Today's Top Picks: Strong plays in the First Four, NIT and Rockets-Grizzlies for Wednesday night
Also, watch SportsLine on CBS Sports HQ live at 6 p.m. ET for all today's best bets
It won't be long now. On Thursday morning the ball will be tipped, and the NCAA Tournament will begin. It's the greatest four days on the sports calendar, and we'll all bask in its excellence.
But we've still got a few hours to kill before then, and thankfully there's plenty of Wednesday night action to choose from on the basketball court. For tonight's picks, I'm going everywhere. I've got a pick for one of tonight's two play-in games, as well as a pick from the NIT, and an NBA play as well.
It's a cornucopia of basketball!
Let's dig in. All odds are via Westgate.
1. St. John's vs. Arizona State: St. John's +2
NCAA Tournament First Four in Dayton, Ohio (9:10 p.m. ET, truTV)
The Red Storm haven't been playing their best basketball of late. They finished the regular season having lost three in a row and four of five before beating DePaul in the Big East Tournament. They followed that up with a 32-point loss to Marquette that nearly knocked them out of the tournament altogether. Instead, they're here in a play-in game against an Arizona State team that finished strong but was benefiting from an easy schedule more than anything. I've seen both of these teams a few times this season, and I was more impressed by what I saw from St. John's than I was an Arizona State team that's great at getting to the free throw line, but awful once it gets there. In a close game like this, I'd rather rely on the team more likely to make its free throws.
But what does SportsLine have to say? Visit SportsLine now to check out the model's strong pick on St. John's vs Arizona State that's cashing in 58 percent of the time in simulations.
2. Wichita State at Furman: Wichita State +5
NIT First Round in Greenville, SC (7 p.m. ET, ESPN3)
It's the first time Wichita State has missed the NCAA Tournament since 2011, and it's possible that the Shockers will not be all that excited to be hitting the road to take on Furman in the NIT. If they show up to play, however, I like their odds against a Furman team that was dominant in its conference but was only 3-6 against KenPom's top 100 teams. Wichita State is ranked 93rd by KenPom. More than that, Wichita State's bigger and deeper than the Paladins as well. Give me the Shockers and the points.
Speaking of the NIT, SportsLine's computer model has strong plays you need to see on the Harvard vs. Georgetown matchup, with the computer's ATS selection cashing in 68 percent of simulations and the total play coming in 61 percent of the time. Head over to SportsLine to see the picks.
3. Houston Rockets at Memphis Grizzlies: Under 215.5
Taking an under in a Rockets game might seem crazy, but the truth is that the under has gone 35-32-4 in Houston games this season because totals are often inflated. When the Rockets are on the road the under is 20-13-2. When the Rockets are favored on the road the under is 12-8-2. Against Western Conference foes the under is 23-16-4 in Rockets games. Are you noticing a trend here? If you want more, well, what if I told you the under is 29-12-1 when the Grizzlies play in conference? Does that finally convince you?
In the NBA, the SportsLine model loves one side of the spread in Celtics-76ers, with that ATS play cashing in 59 percent of simulations. But the total pick does even better, hitting two-thirds of the time! Check out those picks only at SportsLine.
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