Phil Knight Invitational Best Bets for Thursday’s Four Matchups

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Leaky Black #1, Caleb Love #2 and Pete Nance #32 of the North Carolina Tar Heels celebrate against the Charleston Cougars. Grant Halverson/Getty Images/AFP.

Portland is the center of college basketball betting over the Thanksgiving holiday, and the top-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels will tip off the Phil Knight Invitational with Michigan State ending the first day of action.

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North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Portland Pilots

Thursday, November 24, 2022 – 01:00 PM EST at Moda Center

Thanks to having to face Gonzaga at least once a season, don’t expect the Portland Pilots to be intimidated by the likes of the North Carolina Tar Heels when this Pacific Northwest versus Tobacco Road clash serves as the opener in this bracket.

Second Meeting Between Schools

Portland and North Carolina tipped this event off almost exactly five years ago, though it was called the PK80 back then, and the Tar Heels enjoyed a 102-78 win that just came up short of covering a 26-point spread at the best sportsbooks.

Offense, Offense, and More Offense

We won’t see such a bloated spread this time as the Pilots have an experienced crew back with their hopes set on making enough noise in the West Coast Conference for an NIT invite.

Look for a total in the upper-140s, and look for that total to be busted.

NCAAB Pick: Over 153.5 (-108) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Over 153.5 (-108)
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Iowa State Cyclones vs. Villanova Wildcats

Thursday, November 24, 2022 – 03:30 PM EST at Moda Center

It has been a rather tepid start to the Kyle Neptune era at Villanova, so the Wildcats will be looking to make up for the 2-2 beginning with a run into at least the championship of this event, and it all starts with a matchup with Iowa State.

Is a 2nd ‘Nova/MSU Matchup in the Making?

The Cyclones had their final tune-up for this event at home on Sunday against Milwaukee, and while they led the entire way for a 68-53 victory, it wasn’t enough to cover as 23½-point chalk on the NCAAB odds.

Villanova was shocked by Temple in a Philadelphia Big 5 contest during the first week of the season, then saw a comeback effort fall short last Friday night in East Lansing against Michigan State. The Wildcats and Spartans could meet again in this tournament.

Should be the Lowest Total of Day 1

Expect Villanova to be favored by 4 with the total down around 130. A 65-60 final score sounds about right making for a play on the low side of the scoreboard target.

NCAAB Pick: Under 126 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Under 126 (-110)
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Connecticut Huskies vs. Oregon Ducks

Thursday, November 24, 2022 – 08:00 PM EST at Moda Center

If the Phil Knight organizers are trying to create new college hoops rivalries, they are doing a good job with a matchup between Connecticut and Oregon that is also a rematch of a PK80 contest five years ago on this very floor.

3rd Tournament Tussle in 6 Years

The Huskies won and covered the 2017 meeting as 8-point underdogs, that matchup coming exactly one year after the Ducks won and covered as 9-point favorites in a clash between the clubs at the Maui Invitational.

Connecticut arrives with a perfect 5-0 record after a 95-60 romp past Delaware State on Sunday, the Huskies managing to cover a 33½-point spread despite not finding the net in the final 3:30 of the contest.

Oregon was stunned last week by IC-Irvine last week in front of a sparse crowd at Matthew Knight Arena, and dropped a 66-56 decision at home to No. 3 Houston on Sunday night with yet another half-capacity crowd.

UConn Covers in Road Atmosphere

This will be the first real test for the Huskies who have had some cakewalks so far on their slate, but they should be ready to pass that test as favorites of 4-5 points in what amounts to a road game with a pro-Oregon crowd on hand.

NCAAB Pick: UConn -3 (-108) at Heritage Sports

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UConn -3 (-108)
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Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Michigan State Spartans

Thursday, November 24, 2022 – 10:30 PM EST at Moda Center

An incredibly tough schedule to begin the season continues for Michigan State when the Spartans close out the first day of this event against the Alabama Crimson Tide.

‘Bama Facing Toughest Opponent Yet

Most preseason outlooks expected Michigan State to arrive in Portland for this event with at least two losses, maybe 3, but the Spartans have outperformed those outlooks on a tough fixture that still includes a trip to Notre Dame after this tournament.

Off to a 4-0 start, Alabama will be taking a big step up in competition after the Crimson Tide were favored by double-digits in their first four matchups and going 3-1 ATS.

Sparty 2-2 ATS, 2-2 O/U

Before the Spartans played Gonzaga tight followed by wins over Kentucky and Villanova in successive fashion, we probably would’ve seen Alabama favored by a bucket for this collision.

I see it as a pick ‘em and will add Michigan State to my NCAAB picks.

NCAAB Pick: Michigan State +4 (-105) at BetOnline

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Michigan State +4 (-105)
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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.