It’s still week one of the college basketball season so the volume of bets to be made is still not there, however, there can still be value found on the board on any given night. In tonight’s action, a match-up between two Arizona-based colleges caught my attention due to the current number the bigger school is currently being favored by. I’ll break down the game and then get into why the underdog should be the play to make.
At 9:00 PM ET, the Arizona State Sun Devils will host in-state school Northern Arizona for their second game of the season. Arizona State comes off a narrow 62-59 win on opening night against Tarleton State, while Northern Arizona enters tonight off a loss to Michigan State. The Sun Devils are currently (-15.5) point favorites in most sportsbooks.
Marcus Bagley and Frankie Collins led the way for the Sun Devils helping them avoid the significant upset to begin the season. Collins led the team with 21 points but the Sun Devils were only able to record 10 assists the entire game. Tarleton State entered the game as (+14.5) point favorites and if it weren’t for a late turnover and Bagley hitting a three they could’ve won the game outright.
Northern Arizona played Michigan State competitively despite losing by 18 points. NAU played about as bad as you can play in the first half but was able to make up for it with a remarkable second half led by Jalen Cone. The Virginia Tech transfer had a double-double in his first game of the season and helped them cover the spread as (+20) point underdogs.
The Lumberjacks did not come into this season with high expectations but neither did the Sun Devils and despite only being one game into the season neither team is shooting the ball well at all.
The Sun Devils have the clear talent advantage but the lack of scoring production means this could be a low-scoring affair. NAU opened as (+15.5) point underdogs and that number hasn’t moved so it seems there is pretty even money coming in for both sides. The Lumberjacks ability to come back after a horrid first half against Michigan State and play even with the Spartans in the second half gives me a lot of confidence in them to hang around in the game tonight.
Making power rating determinations this early in the season can be tough due to the lack of games played but the way I see it is Michigan State would come in as clear favorites against Arizona State if they were to play this week so the current spread ASU has over NAU just seems a tad bit off to me.
Despite shooting struggles it seems as if the Lumberjacks have the ability to compete for the entire game and do the little things like rebounding. I think NAU can be pesky enough to stay in this game the whole time and not go away even if the Sun Devils start shooting it better.