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|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|01-28-13||Pittsburgh +6 v. Louisville||Top||61-64||Win||100||7 h 26 m||Show|
I'm playing on PITTSBURGH. I won with the Panthers on Saturday. They absolutely dismantled Depaul. While I respect Louisville, I feel that the Panthers are providing us with excellent value again here.
While the Cardinals figure to be desperate, the Panthers are playing well and they know this is their opportunity to steal a win against a highly ranked opponent.
After his team scored more than 90 on Saturday, coach Dixon noted: "Obviously we'll be ready for Monday."
Pittsburgh has played the Cardinals tough here recently. Last season, the Panthers lost by three points here. The previous season, they also lost by three here.
A closer look shows that nine of the last 11 meetings between these teams have been decided by seven or fewer points.
The Panthers boast a balanced lineup with many players capable of stepping up to lead the team.
As Trey Zeigler noted: "Any night anyone can lead us in scoring," Zeigler said. "When you have 10 guys that can bring something to the table ... "
While the Cardinals have been a strong favorite overall, they haven't fared well as home favorites in this range. Off a loss last time out, their third straight, note that the Cards are now only 7-10 ATS the past couple of seasons, when off a conference loss. They should be more than happy just to eke out a win here to "stop the bleeding" and aren't likely to be concerned with "winning big."
The Panthers are 8-5 ATS as underdogs the past couple of seasons. I expect at least another cover here. *10 Main Event
|01-27-13||Richmond v. Massachusetts -165||Top||65-70||Win||100||3 h 5 m||Show|
I'm playing on MASSACHUSETTS. I expect homecourt to be significant here. The Minuteman have thrived as small home favorites the past couple of seasons. The Spiders have struggled on the road.
The Minuteman are 30-11 at home the past few seasons. The Spiders are 16-19 on the road.
Last year's lone meeting was played at Richmond. The Minuteman won that won by a score of 79-68.
Give the Spiders credit for a big win on Thursday. However, I expect the fact that it went to overtime and the emotion that comes from beating a Top 25 opponent to catch up with them - in a negative way - here.
While Richmond is off a hard-fought OT win on Thursday, the Minuteman have had a full week off to recover from a disappointing loss last time out. They should have fresh legs here. Note that they'd won nine of 10 before that setback.
Playing at home, I expect the Minutemen to effectively dictate the tempo en route to a win and cover. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-26-13||DePaul v. Pittsburgh -16.5||Top||55-93||Win||100||8 h 23 m||Show|
I'm playing on PITTSBURGH. At first glance, this line may seem a little high. However, I believe it could actually be even higher and I'm expecting a blowout.
There's a very big difference in level of talent between the top teams in the Big East and bottom ones. The Panthers are a top tier Big East team while the Blue Demons are among the worst.
The Blue Demons are just 1-5 (2-4 ATS) their last six games. The lone win came against Providence, perhaps the only team worse than them in the conference this season. Last time that they played on the road, the Demons lost by 21 at Connecticut, a team Pittsburgh beat with relative ease last Saturday.
Off a couple of fairly close wins and with Louisville and Syracuse on deck, I believe the Panthers will be motivated to keep the pedal to the metal the whole way here.
The Panthers are 8-3-2 ATS (13-0 SU) the last 13 times that they were listed as home favorites in the 15.5 to 18 point range. I expect them to improve on those stats in convincing fashion this afternoon. *10 personal favorite
|01-26-13||New Mexico v. San Diego St -4||Top||34-55||Win||100||8 h 35 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO STATE. The Lobos have the higher ranking. However, I believe that the Aztecs are favored for good reason.
The Aztecs may not be ranked at the moment. However, they were not long ago and they got back on track with a big win last time out.
Coach Steve Fisher noted: "We're a veteran ball club that knows how to win. This victory started on Sunday when we started watching film. We had not been practicing like a championship team should. We were better the last couple days. I'm not surprised with how we came out and played."
The Aztecs are typically at their best against good teams. They're 8-3 SU/ATS their last 11 against teams with a winning record, going 36-18-1ATS (41-14 SU) their last 55.
The Aztecs are also 21-12 ATS the last 33 times that they were listed as home favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range and 18-9 ATS (21-6 SU) their last 27 against teams which allow 64 or fewer points per game.
After getting beaten by the Lobos in last year's conference tournament final, the Aztecs have had this game circled. I expect their best effort and for that to lead to a win and cover. *10 annihilator
|01-25-13||Loyola Md v. Manhattan +3||Top||51-41||Loss||-110||10 h 27 m||Show|
I'm playing on MANHATTAN. Loyola-MD sits in its customary spot on top of the conference. I expect the Greyhounds to get upset this evening though.
While I respect the Greyhounds, I see them coming in a bit "complacent" here. They're off a big road win at Fairfield, the team that they faced in the finals of last year's MAAC Tournament, and they've got a showdown vs. Iona on deck on Saturday. I feel it will be easy for them to look past lowly Manhattan.
That'll prove costly though. Having finally adjusted to life without Beamon, the Jaspers are starting to play well. They've covered five of their last six and they've had this game circled. Their last home game resulted in a 12 point victory.
The Jaspers are 5-1 ATS against teams with a winning record and they're 3-1 ATS when off a SU conference loss. They're also 3-1 ATS in lined home games.
Last year's game here saw Manhattan lose by two points. That was preceded by a 1-point win by the Greyhounds at Loyola-MD. Needless to say, the Jaspers could have won either of those games. They haven't forgotten. I'll gladly take the points but I look for the Japsers "to take the next step" and for them to record the outright win. *10 best bet
|01-24-13||USC +3.5 v. Arizona St||Top||93-98||Loss||-106||12 h 6 m||Show|
I'm playing on USC. I've had success picking my spots to back the Trojans in recent weeks. I feel that this is another good spot to do so.
Whenever I take a small underdog, I generally need to think that they're going to win the game outright, or at least I need to believe that they've got a very serious chance of doing so.
In this case, I do believe that USC has an excellent chance of winning outright. However, as the Trojans' last two games have been decided by only three combined points, a 1-point win and a 2-point loss, getting a few extra points to work with could easily prove valuable. Note that two of Arizona State's last five games were also decided by three or fewer points.
Also, note that last year's game here was very close, a 4-pt win by ASU. The previous year's game here was even closer, a 2-point win by USC.
The Trojans have covered three of four and four of six. I believe that they're more talented than many realize. They're also in one of their best roles, as they're 19-8 ATS the last 27 times they were listed as road underdogs in the 3.5 to 6 range.
On the other hand, the Sun Devils, who are off back to back losses, are only 9-20 ATS the last 29 times that they were laying points.
The Trojans have been the better team over the last week and I won't be surprised when they take this game down to the wire and score the upset. *10 best bet
|01-22-13||Michigan State v. Wisconsin -5.5||Top||49-47||Loss||-107||14 h 33 m||Show|
I'm playing on WISCONSIN. The Spartans have the higher ranking. However, I believe that the Badgers are favored for good reason.
The Badgers have long been dominant at home and this typically been a very strong role for them. They're 22-6 ATS (26-2 SU) the last 28 times that that they were listed as home favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range.
During the same stretch, the Spartans were an ugly 6-13 ATS (5-14 SU) when listed as road underdogs in the 3.5 to 6 range.
The Spartans are off an impressive 59-56 win over Ohio State. However, they're still just 3-6 ATS their last nine lined games. They're also a dismal 1-9 ATS the last 10 times that they held their previous opponent to 60 or fewer points.
The Badgers lost at Illinois last time out. However, they'd won at Indiana in their previous game and they crushed Illinois by 23 in their most recent home game.
The Badgers have won 12 of their last 15 home games against Top 25 teams. With revenge on their mind from last season, I expect them to deliver a solid win and cover. *10 Main Event
|01-21-13||Loyola (Md.) v. Fairfield -4.5||Top||65-60||Loss||-101||9 h 14 m||Show|
I'm playing on FAIRFIELD. These teams just faced each other on 1/11, at Loyal-MD. I won with the Greyhounds in that matchup. However, I like the revenge-minded Stags on their home floor.
The Stags have won eight of their last 12, when in the "revenge" role. They've won 28 of their last 37 at home. During that stretch, the Greyhounds areonly 20-18 on the road.
With Fairfield having failed to cover a few in a row, I believe we're getting a very fair line. Note that the Stags are 8-3 SU (5-3 ATS in lined games) the last few seaons, after failing to cover their previous three. They're 21-13 ATS (24-13 SU) their last 37 in that situation.
The Stags are looking to avenge more than just the recent loss. This is the team which kept them out of the NCAA Tournament last year. Revenge is sweet. I expect a win and cover for the highly motivated home team. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-19-13||UNLV v. Colorado St -3||Top||61-66||Win||100||13 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on COLORADO STATE. This is a very good conference with a number of strong teams. These are two of them. The Rebels are off a fairly impressive win at San Diego State. That will have many expecting another win here. Not me.
The Rams are stronger than many people realize. They've already hammered the likes of Washington and Virginia Tech. They won at Washington by 18 and beat the Hokies on a neutral floor by 36. They're also undefeated on their home floor.
Off a dominating win over Air Force last time out, the Rams are now 24-15 ATS as favorites the past couple of seasons. Colorado State jumped out to a 34-19 lead at halftime and never let up. The Rams would finish with a commanding 79-40 victory and a 40-19 advantage on the boards.
Note that the Rams are a perfect 9-0 SU the last nine times that they allowed 60 or fewer points, 6-1 ATS in lined games. They're 10-7-1 ATS off a conference win the past 2+ seasons.
On the the hand, the Rebels typically don't respond well to a big conference win. They're 7-16 ATS the past couple of years off a conference win and just 9-17 ATS after scoring 80 or more points.
The Rebels are still 6-9 ATS the last 15 times that they were underdogs and they're still only 1-4 ATS in 2013. (They're now 5-12 ATS in January the past 2+ years.) They're also 0-4 ATS the last four times that they played a road game with an O/U line in the 140 to 144.5 range.
Conversely, the Rams are 11-5 SU/ATS the last few seasons when the line was in the 140s including a 2-0 SU/ATS mark when playing at home with a line in the 140 to 144.5 range.
One of those victories came over these same Rebels here last season, a 66-59 victory. I expect another win and cover here. *10 personal favorite
|01-19-13||Kansas v. Texas +8.5||Top||64-59||Win||100||9 h 40 m||Show|
I'm playing on TEXAS. Needless to say, the Jayhawks are a strong team. In fact, some of you may recall I won with them in their very last game, a blowout win over Baylor. I feel that they're laying too large a number here.
Off their big win over Baylor and with rival Kansas State on deck, it may be easy for the Jayhawks to look past a struggling Texas team. I feel that will prove costly though.
True, the Longhorns are 0-3 to start conference play. They've never started 0-4 under Rick Barnes though and I believe that they're better than we've seen. I feel we can expect their best effort here.
Kansas coach Bill Self noted: "It's not an uncommon scene - good teams and good programs getting off to rough starts - depending on where they are playing. But, this is different than most Texas games, I believe, because they are off to a start that isn't indicative of how great their program has been. And they'll get it back, Rick will get it back. But let's just hope that doesn't happen at our expense."
While the Jayhawks are expected to have McLemore, he may be a little less than 100%. He practiced Thursday after getting hurt late in the win over Baylor.
Even with the Baylor win, the Jayhawks are only 6-8 ATS when laying points. Despite their struggles, the Longhorns are still 4-3 ATS when getting points, moving to a profitable 14-8 ATS in the underdog role the past few seasons.
Last year's game here came down to the wire, a 69-66 Kansas win. I'm expecting another close one and am grabbing all the points I can get. *10 best bet
|01-17-13||Oregon v. USC +3.5||Top||76-74||Win||100||13 h 46 m||Show|
I'm playing on USC. I've had some success with the Trojans of late. They've covered three of their last four games and I've been on all three of those ATS wins, while avoiding the loss. The three covers came against Utah, Colorado and Stanford (they beat Stanford outright and crushed Utah.)
The Ducks have certainly been playing well and their recent win streak has propelled them into the Top 25. While I respect the Ducks, I don't believe there's as much of a talent gap between these teams as suggested by the standings.
I also feel that the Ducks could be potentially patting themselves on the back a bit, while possibly looking past "lowly USC" and ahead to Saturday's showdown at UCLA.
While backing the Trojans recently, I've been mentioning that I believe they're better than their record indicates and that they've been under-valued.
Apparently USC athletic director Pat Haden felt the same way. Even after the blowout win at Utah, the school fired coach Kevin O'Neill.
Haden was quoted as saying: "Despite a nice road win in our last game, I felt it was best to make a change now, with most of the Pac-12 season still ahead of us, in order to re-energize our team."
While it can admittedly sometimes go either way, I expect the USC players to respond well to the change, at least for tonight. With a legit chance to take out a ranked opponent, I expect the Trojans to rise to the occasion, stepping up and earning AT LEAST a cover. *10 best bet
|01-17-13||Michigan v. Minnesota -2.5||Top||83-75||Loss||-110||6 h 53 m||Show|
I'm playing on MINNESOTA. Both teams are off to great starts. However, both lost last time out. Playing at home, I expect the Gophers to be the team which bounces back.
The Gophers now have two losses. On the other hand, the Wolverines are coming off their first defeat. That alone will have many favoring Michigan. However, I actually believe that will favor Minnesota.
The Gophers have already had to deal with failure. They've already successfully bounced back from a loss. (After losing vs. Duke back in November, Minnesota responded with a 9-point win over Memphis in its next game.)
On other had, the Wolverines had thoughts of going undefeated. Losing that first game, after being perfect so long, can be difficult.
I believe that last year's games will provide some extra motivation for the Gophers. They very easily could have been 2-0 against the Wolverines last year but instead went 0-2. Note that neither game was on this floor.
Note that the Gophers are a physical team, one which leads the conference in offensive rebounds and that they're undefeated at home.
Michigan coach John Beilein noted: "We could have lost both games very easily last year. They were both last-second games. It's another great opportunity for us to grow. ... It is all about the process, and the journey and the process are what leads you to the end."
The Wolverines are only 5-12-2 ATS (3-16 SU) the last 19 times that they played a road game with an O/U line in the 135 to 139.5 range. Don't be surprised when they lose their second straight. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-15-13||Northern Iowa +13 v. Creighton||Top||68-79||Win||100||12 h 8 m||Show|
I'm playing on NORTHERN IOWA. The Bluejays are a very good team. Having the reigning Missouri Valley Conference player (Doug McDermott) helps. That said, the Panthers are a solid team and they had success in limiting McDermott last season. I believe the line will prove to be too high.
The Panthers limited McDermott to less than 20 points each time that they faced him last season. Jake Koch, now a senior, was a big part of that. Koch, both taller and heavier than McDemott, leads the Panthers in both steals and rebounds.
Having limited McDermott to 14 and 18 points, the Panthers were able to play the Bluejays very tough last season. Both games were decided by a mere three points, the home team winning each.
Going back further finds that these teams have met nine times (3 times in the 2011 season) since 2009. Northern Iowa won five of those games, four of the wins coming by eight or less. All of Creighton's four victories came by single-digits, an average margin of victory of only five.
The Panthers may only be 2-2 SU in 2013. However, both losses came by four or fewer points. Additionally, they're off a momentum and confidence-building 84-53 destruction of Bradley.
After the big win, Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson, who has ties to Creighton coach Greg McDermott, had this to say: "We just needed a little bit of bounce in our step."
While the Bluejays are 5-7 ATS the last dozen times that they were a home favorite of greater than 12 points, the Panthers are 8-2 ATS the last 10 times that they were road underdogs in the 12.5 to 15 range, 13-5 ATS the last 18 times that they were road underdogs of greater than a dozen.
