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Best bets for January 29th NCAA basketball

There’s plenty of value out there tonight, so we deep dive the finest bad spreads we think we see.

The West Virginia Mountaineers mascot sings ”Country Roads” after defeating the Texas Longhorns at WVU Coliseum. Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

With 50+ games tonight, you’ll see plenty of places punt a pound or two on tonight’s NCAA college basketball slate. There’s plenty of road favorites, particularly amongst the 11 Top 25 teams in action, so let’s see where the winners might be.

You can see all the lines as of this afternoon here. And we went 3-1 yesterday, so it can’t be that bad, right?

East Carolina +13 vs. Houston

I can hear my American Conference-based Slack channel now: “But Collin... ECU stinks!” And they do! But they cover at home with reasonable efficiency, and this is a midweek west-to-east travel game for a Houston team that hasn’t played a tough team in forever, but keeps winning a bit closer than they should. Beating Temple and UConn by just four points each, even if they were playing in an opposing dorm room, just isn’t good enough.

The Pirates were catching 1.5 last time out against the Tulane Green Wave in Greenville, and won by 19. They’re ready, and Minges is a tough place to play when it’s loud. It will be loud tonight.

West Virginia +2.5 at Texas Tech

This ain’t your Final Four Red Raiders, and Bob Huggins and the Mountaineers this year have been warriors on the road. They should have beaten Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse but couldn’t get a call (that got expensive), and you can throw out the loss to K-State in Manhattan because Bob Huggins doesn’t do that twice. WVU is 12-7 ATS this season, because they are cover machines in the league over a large sample.

Sandwiching this game for TTU between an OT loss to Kentucky and a trip to Kansas doesn’t hurt either.

UPDATE 7:03 p.m. We’re still WVU despite this:

South Florida -1 at Tulane

How bad are you if you’re catching points vs. the Bulls? Pretty terrible! Tulane is falling apart after some early signs of life under first-year coach Ron Hunter, and he’s a pretty intense guy to have in your ear during a lost season. They’ve been blasted the last three times out by at least double-digits, with two of those at home.

It might not be by double digits, but USF brings experienced guard play on the road, which should be enough to get to Bourbon Street for a postgame celebration. Take the Bulls and hope it’s by a bucket or more.

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