Atlantic Sun. But the Ospreys open against an opponent that should push Kentucky for the SEC crown.
PICK 5: No. 15 Oregon (-13.5) over Fresno State
All Dana Altman does is win with a system that spreads out opponents and lets players play. Oregon has won 23 or more games for eight straight seasons, but hardly anyone notices. Transfers and standout freshmen should keep the Ducks near the top of the Pac-12, even with two key big men from last season now in the NBA. Fresno State went 23-9 last year, but lost three starters off that team. The return of star guard Payton Pritchard and Altman’s system should be enough for the Ducks to cover in Eugene.