The Panthers won't be able to stop McDermott. However, they should be able to do a much better job than Missouri State just did. I expect that to allow them to keep it relatively close the entire way, giving the Bluejays and their fans a much tougher game than they were probably expecting. *10 best bet
|01-14-13||NC-Greensboro +4.5 v. Appalachian State||Top||70-83||Loss||-110||8 h 16 m||Show|
I'm playing on UNC GREENSBORO. The Mountaineers have been excellent as underdogs this season. However, I don't believe that they're ready to be laying this many points against what I feel may well be a superior Spartans squad.
Playing without Trevis Simpson, the Spartans lost last time out. However, that defeat came by only three points (as a 7 point dog) and they'd won their previous game by 39.
While the Spartans are 11-8 ATS off a conference loss, the Mountaineers are 8-11 ATS the past couple of seasons off a conference win.
These teams both faced Virginia Tech back in November. I find it revealing that the Mountaineers were 19-point underdogs against the Hokies while the Spartans were only 5-point underdogs, a few days earlier. Granted, the venues were different. However, a 14-point difference in lines is significant.
The Spartans have won back-to-back games in this series, most recently a 10-point win in the conference tournament last March. Note that three of the previous four meetings were decided by four or fewer points. I believe this one could again easily come down to the wire and am grabbing all the points I can get. *10 Southern Conf. GOY
|01-12-13||USC +4 v. Utah||Top||76-59||Win||100||7 h 31 m||Show|
I'm playing on USC. The Utes have been a covering machine when listed as underdogs this season. However, they're favored here and I'm not convinced that they're the better team.
I won with Trojans in their last game, a cover at Colorado. I also won with them when they beat Stanford recently. As I've been saying when backing them in those games, I feel that this is a solid team which is currently under-valued. I believe that's still the case here.
This has long been a winning role for USC. Indeed, the Trojans are 18-8 ATS the last 26 times that they were listed as road underdogs in the 3.5 to 6 range.
It was exactly one year ago to the day that these teams last met. Laying 11 points, the Trojans won by 17. While that was at USC, don't be surprised to see the Trojans step up with another outright win. *10 Pac-12 GOM
|01-12-13||Butler v. Dayton +1.5||Top||79-73||Loss||-106||3 h 46 m||Show|
I'm playing on DAYTON. As I write this, Butler is a very slight favorite. I understand the book's need to balance action. So, if that number achieves this for them, than its the correct one. However, as far as I'm concerned, my numbers (which aren't trying to balance action and only reflect what I believe will happen) have Dayton favored.
The Flyers are 35-11 on this floor the past few seasons, 7-2 this year. Note that both losses here came by a single point. They already lost to the other conference newcomer (at VCU) last time out and should be extremely motivated to avoid letting it happen again. Of course, the chance to defeat a ranked opponent is always nice as well.
For all their success, the Bulldogs are still only 2-6 ATS the last eight times that they were road favorites of three or fewer points. Five of those resulted in SU losses, which is what I'm expecting here. *9 False Fav GOW
|01-11-13||Fairfield v. Loyola Md -2||Top||58-63||Win||100||10 h 51 m||Show|
I'm playing on LOYOLA-MARYLAND. These teams faced each other in the MAAC Championship game last season and a rematch this season is entirely possible.
Led by Derek Needham, the Stags have played well so far this season. They know this is a big game and would clearly love to get some payback, after the Greyhounds kept them out of the NCAA Tournament with a 48-44 win last March.
I believe that the Stags will have to wait for their revenge though. (They'll get another chance in 10 days, when these teams play at Fairfield.)
The Stags lost at Niagara last time out and have been on the road since before Christmas. This will mark their fifth straight road game, a span that went through both Christmas and New Year's.
Going back further finds that 13 of Fairfield's 16 games have been played away from home. Give the Stags credit for winning eight of those away/neutral games. However, don't be surprised if they're a little road weary here. After Needham, I'm not sold on this team's depth. I expect it to catch up with them here against the defending conference champs.
Note that the Stags are now 0-6 ATS the last six times that they'd played three or more consecutive road games.
Speaking of winless records, the Stags are also 0-4 SU/ATS the last four times that they were listed as road underdogs (or pick'em) of three or fewer points.
The Greyhounds are off back to back wins, most recently crushing St. Peters by 16. They've now won 17 of their last 25 home lined games. I expect the defending champion Greyhounds (who leave to the Patriot League after this season) to flex their muscles here, covering the small number and serving notice that they're still the team to beat - at least for now. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-10-13||USC +9 v. Colorado||Top||60-66||Win||100||5 h 11 m||Show|
I'm playing on USC. With all due respect to Colorado, I feel that this line is too high.
The Trojans may have only won three of their last six games. However, all three of the losses were by eight or fewer points. I believe that they're a little under-valued at the the moment.
The Buffaloes nearly knocked off Arizona but still lost. They followed that up with another loss at Arizona State. Note that they've now played eight games which were decided by 10 or fewer points. Don't be surprised when this one also proves closer than many will be expecting. *9 best bet
|01-10-13||Rider v. Manhattan -3.5||Top||69-60||Loss||-110||2 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on MANHATTAN. Losing George Beamon was certainly a blow to the Jaspers. He's been out more than a month now though. I believe they've still got more than enough to take care of business here.
Manhattan was an 11-point favorite and lost outright vs. Rider here last season. That result should ensure the Jaspers don't take the Broncs lightly. Note that this year's Rider team lost its best player (Gadson) and has a new head coach.
The Jaspers are 3-1 ATS as favorites. They've covered the spread in back to back games and I look for them to get it done again here. *9 roast
|01-09-13||Tulsa v. Marshall -5||Top||61-79||Win||100||5 h 28 m||Show|
I'm playing on MARSHALL. The Herd are admittedly off to a dismal start at the betting window. Their poor ATS record has kept this line lower than it could easily have been though. I believe it will prove to be too low and that tis will be the game that the Herd step up and earn a cover. This has been one of Marshall's better roles in recent seasons. The Herd are 23-12-2 ATS (32-5 SU) the last 37 when listed as home favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range. That includes a 79-61 victory over Tulsa, when laying four points, here last season. I'm expecting a similar result tonight. *10 personal favorite
|01-09-13||Louisville v. Seton Hall +10.5||Top||73-58||Loss||-110||5 h 26 m||Show|
I'm playing on SETON HALL. Obviously the Cardinals are a very good team. However, this is a high line and I believe that the Pirates, although still a little short-handed, are better than they're being credit for. Louisville isn't exactly healthy either as sophomore forward Chane Behanan, averaging better than 11 points and better than seven rebounds, suffered a left high ankle sprain in practice on Monday. As Pitino noted: "Without Chane, we'll have to make some adjustments." The Pirates have shot very well from beyond the arc, hitting at least nine 3-pointers in six straight games. In fact, they and lead all Big East teams in 3-point makes (133) and attempts (348) while sitting second at 38.2 percent. While the competition admittedly hasn't been anything like what they'll see here, the Pirates have been very tough on this floor. Their recent loss at Notre Dame was their only defeat of greater than seven points all season all season. We're getting even more points to work with here than we were for that game, despite the fact the the Pirates are now at home. I believe that's providing excellent value and I look for the Pirates to step up and provide their high profile guests with a tougher test than most will be expecting. *10 Main Event
|01-05-13||Oklahoma v. West Virginia -4||Top||67-57||Loss||-105||5 h 9 m||Show|
I'm playing on WEST VIRGINIA. These teams already faced each other once this season. That was technically a non-conference game though, so this will be the Mountaineers' first official game as a member of the Big 12. That should have the players and fans a little extra fired up. Added motivation comes from the fact that the Sooners won the earlier meeting.
Homecourt can't be ignored here. The Sooners are 3-20 their last 23 road lined games, going just 8-15 at the betting window. During the same period, the Mountaineers have won 21 of 28 home lined games. They're 5-0 here this season, outscoring teams by a 76.8 to 67.2 margin. They'll face an Oklahoma team which recently lost to lowly Stephen Austin.
The Mountaineers have failed to cover a few in a row. However, they've still won those games and those ATS losses have worked in our favor by keeping the line low. I expect them to get the new era started off with a win, covering that low number along the way. *9 annihilator
|01-05-13||Towson v. Drexel -10||Top||69-66||Loss||-108||5 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on DREXEL. The Dragons struggled at the betting window in November and for the first portion of December. They got the new year started with an impressive 77-60 win at Georgia State last time out though and are currently playing well. They've been underdogs in each of their last five games and they've won three of those outright. Now 16-5 ATS in January the past few seasons, they're taking a significant step down in class. Indeed Towson State has won just three of its last 34 road lined games.
The last meeting between these teams was almost exactly one year ago. Drexel won that 1/4/2012 game by a score of 60-27. I expect a double-digit win this afternoon. *10 Top Colonial Athletic Report
|01-05-13||Georgetown v. Marquette -3||Top||48-49||Loss||-110||3 h 18 m||Show|
I'm playing on MARQUETTE. Georgetown comes in with the higher ranking However, I believe that the Golden Eagles are favored for good reason.
Georgetown is ranked for good reason and with its strong defense, does deserve respect. That said, the Hoyas haven't played since way back on 12/22. That's a long layoff when factoring in Christmas and New Year's. Now, potentially dealing with some early rut, they have to play at a very hostile environment.
The Golden Eagles are off a momentum-building win over UConn in their big opener (hit tying shot at buzzer to force OT and won by 6) and they've now won 17 straight at home - that's the sixth longest streak in the country. They'll have their coach back (was gone for 1 game) and I expect them to be fully fired up at the opportunity to knock off a ranked opponent.
Assistant coach Brad Autry, said this about Marquette: "I'm just ecstatic because I feel like we've turned a corner into who we are with this team. I think the players feel that as much as anything."
The Golden Eagles are 15-5 ATS in January the past couple of years, the Hoyas are only 5-11 ATS during the same time.
The Golden Eagles beat the Hoyas by double-digits last season and 4-1 SU/ATS the last five series meetings here. They're catching Georgetown playing its first true road game of the season. I expect another win and cover. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-03-13||Stanford v. USC +3||Top||69-71||Win||100||11 h 55 m||Show|
I'm playing on USC. The Cardinal come in as only slight favorites here and many bettors likely won't be able to resist. I'm expecting the Trojans to pull off the "upset" though, although I personally won't view it as such.
Without question, Stanford is a solid team. However, I believe that the Trojans are also better than many realize and that playing on their homecourt will prove significant.
Stanford has only played two true road games all season. One was a 9-point loss and the other was a 2-point win.
Note that Stanford is 0-3 ATS the last three times it was a road favorite of three or less. During that stretch, the Cardinal are also 1-5 ATS when playing a road game with an O/U line in the 120s.
While it didnt result in a cover vs. the closing line, I like that the Trojans were able to beat Dayton last time out and feel that victory will give them some positive momentum to carry into conference play. I look for them to step up and surprise. *10 best bet
|01-02-13||Nebraska v. Ohio State -20||Top||44-70||Win||100||8 h 34 m||Show|
I'm playing on OHIO STATE. At first glance, this line may seem a little steep. However, I feel that it could easily be higher and that we're actually getting a bit of a "bargain."
After three straight non-covers, the Buckeyes bounced back with a 43-point win over lowly Chicago State, covering the 36.5 number with relative ease. The Huskers represent a step up in class but they're still nowhere near Ohio State. Knowing they have a tough road game at Illinois on deck, the start of a stretch of games all more difficult than this one, I expect the Buckeyes to really want to make the most of this "blowout opportunity."
This Nebraska team has proven susceptible to the blowout too. The Huskers lost by 14 vs. Kent State, by 22 vs Creighton, by 22 at Oregon and by 16 at Utep. This will be by far their toughest test yet.
Ohio State hammered the Huskers 71-40 here last season, almost exactly one year (1/3/2012) to the day. A few weeks later, the Buckeyes followed it up with a 79-45 win at Nebraska.
Including last year's win here, they're 7-2 ATS (9-0 SU) the last nine times that they were listed as home favorites in the 18.5 to 24 range, going 21-10 ATS (31-0 SU) their last 31 in that role. I'm expecting another blowout. *10 Personal Favorite
|01-01-13||Connecticut v. Marquette -5||Top||76-82||Win||100||8 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on MARQUETTE. With all the football going on and it being New Year's, I'm running behind today. So, am keeping this writeup a little brief. The Golden Eagles are 11-3 ATS the last 14 times that they played a home game with an O/U line in the 130 to 134.5 range. On the other hand, the Huskies are 0-7 SU/ATS the last seven times that they played a road game with an O/U line in the same range. The Huskies have won just eight of 20 overall on the road while Marquette is 36-5 its last 41 at home. This season, the Golden Eagles are outscoring teams by a 73.9 to 58.4 margin at home, in going 7-0. They beat the Huskies by 15 (79-64) in the lone 2012 meeting and that was at UConn. I expect another solid win and cover here. *9 M.E.
|12-30-12||Dayton v. USC -3||Top||61-63||Loss||-109||4 h 24 m||Show|
I'm playing on USC. Dayton comes in with the better record. However, with the game being played in Southern California, I believe that the Trojans are favored for good reason.
While theve struggled out of the gate, I believe this USC team is better than the record indicates. Keep in mind that its been a very difficult schedule. This is a chance to close out their non-conference slate with a win over a quality opponent and I look for them to go all out to make that happen.
Dayton has only played one true road game all season. To their credit, the Flyers did win that one. Still, they're a long way from home here and getting home for New Year's Eve may already be on their minds. Expect homecourt to be the difference. *9 Personal Favorite
|12-29-12||Xavier v. Tennessee -6||Top||47-51||Loss||-110||8 h 6 m||Show|
I'm playing on TENNESSEE. Everyone knows Xavier is usually a good team. Sometimes a very good team. To a certain degree, that reputation sticks with a team, even when its going through a tough time. In this case, I believe that Xavier remains a bit over-valued by the betting public and that that Musketeers will be in over their heads.
The Musketeers, who suffered heavy losses from last season, are off back to back losses. They were blown out by 15 points by rival Cincinnati and followed it up by losing outright against lowly Wofford. That makes it 0-4 ATS their last four.
Think the ATS losing streak can't continue? Consider that the Musketeers are 4-11 ATS the last 15 times that they'd failed to cover their previous three or more consecutive games.
The well-rested Volunteers are 3-0 SU/ATS the last three times that they played with seven or more day's rest in between games, 17-8 ATS their last 25 in that situation. They're also 6-1 SU/ATS the last seven times that they played a home game with an O/U line in the 120s.
The Vols are outscoring teams by 15 ppg on this floor. I backed them when they beat a good Wichita State team by nine here a couple of weeks ago (69-60 win on 12/13) and they've since followed it up by beating up on a couple of weaker opponents. I feel that they'll have no trouble taking care of business against (once) might Xavier. *9 Personal Favorite
|12-28-12||Missouri v. UCLA -3||Top||94-97||Push||0||9 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on UCLA. Missouri has the higher ranking. However, I believe that the Bruins are favored for good reason.
The Tigers, who have struggled as small road underdogs in recent years, haven't played a true road game all season.
Keep in mind that this Missouri team suffered major losses, including five seniors, from the one that won 30 games last year. While senior Bowers is contributing nicely, one of the remaining seniors (Dixon) is gone.
