The Maui Invitational is the best college basketball event in the early part of the season and this year's edition of the tournament is set to tip-off today.
So, we're going to stick to the Maui Invitational and bet on three of the four opening round games. If you want to get in on the action, be sure to do it early because the first game is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. EST.
All three of my bets today were placed at FanDuel Sportsbook. If you click the link below to sign up for an account, you'll receive $150 in bonus bets if your first $5 wager wins!
Maui Invitational Picks and Predictions
- Tennessee -12.5 (-110) vs. Syracuse
- Purdue -4.5 (-110) vs. Gonzaga
- UCLA vs. Marquette UNDER 141.5 (-110)
Tennessee vs. Syracuse prediction
Syracuse is 3-0 but their wins have come against less-than-stellar competition in New Hampshire, Canisius and Colgate. Sure, the Orange got the wins, but some of their metrics should be a lot better than they are after facing those schools. The Orange are 158th in effective field goal percentage and 154th in defensive efficiency. Not great.
We know Tennessee has a defense that can smother opponents, but so far this season the Vols also rank 52nd in effective field goal percentage and one of their first three opponents was Wisconsin, a much better team than anyone Syracuse has faced.
I think the Volunteers run away with this one.
Purdue vs. Gonzaga prediction
I'm low on Gonzaga and I think this is the worst version of this team we've seen in recent years. The Bulldogs can still shoot well to a certain extent, but their defense, much like last year, is subpar at best.
It doesn't bode well for Gonzaga that its offense mainly keeps to the interior, trying to pound teams down low. That's not the best strategy against a team that features Zach Edey.
Finally, let's remember Purdue trounced Gonzaga last season by a final score of 84-66. Sure, these aren't the exact same teams facing off, but I think it says something to the stylistic advantage Purdue has in how these two teams play basketball.
I'll lay the points with the Boilermakers.
UCLA vs. Marquette prediction
UCLA's offense isn't the best in the nation, but it's defense and slow pace of play is going to turn this into a defensive battle and a dog fight. The Bruins rank sixth in defensive efficiency and 11th in opponent effective field goal percentage. On top of that, they are 333rd in possessions per game and 319th in field goal attempts per game.
The Golden Eagles are also strong defensively, ranking 56th in defensive efficiency and 47th in opponent effective field goal percentage.
The late-night game in Hawaii is going UNDER, lock it in.
Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
You can check out all of Iain's bets here!