Boston's Bets

"Play well. JoePa is here." Getty Images

The Matchup: Penn State plus-1.5 against Illinois

When these teams met earlier in the year at Illinois, Penn St. won the ugly affair 38-33. The knee-jerk reaction is that it is revenge time for Illinois. Revenge, to me, is not a viable angle. With a win, Penn St. thinks it is in the NCAA tourney. The Nittany Lions will pour their heart and soul into tonight's game. If they are good enough to win at Illinois, why can't they win at home? They handled Purdue at home, so Illinois is definitely beatable. With the energy of the crowd, the emotion of many seniors playing their last home game and the NCAA bid on the line, I feel Penn St. gives 150% effort. That should be good enough. Take Penn St. plus-1.5 against Illinois.

The Matchup: Drake minus-3 against Indiana State, in St. Louis.

This is a play-in game for the Missouri Valley Conference tournament. My number is Drake minus-5, so automatically I would be betting Drake. Now these two teams have already played twice. In the first game Drake was a 13.5-point favorite at home and won 69-50. Less than a month ago they were 3.5-point favorites at ISU and lost 69-57. What's happened here is ISU played great the past few weeks and the linemakers have totally overreacted. Consider the four-points for every home game rule and Drake should have been a 9.5-point fave on a neutral court the first game and a 7.5-point fave the second game. In this game, which is actually on a neutral court, five makes more sense. I think Indiana State is more likely to revert to the team it had been the whole year than what it's been the past couple of weeks. People are being smokescreened by the fact they've been winning. As a result I will go with Drake minus three and I suspect it will be an easy one.