Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:30 PM EST odds are subject to change.
Gardner Webb +144 over Wofford
Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium - Spartanburg, SC
7:00 PM EST. Last year Wofford won 19 games. This is a program that is always knocking on the door for an auto-bid and got in not so long ago in 2019 when they beat Seton Hall in the first round of the NCAA’s and then lost to then #1 North Carolina by six points in the round of 32. Compared to Gardner Webb, Wofford has far more street cred and we are going to attempt to take advantage. We’re insisting that the price here is not only wrong but it’s absurd. Wofford is 1-2 with its only win occurring against Bob Jones U, a local Division III school. Wofford would then lose to High Point and then lose to Drake by just eight.
The Terriers also lost seven of their top eight scorers from last year’s squad. They bring back just 19 percent of their minutes played. That’s a lot of turnover, even in today’s world of player movement. No kidding. Entering this fall, Wofford adds three Division I transfers, plus one JUCO product and six scholarship freshmen. It’s a hard reset and now this team that lost to High Point is favored over a superior team because said team is winless. They won’t be winless after this one.
Over the past decade, Tim Craft has turned Gardner-Webb into a consistent winner. In nine seasons under Craft’s watch, Gardner-Webb has never finished below .500 in conference play, and the Runnin’ Bulldogs earned their first NCAA Tournament berth in 2019. “Our culture is built on our core values,” Craft said. “We call it our Bulldog DNA. That consists of a positive attitude, being reliable in carrying out your job, maintaining a relentless mindset, staying unbreakable under pressure and being endlessly determined.” Last year, the Bulldog DNA propelled Gardner-Webb to a third-place Big South finish and an appearance in the conference semis. “There hasn’t been a year heading into the [conference] tournament where we haven’t thought we had a chance to win it,” Craft reflects. “We had a great team that embraced being great teammates last season. Our players pride themselves on sustained success.”
Gardner Webb just lost by six points to #1 ranked North Carolina. In their season opener they lost by two points to a very good Colorado State team. In between, the Bulldogs lost to Stephen F Austin, another decent mid-major. Gardner Webb is 0-3 but with a little luck, they could be 2-1 with victories over the Tar Heels and Rams. Wow. Had that occurred, they would be a -4-point choice here at the very least.
Gardner-Webb belongs in the upper-tier of the Big South. There are 363 Division I teams and the Bulldogs are better than at least half of them. Dethroning Longwood and fighting off Winthrop and UNC Asheville won’t be easy, but the Bulldogs’ defense gives them a high floor in this league. It certainly helps to have a team flush with capable players, too. The Bulldogs take a massive step down in class here and frankly, we’d be shocked if we didn’t cash this ticket.
Gardner Webb +144 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.88)