|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|02-01-23||Seton Hall v. St. John's +1||Top||84-72||Loss||-110||11 h 54 m||Show|
St. John’s is off a close call where they only beat Georgetown by two points. Had they lost there, it would have been really embarrassing. As it stands, the Johnnies have dropped 7 of 10 overall.
But I like them here, at home vs. a Seton Hall team that is off one of its best performances in quite some time. The Pirates just went on the road and beat Butler 70-49. I’m choosing to view that as an “outlier” performance.
Seton Hall had a week off before facing Butler. They’d previously lost at home to Marquette by 21 points. Before that, they’d won two games by a total of five points.
Now Seton Hall did take the first meeting with St. John’s by 22 points and is 6-2 SU their last eight games overall. But the Johnnies should amped to avenge that loss here at home where they are 10-3 SU this season.
This one boils down to pace. St. John’s plays at the fourth fastest tempo in the country. That can lead to some bad defensive efforts, but they are averaging almost 80 points/game at home. Seton Hall has three wins by a total of four points this year. If not for those, they’d be an afterthought. Despite some injury concerns, I like the home team here. 10*
|01-31-23||Fresno State v. Wyoming -3.5||Top||62-85||Win||100||14 h 5 m||Show|
Wyoming is a team in dire need of a turnaround as they have lost 9 of 10 overall with the one victory coming by a single point. But heading into tonight, the Cowboys have a key edge over their opponent in that they’ve been off for a full week.
The revenge angle is also in play here. Wyoming lost to Fresno State 58-53 back on December 28th. In that game, they held FSU to just 36.7% shooting but were ultimately undone by second chance points. Wyoming had 16 fewer shot attempts, which is obviously huge in a game that was decided by only five points.
That would be the first of what would end up being three straight losses by five points or less for the Cowboys.
This team has gotten healthier since. You wouldn’t have known it from last Tuesday’s showing at UNLV, but at home I’m expecting a better effort. There’s a reason the Cowboys come in as the favorites.
Fresno State has lost five of six itself with four of those losses coming by double digits. Over the weekend, they fell by 17 at home to Utah State. I think this situation sets up tremendously well for Wyoming. Lay the short number. 10*
|01-31-23||Vanderbilt v. Alabama -14.5||Top||44-101||Win||100||12 h 25 m||Show|
Usually, when we talk about Vanderbilt wandering into Tuscaloosa “at the wrong time,” we think of Nick Saban. But over at the Coleman Coliseum, things are likely to get pretty ugly Tuesday night.
That’s because the 4th ranked Crimson Tide just got humiliated out in Oklahoma on Saturday. They lost 93-69 in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge and saw their nine-game win streak come to a crashing halt.
But Bama is still undefeated in SEC play (10-0), one of just six teams in the country without a conference loss.
They’ve already beaten Vandy once, by 12, and that was on the road. The final margin tonight should be a lot greater when you consider the Tide are winning by an average of nearly 23 points/game at home.
The Commodores have lost five of seven overall. They didn’t get to play a Big 12 team over the weekend, but did lose another conference tilt, 72-66 at Texas A&M. Vandy obviously isn’t anywhere near as talented as Alabama and this is a terrible spot to be facing one of the best teams in the country, who should be plenty angry and motivated. Lay it. 10*
|01-30-23||Iowa State v. Texas Tech +1.5||Top||77-80||Win||100||13 h 17 m||Show|
Texas Tech picked up a much needed win on Saturday as they defeated LSU 76-68 as a 2.5 point road favorite in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. But the Red Raiders are still winless (0-8) in conference play. They look to change that Monday night against an Iowa State team that’s also now reeling a bit.
Iowa State was not successful in its game vs. the SEC, losing 78-61 at Missouri as a one point favorite. That drops the Cyclones to 0-3 ATS their last three games. They’ve dropped three of five outright, all three of the SU losses coming on the road.
This is a huge revenge game for Texas Tech, who got beat 84-50 in Ames back on January 13th. There was a wide disparity in three-point shooting for the game as ISU went 12 of 22 from deep while TT was 5 of 26.
