College Basketball Best Bets for Monday: Tipping the Week Out West

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Miles Byrd #21 of the San Diego State Aztecs throws down a dunk ahead of Trevon Brazile #2 of the Arkansas Razorbacks. Darryl Oumi/Getty Images/AFP.

Westward ho! Our handicapping trail boss heads way out west looking for value at top-rated sportsbooks on a couple of games involving the Gonzaga Bulldogs and San Diego State Aztecs.

Kent State Golden Flashes vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs

Monday, December 5, 2022 – 09:00 PM EST at McCarthey Athletic Center

Several programs that are perennially ranked and expected to make deep runs in March Madness more seasons than not are off to rocky starts, with Mark Few’s Gonzaga Bulldogs one of the teams on that list.

Gonzaga will try and straighten things out Monday evening and begin a strong push as the nonconference schedule winds down in a clash against the Kent State Golden Flashes, one of the favorites on the college basketball futures in the MAC.

Flashes Living Up to Expectations

Rob Senderoff was likely the most anxious of all Mid-American Conference coaches to get this season going, and why not? Last year’s top coach in the league was blessed with the bulk of his team returning, including his top 2 scorers, while also enjoying nice additions through the transfer portal and recruiting.

Most preseason polls made the Golden Flashes the team to beat in the MAC, and they have already shown just how talented and strong a team the rest of the conference will have to deal with by taking top-ranked Houston down to the wire a little more than a week ago on the road.

Kent State’s 49-44 loss to the Cougars followed a tough 2-point defeat at Charleston. The Golden Flashes bounced back from those setbacks last weekend with an 83-68 triumph at home over South Dakota State, doubling the 8-point spread at the NCAAB odds.

‘Zags in Need of Bounce Back Dubya

So, what is wrong with the Bulldogs? Gonzaga is coming off a 28-4 campaign that saw Few’s cagers make it to the Sweet 16, and they were the pick by many to finally make it over the hump and win it all this year.

Loss No. 3 came last Friday in Sioux Falls, the Bulldogs’ fourth neutral-site affair in a row, and it was a hard-fought skirmish that lasted to the final possession before Baylor secured a 64-63 triumph in a rematch of the 2021 National Championship.

First Meeting Between Bulldogs and Flashes

Gonzaga is favored by 15½ at most Washington betting sites with the total running 153½, and in this first-ever meeting between the two programs, I’ll play the ‘Under’ with my first of two free college basketball picks.

NCAAB Pick: Under 153½ (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Under 153½ (-108)
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Troy Trojans vs. San Diego State Aztecs

Monday, December 5, 2022 - 10:00 PM EST at Viejas Arena

Heading about 1,300 miles south from Spokane, our next top pick takes place in America’s Finest City where the San Diego State Aztecs are home for a get-together with the Troy Trojans.

This is just the second time the Aztecs and Trojans have squared off, the other coming a little more than 19 years ago when Troy pulled off a 93-84 upset in the same arena, and San Diego State will be looking to void the same fate this time as 15½-point chalk.

Razorbacks a Common Foe

Troy and San Diego State have a common opponent to look at when analyzing this matchup. Arkansas defeated both sides in succession, first taking down the Aztecs in overtime at the Maui Invitational and following that with a late rally for a 74-61 decision over Troy back home in Fayetteville.

Troy Wrapping Up 3-Game Road Trip

Following the loss at Arkansas, Troy traveled up to Illinois where the Trojans came out a bit flat this past Saturday to help the SIU-Edwardsville Cougars pull off a mild upset with a 78-72 decision as 3-point underdogs.

The Trojans shot well from beyond the arc (10-22, 45%) and won the glass battle, but gave the Cougars too many opportunities at the charity stripe.

Back home from the islands, San Diego State won twice last week. The first victory was a 72-69 close call against UC-Irvine, the game coming down to the final few seconds before the Aztecs avoided the upset as an 11½-point favorite at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review).

Brian Dutcher’s crew followed that up with a 95-57 rout of little D-III Occidental College, what essentially amounted to a scrimmage with the contest not carried at betting outlets.

Will Troy Have Miles Back in the Lineup?

Troy was without Duke Miles the last two games for an unknown reason, but the sophomore guard and team’s leading scorer isn’t showing up on injury reports heading into this game.

Even if Miles is on the floor for the Trojans, I like the Aztecs to cover on their home floor.

NCAAB Pick: San Diego State -15½ (-108) at Heritage Sports

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San Diego State -15½ (-108)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.