While the Bruins have battled through some adversity, they come in on a 4-game winning streak and with a chip on their shoulder. They're a talented team and I look for them to accomplish what the UCLA football team could not - a win and cover. *9 Personal Favorite
|12-25-12||San Diego St +5.5 v. Arizona||Top||67-68||Win||100||12 h 4 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO STATE. (I'm keeping today's college writeups slightly shorter than normal, as Christmas has me running a bit behind.) The Wildcats are a very good team and they're off to a great start. I'm not convinced that they're better than the Aztecs though, who are also a very strong team. That being said, I feel that getting this many points is providing excellent value.
While the Wildcats are 11-0, the Aztecs are 11-1. In fact, they're 11-0 their last 11, since dropping their opener vs. Syracuse.
Speaking of 11-0, note that San Diego State has won 11 straight against teams currently in the Pac-12. Clearly the Aztecs "get up" for games against teams in their part of the country, wanting to show that they're the "best in the west."
The Aztecs, who upset Arizona last year, are 33-16 ATS (39-11) the last 50 times that they faced a team with a winning record. During that stretch, they've gone 7-3 ATS against teams which score 77 or more per game.
While Arizona is strong at both ends of the floor, the Aztecs are also 16-6 ATS (19-3 SU!) their last 22 against teams which allow 64 or fewer points.
Speaking of good defensive teams, the Aztecs have been dominant defensively recently, holding four straight opponents to less than 60. Note that they're 40-3 SU, after allowing 60 or less, 7-0 their last seven.
The Wildcats are only 5-9 ATS the last 14 times that they were listed as neutral court favorites in the 3.5 to 6 range, including an 0-3 ATS mark their last three in that situation. Don't be surprised if they suffer their first loss here. *10 Best Bet
|12-25-12||Mississippi v. Hawaii +8.5||Top||81-66||Loss||-110||7 h 42 m||Show|
I'm playing on HAWAII. (I'm keeping today's college writeups slightly shorter than normal, as Christmas has me running a bit behind.) The Rebels are a solid and experienced squad. However, they're a long way from home here and laying a lot of points. I feel it will prove to be too many, as I'm expecting a close game. In four road or neutral court games, the Rebels scoring 76.2 points and allowing 75. They were just 1-3 ATS in those games. Those four road/neutral court games weren't against elite teams either, as they faced Middle Tennessee STate, Loyola Marymount, Indiana State and San Francisco. The Rebels won one of those games by seven points and all three of the others were decided by three or less. The Warriors are 5-3 at home, outscoring opponents by a 72 to 64.9 margin. The Warriors may not be that experienced but they are talented and have a legit star in Vander Joaquim, one of five players averaging better than nine points per game. Joaquim averages 14.3 ppg and 7.3 rbg and that's not even the best on the team in either category. That honor belongs to Standhardinger, who is averaging an impressive 16.1 and 8.1 The Warriors are 3-0 ATS the last three times that they were listed as home underdogs in the 6.5 to 9 range. In a game that comes down to the wire, don't be surprised if Hawaii pulls off the upset. *9 Annihilator
|12-22-12||Weber State v. Portland State +7.5||Top||73-69||Win||100||13 h 30 m||Show|
I'm playing on PORTLAND STATE. I won with the Vikings against Oregon State a little over a week ago. Getting double-digits at the betting window, they lost by only five. I feel that they're offering very fair value once again.
Here's an excerpt of that 12/12 writeup on Portland State: "I've successfully played against teams from the Big Sky Conference more than once already this season. However, I believe that this will be a good spot to back a Big Sky team.
|12-19-12||Northern Illinois v. Seattle -4||Top||48-75||Win||100||10 h 3 m||Show|
I'm playing on SEATTLE. A member of the WAC for the first time, the Redbirds are playing with a chip on its shoulder. They want to show that they belong. They've mostly taken care of teams that they should be beating but have struggled against top tier teams. After getting outclassed by the Washington Huskies, the Redbirds had a bit of a letdown in losing vs. Jackson State in their next game. I expect them to be fully focused tonight as these Huskies aren't nearly as good as the ones they hosted last week. Indeed, Northern Illinois has lost 20 or more games in six straight seasons. This year's team may be a little better than last year's but the Huskies are still young and another 20+ loss season is looming large. They've only got two wins this season and those came against Judson College and SIU Edwardsville. Give the Huskies credit for covering the spread in each of their last three losses. However, keep in mind that those losses still all came by five or more points and by an average of nearly a dozen. This young team is now playing its third straight on the road, while playing thousands of miles from home. The Redbirds beat the Huskies by a dozen points last season and that was at NIU. Playing on their home floor and upset by their last performance, I expect an inspired Seattle team to take care of business once again. *10 Personal Favorite
|12-18-12||Cal Santa Barbara v. California -13.5||Top||59-68||Loss||-110||15 h 49 m||Show|
I'm playing on CALIFORNIA. The Bears should have advantages all over the floor here. They should also be in a foul mood after having lost three in a row.
While those losses have helped in keeping this number down a little, lets keep in mind that they came against the likes of Wisconsin, UNLV and Creighton, three very good teams.
Obviously, UC-Santa Barbara is a major step down in class.
The Gauchos lost three starters from last year's team, including all-conference stars Orlando Johnson and James Nunnally.
Prior to the season, Gauchos' coach Williams had this to say: "...boy, we
|12-17-12||Detroit +19 v. Syracuse||Top||68-72||Win||100||13 h 35 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROIT. The Orange have been great against the spread this season. Their ATS winning streak appeared to be in jeopardy last time out, as they were only up by three points vs. lowly Canisius at halftime. To their credit, the Orange dominated in the second half. Still, the cover was only secured by a 3-pointer in the closing seconds. They're laying nearly as many points here and they're facing a much better opponent. I feel all the recent covers have caused the line to become a little too inflated.
Off a comeback win over Akron, Detroit comes in with some positive momentum. The Titans were behind much of the way that game, including 10-0 out of the gate. I like the way the Titans never quit and how they closed the game on a 17-5 run. While the Titans obviously know that winning here won't be easy, I believe that Saturday's victory will give them some much-needed confidence here.
Keep in mind that the Titans returned three starters from a team that went to the Big Dance last year. Led by Coach McCallum's son, a talented players averaging nearly 20 points in a game, the Titans have quietly won four straight. They're 3-0 ATS the last three times that they were road underdogs of greater than a dozen points and I look for them to step up and earn the cover this evening. *10 Main Event
|12-15-12||Tennessee Tech v. Wisc-Milwaukee +1||Top||69-58||Loss||-110||11 h 42 m||Show|
I'm playing on WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE. This isn't exactly Saturday's "sexiest" matchup. However, as far as I'm concerned, winning a "boring" matchup is more important than losing an "exciting" one. In this case, with the pointspread essentially a non-factor, I feel we're getting excellent value with the home team.
At 5-4, Tennessee Tech comes in with the better record. Wisconsin-Milwaukee is only 3-8. A closer look reveals that the Panthers are 3-1 at home though while the Golden Eagles are only 1-3 on the road.
While the Golden Eagles are being outscored 71-62 on the road, the Panthers are outscoring teams by a 70.2 to 64.7 margin at home.
Last game, Tennessee Tech lost by 20 at Gardner Webb. In their previous road game, the Golden Eagles lost by 16 at Lipscomb. This is a team which has padded its record with wins over the likes of Crowley's Ridge, Coastal Carolina and Berea.
Keep in mind that the Panthers returned three starters from a team that won 20 games last season. Last year's team dealt with numerous injuries too. This year's team is healthy, thus far.
Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles are also without DeOndre Haynes. (Coach Payne said this of Haynes: "...He
|12-15-12||Elon v. Massachusetts -7.5||Top||73-78||Loss||-110||4 h 23 m||Show|
I'm playing on MASSACHUSETTS. Elon comes in with the better record. In fact, at 6-3, the Phoenix currently have he best overall record in the Southern Conference. While the Phoenix are indeed an improved team from recent years, I expect them to have their hands full against what I expect will be a highly motivated Massachusetts squad.
True, the Minutemen have a pretty ugly ATS mark, at the moment. They're still 4-3 SU though and the three losses came vs. NC State, Tennessee and Miami, far more talented teams than they one that they'll face here.
When matched up against lesser foes, Harvard, Providence, Siena and Northeastern, the Minutemen have gone a perfect 4-0 SU. They finally broke through with a cover last time out, too - a 72-66 victory at Northeastern, when listed as 3.5 point favorites.
Note that this game is technically being called a "neutral" court game, as its being played at Springfield, rather than Amherst. That's only a distance of about 30 miles though. So, its not exactly going to be a "neutral" environment.
These teams also faced each other last season. The Minutemen hammered them by an 87-65 score, covering as 9.5 point favorites. I believe that they're still the superior team and I expect them to demonstrate that with another convincing win and cover. *10 Annihilator
|12-14-12||Charlotte U v. Miami (Fla) -7.5||Top||46-77||Win||100||10 h 4 m||Show|
I'm playing on MIAMI. Last night, we went against undefeated Wichita State. Playing at home, the Vols would pull away for a 9-point victory. Tonight, I expect it to be the Charlotte 49'ers which suffer their first loss of the season.
With a 9-0 record, the 49'ers are clearly doing something right. Clearly, this is Alan Major's best team, in this his third season as Charlotte's coach. That's not saying all that much, however, when considering that the 49'ers were only 23-37 in his first two years.
Also, I believe that the 9-0 record needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Not only have the opponents been largely inferior but the 49'ers have only played one true road game. I expect that record to begin to come back to earth, starting tonight.
The Hurricanes aren't ranked at the moment but I believe that they have the talent of a Top 25 team. Keep in mind that this team returned four starters from a squad that won 20 games last season, highlighted by a number of memorable victories, including one at Duke.
Among Miami's victories last season was a 15-point win at Charlotte. Now, an (arguably) improved Canes team get to host the 49'ers.
Last time out, the Hurricanes went on the road and beat up on Massachusetts, another A-10 team, one which I feel is superior to the one that they'll face tonight. (Massachusetts returned four starters from a team that had 25 wins last season.)
Now, the Canes return home where they recently beat Michigan State and Detroit. Those victories came by eight and 15 points, respectively.
While the 49'ers are 2-4 ATS (1-5 SU) the past couple of seasons as road underdogs in the 6.5 to 9 range, the Canes are 2-1 ATS (3-0 SU) when listed as home favorites in the 6.5 to 9 range. I feel that this number could easily be higher and I expect the Canes, who beat Charlotte in all phases of the game last season, to improve on those stats this evening. *9 Personal Favorite
|12-13-12||Wichita State v. Tennessee||Top||60-69||Win||100||11 h 59 m||Show|
I'm playing on TENNESSEE. Wichita State comes in with the much better record and also the higher ranking. Don't be "shocked" when the Volunteers hand their guests their first loss though.
True, the Shockers are off to an impressive 9-0 start. However, the toughest teams that Wichita State has faced are Virginia Commonwealth, Depaul and Iowa.
On the other hand, the Vols are off tough road games at Virginia and Georgetown while also having faced respectable teams like Oklahoma State and Massachusetts, a team arguably better than its current 4-3 record indicates.
While they deserve credit for their undefeated record, keep in mind that these are not the same Shockers that won the 2011 NIT Title or the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference title. While they still have excellent athletes, this is a team that has had nine scholarship seniors graduate in the past two seasons alone. Note that the Shockers are also expected to be without shooting guard Evan Wessel in this game.
The Vols have had plenty of time to get over their disappointing road defeats, having last played on 12/5. Note that Tennessee is 21-5 the past 26 times that it played with seven or more day's rest, including 2-0 SU/ATS the past couple of seasons.
While the Shockers are 10-17 ATS (8-19 SU) the last 27 times that they were listed as road underdogs or three or fewer points, or at pick'em, the Vols are 10-4 ATS the last 14 times that they were listed as home favorites or three or fewer points, or at pick'em.
The Vols have only played two games on this floor and they won both with relative ease. Most recently, on 11/26, they crushed Oakland by a score of 77-50. (Regulars may recall that we backed the Vols in that game.)
I expect homecourt to be the difference as the Shockers inexperience and personnel changes finally catch up with them. *9 annihilator
|12-12-12||Oregon State v. Portland State +11.5||Top||79-74||Win||100||15 h 15 m||Show|
I'm playing on PORTLAND STATE. I've successfully played against teams from the Big Sky Conference more than once already this season. However, I believe that this will be a good spot to back a Big Sky team.
I expect the Vikings to be the "hungrier" team here. They'll be playing an instate rival, one that hails from a much bigger conference. They'll also be playing in front of a packed house, as tickets for the game are reportedly already sold out.
While they tend to play some pretty weak competition, note that the Vikings are 15-5 SU and 10-5 ATS their last 20 games here. NONE of the five losses came by greater than seven points.
The Beavers are certainly better on paper. However, injuries to Gomis and Brandt have narrowed the gap a little. Asking them to cover double-digits on the road is asking a lot. Keep in mind that the Beavers are 3-17 SU (6-13-1 ATS) their last 20 road lined games.
The Vikings, who already covered as large underdogs at Oregon, have only played one home game all season, a double-digit winner. They were blown out out at Oregon State last season. However, the previous three meetings (all some time ago) between these teams were ALL decided by five or fewer points. I have a feeling the Vikings give their guests a real scare here. *10
|12-11-12||North Dakota State +14.5 v. Minnesota||Top||57-70||Win||100||13 h 48 m||Show|
I'm playing on NORTH DAKOTA STATE. With a top 15 ranking and a 10-1 overall record, the Gophers are obviously a good team. That said, I feel that this will prove to be a difficult spot and I expect them to have their hands full here. I believe that the Gophers are ripe for a letdown here. Not only did they just have to return from the West Coast, they're also off an emotional game, one which saw Tubby Smith reach 500 wins, the 19th Div. 1 coach to ever do so. As Minnesota's Andre Hollins noted: "This a huge win for coach's career ..." While the Gophers, who face Michigan State later this month, could easily overlook the Bison, I feel that will prove costly. North Dakota State nearly upset the Gophers right here last season. Listed as an 11 point favorite, Minnesota eked out a 63-59 victory. While the Gophers are arguably better than they were, note that the Biston brought back their top five scorers from that team and are also even better this season. Indeed, the Biston check in off three straight double-digit wins and with an 8-2 record overall. One of their losses came at Indiana, the top team in the country - and they hung within 14 points of the Hoosiers. Including the cover vs. Indiana and the near upset here last season, the Bison are a highly profitable 16-5 ATS their last 21 lined non-conference games. While the Gophers are 0-3 ATS as home favorites in the 12.5 to 15 range the past few seasons, the Biston are 1-0 ATS as road underdogs in that range. The Gophers have only lost to a Summit League team once and that was way back in 1936. That happened to be against North Dakota State. I won't go as far as calling for another upset here - although it wouldn't shock me - but I do expect the Bison to step up and give the Gophers another real scare. *10 Best Bet
|12-08-12||Minnesota v. USC +8||Top||71-57||Loss||-110||14 h 12 m||Show|
I'm playing on USC. With a top 20 ranking, the Gophers are obviously a pretty good team. That said, they're a long way from home. I expect them to have their hands full tonight and feel that the the number being offered on the home team is generous.
True, the Trojans are off to a tough start. However, in fairness, they've had a very tough opening schedule. They began the season with a blowout win over Coppin State, as expected. Next, they beat Long Beach State by 18, laying 9.5 points.
From that point onwards, their next six games have come against Illinois, Texas, Marquette (those 3 games coming in 3 days) followed by San Diego State, Nebraska and New Mexico. Of those, only the game vs. San Diego State was played here at USC. They lost that one by six.
So, while the overall record may not look too impressive - there's good reason. This team is still 2-1 on its home floor and the lone loss would have resulted in a cover against today's larger number.