Despite being 0-8 in Big 12 play, the Red Raiders have almost always been competitive. Five of their losses have been by seven points or less. Two of those were by three or less (to Texas and Kansas) and they also lost in OT to Oklahoma. There have been three games on the conference slate where Texas Tech had the lead at halftime.
Prior to losing in Ames three weeks ago, the Red Raiders were a perfect 8-0 ATS vs. Iowa State going back to 2019. Take the points (while you can get them) and even look to bet TT as a slight favorite (if the line moves). 10*
|01-29-23||Providence v. Villanova +2||Top||70-65||Loss||-110||4 h 19 m||Show|
Ed Cooley and Providence are doing it again as the Friars come into Sunday on a nice 11-2 run. They are ranked #23 in the country.
If you recall, Providence was considered one of the luckiest teams in the country last season as they won a ton of close games. This year has been a little different. Only three of those 11 wins since the beginning of December have been by single digits.
But the Friars are just a short favorite here at Villanova. If this line “flips” (i.e. Nova ends up being favored), it will put a fascinating trend in play. This season, unranked favorites are 19-9 ATS when taking on a Top 25 foe.
Regardless of where the line ends up though, I am taking Nova here. Providence’s two losses this month both were on the road - at Marquette and at Creighton. The Friars shot the lights out earlier this week vs. Butler and I see some shooting regression taking place today.
Villanova is 6-2 at home. There are three areas which will serve them well in this matchup. The Wildcats are very good at limiting opponents’ two-point shooting, free throw attempts and second chance opportunities, all strengths of this Providence team. Lastly, ‘Nova has been off for nine days and should be well prepared for this contest. 10*
|01-28-23||Ohio State +5.5 v. Indiana||Top||70-86||Loss||-115||11 h 48 m||Show|
Ohio State has been the unluckiest team in the country so far, but I think that changes tonight at Indiana.
The Buckeyes had a nice 93-77 win at home over Iowa last Saturday, but then reverted back to their losing ways by falling at Illinois 69-60 as 3.5-point dogs. That was on Tuesday. OSU is now 1-6 straight up and against the spread over its last seven games.
But four of those six losses have come by four points or less. Really, the Buckeyes could have won any of those.
Indiana had its own poor stretch, losing six of nine while going 1-8 ATS. But the Hoosiers have now won four in a row, beating Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan State and Minnesota.
Looking at this matchup from a market perspective, I say it’s a good spot to buy low on Ohio State while simultaneously selling high on Indiana.
KenPom has Ohio State ninth in the country in offensive efficiency and 20th overall. Both those rankings are higher than Indiana. I’ll take the points and won’t be surprised if this turns into an outright upset. 10*
|01-28-23||Western Kentucky +12.5 v. Florida Atlantic||Top||63-70||Win||100||7 h 7 m||Show|
Florida Atlantic has still not lost a conference game this season, one of only seven teams that can say that. While the Owls probably won’t lose today, I do think that it’s too many points they are laying to Western Kentucky.
WKU is at the opposite end of the C-USA spectrum currently. The Hilltoppers are 3-7 SU in conference play after dropping four in a row.
But you may recall, I had them against FAU earlier this month. It looked like it was maybe going to be an upset with WKU ahead in the second half. But the Hilltoppers fell apart late and lost by 14. They haven’t won since.
They certainly remember that game though and should come out motivated to knock off a team now ranked in the Top 25. FAU has had plenty of close wins so far, six by four or less to be precise. Their luck is probably due to end at some point.
How about here? Western Kentucky has been a double digit dog only one time all year and that was when they knocked off UAB. Take the points. 10*
|01-27-23||North Dakota +8.5 v. North Dakota State||Top||75-91||Loss||-110||12 h 58 m||Show|
I came up short with my Summit League Game of the Month last night, but that’s where we’ll stay for tonight’s lone College Basketball selection as we’ve got the “battle of North Dakota” with North Dakota taking on North Dakota State.
Just to reiterate what I wrote yesterday, everyone in this league is chasing Oral Roberts, who has yet to drop a conference game. Nobody is further off the pace than North Dakota, who at 1-8 SU in league play finds itself in last place.
But I believe this to be an excellent time to take the points with the Fighting Hawks. While they came up short (again) Monday at Western Illinois, four of their previous five conference losses had been by six points or less.
