This article is part of our CBB Betting series.
Michigan State -13 vs. Toledo
Michigan State has been tested against the likes of Kansas and Baylor this season, and yet the Spartans still boast the second-best defensive adjusted efficiency rating in the country, per KenPom. On the other side of the court, Michigan State's offense, ranked No. 61, has the luxury of going against a Toledo defense that's ranked toward the bottom of the country at No. 246. And unlike battle-tested Michigan State, Toledo has yet to play a game this season against an opponent ranked in KenPom's top-100 in terms of adjusted efficiency margin. Prior to this matchup, Toledo's toughest game was at Oakland on Nov. 17, which they lost 80-59. Toledo has a solid offense, so there's a chance it can keep up for part of the game, but I except Michigan State to pull away.
Vanderbilt +4 vs. SMU
The Commodores have improved each year under third-year coach Jerry Stackhouse, with its defense now 55th on KenPom's adjusted efficiency ratings, a modest accomplishment considering the depths to which the program had fallen in recent years. Combined with its offense, Vanderbilt's net adjusted efficiency margin ranks No. 64 in the country, which would hypothetically place it fifth in the American conference, higher than SMU, which enters ranked No. 85. The matchup is effectively a coin flip, with the spread difference due to SMU's home-court advantage. That said, I like Vanderbilt to pull the upset in this spot because the Commodores have a clear rebounding advantage while also playing superior defense. SMU has only played one game this season against an opponent ranked in the top 100 of KenPom's adjusted efficiency ratings, and SMU was crushed by an Oregon team that hasn't looked sharp since their encounter in Eugene on Nov. 12. The Commodores may have struggled in recent years, but I like their odds at earning a victory in this matchup.
Alabama vs. Gonzaga Over 160½
The number is incredibly high, but we're not dealing with ordinary teams. Far from it. Gonzaga, in spite of a close loss to Duke last week, still claims the top overall ranking and top offensive ranking in KenPom's ratings. All else equal, Gonzaga is a good bet to score their share of the point total. The challenge becomes Alabama scoring 80-plus points. While that might be difficult, as Gonzaga's top-notch defense is ranks No. 10, the Crimson Tide should score enough to help us break the over because of their fast pace and affinity for shooting three-pointers. Both teams love to run and push the tempo, so we shouldn't have a problem clearing the total as long as Alabama can keep up. It's also possible Alabama ends up bricking a bunch of threes, thereby sinking this bet, but think it will score just enough to make this bet a winner.