Admittedly, the Gophers have also played some tough teams. However, they've also sprinkled in a lot more cupcakes than the Trojans have. (They've been favored by double-digits in four games and another didn't have a line.) They did win at Florida State. However, this will be just their second true road game of the season. LA is a long way from Minnesota (or Tallahassee) and offers plenty of distractions.
These teams met at Minnesota last season. The Trojans had real trouble scoring, losing 55-40. They're off a game which saw them shoot a season-high 52.9% though and I expect them score considerably more on their home floor. In fact, while I'm happy to grab the points, I won't be surprised if they step up and score the outright win. *10 Best Bet
|12-08-12||Cleveland State v. North Carolina State -16.5||Top||63-80||Win||100||7 h 12 m||Show|
I'm playing on NC STATE. I believe that there is a major gap in talent between these teams. Yet, recent results are keeping the number quite reasonable.
The Wolfpack haven't gotten off to quite the dominant start that they were probably hoping for. However, his is a team which is talented enough that it is expected to contend for the ACC title.
I expect NC State to be in a foul mood. After going 3-0 ATS/SU to start the season, the Wolfpack lost vs Oklahoma State on 11/18. Still stunned from that loss and the return trip home, they slept-walked through a win vs. UNC-Asheville. Next, was a loss at Michigan. Last time out, they blew the cover at the buzzer, beating UConn by only four. I believe that they'll be looking to take out their frustrations in the form of a blowout win and that inexperienced Cleveland State represents the perfect opponent.
The Vikings had a good year last season. If you look at their early season record, you'd think that they're going to be just as good as last year. That memory or last year along with this season's record is helping in keeping the line However, that record is deceiving, as they've played a number of weak teams. The only good team that they played was Michigan - and the Vikings lost by 30 as a 16 point underdog. The only other decent team that they played was Robert Morris and the Vikings lost that one by 11. Wins have come against the likes of Grambling and Alabama Huntsville; they won the latter by only two points.
Last year, the Vikings returned nearly every starter. As coach Gary Waters noted before the season, "All that is gone." Tim Kamcyzc was the only returning starter, a junior.
Anton Grady was one of the few players who got some experience for Cleveland State last season. He's currently second on the team in scoring with 13.7 points per game. His 5.5 rebounds per game also ranks second and he's #1 in both blocks and steals. Unfortunately for Cleveland State, Grady is out. Needless to say, he'll be missed by a team already short on experience.
NC State has already thrived as a favorite in this range so far this season. The Wolfpack won by 17 when they were favored by 13 as a neutral court favorite vs. Penn State. when favored by 19 vs. Miami Ohio, they won by 38. I expect another blowout. *10
|12-06-12||Long Beach State +21.5 v. Syracuse||Top||53-84||Loss||-110||5 h 56 m||Show|
I'm playing on LONG BEACH STATE. After dominating their conference the last couple of seasons, this year's Long Beach State team lost four starters, players which had helped build their program into what it is today. Obviously, that's a blow. However, the cupboard is far from bare for this well-coached team.
Prior to the season, coach Monson had this to say of losing those four starters. "It's not like those four guys went to the NBA after one year or just all of a sudden up and graduated. We
|12-05-12||Gonzaga v. Washington State +11.5||Top||71-69||Win||100||8 h 55 m||Show|
I'm playing on WASHINGTON STATE. I respect the Bulldogs, who are off an impressive 8-0 start. However, I feel that they're laying too many points here.
While they're not too far from home, this is the Bulldogs' first "true" road game of the season. They'll face a Cougars team which is a perfect 5-0 on its home floor.
In fact, dating back to a 81-59 blowout of Gonzaga almost exactly two years ago, the Cougars have won 17 straight games on this floor, against non-conference opponents.
The Bulldogs did avenge that loss at Gonzaga last season. However, even that victory came by only eight points.
Even coach Few acknowledged: "This is going to be a difficult week. Washington State is always difficult for us ... "
Having a showdown vs. ranked Illinois could also potentially have the Bulldogs looking ahead.
That'll prove costly as the Cougars are hungry and have a genuine star in senior Brock Motum, who averages nearly 20 points (17.9) and seven boards per game.
Including the victory over Gonzaga here two years ago, the Cougars are 22-10 ATS in home lined games the past 2+ seasons. During that time, the Bulldogs are 8-12-2 ATS on the road, including a 1-3 ATS mark as road favorites in the 9.5 to 12 range.
I successfully played against the Bulldogs in their first "neutral" court site game this season, when they failed to cover vs. Clemson. I expect them to have their hands full once again. *10 Best Bet
|12-02-12||Boise State v. Seattle +9||Top||87-64||Loss||-110||7 h 33 m||Show|
I'm playing on SEATTLE. I won with the Redhawks in their first game, a blowout win against Montana State. I've included an excerpt from the analysis of that play here:
Some might see the teams involved here and wonder why Seattle is laying nearly double-digits. However, I feel that the line could be even higher and am expecting a double-digit win. Tonight's game is a big deal for Seattle. The Redhawks begin their first season of play in the Western Athletic Conference and they're eligible to play in the NCAA tournament for the first time since returning to Division I, five years ago. Junior guard Sterling Carter had this to say: "Knowing we can play in the tournament is big," said junior guard That's something big that we want to accomplish this year and we are not going to take our time to get there. I feel like our goal is to win the WAC this year and make a statement." Coach Cameron Dollar, now in his fourth year here, is also extremely optimistic. He was quoted saying: "I think we've got all the components to where, in March, we will be able to do some things and make some noise, for sure." Four players who started at least nine games last season return for Seattle and the Redhawks are deeper than they've been in the past. Typically a fast paced team, I expect the determined Redhawks to run their outmatched opponent right out of the building tonight.
Seattle won that game by 15 points. They also won their only other home game here by nine points. Last time out, playing at Stanford, they stayed within 11, covering as 19.5 point underdogs. Back at home, I feel that the Redhawks are going to come in believing that they can win outright and that they're again providing very fair value.
The Broncos have admittedly been playing well. However, after having recently faced the likes of Michigan State and coming off a big upset win at Creighton, arguably one of the biggest wins in school history, I feel that they're ripe for a letdown, as well as a little over-valued.
Note that Boise is already 0-2 ATS, after scoring 80 or more points in its previous game, falling to 5-10 ATS its last 15 in that situation. Keep in mind that Boise was 1-11 on the road last season. Given the situation, I won't be surprised by the outright upset. *9 Best Bet
|12-01-12||Colorado v. Wyoming -3||Top||69-76||Win||100||11 h 55 m||Show|
I'm playing on WYOMING. The Buffaloes come in with the higher ranking. However, I believe that the Cowboys are favored for good reason.
The Cowboys, 7-0 on the season, have beaten the Buffaloes five consecutive times. They also own an 18-game "non-conference" home win streak. In fact, the last time that they lost a home game vs. a non-conf. opponent was way back in 2010.
As Colorado coach Tad Boyle acknowledged: Laramie, Wyoming is not an easy place to play. It will be like other teams that come here and play at 7,000 feet. They are going to have the advantage and the altitude, we are going to have to overcome that."
The Buffaloes may be undefeated. However, they needed double-OT to beat Texas Southern last time out, a team which was 1-5 at the time.
The Cowboys are 19-8-2 ATS (24-5 SU) the last 29 times that they were listed as favorites, going 20-9-2 ATS in home lined games the past few seasons. During that stretch, the Buffaloes were only 8-14 ATS (6-16 SU) in road lined games. I expect homecourt to prove the difference. *10 Personal Favorite
|11-30-12||Syracuse v. Arkansas +7||Top||91-82||Loss||-110||10 h 12 m||Show|
I'm playing on ARKANSAS. As usual, Syracuse has a talented team. That said, I feel that that Orange, who lost some key faces from last year, are going to have their hands full here.
Note that this is the first "true" road game (They did play on on an aircraft carrier in San Diego) that the Orange will have played and that they're up against an Arkansas team which is already 3-0 at home and which thrives on pressure defense. In its three games here, the Hogs forced an average of 23 turnovers.
Syracuse's Brandon Triche said this of the Razorbacks: "They're very tough playing at home. They're a transition team and they're going to press us the whole game ... "
Note that Syracuse is just 4-9 ATS its last 13 against teams from the SEC.
I believe that this Arkansas team is destined to be pretty solid this season. This is a huge game for them and I expect them to give their hosts all that they can handle, the entire way. *10 Best Bet
|11-30-12||LOUISIANA TECH v. GEORGIA ST -2||Top||86-68||Loss||-110||9 h 50 m||Show|
I'm playing on GEORGIA STATE. The Panthers have some new faces this year. However, they're also talented, hungry and well-coached. Ron Hunter came in last year and immediately transformed this team, using a suffocating zone defense to finish top five in the country in field goal defense en route to a 22-win season. Hunter lost some players from that team but he's still got plenty to work with. Having failed to cover a few in a row, we're getting a very low number to work with.
The Panthers aren't eligible to play in their league tournament, as there's a rule preventing them from doing so. However, they're still determined to have another strong season.
Hunter said this of not being allowed to play in the tournament: Hunter said this of not being allowed to play in the tournament: "I won
|11-29-12||Manhattan -7 v. Fordham||Top||65-58||Push||0||9 h 19 m||Show|
I'm playing on MANHATTAN. I played on the Jaspers in their last win a win and cover vs. Hofstra on 11/21. I expect them to get another big win tonight. I've pasted an excerpt of the analysis of that 11/21 victory below, as I feel it give a good indication of what this team is all about.
The Jaspers had a great season under Steve Masiello, a Rick Pitino prodigy. All Manhattan did in Masiello's first season was improve by 15 games, instantly becoming a championship contender in its conference. The Jaspers did get upset (in OT) by Siena in the MAAC tourney, which wasn't the way they wanted to end their otherwise excellent season. That prompted Masiello to comment: "I'm very happy with the year, but disappointed with the finish. But, we got Manhattan back to again being relevant." The Jaspers return most of the pieces from last year including "floor general" Michael Alvardo, who averaged better than three assists per game last season, while chipping in 8.5 points. They may be without senior Beamon here, which is a blow. However, this is a team loaded with depth, I believe with more than enough to handle in experienced Hofstra, a team they beat by nine (on the road) last season. Hofstra coach Cassara said this entering the season: "We've got nine new guys who have never worn the uniform before. That certainly lends itself to taking some time to mesh, and my hope is that we can continue to get better and by the middle of January, middle of February, beginning of March, those nine new pieces have gelled together. And hopefully you
|11-28-12||Michigan State v. Miami (Fla) -1||Top||59-67||Win||100||10 h 52 m||Show|
I'm playing on MIAMI. Many are going to see Miami as a slight favorite against might Michigan State and do a bit of a double-take. I believe the Hurricanes deserve to be favored though and that they'll view this as a "statement game," their opportunity to be recognized as a talented program.
The Hurricanes, who returned four starters from last year, are undefeated at home this season. The Spartans are playing their first "true" road game.
The Canes quietly have high hopes for this season and they come in playing with confidence. Last time out, laying 6.5 points against Detroit, they won by 15, a score of 77-62.
Remember, this team won at both Duke and at Florida State last year. They only lost one starter from last year's team (Malcolm Grant) and he had a bad year last year anyway. While Grant played a role early in the season, he struggled down the stretch and really should not be missed much.
The Canes have a coach who has enjoyed postseason success and a team loaded with seniors. This is a big game for them.
The game against Detroit marked the return of senior guard Durand Scott, who had been serving a 6-game suspension, dating back to last season. Scott would score 15 points, making a successful return. He's an important player for this team. Shane Larkin also scored 15. Scott and Larkin are an excellent combo, both strong defenders.
The Spartans are off to a 5-1 start. However, turnovers have plagued them. In fact, they've turned the ball over 20 times in their last two games alone and they did so 67 times in a 4-game stretch, none of those against top tier competition.
Even coach Izzo noted: "I think our guys are going to be great citizens when they get done with basketball, because the Christmas season is lasting all year. They're giving gifts away."
Two of Michigan State's last three games have seen the Spartans win by four or less, games that they were favored by 22.5 and 15.5 points.
Izzo would go on to say: I don't like the way our team is at all. I'm just trying to figure how much of it is due to our preparation or lack thereof with the guys who are injured. But that doesn't have anything to do with some of my key guys turning it over four or five times.''
Of course, Izzo's teams tend to be great come March. However, they're not necessarily always that strong early on in the season.
The Canes are healthier and I also expect them to be "hungrier." Some will view it as an upset but not me. *9
|11-27-12||North Carolina State +6 v. Michigan||Top||72-79||Loss||-110||10 h 54 m||Show|
I'm playing on NC STATE. The Wolverines are off to their best start in recent years and are worthy of a high ranking. Tim Hardaway Jr. won the MVP award as Michigan comes in off a win over K-State in the final of the NIT Tip Off. Impressive start and Hardaway, who got kneed in the head in that win over the Wildcats, is certainly a dangerous player. However, I'm not convinced that the Wolverines any better than the opponent which they'll face tonight.
I feel that the Wolverines are a little over-valued based on their early season success and that the opposite is true of the Wolfpack, a very talented team in their own right, one which returned four starters from last year. Having yet to taste the type of success that Michigan has achieved, I also feel that the Wolfpack are going to be a hungry and determined group here.
The Wolfpack lost in the championship game against Oklahoma State of their tournament in Peurto Rico. Off that big game and trip home and with this big game on deck, the Wolfpack were flat in their last game. In fact, they were nearly upset by lowly UNC Asheville. They did enough to win though, eking out an 82-80 victory. I expect that to serve as a "wake up call" and that we'll get their very best effort here.
Coach Gottfried typically had his team ready to play last season, off a poor defensive effort like it displayed last time out. In fact, NC State is 7-3 ATS its last 10 lined, after allowing 80 or more points in its previous game.
Gottfried had this to say: "We've got to be better. We've got to be better defensively. We've got to develop better chemistry amongst our team. We've got to develop a team spirit that is all about winning - period. Nothing else ... "
It should also be noted that the Wolfpack are 9-5 ATS in lined games the past couple of seasons, after scoring 80 or more in their previous game.
These teams have met twice in recent seasons. The Wolfpack won the most recent meeting by seven points, a 74-67 victory on this exact day (11/27) in 2006. The most recent meeting here at Ann Arbor came back in 2003 and was decided by six points. Another close game won't be surprise and I'm grabbing the generous points. *10 Best Bet
|11-26-12||Oakland v. Tennessee -12||Top||50-77||Win||100||9 h 42 m||Show|
I'm playing on TENNESSEE. Its payback time. These teams met at Rochester, last November, home of the Golden Grizzlies. Behind 35 points from Reggie Hamilton, the nation's leading scorer, Oakland won 89-81. The previous season, the Golden Grizzlies beat the then-seventh-ranked Volunteers 89-82 in Knoxville. That was Oakland's first ever win over a Top 10 team. With last year's result, Tennessee joined Oregon as the only major-conference programs to lose twice to Oakland since its move to Division I in 1999. Obviously, the Vols don't want to make it three in a row!
The Golden Grizzlies don't have Hamilton this year though and they don't have superstar Keith Benson from the previous season. While the team does still have some returning talent, they don't have that type of "star power" yet. Without a huge effort like we saw from Hamilton last year, I feel they're going to be in trouble.
While they're without Jeronne Maymon at the moment, he's only one of four returning starters from last year's team - one which hasn't forgotten losing to Oakland. This is a talented team, one which should enjoy advantages all over the floor. I feel that they'll be motivated to deliver a blowout and I look for them to get it. *10 Personal Favorite
|11-23-12||Creighton v. Wisconsin||Top||84-74||Loss||-110||12 h 3 m||Show|
I'm playing on WISCONSIN. Creighton comes in as the higher seed but I look for Wisconsin to come away with the win.
