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College betting: Kruger, Sooners should bounce back

It has been a rollercoaster ride for coach Lon Kruger this week, with Oklahoma surging to No. 1 in both polls Monday before getting knocked off in a down-to-the-wire shootout at Iowa State.

There is no dominant team in college basketball this season, so expect the game of musical chairs at the top spot to continue. The Sooners’ slide in the rankings will be more dramatic if they lose twice in six days.

Oklahoma is 1½-point favorite at Baylor in one of the featured games on Saturday’s schedule. The Bears have won five in a row since a blowout loss at Kansas in their Big 12 Conference opener, but they needed two overtimes to hold off Kansas State on Wednesday.

Baylor has a matchup advantage inside. The Bears are strong on the glass — led by center Rico Gathers and forward Taurean Prince — and own a plus-10.0 rebound differential.

The Sooners are better in the backcourt with the high-scoring trio of Buddy Hield (26.1 points per game), Jordan Woodard (14.6) and Isaiah Cousins (12.7). Oklahoma is the nation’s top 3-point shooting team at 45.7 percent.

The coaching edge goes to Kruger. Lay the short number and look for the Sooners’ superior shooters to deliver a win and cover in Waco, Texas.

Seven more plays for Saturday (home team in CAPS):

NEBRASKA (-1) over Michigan: Tim Miles has coached the Cornhuskers to four straight Big Ten wins, including a 72-71 upset at Michigan State on Wednesday. The Wolverines took double-digit defeats in their past two road games against Iowa and Purdue.

MINNESOTA (+1) over Illinois: It’s getting ugly for coach Richard Pitino. The Gophers are 0-7 in the Big Ten. But this is their spot to stop the losing streak against a Fighting Illini team that was routed by 34 and 25 points in its past two road games.

Arizona (-2½) over CALIFORNIA: Senior guard Tyrone Wallace, the Golden Bears’ leading scorer, is out with a broken hand. The Wildcats are off a 14-point win at Stanford, and coach Sean Miller appears to have his team back on track.

PEPPERDINE (+3) over Brigham Young: Kyle Collinsworth is one of the nation’s top all-around players, but his Cougars are in a bad scheduling spot in their fourth consecutive road game.

MICHIGAN STATE (-3) over Maryland: Tom Izzo has lost three games in a row. Bet on the Spartans to bounce back. The Terrapins were outplayed for a majority of the game — and allowed 16 offensive rebounds — in their 62-56 overtime victory over Northwestern on Tuesday.

Boise State (-5½) over WYOMING: The Mountain West issued a one-game suspension to Cowboys senior guard Josh Adams, and his absence will be debilitating to the Wyoming offense. Adams scored 38 points in a 70-68 win at New Mexico last week. The Broncos pack plenty of scoring firepower.

UNR (+5½) over Unlv: The largest crowd of the season is expected at Lawlor Events Center. The Wolf Pack get good guard play from senior Marqueze Coleman (17.4 points per game) and strong interior play from 6-foot-8-inch freshman Cameron Oliver (11.0 points, 7.1 rebounds). UNR coach Eric Musselman will be out to make a statement against UNLV interim coach Todd Simon, who’s 3-0 since replacing Dave Rice.

I’ll forecast the Rebels to win a nailbiter, but there appears to be point-spread value with the ‘dog. I made the line 3½.

— Contact sports betting columnist Matt Youmans at myoumans@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2907. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyoumans247.

 

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