Butler @ Penn St
Butler +5½ -105 over Penn St

Posted at 3:30 PM EST odds are subject to change.

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Butler +5½ over Penn St

Bryce Jordan Center - University Park, PA

Streaming: Fox Sports 1 (FS1)

8:30 PM EST. Penn State is 2-0 with two easy covers over two cupcakes, Loyola Maryland and Winthrop. The Nittany Lions were favored by 13 over Winthrop and by 18½ over Loyola Maryland and won both games by 25 points. The first year of the Micah Shrewsberry Era at Penn State went about as well as could be expected. Last season, the Nittany Lions notched wins over Michigan State, Iowa and Indiana, and even won a couple games in the Big Ten Tournament. Indeed, PSU’s stock was on the rise before the season started and now after two games and two easy covers, it remains on the rise. Thus, it is time to sell.

By contrast, Butler’s stock is not on the rise. The Bulldogs lost 13 of their final 18 games to close out last year. The program itself has been trending down for years or ever since Brad Stevens left more than 11 years ago. Former Ohio State coach, Thad Matta, is the new boss for Butler. He is Butler’s fourth coach since Stevens left. The Bulldogs did win their opener in a blowout victory over New Orleans but that isn’t likely to hold much weight in the market because it’s a nothing win. With Butler’s stock trending down, it is now time to buy in on this very undervalued squad, which brings us to the Transfer Portal.

More than 1,450 scholarship players entered the college basketball transfer portal this offseason. Many are looking to take advantage of the combination of NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) opportunities and the NCAA’s new one-time transfer rule. Still, a good number are transferring for their second time (or more) in hopes of receiving a waiver to be immediately eligible — which the NCAA has been more lenient in handing out than in past years. The popularity of the transfer portal has completely changed how rosters are assembled. Some coaching staffs are almost bypassing the traditional high school recruiting process altogether, choosing to instead focus all their attention on players entering CBB’s version of free agency. A number of programs found a way to significantly better themselves through the portal this offseason while others lost significant contributors they weren’t able to replace. Butler benefited greatly.

It’s funny how hiring a coach with one of the highest winning percentages all-time can change the feeling around a program. Butler heads in a very positive direction under Thad Matta, and his first transfer class should give them an instant boost. Manny Bates (NC State) and Jalen Thomas (Georgia State) were two of the top shot-blockers available, providing rim protection for a program that hasn’t had it in decades. Butler’s perimeter defense will improve, too, with the additions of Ali Ali (Akron) and Eric Hunter Jr. (Purdue), an experienced starter in the Big Ten. It’s not particularly hard to squint at Butler and see a team with a real chance to make some noise in the Big East. At the very least, the Bulldogs should be in almost every game and this one should be no different. It’s also a great matchup for the visitor because Penn State is weak on the boards and weak in the frontcourt. The points here are gorgeous.



Our Pick

Butler +5½ -105 (Risking 2.10 units - To Win: 2.00)

 

 

Sam Houston State +4½ -108 over Nevada