The Bluejays are a perfect 4-0. Every one of their victories has been easy. There's no question that they are a very solid team.
While their victories have impressive, I will point out that those blowout wins don't always have a team ready for a big step up in class. Note that two of their games didn't have pointspreads and they were favored by double-digits in each of the other two. So, the lopsided wins were expected. Even though this is an experienced team, its still been a long time since it faced the likes of the opponent it will see here.
Lets not forget that the well-coached Badgers led the nation in scoring defense last season, permitting only 53.2 ppg. It was the second time in five years they won that title, as this team is "stingy" on an annual basis. Indeed, the Badgers are masters of controlling a game's tempo.
The Badgers have played some fairly weak competition too. However, they've also had to play at Florida, against a tough Gator team. While they lost that one, the experience of having played against top tier competition should serve them well here. Note that they too were ranked, prior to the loss at Florida.
Since the loss to the Gators, the Badgers have responded by outscoring Cornell and Presbyterian by a whopping 161-83 margin. They may not have a true star but this team is loaded with veterans.
The "blue-collar" Badgers are 35-12 SU (29-12 ATS in lined games!) after allowing 60 or less in their previous game. Even with the loss to the Gators, they're also a lucrative 19-7 ATS their last 26 non-conf. lined games. It likely won't be easy but I look for them to get it done again tonight. *10 Main Event
|11-22-12||Clemson +12.5 v. Gonzaga||Top||49-57||Win||100||11 h 19 m||Show|
I'm playing on CLEMSON. Gonzaga is one of the best-coached teams and most well run programs in basketball. The Bulldogs keep pumping out good teams, year after year. Not surprisingly, they're good again this year, too. Good teams can still be over-valued though and one can't be gun-shy to go against them. Just as I felt Indiana was laying too big a number vs. Georgia, given the situation, I feel Gonzaga, which lost its big center from last center from last year, is laying a few too many here. I look for the Bulldogs to receive a tougher test than most will be expecting.
True, the Tigers are a bit inexperienced and they're not likely to challenge the Duke, UNC's or NC States of their conference. However, they've got some talent and they're still an ACC team, one which enters tonight's game playing with confidence.
Off back to back double-digit wins, the Tigers are looking forward to the challenge here. They're a solid 9-6-2 ATS as underdogs the past few seasons, 2-0 ATS when playing a neutral court game with an O/U line in the low-mid 130s, as this one is.
The Tigers may not have any guys that are going to get them huge numbers on any given night. However, senior big man Devin Booker is good for double-digits and they've got a lot of players that can step up. While the competition level obviously wasn't what the Tigers will see here, eight Clemson players are averaging better than five points a game and the team is playing excellent defense.
The Bulldogs are just 2-4-1 ATS the last seven times that they were listed as neutral court favorites in the 9.5 to 12 range. While they'd never admit it, playing a "close" game would probably be good for them. They're listed as the home team here and they have won this tournament - but lets still remember that they're a long way from home. Don't be surprised if Gonzaga gets a scare. *9 Feast
|11-21-12||Hofstra v. Manhattan -7||Top||56-67||Win||100||9 h 17 m||Show|
I'm playing on MANHATTAN. The Jaspers had a great season under Steve Masiello, a Rick Pitino prodigy. All Manhattan did in Masiello's first season was improve by 15 games, instantly becoming a championship contender in its conference.
The Jaspers did get upset (in OT) by Siena in the MAAC tourney, which wasn't the way they wanted to end their otherwise excellent season.
That prompted Masiello to comment: "I'm very happy with the year, but disappointed with the finish. But, we got Manhattan back to again being relevant."
The Jaspers return most of the pieces from last year including "floor general" Michael Alvardo, who averaged better than three assists per game last season, while chipping in 8.5 points. They may be without senior Beamon here, which is a blow. However, this is a team loaded with depth, I believe with more than enough to handle in experienced Hofstra, a team they beat by nine (on the road) last season.
Hofstra coach Cassara said this entering the season: "We've got nine new guys who have never worn the uniform before. That certainly lends itself to taking some time to mesh, and my hope is that we can continue to get better and by the middle of January, middle of February, beginning of March, those nine new pieces have gelled together. And hopefully you
|11-20-12||Wisc-Green Bay v. Idaho -2.5||Top||62-72||Win||100||12 h 54 m||Show|
I'm playing on IDAHO. The Vandals are off to an 0-2 SU/ATS start while their guests come in with a 2-1 ATS (2-2 SU) mark. Those results have helped in keeping this line very low, to the point where a SU victory will likely also result in a cover. I believe that's providing us with excellent value on what I expect to be a highly motivated Idaho squad.
The Vandals were 19-14 last season, their best season since 1999. Six of their 14 losses came by six or fewer points, too. This year, despite the 0-2 start, Don Verlin's team is thinking NCAA Tournament. The Idaho coach had this to say: "I feel good about it to be honest with you." Center Kyle Barone (12 ppg and 8 rbg) returns as does forward Stephen Madison (12.1 ppg and 5.5 rbg). A senior, Barone was a second-team All-WAC choice in 2011.
The Phoenix aren't slouches. They won 15 games last year and return the starters they had at the end of last year. They do still only have one senior though and they lost their only true road game, a 2-point loss at Nevada. Keep in mind that they're only 7-26 on the road the past few seasons, including a 1-4 SU and 2-3 ATS mark as road underdogs of three or fewer points.
These teams played a very close game against each other at Green Bay last season. The Vandals covered the spread but lost 63-61. Now playing at home, I expect the Vandals to return the favor. *9 Personal Favorite
|11-19-12||Georgia +20.5 v. Indiana||Top||53-66||Win||100||8 h 42 m||Show|
I'm playing on GEORGIA. With the #1 Hoosiers off to a perfect start at the betting window, their lines are becoming inflated. Throw in the fact that the Bulldogs are winless against the spread and we're getting a very high number to work with this afternoon. I believes its providing us with excellent line value.
We know the Hoosiers are really good. With a #1 ranking, that goes without saying. They're not going to beat every team by more than three touchdowns though and I feel the Bulldogs will provide by far their toughest test yet. Note that Indiana is 3-6 ATS (4-5 SU) its last nine neutral court games, 8-15 ATS (7-16 SU) its last 23 against SEC teams.
The Hoosiers are playing their first game against a team from a major conference and they know that they've got a bigger game against UCLA (or Georgetown) on deck tomorrow, assuming they win this one. While they'd never "intentionally" let a team hang around, a closer game would probably be good for Crean's team.
This Georgia team beat Florida and Mississippi State down the stretch last season. This year's team won't win the SEC or anything but does figure to be improved.
Coach Mark Fox said this of his team before the season began: "I probably feel better about Georgia basketball today than I ever have."
I like that the Bulldogs have seen all three of their games decided by 12 or fewer points, two by six or less, and feel that the "close game experience" will serve them well here.
This will be an opportunity to prove how far Fox's Bulldogs have come, a chance to compete against the #1 team. I look for them to embrace the challenge, stepping up and covering the big number. *10 Best Bet
|11-17-12||Montana v. Idaho -3||Top||66-63||Loss||-110||10 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on IDAHO. I like how this one sets up for the home team. The Vandals got a wake-up call in losing their opener vs. Wright State. This is a team with big goals this season though and I expect them to bounce back with a highly motivated effort.
The Vandals were 19-14 last season, their best season since 1999. Six of their 14 losses came by six or fewer points, too.
This year, Don Verlin's team is thinking NCAA Tournament. The Idaho coach had this to say: "I feel good about it to be honest with you."
Center Kyle Barone (12 ppg and 8 rbg) returns as does forward Stephen Madison (12.1 ppg and 5.5 rbg). I expect those two to give the Vandals a significant edge in the frontcourt here.
A senior, Barone was a second-team All-WAC choice in 2011. He
|11-16-12||Vanderbilt v. Oregon -6.5||Top||48-74||Win||100||13 h 43 m||Show|
I'm playing on OREGON. Some will see Oregon, a "football school," favored against Vanderbilt, a "basketball school," and will be quick to grab the points. However, I believe that the Ducks are favored for good reason here.
Yes, Vanderbilt advanced all the way to the third round of the NCAA Tournament last season. However, that's ancient history. All those players are long gone.
Coach Kevin Stallings acknowledged:
|11-16-12||Brigham Young v. Florida State +2||Top||70-88||Win||100||8 h 11 m||Show|
I'm playing on FLORIDA STATE. While I respect the Cougars, I believe the wrong team is favored in this one. The Seminoles are 7-3-1 ATS their last 11 as a neutral court underdog of three or less, or a pick'em. That includes a 2-1 ATS mark in that role the past couple of seasons, going 8-6 ATS overall in neutral court games. During that stretch, BYU is only 6-11 ATS on a neutral floor.
The Cougars had to replace leading scorer Noah Hartsock from last year. He did much for them, averaging 16.8 ppg and five rebounds. He hit better than 84% at the line and led the team with 55 blocked shots. His absence will be noticed with the team stepping up in class here. While Brandon Davies returns, he's a bit banged-up here, listed as probable.
The Seminoles got a "wake up call" in their opener, losing vs. S. Alabama, a loss that dropped them out of the Top 25. I like how they responded with a 95-68 destruction of Buffalo and I look for them to follow it up with another win here. *9
|11-16-12||UNC Asheville +8.5 v. Akron||Top||63-82||Loss||-106||2 h 18 m||Show|
I'm playing on UNC Asheville. I won with Akron yesterday. The Zips lost by four as a 4.5 point underdog. That loss figures to be a bit tough to bounce back from though, as Akron fought hard the entire way, only to lose in OT.
Akron has now seen two of three games decided by four points. That includes a 74-70 loss vs. Coastal Carolina. I don't feel the Zips deserve to be laying this large a number.
True, the Bulldogs suffered some key losses. However, they're again talented.
Coach Biedenbach, who doesn't generally toss around such assessments lightly, had this to say of this year's team: "We're inexperienced, but talent-wise we're as good as last year. We're a little bigger and look more like a basketball team."
The Bulldogs lost by eight vs. Tennessee yesterday, moving to 7-1 ATS their last eight lined neutral court games, 10-1 ATS their last 11 tournament lined games overall. They won one game and have seen both losses decided by eight or less. In a game that could easily again come down to the wire, grab the generous points. *9
|11-12-12||Central Michigan v. Iowa -22||Top||61-73||Loss||-110||8 h 60 m||Show|
I'm playing on IOWA. I believe this will prove to be a real mismatch. The Hawkeyes have a game under their belts, a confidence-building 86-55 rout. Central Michigan, on the other hand, hasn't played yet.
The Hawkeyes are feeling good and their fans are excited. Nearly 15,000 (14,859) watched their opener, the highest attendance figure for an Indiana opener since 2001.
Iowa's Aaron White, who had 16 points and four steals, said this of the opener: "We played well as a team, good pressure, everyone was making shots. Everyone was contributing. That's a pretty good team we played, and it was good to come out with that intensity and push the lead up to 20 at the end; it was a good team win."
Four Iowa players scored in double-figures in the opener, while 14 players saw at least three minutes on the floor. That type of balance should serve the Hawkeyes well against an outmatched opponent playing its first game.
Coach Fran McCaffery had this to say: "That was kind of the plan, to be able to rotate players. The concern is always if we are going to get chemistry at the right time. We received great contributions from a lot of different people -- good assist-to-turnovers, rebounds."
Central Michigan has not been good in the underdog role, going 14-24-3 ATS when getting points the past few seasons, including 3-5 ATS as a road underdog of greater than a dozen points.
While totals are subject to change, with an O/U line currently in the high 130s, note that the Hawkeyes are 9-1 ATS the last 10 times that they played a home game with an O/U line the 135 to 139.5 range. They're 4-1 ATS (5-0 SU) their last five against teams from the MAC and 3-1 ATS (4-0) their last four as a home favorite of greater than a dozen points. I expect this one to turn ugly. *9 Personal Favorite
|11-12-12||North Dakota State +21.5 v. Indiana||Top||61-87||Loss||-106||8 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on NORTH DAKOTA STATE. I watched the Hoosiers first game and am well aware that they are a very good team. However, they're stepping up in class here and I feel that the number, which has climbed from its opener, will prove to be a little on the high side.
The Bison come in with plenty of confidence. They won their opener by a scores of 93-47, shooting 59% and owning a 42-16 edge on the boards. Obviously, that was against an inferior opponent. However, a blowout victory to begin the season should do wonders for their confidence and have them believing that they can compete tonight.
It should be noted that the Bison have actually won two of their last four against ranked opponents including a 64-60 win over Tom Crean's Marquette team in 2006.
The Bison are 18-4 ATS their last 22 non-conference lined games and 7-1 ATS their last eight November lined games. Don't be surprised if they hang around a lot longer than expected. *10 Best Bet
|11-11-12||Montana State v. Seattle -9||Top||72-87||Win||100||10 h 47 m||Show|
I'm playing on SEATTLE. Some might see the teams involved here and wonder why Seattle is laying nearly double-digits. However, I feel that the line could be even higher and am expecting a double-digit win.
Tonight's game is a big deal for Seattle. The Redhawks begin their first season of play in the Western Athletic Conference and they're eligible to play in the NCAA tournament for the first time since returning to Division I, five years ago.
Junior guard Sterling Carter had this to say: "Knowing we can play in the tournament is big," said junior guard That's something big that we want to accomplish this year and we are not going to take our time to get there. I feel like our goal is to win the WAC this year and make a statement."
Coach Cameron Dollar, now in his fourth year here, is also extremely optimistic. He was quoted saying: "I think we've got all the components to where, in March, we will be able to do some things and make some noise, for sure."
Four players who started at least nine games last season return for Seattle and the Redhawks are deeper than they've been in the past.
Typically a fast paced team, I expect the determined Redhawks to run their outmatched opponent right out of the building tonight. *9 Personal Favorite
|04-02-12||Kansas v. Kentucky OVER 136.5||Top||59-67||Loss||-110||25 h 12 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on Kentucky and Kansas to finish OVER the total. Having just cashed "under" tickets in both Final 4 games, I'm well aware that both these teams are excellent defensively. That said, I feel the value has shifted the other way and that this number will prove to be too low. True, the Wildcats managed "only" 69 points vs. Louisville. They'd scores 81, 87, 102 and 82 in their previous tournament games though. All four of those finished above the total. While they are indeed very tough defensively, this Kentucky team likes to push the pace on offense. That leads to a lot of points for them but also a lot of extra possessions for both teams. Kansas only beat Ohio State by a 64-62 score. The Buckeyes don't push the pace the same way that the Wildcats do though. Note that the Jayhawks' previous game came against North Carolina and they scored 80 points. Including that result, the Jayhawks have seen the OVER go 5-2 against teams which score 77 or more points per game, including a 3-0 OVER mark their last three in that situation. These teams met back in November. Its true that game stayed below the total. However, the O/U line was a much higher 147.5. That game still produced 140 points, a 75-65 victory for the Wildcats. I expect at least that many points to be scored again on Monday night, which will be enough for us to cash with the 'over.' *10
|04-02-12||Kansas v. Kentucky -6||Top||59-67||Win||100||25 h 11 m||Show|
I'm playing on KENTUCKY. I like and respect this Kansas team. While I didn't play a side in the Jayhawks' game vs. Ohio State, I did successfully back the Jayhawks against North Carolina. That said, I feel they'll be in over their heads here. Indeed, this Kentucky team may be among the best seen in many years.