North Dakota State has dropped back to back games, both here at home, as they were smashed by Oral Roberts, then lost by 2 to UMKC despite shooting 55% from the field.
North Dakota certainly remembers what happened the first time these teams met, which was a horrible 22-point home loss for them. They’ll be out for revenge here and, at the very least, should get the cover. I don’t see NDSU matching its shooting from last Saturday (against UMKC) nor do I see ND shooting as poorly as they did in the first meeting. Take the points here. 10*
|01-26-23||South Dakota State v. St. Thomas||Top||54-60||Loss||-110||12 h 38 m||Show|
South Dakota State, like everyone else in the Summit League, is chasing an Oral Roberts team that is undefeated in conference play. But nobody’s closer than SDSU, who is two games back of the “summit” (i.e first place). The Jackrabbits begin a three-game road swing tonight against one of the weaker teams in the league, St. Thomas (MN).
St. Thomas just got done with their own three-game road trip and that did not go well. The Tommies lost all three games, two of them by double digits. Now they are unbeaten at home, winning all nine game straight up and covering all seven vs. DI opponents. But the trends don’t really support that streak continuing here as the team is 4-12 ATS when off a conference loss since joining DI three seasons ago.
Also, these teams already met once and South Dakota State won 71-64 as a 4.5-point favorite.
The bottom line is that I don’t think returning home is enough for St. Thomas here. They’ve never beaten SDSU in three previous tries and the road team is rolling right now, with a four-game SU win streak that has seen them cover the spread in three straight. 10*
|01-25-23||USC Upstate v. Gardner-Webb -8||Top||66-78||Win||100||12 h 38 m||Show|
We’re digging deep for the latest Game of the Month selection, heading to the Big South on Wednesday. Gardner Webb and USC Upstate both find themselves “middle of the pack” in the conference right now, so what’s the edge? Read on …
USC Upstate is just not good on the road. The Spartans are 2-9 this season when not playing at home and they are losing by an average of double digits. Part of that is they only average 62.9 points/game away from home.
Sure enough, USC Upstate is coming off a 64-58 loss to UNC Asheville on Saturday.
Gardner Webb won at Winthrop over the weekend, but pushed as two-favorites. That makes it six straight games without a cover for the Runnin’ Bulldogs. But this is a buy low spot.
The home team has double revenge from last season. Meanwhile, SC Upstate has just one win in the last four games overall and it was by a single point over the last place team in the conference. I’m laying the points. 10*
|01-24-23||Wyoming +7 v. UNLV||Top||72-86||Loss||-110||14 h 11 m||Show|
Wyoming’s luck is due to turn, sooner rather than later, and we may have seen the start of it Saturday night when the Cowboys edged Colorado State 58-57 in Laramie. Tonight, they’ll hit Vegas to face UNLV and I see this as being a pretty generous spread given the Runnin’ Rebels’ own perilous state.
UNLV has dropped four in a row and six of seven. They have just one win by more than seven points since December 4th. So they are not an ideal candidate for the favorite role and if you need that point to be reaffirmed, know that the Rebels are 1-6 ATS laying points at home this season.
Hunter Maldanado is back for Wyoming, which is huge. After missing the loss to Air Force, Maldanado didn’t shoot the ball particularly well vs. Colorado State. But I expect a better individual effort in his second game back.
Looking at the eight-game losing streak Wyoming was on - before beating Colorado State - they fell to a number of good teams. Boise State, San Diego State, Utah State and New Mexico are the top four in the Mountain West and there were out of conference defeats at the hands of St. Mary’s and Dayton.
I like the underdog to control pace and cover the number in this one. 10*
|01-24-23||Notre Dame +9 v. NC State||Top||82-85||Win||100||11 h 1 m||Show|
Notre Dame is a team that has really struggled in 2022-23 as the Fighting Irish are 9-11 SU overall and don’t have a true road win to their name. Things have been even worse at the betting window where they are 3-16 against the spread. Not exactly the final season that HC Mike Brey envisioned.
But I like the Irish to at least keep it close tonight in Raleigh. For all their ATS struggles, they’ve only been a dog of this size once and that was against North Carolina. This, I believe, is the correct time to jump in and “buy low.”
