Check out our quick-hitting betting notes on all of Thursday’s ranked college basketball games:
(18) Michigan State at Iowa (+2)
The Spartans look for their first league win away from home when they visit Iowa. After falling at Minnesota on New Year's Eve, Michigan State was able to rebound at home with an easy 84-61 triumph over Purdue on Saturday. The buzz surrounding the Hawkeyes was somewhat warranted when they took the Indiana Hoosiers to the wire in their Big Ten opener on New Year's Eve. However, Iowa was no match for the Wolverines on Sunday, falling 95-67 in Ann Arbor. Michigan scored 76 points in the final 26 minutes, showcasing several highlight-reel plays that embarrassed the young Hawkeyes. Iowa is 6-1 ATS in its last seven overall.
(3) Arizona at Oregon (+1.5)
The Wildcats are off to their best start since the 1931-32 squad opened the season with 16 consecutive victories. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. Arizona shot just 36.2 percent from the field in a close call against Utah last time out. Oregon is 10-0 at home and has won 16 consecutive games at Matthew Knight Arena dating back to last season. Arizona is just 1-4 ATS in its last five games overall.
St. Mary’s at (8) Gonzaga (-9.5)
Gonzaga has lived up to the hype after being touted as a potential Final Four team in the preseason, while Saint Mary’s cruised through a fairly easy nonconference schedule. This game features two of the WCC’s marquee players in Bulldogs junior forward Kelly Olynyk and Gaels senior point guard Matthew Dellavedova. The 7-foot Olynyk was named the WCC Player of the Week after averaging 23.3 points and 7.7 rebounds in victories at Oklahoma State, Pepperdine and Santa Clara. Gonzaga leads the WCC in scoring (80.7) and points allowed (63.1). The Gaels are 1-4 ATS in their last five games.
Notable non-Top 25 games:
Kentucky at Vanderbilt (+12.5)
John Calipari's defending national champion Wildcats have already lost twice as many games as they did last season and are 0-2 on the road, while the Commodores snapped a two-game losing streak with a 64-50 victory over William & Mary on Jan. 2. Vanderbilt blocked a season-high 10 shots in that win and held the Tribe to just 34 percent shooting. The Commodores are 4-1 ATS in their last five games.
UCLA at Utah (+5)
UCLA, which has won seven straight games overall, hasn’t played a true road game this season but will get its first taste of hostility when they travel to Utah on Thursday in what will be the first high-altitude experience for most of its freshman-laden roster. The Bruins enter as the Pac-12’s top scoring team (79.9 ppg) with the conference’s best shooting percentage (.480), while Utah has improved its national ranking in opponent field goal percentage from 321st in the nation last season to 22nd so far this campaign. All six of Utah’s losses this season have come by seven points or less, while the Bruins are 4-1 in games decided by five points or fewer. The Utes are 5-1 ATS in their last six home games.
Arizona State at Oregon State (-4.5)
Arizona State won its first two conference games for just the fourth time in 35 seasons and seeks a 3-0 start in Pac-12 play when it visits Oregon State. This will be only Arizona State’s second road game – the Sun Devils beat Texas Tech on Dec. 22. Oregon State lost its Pac-12 opener to Oregon in a contest in which the Beavers were outplayed on both ends of the court. The Beavers have struggled in the interior since losing starting center Angus Brandt to a season-ending knee injury and are 0-5 ATS in their last five home games.
Miami-Florida at North Carolina (-4.5)
North Carolina started the season ranked 12th in the nation, but an unranked Tar Heels’ squad looks to avoid a 0-2 start in ACC play when it hosts Miami. Virginia held North Carolina 29 points below its season average in a 61-52 loss on Sunday in the conference opener. The Tar Heels were outscored 11-2 in the final three minutes, losing for the second time in four games. Miami experienced a much more enjoyable start to conference play, beating Georgia Tech 62-49 on Saturday. The Hurricanes have won two in a row since ending December with losses to then No. 5 Arizona and Indiana State.