The Wildcats didn't even play their best against Louisville. Yet, even though Louisville arguably played very well, the Wildcats were essentially in control the entire way. Although they failed to cover (by half a point) the Wildcats were up double-digits much of the way and still won by eight. Of course, an 8-point win would get the cover here, as the line is lower than it was for the Louisville game.
You've probably heard that every starter on this Kentucky team will one day be playing in the NBA. While I guess that remains to be seen, there's no denying that this team is absolutely loaded with talent.
Despite failing to cover vs. Louisville, the Wildcats are still 9-4-1 ATS the past few seasons in NCAA Tournament games. During that stretch, Kansas is 5-6 in its tournament games.
As you may be aware, these teams faced each other back in November, at Madison Square Garden. The Jayhawks were able to hang around for the first half. However, in the end, Kentucky proved to be too much. The Wildcats pulled away from a 10-point victory. At the time, the Wildcats were still a fairly young team and learning how to play together.
Even at the time, Kentucky coach John Calipari noted: "We don't believe we have to truly play together yet. It's not talent that wins, it's good teams that win. This is not a good team yet. We're not bad, but we're not a good team yet. We've got good players, but we broke off every play." Obviously, they've come a long way since then.
Some may talk about the 'revenge' factor giving Kansas added motivation. However, in a game of this magnitude, both teams should be as motivated as is possible. So, I don't expect 'revenge' from the earlier meeting to be a factor. If anything, its Calipari who who will be looking for some payback, as he's still searching for his first championship - and it was these same Jayhawks which came back to beat his Memphis team in the 2008 Championship game.
Including the earlier victory, Kentucky is 3-0 SU/ATS its last three against Big-12 teams. On the other hand, Kansas is 0-2 SU/ATS its last two against the SEC.
Ultimately, I expect Kentucky's superior talent to prove to be the difference. Having blown the lead in 2008, Calipari makes sure his team keeps the pedal to the metal the whole way here, leading to a comfortable win and cover. *10
|03-31-12||Ohio State v. Kansas UNDER 137||Top||62-64||Win||100||99 h 3 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on Ohio State and Kansas to finish UNDER the total. These teams both saw their "Elite 8" games finish above the total. That's led to a generously high O/U number for Saturday's game. I believe it will prove to be too high. The Jayhawks aren't underdogs very often. When they are in that role, they tend to play low-scoring games. In fact, the UNDER is 29-12-2 the last 42 times that there were getting points, 4-0 the last four. A closer look shows that the UNDER is also 4-0 the last four times that Kansas played a neutral court game where the total ranged from 135.5 to 139. Overall, the UNDER is 8-1-1 the last 10 times that they were neutral court underdogs of three or less. In four tournament games, the Jayhawks have allowed 50, 60, 57 and 67 points. The 67 came against North Carolina, a team that normally averages more than 80. Prior to scoring 80 in the UNC game, the Jayhawks had managed only 65, 63 and 60 points, scores that were getting progressively lower before last weekend. For the season, they're allowing only 61.6 per game. The Buckeyes have allowed a few more points in the Tournament, although they've still limited each opponent to 70 or less. However, they're still allowing a mere 59.7 overall on the season. The Jayhawks have plenty of other stats supporting a potential defensive battle here. The UNDER is now 7-3 their last 10 NCAA tournament games. The UNDER is also a lucrative 36-14 the last 50 times (excluding pushes) that the Jayhawks played with five or six day's rest in between games. Last year's Final 4 games saw the UNDER go 1-0-1 (or 2-0) and had combined scores of 132 and 111, an average of only 121.5. Look for this one to also prove lower-scoring than expected. *10
|03-31-12||Louisville v. Kentucky -8||Top||61-69||Push||0||96 h 4 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on KENTUCKY. I respect Louisville. They're obviously well-coached. They've also got some talent and they play hard. Regulars will recall that I backed the Cardinals in their Big East Final victory. However, this is a different kind of beast that they'll be dealing with now. The Wildcats are much more dangerous offensively than the Cardinals. The Wildcats score 77.9 points per game and hit 48.8% of their shots. On the other hand, Louisville averages 68.4 points, while hitting 42.5% of its shots. Obviously, those numbers are significantly different from each other. Louisville supporters might come back and argue that Kentucky may be better offensively but that the Cardinals are better defensively. However, that's not even true. Yes, the Cardinals are indeed excellent defensively. However, Kentucky is arguably even better. The Cardinals allow 60.8 points per game. The Wildcats are slightly better. They allow 60.6. The Cardinals allow opposing teams to shoot just 38% from the field, the third best mark in the entire country. However, the Wildcats have them beat there too. They're holding opposing teams to a mere 37.5% from the field , the very best mark in the entire country. While they won by "only" seven when these teams faced each other on New Year's Eve, the Wildcats are still a solid 6-2 SU/ATS the last eight in the series. (The beat the Cardinals by 15 the previous season.) While the Cardinals have enjoyed a great run, I feel it comes to an end here. *10
|03-31-12||Louisville v. Kentucky UNDER 137||Top||61-69||Win||100||96 h 4 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on Louisville and Kentucky to finish UNDER the total. The Wildcats have been a highly profitable "over" team this tournament. In fact, all four of their games in the Big Dance have finished above the number. They're up against a much different type of opponent here though and I expect a much lower-scoring contest. Unlike Kentucky, Louisville has been a very profitable "under" team. Even after the Cardinals' last game finished above the total, the UNDER is still 3-1 in their NCAA Tournament games and a lucrative 10-2 their last 12. Its certainly true that Kentucky can score points. However, people tend to forget that the Wildcats are also a very capable defensive team. In fact, they're the best defensive team in the entire country, in terms of field goal percentage. Indeed opposing teams are hitting a mere 37.5% from the field against them. The Cardinals aren't too shabby in that area either. Opposing teams are hitting only 38% of their shots against them. That ranks #3 in the entire country. It should be noted that the UNDER is 3-0 the last three times that these rivals faced each other. This season's regular season meeting finished with only 131 points. You may recall that the Wildcats saw last year's Elite 8 game finish with a lot (145) of points, just like this year's, which finished with 152. However, I came right back with the "under" in their Final 4 game. That one had an O/U line of 138.5 but finished with a mere 111 points. With the Cardinals doing everything they can to slow the pace, I look for this one to also prove lower-scoring than most are expecting. *10
|03-26-12||Pittsburgh v. Washington State -1||Top||66-67||Push||0||12 h 18 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on WASHINGTON STATE. The Panthers hail from the better conference and arguably have more name recognition. This year's team isn't nearly as strong as some recent editions though. Off an emotional OT win against Butler, a rematch of last year's wild NCAA game, and now playing thousands of miles away from home, I expect them to stumble tonight. Even in the win over Butler, the Panthers were forced to use a very young lineup, as top scorer Ashton Gibbs was held scoreless. That may bode well for their future but not necessarily tonight. While Gibbs will surely find the scoresheet tonight, the fact that he's off his game right now isn't good for the Panthers. Its true that the Cougars may well be without Brock Motum. That's a blow, as he's a big part of their team. However, Motum went out early last game (only scored 4 points) and they still were able to win, on the road to boot. Abe Lodwick filled in admirably, scoring 23 points and adding 12 rebounds. The Cougars were able to hold the Beavers to their lowest-scoring game of the CBI while outrebounding them by a solid 41-34 margin. As you're probably aware, this is a "best of 3" format. That makes holding serve at home critical for the Cougars. While the Panthers have been outscored in going 7-9 on the road, the Cougars are 10-4 at home, outscoring opposing team by a 71.1 to 59.9 margin here. Ultimately, I expect homecourt to be the difference tonight. *10
|03-25-12||Kansas -1.5 v. North Carolina||Top||80-67||Win||100||7 h 35 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on KANSAS. Many might be surprised to see Kansas as the favorite here. After all, this is mighty North Carolina that the Jayhawks are up against. The Tar Heels haven't been so mighty lately though. Indeed, they needed overtime just to get past lowly Ohio. They entered the tournament off a loss vs. Florida State and all three tournament opponents have been mediocre teams, at best. The Jayhawks have faced arguably tougher opposition, as they've had to deal with NC State, Purdue and Detroit. Each of those three teams brought a different element to the table and I feel those "warm up games" will serve them better than the ones (Vermont, Creighton, Ohio) that UNC has had to contend with. Note that I did back the Tar Heels when they blew out Vermont - so that big win did not surprise. We tend to think of the Tar Heels as being at their best in these types of situations. They're typically not though. They're only 9-13-1 ATS (6-17 SU) the last 23 times that they were underdogs. During that same stretch, they're 7-14-2 ATS when playing with one or less day's rest in between games and 17-24-2 ATS against teams which allow 64 or fewer points per game. Kansas allows just 61.4 (62.2 on road) while holding opposing teams to a mere 37.8% from the field. While there are plenty of storylines in play here, like Roy Williams facing his old team, perhaps the biggest is the status of Kendall Marshall. The Tar Heels point guard has a broken bone in his right wrist. Even if he did manage to somehow play, its hard to imagine him being at 100%. Given that Williams refers to Marshall as "our engine, our driver, the head of the thing" his potential absence - or the fact that he won't be 100% - is a major blow. The Tar Heels are obviously loaded with talent and can make up for that type of loss against teams like Ohio. However, this is Kansas - another team which is filled with bigtime talent. Roy Williams doesn't get to face his old team often - the only previous time that he did, the Jayhawks crushed the Tar Heels - a 2008 meeting in the Final 4. Playing at St. Louis, in front of what will surely be a pro Kansas crowd, I expect the Jayhawks to get the better of Williams and co. once again. *10
|03-25-12||Baylor v. Kentucky UNDER 148||Top||70-82||Loss||-110||4 h 50 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on Baylor and Kentucky to finish UNDER the total. These teams, particularly Kentucky, are both off very high-scoring games last round. Those results have worked in our favor here, as this line was very high when it came up and then quickly got bet up even higher. I feel that's providing us with excellent value the other way. True, Kentucky won its last game in a "shootout." Keep in mind that this is a dominant defensive team though. For the season, the Wildcats allowed just 60.4 points per game. Opposing teams shot a mere 37.5% from the field against them. Those numbers were every bit as good away from Kentucky too. When playing away from home, the Wildcats allow 60.8 points and opposing teams shoot 38%. Kentucky road and neutral court games average 134.5 points. Overall, Wildcat games average 138.2. Baylor games average 139.7. Yet, today's O/U line is MUCH higher than either team's average. Again, I feel that's providing excellent value. As far as allowing all those points against Indiana, note that the UNDER is 23-7 the last 30 times (games with a total) that Kentucky had allowed 80 or more points in its previous game. Baylor did see its most recent game finish above the total. However, that was thanks to the teams scoring 35 points in the final 3:38 of that game and it still only finished above the total by three points. (I know, as I lost with the 'under' in that one.) Really, despite the high final score (75-70) the Bears played well defensively in that game. They held the Musketeers to 42.9% from the field and 20% from 3-point range. They limited the Musketeers to only 29 first half points. Even with Friday's result, note that the Wildcats have still seen the UNDER go a lucrative 16-9 their last 25 against teams with a winning record. With such a high O/U line, note that the UNDER is also 5-1 the last six times that the Wildcats played a neutral court game where the O/U line ranged from 145 to 149.5. I expect those stats to improve this afternoon. *10
|03-24-12||Ohio State v. Syracuse +3||Top||77-70||Loss||-110||10 h 22 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on SYRACUSE. I have a lot of respect for the Buckeyes. In fact, I won with them last game, as they crushed Cincinnati. They're well-coached and talented. The same can be said of Syracuse though. That said, I feel the Orange are providing us with plenty of value here. True, the Orange lost their center prior to the start of the Tournament. Keep in mind that this team was a #1 seed for a lot more reasons than Fab Melo though. I didn't play the Orange in their first game of the tournament - they got "tested" in that one and failed to cover. I did come back and play them against K-State in the second round though. Up against a good Wildcat team, they won by 16. I didn't play them against Wisconsin. I did like the Orange to advance and wasn't about to go against them, but also wasn't comfortable laying points with them against a scrappy Badger team. They won but didn't cover. I don't feel the Orange should be viewed negatively or only beating Wisconsin by one. After all, those same Badgers split with Ohio State this season and both games were decided by six or fewer points. This time, the Orange find themselves in the underdog role. I feel that the close game experience will serve them well here. Note that the Orange failing to cover (combined with OSU doing so easily) has also worked in our favor in terms of line value. Additionally, note that Syracuse is 6-3 ATS (and SU!) the last nine times it was an underdog, including a 2-0 ATS mark as a neutral court underdog of three of fewer points. Going back further finds the Orange at an outstanding 15-7 ATS (and SU!) the last 22 times that they were listed as neutral court underdogs of three or fewer points. The Buckeyes, on the other hand, are just 5-7 SU/ATS the last dozen times that they were favored by three or fewer points on the road. With an O/U line in the mid 130s, note that Syracuse is 22-1 when playing a game with an O/U line in the 130s while Ohio State is just 7-4 and only 4-7 ATS. Nearly everyone is figuring this is the game that Fab Melo's absence catches up with the Orange. This is an extremely deep team though, one which has overcome adversity all year. Don't be surprised if this one comes right down to the wire with the #1 seed scoring the "upset." *10
|03-24-12||Ohio State v. Syracuse UNDER 135.5||Top||77-70||Loss||-108||9 h 30 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on Ohio State and Syracuse to finish UNDER the total. Its true that both these teams are very capable offensively. However, its also true that they're both outstanding defensively. That said, I feel this O/U line will prove to be a little too high. Note that both teams finished above the total last time out, which is helping us a bit in terms of line value here. The Orange check in allowing a mere 60.6 points per game. In terms of points allowed, the Buckeyes have been even better. They allow just 59.4 per game. The Buckeyes are holding opposing teams to only 40.6% shooting. The Orange been even better. Opposing teams are shooting only 38.5% against them. The Orange find themselves in the underdog role for the first time all season. That's significant as we find the UNDER at 7-3 since the beginning of the 2009 season, when they've been listed as underdogs, 4-1 the last five. These teams have faced each other twice this millennium. Each of those games stayed below the total. I expect this one to do the same. *10
|03-23-12||NC State v. Kansas -8||Top||57-60||Loss||-110||38 h 53 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on KANSAS. The Jayhawks were seriously tested in the last round. They fell behind early against Purdue and had to battle back the entire way. While they didn't cover, they did find a way to advance. I feel that stiff test will serve them well here. I expect that the Jayhawks will have "learned their lesson" and I look for them to get off to a much better start. With all due respect to NC State, I believe Kansas is the significantly superior squad here. While the Wolfpack have been playing well, ultimately, the Jayhawks defense figures to be the difference. I also really like the venue and timing of this game. It has a late start (NC State is an East Coast based team) and is being played at St. Louis. Advantage Kansas. With the large crowd heavily in their favor, I expect the stronger Jayhawks to pull away for a double-digit victory. *10
