Study group: Thursday's Top 25 NCB betting notes
Check out our quick-hitting betting notes on all of Thursday’s ranked college basketball games:
(5) Michigan Wolverines at (12) Minnesota Golden Gophers (-3)
Both the Wolverines and Golden Gophers are coming off their first losses in league play. Michigan was the last unbeaten team in the country and had the inside track on gaining the No. 1 ranking before it suffered a 56-53 setback at Ohio State on Sunday, producing its worst offensive output since last Jan. 29, also at the Buckeyes. The Wolverines averaged 90.2 points over a five-game stretch before producing 62 against Nebraska and 53 against Ohio State. Despite a furious second-half rally that nearly erased a 23-point halftime deficit, Minnesota lost at Indiana on Saturday, 88-81. Michigan is Minnesota's fourth ranked opponent in the last five games. The Golden Gophers are 8-0 ATS in their last eight games vs. Big Ten opponents.(9) Florida Gators at Texas A&M Aggies (+9.5)
Texas A&M, hot off an outstanding performance at Kentucky last Saturday, takes a four-game win streak into its first contest against a ranked team. Elston Turner was named National Player of the Week after his 40-point explosion, including six 3-pointers, in the 83-71 victory against Kentucky. The senior guard will have to come up with another big effort against the Gators, who allow an average of 52 points and 36.5 percent shooting from the field. Florida has also won four straight, winning its first two league games by 33 and 22 points despite injury problems. Second-leading scorer Mike Rosario, who missed the last game with an ankle sprain, is expected to return to the lineup. The Aggies are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 home games.Northwestern Wildcats at (22) Illinois Fighting Illini (-10.5)
Illinois started the season with 12 consecutive victories but has now lost four of six games. The 1-3 start in Big Ten play includes back-to-back thumpings by Minnesota (17 points) and Wisconsin (23). Northwestern is also is off to a 1-3 conference start and those losses have been by an average of 22 points. Illinois has won 21 of the past 25 meetings, but the teams split two meetings last season with the road team winning on each occasion. The Fighting Illini are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games following a loss.Oregon State Beavers at (25) UCLA Bruins (-14.5)
UCLA will try to start 5-0 in conference play for the first time since 2003-04 when the Bruins host Oregon State. The Bruins have won nine in a row overall and been especially tough to beat in nail-biters this season, owning a 6-1 record in games decided by four points or less. Oregon State will be without forward Eric Moreland for this one. Moreland is the sixth-leading rebounder in the nation (11.1) and will miss his third straight game for violating team rules. The Beavers are 1-5 ATS in their last six games overall.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at (3) Duke Blue Devils (-16.5)
Duke looks to rebound from its first loss of the season when Georgia Tech visits. The Blue Devils were without third-leading scorer Ryan Kelly (foot) in the 84-76 loss at North Carolina State last Saturday and second-leading scorer Seth Curry sprained his ankle late in the contest. Kelly is out indefinitely with a foot injury and Curry is expected to return against Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets shoot 42.1 percent from the field and average 65.5 points. They can be difficult to defend at times with four players averaging between 11 and nine points. Duke is 1-7 ATS in its last eight vs. ACC foes.
St. Joseph’s Hawks at (19) VCU Rams (-10)
The Rams have won 11 straight behind an aggressive defense. VCU hasn't allowed an opponent to score more than 70 points this season and leads the country in turnover margin (plus-8.6) and steals (13.2) - a stat the Rams also led last season. The Rams have nine double-digit victories during their current 11-game win streak and are 4-0 ATS in their last four home games.(8) Gonzaga Bulldogs at Portland Pilots (+16.5)
The Bulldogs have won seven consecutive games and are coming off an 83-78 conference-showdown victory over Saint Mary’s. Junior forward Kelly Olynyk scored 31 points against Saint Mary’s to follow up a 33-point outing against Santa Clara. Portland is playing at home for the first time since Dec. 29 and is 6-2 on its home floor. The Pilots notched a 68-64 road win over Loyola Marymount last Saturday but have lost 18 straight games against Gonzaga.