November 15, 2017
There are two picks tonight.
#1: Take Montana +12.5 spread against Penn State for 3% of the bankroll.
This is an interesting matchup and one that we don't believe the Nittany Lions can sleepwalk through. Montana is 2-0 on the season and is coming off road win over the Pittsburgh Panthers in their most recent contest. This is a team that should have a whole lot of confidence having already beaten a major program and could give the Nittany Lions trouble, if they are caught overlooking the Grizzlies.
Montana returns an experienced roster this season and may have the best backcourt in their conference. Michael Oguine led the Grizzlies in their win over Pitt, producing 29 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Penn State could have an issue containing Oguine who is a talented driver and knows how to finish at the rim. The Grizzlies also have some talent on the wings and are capable of knocking down the 3-ball. Ahmaad Rorie, an Oregon transfer is another talented guard who is extremely dangerous beyond the arc.
Penn State is a talented team and they will have the height advantage in this contest, however, the Grizzlies have the more capable shooters both on the inside and around the perimeter. The Nittany Lions have struggled with their 3-point shot in their first two contests, connecting on just 25.6% of their shots from beyond the arc. If they are going to create the kind of speeration needed to cover this rather large spread, they are not only going to have to shut down the numerous shooters on this Grizzlies' team, but also hope that they can cure their 3-point shooting woes. They may be able to do one, but we don't believe they will be able to do both and that will allow Montana to hang around in this one until the end. Penn State hasn't started a season 3-0 dating back to the 2011 season and while they are likely to overcome that tonight and win, Montana should be able to keep this competitive and stay within this lofty number.
#2: Take Butler +5 spread (buy the half point) against Maryland for 3% of the bankroll.
This is going to be the first real test that Maryland has faced this season after playing two games against lesser-competition and it could prove to be a stern test. The Butler Bulldogs are a talented team that is extremely well coached led by senior Kelan Mack. This also won't be the first tough test the Bulldogs have faced this season as they were able to get by a quality Princeton team that shot 55% from the floor and went 9 of 15 behind the arc. Even with production like that, the Bulldogs found a way to win. Martin carried the team with 20 points and 14 rebounds in that contest while sophomore guard Kamal Baldwin added 15 points on 6 of 10 shooting.
The Terps have talent on their roster with Anthony Cowan, wing Kevin Huerter and forward Justin Jackson. Maryland’s most intriguing newcomer is 6-10, 240-pound Bruno Fernando, a very athletic big man, who is averaging 8.5 points off the bench with three blocks. He averaged 20.6 points and 7.5 rebounds at IMG Academy in Florida last season and could prove to be a difference make in the paint for the Terps this season. While the talent is certainly there on paper, they have not been in a dog-fight this season and we believe that's exactly what they will be in for tonight.
The jury is still out on exactly how good this Maryland team is. On paper, they appear to have talent, but that doesn't always transfer to their play on the court, especially during the early part of the season. For the past few years it has been standout guard Melo Trimble who has led this team and dominated possessions. Trimble was a key cog in the Terps offense and with him out of the lineup, it will be interesting to see how the other role players adapt to being pressed into the spotlight. Maryland had somewhat of a cake-walk in their first two contests, and against a scrappy team like the Bulldogs, Maryland will find out very quickly where the holes in their game lie.
Let's not forget, Trimble was an extremely valuable player who was a clutch performer. When Maryland needs buckets, he was the unquestioned leader of this team. In a close game, which we expect this to be, we believe Maryland will miss his presence when the game is on the line. Butler has proven that they can hang with any team in the country and keep games close. They have also been a formidable opponent on the road, having won 6 of their last 8 road games outright. This is a matchup that could go either way and even if the Bulldogs fall short of the outright win, we believe they will keep things competitive enough to cover this spread.
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