|03-23-12||Xavier v. Baylor UNDER 142||Top||70-75||Loss||-108||10 h 44 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on Baylor and Xavier to finish UNDER the total. Due in part to all the hype surrounding Baylor's 3-point sharpshooter Brady Heslip, this O/U line has climbed from what was already a generously high opening number. I believe that's providing us with excellent value. I'm aware that Heslip and co. are off a big offensive game against Colorado, as I had a play on Baylor in that game. However, I also won with the Bears "under" in their first game, so I'm also aware that this team is better defensively than many seem to realize. The Bears have allowed 63 and 60 points in their two NCAA tournament games. For the season, they're allowing 64.8 per game. The Musketeers have been every stingier. They've allowed 63 and 58 points in their first two games. They're well aware of what Heslip did in the last game and will be doing everything in their power to make his life more difficult here. Xavier has seen the UNDER go 5-2-1 its last eight games overall. ALL eight of those games finished with less than 140 combined points. In fact, they averaged only 130. Note that the UNDER is 11-4 the last 15 times that the Musketeers played a game on a neutral court where the O/U line ranged from 140 to 144.5. That includes a 4-1 UNDER mark their last five in that situation. Meanwhile, the Bears, who have seen the UNDER go 2-0 when playing with five or six day's rest, have seen the UNDER go 7-4 the last 11 times that they played on a neutral court with an O/U line in the 140 to 144.5 range. I expect those stats to improve here. *10
|03-22-12||Cincinnati v. Ohio State -7||Top||66-81||Win||100||11 h 26 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on OHIO STATE. I've been involved with two Cincinnati games over the last two weeks. I successfully played on the Bearcats when they beat Georgetown in the Big East Tournament. I knew to come back against them when they stepped up in class to face Louisville though. While they haven't lost since, beating Texas and Florida State, feel they'll be in over their heads once again here. The Buckeyes bring 29 wins and loads of talent to the table. They won by "only" seven points last time out. However, that was against a very tough Gonzaga team. Their previous three wins all came by double-digits. Obviously, this game is a very big deal in the state of Ohio. Four of the final 16 teams are from the state of Ohio, including both of these ones. That's the first time that four of the final 16 teams have been from any single state. There may be only one left after this round though. Ohio is a double-digit underdog (vs. UNC) and Xavier is up against a Baylor team suddenly starting to click. Whatever happens in those games, I expect the #2 seeded Buckeyes to win Thursday's "Battle of Ohio." Cincinnati shot well at the charity stripe against Florida State but was the worst free-throw shooting team in the Big East. Cincinnati's got a good big man, in Yancy Gates. However, he's up against Jared Sullinger. The Buckeyes' supporting cast is superior. The Buckeyes could easily be a #1 seed. They hammered the Bearcats when the teams last met (72-50) and I expect them to again prove to be the superior Ohio squad here. *10
|03-22-12||Louisville v. Michigan State UNDER 125.5||Top||57-44||Win||100||9 h 25 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on Louisville and Michigan State to finish UNDER the total. I played on both these teams to finish below the total in their last game. While both games played out pretty much as I expected, I had to settle for going 1-1 with those selections. Louisville stayed well below the total but a late "foul-fest" caused the Spartans to see their game against St. Louis to finish above the number. (I did win with StL in the same game.) Still, that game only finished with 126 points, while the Louisville game finished with just 115. Off thir 59-56 win over New Mexico, low-scoring games and March go hand-in-hand for the Cardinals. The UNDER is now 14-3 their last 17 games played in the month of March. When matched up against another team (MSU allows 59.4) which allows fewer than 64 points per game, the Cardinals have seen the UNDER go a lucrative 11-1. Even with the 126 points scored in the game against St. Louis, the Spartans have still seen the UNDER go a profitable 54-31-1 the last 86 times that they played a game with an O/U line in the 120s, including a 14-8 UNDER mark in neutral court games with an O/U line in the 120s. Not surprisingly, given their tournament numbers, the Cardinals have seen the UNDER go 4-0 the last four times that they played a neutral court game with a total in the 120s. This one figures to be another defensive battle. *10
|03-21-12||Nevada v. Stanford UNDER 138||Top||56-84||Loss||-108||11 h 49 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on Nevada and Stanford to finish UNDER the total. This O/U number was quite high to begin with and it climbed after it came out. While I'm aware that both teams saw their last game finish above the total, I feel that's providing us with excellent value on the UNDER. Keep in mind that both these teams were among the best defensive teams in their respective conferences. Neither ranks in the top 100 in terms of 3-point shooting. The UNDER is 9-7 the last 16 times that the Wolfpack were listed as underdogs including 3-2 in 2012. The last time that Nevada was getting points was exactly one week ago, at Oral Roberts. That game had an O/U line of 138.5 but finished with only 127. The Wolfpack have also seen the UNDER go 2-1 when playing a road game with an O/U line in the 135 to 139.5 range. Even with the game vs. Bucknell finishing above the number, Nevada has still seen the UNDER go 4-2 in tournament games this season. While the Cardinal are off a high-scoring (OT) game on Monday, note that the UNDER is 6-3-1 the last 10 times that they played with one or less day's rest in between games. Also, note the UNDER is 15-7 the last 22 times that they were a home favorite in the -3.5 to -6 range. Look for this one to also prove lower-scoring than expected. *10
|03-19-12||Illinois State v. Stanford UNDER 136||Top||88-92||Loss||-108||14 h 37 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on Stanford and Illinois State to finish UNDER the total. Illinois State is off back-to-back high-scoring games, most recently a 96-93 thriller at Ole Miss. While 21 of those point were scored in OT, it was still a shootout. Meanwhile, Stanford is off a few consecutive "overs" of its own. Those recent results have helped to create a generously high O/U number. I believe it will prove to be too high. Before its recent "over" streak, the Cardinal had seen eight of 10 games finish below the total. They're allowing a mere 59.4 points per game at home and 63 points per game overall. Opposing teams shoot only 40.7% here. Given those stats, don't expect Illinois State to come anywhere close to what it did last time. That 3/14 effort featured the Redbirds' best three-point shooting game (17 of 23 for 73.9%!) in school history. Note that the Redbirds' only other trip to California this season resulted in a 55-47 loss, at Fresno State. Also, note that the only other time that the Redbirds topped the 80-point mark this season, they followed it up by scoring a mere 54 (63-54 loss) vs. UNC-Wilmington. While the recent 3-point performance will receive all the attention, the Redbirds are also capable of playing defense. They held 15 opponents this season to under 40 percent shooting this season, including five teams which shot less than 30 percent. In the three Missouri Valley Conference Tournament games, Illinois State opponents shot a combined 36.7 percent from the field. While both teams have now seen (slightly) more games finish above the total overall, that hasn't been the case for either team when playing a game with an O/U line in the 130s. In fact, the UNDER is a combined 17-10-1 (9-3 and 8-6-1) when these teams played when the O/U line was in the 130s. The UNDER is also 4-2 the last six times that the Cardinal were home favorites in the -6.5 to -9 range and 3-1 the last four times that the played with five or six day's rest in between games. I expect those stats to improve here. *10
|03-18-12||Norfolk State v. Florida -13.5||Top||50-84||Win||100||11 h 32 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on FLORIDA. Having knocked off #2 Missouri, Norfolk State is already a great story. I expect that story to come to a quick end today though. One of the big reasons they were able to pull off the monumental upset on Friday was that the Spartans were an outstanding 10 of 19 from "downtown" against the Tigers. Given that they only shot 31.1% from beyond the arc all season, a repeat performance from outside is unlikely. Indeed, in their previous two games, the Spartans had shot just 16.7% and 27.3% from 3-point range. On the other hand, the Gators hit a mere 17.4% from beyond the arc against Virginia on Friday. Considering that they average 38.4% from 3-point range, they'll hope to shoot better from outside here. Yet, despite the poor 3-point shooting, the Gators still dominated a tough Virginia team. In fact, they won by a commanding 70-45 margin. While the Gators were dealing with the likes of Kentucky, Norfolk State had a very easy conference schedule. They still have nine losses on the season though and they still averaged less than 70 points, only outscoring teams by a 69.5 to 66.5 margin. Double-digit losses vs. V-Tech, (73-60) and Marquette (99-68!) show that this team can be blown out when stepping up in class. In fact, the Spartans even lost by 32 (68-36!) at Illinois State, 10 vs. Delaware State and by a dozen vs. Elizabeth City State! The short-turnaround figures to serve the Gators well. They're 18-6 SU and 11-6 ATS when playing with one or less day's rest in between games the past few seasons, 4-1 ATS (6-1 SU) the last seven. The Gators have been a highly profitable "tournament team" over the years (57-32-2 ATS L91!) and they've thrived as large favorites. They're 4-1 ATS (5-0 SU) their last five as neutral court favorites in the -12.5 to -15 range. I expect them to improve on those stats in blowout fashion here. *10
|03-18-12||St. Louis +7.5 v. Michigan State||Top||61-65||Win||100||8 h 35 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on ST LOUIS. The Billikens pulled away to upset a solid Memphis team in the first round. While they're stepping up in class here, I feel they've got a real shot at another upset. At the very least, I expect them to give the Spartans a very tough test. I successfully backed the Billikens on more than one occasion this season, most recently their 3/9 victory over La Salle - although that was a push for some. They won that one by seven (line was -6 when I released the play but closed at -7) and have since since each of their last two games also decided by seven points. While this obviously isn't football, seven has seemingly been a "key number" for St. Louis this season. That's noteworthy as today's line has climbed up to, or above, that mark. Not only have the Billikens seen three straight games decided by seven points this season but they've only seven times this season. SIX of those losses came by seven or fewer points. This is a team which finished on top of the A-10 and which allows a mere 57.4 points per game. When you only allow that many points, naturally is hard to get blown out. Not surprisingly, the Billikens are now 3-0 ATS as underdogs. They haven't seen this many points all season. They're 9-2 ATS in lined games against non-conference foes and I expect at least another cover here. *10
|03-18-12||St. Louis v. Michigan State UNDER 123.5||Top||61-65||Loss||-110||8 h 32 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on Michigan State and St. Louis to finish UNDER the total. The Spartans played a high-scoring game on Friday. However, that was against a high-scoring and defensively challenged LIU squad. Today's game comes against an entirely different opponent, one which likes to slow the tempo and one which plays outstanding defense. With Friday's 61-54 victory over Memphis, the Billikens have now seen the UNDER go a lucrative 9-4-1 the last 14 times that they were listed as underdogs. When considering Friday's win, keep in mind that Memphis was averaging nearly 80 points its previous five games and had averaged a whopping 76.6 ppg on the road for the season, while hitting 50.1% of its shots! The Billikens held them to 38.9% shooting - an impressive defensive performance indeed. While Friday's game did top the total, the Spartans previous two games both stayed below the number. They held Ohio State to 64 points and Wisconsin to only 52 in those games. For the season, MSU is allowing only 59.3 points per game. While the O/U line may initially seem low, note that the UNDER is a highly profitable 54-30-1 the last 85 times that the Spartans played a game with an O/U line in the 120s, including 9-3 the last 12. The UNDER is 3-0 the last three times that they played a neutral court game with an O/U line in the 120s. With the UNDER also a solid 28-17 the last 45 times that MSU faced an opponent which allows 64 or fewer points, I expect points to be at a premium. *10
|03-17-12||New Mexico v. Louisville UNDER 129||Top||56-59||Win||100||13 h 35 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on Louisville and New Mexico to finish UNDER the total. At first glance, this number may seem kind of low. However, both these teams play excellent defense and I'm expecting a very low-scoring affair. The Cardinals allow a mere 61.2 points per game. Opposing teams shoot just 37.9. Lately, they've been even better. They've allowed an average of 56.4 points their last five games, opposing teams shooting only 37.7%. The Lobos are also very stingy. They've limited teams to only 59.3 points on 38.2% shooting. While the Lobos did see their first round game finish above the total, the UNDER is still 5-1 their last six NCAA tournament games. The UNDER is 8-1 in Louisville's last nine games. The Cardinals allowed more than 62 points in only one of those games. The UNDER is also now 9-2 in Louisville's last 11 "tournament" games, including a 3-0 mark in the NCAA tournament. With the UNDER also at 10-1 when the Cardinals have faced a team which allows 64 or fewer points, I'm expecting a "defensive battle." *10
|03-17-12||Colorado v. Baylor -7.5||Top||63-80||Win||100||10 h 12 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on BAYLOR. Yesterday reminded us that anything can happen in this tournament. That said, I believe there is a significant class difference between these teams. I also feel that Baylor will want to make a statement against a Colorado team which bolted from the Big 12. In reality, its likely the Buffaloes wouldn't even be in this tournament if they'd played in the Big 12 this season. The Buffaloes know they're up against a different kind of foe than they've seen. Colorado forward Austin Dufault had this to say: "Definitely talent-wise ... the best team we've played this year. They've got a lot of great guys, NBA guys. But that
|03-17-12||Kansas State v. Syracuse -4.5||Top||59-75||Win||100||3 h 0 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on SYRACUSE. Everyone knows the Orange lost their center. Everyone also knows that they "survived a scare" in the first round. That has many thinking the Orange are vulnerable. I believe that sentiment and corresponding low number are providing us with excellent value. Losing their big guy may well hurt the Orange. Eventually. However, I don't expect it to hurt them here. This team has dealt with a ton of adversity all season long and I look for the "scare" in the opening round to be just the wake up call that they needed. K-State is 1-4 SU/ATS its last five against Big East opponents. The Wildcats are also only 3-6 ATS (2-7 SU) the last nine times that they were neutral court underdogs in the +3.5 to +6 range. Seniors Kris Joseph and Scoop Jardine led the Orange back in Rd 1 and both are ready to lead their team here. Joseph was quoted as saying: "Us being the senior leaders on the team, the team goes as we go. We definitely have to get off to faster starts. We both had a slow first half, and we kind of picked it up in the second. We can't allow that to happen as we advance in the tournament. We got to bring it for 40 minutes. The guys are looking to us to bring that intensity and bring that sense of urgency to the basketball game on both ends of the floor. That's definitely something we spoke about after the basketball game, both Scoop and I. We'll both be able to bring it for 40 minutes against Kansas State." I expect the Orange to get off to a much better start this time en route to an eventual win and cover. *10
|03-16-12||South Florida v. Temple -3||Top||58-44||Loss||-102||12 h 45 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on TEMPLE. The Bulls already have a win under their belts. That didn't help BYU or Western Kentucky much though - and I don't expect it to save the Bulls here either. The Owls hail from the lesser conference. The A-10 is still a very tough league though and the Owls won the regular season title. I believe they're the higher seed (and the favorite) for good reason here. The Owls are both talented and experienced. They've been here before and are hungry for success. This is their fifth straight and 30th tournament overall. Seniors Ramone Moore, Juan Fernandez and graduate Micheal Eric are looking to go out with a bang and feel this team is capable of making some noise. Moore was quoted as saying: "This is our last go-round. So however far we can make it, it would be great. I think the Elite Eight you know says a lot about the teams that we had in the past, how great of a tradition Temple basketball has had through the years. And like I said, it would just be great, but I mean we don
|03-16-12||Long Island +19.5 v. Michigan State||Top||67-89||Loss||-105||11 h 13 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on LONG ISLAND BROOKLYN. Many don't know much about Long Island University. The Blackbirds and their coach believe though. They've been here before and aren't coming here to get blown out. I expect them to hang around and give the Spartans a tougher test than they bargained for. The Spartans closed out the season on a great run and earned their #1 seed. Obviously, they're very well coached. However, they're not built like #1 seeds often are and arguably don't have the talent of teams like North Carolina or Kentucky. Speaking of UNC, note that the North Carolina is laying a considerably smaller number against Vermont today than Michigan State is laying against LIU. Yet, I've already stated I feel UNC has more talent than the Spartans - AND this LIU team defeated Vermont when those two teams faced each other. I make the comparison to the UNC/Vermont line, as I feel it helps give some perspective to this high number. (Note that LIU covered against UNC last year in the tournament, hanging with the Heels into the second half and losing by only 15, despite playing at Charlotte.) The Blackbirds lost a couple of players from last year's NCAA Tournament team and took a while to get rolling. They did though and won both the regular season and tournament in their conference. Listening to a lengthy interview with their coach on the radio and I believe he genuinely has his team feeling they can compete here. Keep in mind that they averaged 81.9 points per game this season, hitting nearly 48% of their shots. While they're likely to give up a lot of points here, they should also be able to score quite a few. Even if they do get down, they're unlikely to stop scoring, like some more defensive-oriented teams tend to do. Julian Boyd, who had 18 points and 12 rebounds in the first round game against UNC last year, had this to say of his team: "I feel we're a lot better than a 16 seed would usually be. And with this team I think we've proven a lot over the past two years. So we've won a lot of games. We've come together." The Spartans, 0-3 ATS in their last three first round Tournament games, are just 5-11-1 ATS the last 17 times that they were favored on a neutral court by more than a dozen points. They're also only 2-4 ATS the last six times they played a game with an O/U line in the 150s. I don't really expect the Blackbirds to pull off the miracle - but I won't be surprised if they come a lot closer to doing so than most will be expecting. *10
|03-15-12||Colorado v. UNLV -4.5||Top||68-64||Loss||-102||60 h 35 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on UNLV. The Rebels haven't fared well at the betting window of late and are off a loss vs. New Mexico. Colorado comes in on a roll, having won the Pac-12 Tournament. Those recent results have kept this line lower than it easily could have been. I believe that's providing us with excellent value on what I feel is a superior UNLV squad. The Rebels come in with a 26-8 record. The Buffaloes check in at 23-11. Normally, one might argue that Colorado was playing in a more difficult conference. That arguably wasn't the case this season though as the Mountain West had some really good teams while the Pac-12 was really down. When matched up against other teams from the Pac-12, the Rebels were dominant. They began the season with a double-digit neutral site win vs. USC. The following month, they crushed California by a score of 85-68. While the Buffaloes did beat the Bears in the Pac-12 Tournaments, it was Cal which finished with a much better overall record. The Rebels are experienced and have more depth. In addition to scoring more points (UNLV averages 76.6, Colorado averages 67.6!) the Rebels are more athletic and arguably play better defense. Lets not forget that this is a team which defeated North Carolina by double-digits. While they obviously had plenty of success in the conference tournament, the Buffaloes are 0-4 ATS their last four NCAA Tournament games. I feel they'll be in over their heads once again here. *10
|03-15-12||New Mexico State +6.5 v. Indiana||Top||66-79||Loss||-108||14 h 28 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on NEW MEXICO STATE. I won with the Aggies in their last game. They absolutely destroyed LA Tech, a team which had just beaten Hawaii, in the final of their conference tournament. Prior to that, the Aggies beat Hawaii by double-digits, after storming off to 20-0 lead out of the gate in that game. They've got 26 wins on the season and are playing with a ton of confidence. While the Hoosiers are obviously a very talented squad, the Aggies aren't intimidated here and truly believe they can win. A closer look finds that the Aggies have won three straight by double-digits and are 9-1 their last 10. Eight of those nine victories came by double-digits and the lone loss came by only four points. Indeed, this team is playing with a ton of confidence, arguably playing its best basketball of the season. A closer look reveals that eight of the Aggies' nine losses (including all 4 in 2012) came by eight or fewer points. So, not only do they rarely lose but when they do lose, they rarely get blown out. The only team to beat them by more than eight was instate rival New Mexico - and the Aggies had already beaten the Lobos by nine points (as a +12 underdog) at New Mexico, so the "situation" was considerably different. The Hoosiers have had a strong season and an early (1-point) win over Kentucky showed they can beat any team. That came at home though and when they were still undefeated. They're not as strong away from their home court and have since lost eight times. Most recently, they were beaten by eight by Wisconsin. Including the loss to the Badgers, the Hoosiers are 7-7 SU away from home and just 4-7 ATS (3-8 SU) their last 11 on a neutral court. On the other hand, the Aggies are 12-6 away from home and 8-4-1 ATS their last 13 on a neutral court. Going back further finds the Aggies at an impressive 29-13 ATS their last 40+ lined games in March including 10-4-1 ATS their last 15. In a game that could easily come down to the final possession, I expect them to improve on those stats this evening. *10
|03-15-12||Colorado St +5 v. Murray State||Top||41-58||Loss||-110||18 h 22 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on COLORADO STATE. With 30 victories to their credit, the Racers certainly bring the superior record to the table. They're also likely to have the majority of the fans supporting them, as this game is being played in their home state. That said, I expect them to have their hands full with a determined and solid Colorado State squad. Before getting started with the team analysis, note that I like fact that Colorado State last played on 3/9 as compared with Murray State having had such a long layoff and not having played since 3/3. The Rams won their only matchup of the 2011-12 eason against a member of the Ohio Valley, defeating the Jacksonville State Gamecocks, 79-56, on Dec. 29 in the championship game of the Don Haskins Bank of the West Sun Bowl Invitational in El Paso, Texas. Note that the Racers faced the Gamecocks at Murray State yet still won by only 11. In other words, the Rams were far more dominant against that common opponent. Including that result, Colorado State is 8-4 in 12 games against the OVC. The Rams have already won a record three games against ranked opponents this season and they feel they match up well here. Guard Wes Eikmeier had this to say Wednesday: "I think we match up pretty well. They're guard-oriented, and they don't have a lot of size inside, which that's kind of what we're like. They have guys that play a big chunk of minutes." CSU guard Dorian Green added: "...Just kind of looking on paper and just looking at them, we match up - we feel like we match up pretty well with them." Speaking of Colorado State guards, note that Greg Smith (ankle) has been upgraded to probable. In addition to wins over Montana, Wyoming and Pac-12 Tournament Champion Colorado, the Rams have beaten the likes of San Diego State, New Mexico and UNLV. They've also played at Duke. So, playing the Racers here should not intimidate them. Note that the Rams are 3-1 SU/ATS their last four neutral court games. They're also 5-1 ATS the last six times that they were off a conference loss. Murray State, on the other hand, is 6-9-1 ATS when it was off a conference win. The Racers have seen two of their last three decided by five or fewer points, most recently a 2-point win over Tennessee State. In a game that could easily come down to the wire once again, I'm grabbing the points. *10
|03-13-12||Mississippi Valley State +4.5 v. Western Kentucky||Top||58-59||Win||100||8 h 51 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE. The Hilltoppers bring a lot of momentum into tonight's game. Indeed, they're a perfect 6-0 SU/ATS their last six games. Clearly, they're a much improved team from the one that began the season. However, lets not forget that this team is still only 15-18 on the season. Also, a closer look at their six game winning streak shows that ALL six of those games were decided by six or fewer points. Four of those were decided by four or fewer points. In fact, a closer look shows that the Hilltoppers only won one game by more than 10 points all season - and that came by only 12. Now, they're being asked to lay more than a few points against a team which is 19-1 its last 20 games. I believe that's asking too much of them. The Delta Devils do indeed hail from a pretty weak (Southwestern Athletic) conference. However, that doesn't mean that they haven't faced quality competition. In fact, they've taken on plenty of top tier opponents. Non-conference opponents included the likes of Notre Dame, North Carolina , Florida, Wisconsin and Iowa State, just to name a few! The most recent of those games came on the road, at Iowa State which is a very tough venue - and the Delta Devils lost by only two. Speaking of close games, Mississippi Valley State has seen two of its last three games decided by three or fewer points. I could easily see this one also coming down to the wire and therefore I'll happily grab the generous points. *10
|03-11-12||Ohio State v. Michigan State UNDER 131||Top||64-68||Loss||-108||6 h 36 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on Michigan State and Ohio State to finish UNDER the total. This O/U line climbed from its opener. I feel we're getting excellent value. Both teams are off outstanding defensive efforts yesterday. The Buckeyes limited Michigan to 55 points. The Spartans held Wisconsin to 52 points, a 65-42 victory. Note that the UNDER is 27-11-1 the past few seasons when the Spartans are off a win over a Big-Ten name. These teams met twice this season. The first had an O/U line of 131. However, it finished with a mere 106 points. The rematch had a lower O/U line of 127.5. It finished with 142 points. Still, thats an average of only 124 in the two games. The UNDER is a lucrative 56-37 over the years when the Spartans have been listed as underdogs. That includes a 12-7-1 UNDER mark their last 20 as underdogs, 5-2-1 their last seven in that situation. With both teams ranking in the top 12 in the country, in terms of points allowed, I expect a "defensive battle." *10
|03-11-12||St. Bonaventure +3.5 v. Xavier||Top||67-56||Win||100||5 h 33 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on ST BONAVENTURE. Xavier obviously has the much bigger name. Indeed, the Musketeers are good every year. That alone is helping to create some value with the lesser known underdog. That's not the only reason I'm backing St. Bonaventure though. Far from it. I won with the Bonnies yesterday and feel that they're quietly peaking at the right time. The Bonnies almost let yesterday's game slip away. They came through when it mattered though, avenging an earlier loss suffered at Massachusetts. Keep in mind that the Minutemen had beaten a strong Temple team (ranked #21) the previous day. With yesterday's victory, the Bonnies are now 7-2 ATS the last nine times that they attempted to avenge an earlier road loss. That's noteworthy as they lost at Xavier back in January, this season's lone meeting. St. Bonaventure's Demitrius Conger had 22 points , 10 rebounds AND eight assists yesterday, narrowly missing out on the "triple-double." He's not even the Bonnies' best player either as this team also has the conference player of the year, Andrew Nicholson, Nicholson added 19 points yesterday. The 6-9 senior had 25 points and 10 rebounds against St. Joseph's the previous day. The Musketeers are off an impressive win and cover yesterday. However, lets keep in mind that they're still 1-6-1 ATS their last eight games, 3-9-2 ATS their last 14. On the other hand, the Bonnies are now 6-1 SU/ATS their last seven games. They haven't been to the NCAA Tournament since 2000 and naturally are highly motivated to return. I feel the Bonnies have an excellent shot at the outright win. In fact, I expect them to win. However, in a game that could easily come down to the wire, I'll happily grab the generous points. *10
|03-10-12||Louisville -2 v. Cincinnati||Top||50-44||Win||100||11 h 14 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on LOUISVILLE. I won with the Bearcats already this tournament. So, I'm not shocked that they're here. I expect them to be in over their heads here though. True, Louisville is now playing its fourth game in four days. However, the last two of those have been double-digit victories. While the bye helped initially, the Bearcats are now playing their third game in three days. Their victories have arguably been of the "harder fought" variety. Yesterday, they upset Syracuse by three points. The previous day, they needed double OT to beat Georgetown. So, while the Bearcats had the extra bye to begin with, they won't necessarily be the "fresher" team. While I don't normally pay too much attention to how teams do on certain days of the week, its worth noting that the Bearcats are just 5-6 SU (2-7 ATS!) on Saturdays. On the other hand, the Cardinals are 9-3 SU (7-3 ATS) in their Saturday games. The Cardinals are now 10-4-2 ATS the last 16 times that they played with one or less day's rest in between games. They're also in the "revenge role" here, having lost a close one at Cincy in this season's lone regular season meeting. That's noteworthy as they are 12-3 SU (9-6 ATS) the last 15 times that they attempted to avenge an earlier road loss. I mention the SU record as a SU win will likely also result in a cover here, due to such a low line. While I respect both teams and coaches, I feel that the revenge-minded Cardinals will ultimately prove to be a little better. *10
|03-10-12||Wisconsin +4.5 v. Michigan State||Top||52-65||Loss||-110||5 h 32 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on WISCONSIN. As you probably know, the Spartans won both regular season meetings. The first meeting, at Wisconsin, came down to the wire. The most recent meeting, at Michigan State, was more lopsided. For that reason, many won't give the Badgers much of a chance here. Indeed, the line has already climbed from its opener. I believe that's providing us with excellent value with what should be an extremely motivated Badger squad, one which is typically excellent in this spot. The Badgers are 12-7 ATS the past few seasons as underdogs. They're 4-2 ATS their last six in that role. They're also now 3-0 SU/ATS their last three on a neutral court. Additionally, they're 10-5 ATS (12-3 SU!) the last 15 times that they attempted to avenge an earlier road loss. While the Badgers are in some of their best roles, the Spartans are in a couple of their worst. They're 7-13 ATS the past few seasons, after scoring 80 or more in their previous game. During that stretch, they're also 0-5 ATS (and SU!) as a neutral court favorite in the -3.5 to -6 range. The Badgers were in the middle of a 3-game losing streak the first time that these teams face each other. They entered the second meeting having gone 1-1 their previous two games. This time, however, they've won five of six, going 4-0 the last four. Peaking at the right time, I expect the revenge-minded Badgers to step up the defensive intensity, take this game down to the wire with an excellent shot at the outright win. *10
|03-10-12||Vermont v. Stony Brook -2.5||Top||51-43||Loss||-110||2 h 54 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on STONY BROOK. These teams have some similarities and its fitting that they face each other in the America East Championship Game. They are the top two teams in the conference. They both come in with 22 victories, each "holding serve" on its home floor against today's opponent. They're both defense-oriented teams. I believe the Seawolves, who have three fewer losses, will ultimately have the advantage though. I like the matchups on the floor. Vermont coach John Becker believes it's critical to try and limit the low-post scoring opportunities of Dallis Joyner, the 6-7, 275-pound Seawolves center. To try and do so, he often will double-team Joyner with 6-7 forward Luke Apfeld and the 6-6 Brian Voelkel. With Brendan Bald busy dealing with Stony Brook small forward Tommy Brenton, it should give plenty of opportunities for 6-8 forward Al Rapier. Rapier has a knack for getting to the rim and I expect him to do so often on Saturday morning. While games in this conference often don't have lines, note that Vermont is just 1-4 ATS (0-5 SU) the last five times it was listed as an underdog. While they'd obviously like to get back, the Catamounts have been to the NCAA tournament recently. The Seawolves have never been there. They've had their best regular season ever and they desperately want to "join the party." They'll have the home fans cheering them on and I look for them to get it done. *10
|03-09-12||La Salle v. St. Louis -6||Top||71-78||Win||100||9 h 1 m||Show|
Reason: I'm playing on ST. LOUIS. Both these teams are playing well. Both have had strong seasons. I believe that the Billikens are a little stronger though. Always a great defensive team, this year's team can also score. The offense averages 69.1 points on 45.3% shooting. That may not sound that great. Its much better than recent seasons though and when factoring how dominant the defense is, its more than enough. The Billikens benefit from four extra possessions per game. They cause 15.2 turnovers while only committing 11.2 themselves, the best mark in the Atlantic 10. St. Louis ranks first in the A-10 in most defensive categories. The Billikens are holding opponents to only 56.6 points per game, good for seventh in the country. Opposing teams score just 0.9 points per possession, good for eighth nationally. Additionally, the Billikens allowed only 596 made field goals this season, fifth best in the country. The stingy St. Louis defense figures to spell trouble for the Explorers. The Billikens held the Explorers to a mere 51 points in the earlier meeting. That 59-51 St. Louis win came at La Salle, too. Now, the teams meet on a neutral floor - the Explorers are just 4-9 ATS their last 13 on a neutral floor. Including the earlier meeting, the Explorers are 5-17 SU their last 22 against teams which allow 64 or fewer points per game, going 7-11 ATS in those games. While the non-conference schedule was admittedly rather weak, the Billikens have a whopping 20 double-digit victories this season. They enter today's game on an 8-1 run. Despite the great season, the Billikens remain on the bubble. One could argue that they deserve to be in the NCAA Tournament, even if they lose today. That could happen. However, there's also a chance that a loss today could keep the Billikens out of the tournament. Aware that this is a possibility, or at least being talked about, I expect the Billikens to take care of business, leaving nothing to doubt. *10
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