NC State hasn’t exactly been an ATS juggernaut through the years. They are a money-burning 27-47 vs. the number the last three seasons, a record which includes 10-26 at home and 15-32 in conference games. So the Wolfpack shouldn’t be trusted laying this many points, especially off the loss to UNC on Saturday.
Keep in mind that two of NC State’s last three wins have been by four points or less. And they needed OT to beat Miami here at home.
Notre Dame may not be on the level of some of NC State’s recent opposition, but I expect them to play hard Tuesday and cover this generous spread. Three of their last five losses have been by seven points or less. 10*
|01-23-23||Duke +3 v. Virginia Tech||Top||75-78||Push||0||10 h 43 m||Show|
Both teams are on long ATS losing streaks coming into “Big Monday.” Duke has failed to cover five in a row (and seven of its last eight) while Virginia Tech has failed to cover its last seven games.
But the difference here is that Duke has still been winning games, straight up. They are 3-2 SU during the five-game ATS losing streak and 5-3 SU over the course of the 1-7 ATS slide. They just defeated #17 Miami on Saturday, 68-66.
Virginia Tech hasn’t just failed to cover seven in a row, they’ve lost all seven of those games straight up. I understand that they’re at home tonight and eventually will cover a spread. But I don’t think the Hokies should be favored here against - what I feel - is pretty clearly a better basketball team.
This will be the first time that Duke is an underdog this season. This despite Jeremy Roach being back in the lineup, which obviously makes the Blue Devils a better all-around basketball team.
I’m taking the points here. 10*
|01-22-23||Merrimack -1.5 v. St Francis NY||Top||63-55||Win||100||5 h 21 m||Show|
The NEC (Northeast Conference) has treated me well in January! I’m 2-0 when playing this conference (which is found on the added board) including a big win with Wagner on Friday.
Merrimack is a team that just lost to Wagner, 62-57 as a two-point favorite, on Monday. Despite that loss, the Warriors have a big-time advantage going into their next game. They’ve had nearly a week off while their opponents, St. Francis (NY), just played 48 hours ago.
St. Francis lost 87-61 to St. Francis (PA) on Friday. They’d previously won three in a row, but all those games were close. None were decided by more than seven points.
These teams already played once this month. Merrimack won 65-53 as a 4.5-point home favorite, holding St. Francis to 39.6% shooting.
Merrimack isn’t very good offensively, but they are holding opponents to 56.7 points/game in conference play. St. Francis has been wildly inconsistent at the offensive end this season and figures to struggle (again) here in this matchup. 10*
|01-21-23||NC State v. North Carolina -5.5||Top||69-80||Win||100||9 h 29 m||Show|
It’s not too often that you can use “North Carolina” and “undervalued” in the same sentence, but I think that’s where we are at right now with the Tar Heels, who I believe are one of the Top 25 teams in America.
Over its L10 games, UNC has lost just twice, both on the road - at Pitt (by 2) and at #10 Virginia (by 6). Since losing to Virginia, Hubert Davis’ team has responded by winning twice, as they should have, as double digit favorites, beating Louisville and Boston College.
This is a matchup where they are catching NC State in the second of two straight road games. The Wolfpack won at Georgia Tech on Tuesday, but this is the first time all season that they’re playing two straight true road games. They’ve previously lost at Miami and Clemson. Last Saturday, they needed OT to defeat Miami at home in a revenge spot.
Remember that North Carolina entered this season ranked #1 in the polls! They are far more talented than what we saw back in November.
As a home favorite of 3.5 to 6 points, the Tar Heels have covered five straight times. NC State is just 15-31 ATS the last three years in conference play. Lay it. 10*
|01-20-23||Central Connecticut State v. Wagner -4.5||Top||50-72||Win||100||12 h 58 m||Show|
We turn to the NEC (Northeast Conference) for today’s Best Bet. Believe it or not, I’ve already cashed a Game of the Month in this Conference here in January, betting Fairleigh Dickinson (1st place team) against St. Francis (NY).
Here we’ve got Wagner, laying just a short number, hosting a Central Connecticut State team that is among the very worst in the country. I have no hesitation in playing the favorite here.
Wagner just stopped a three-game win streak earlier this week (Monday) with a 62-57 win at Merrimack as two-point underdogs. Prior to that, the Seahawks had failed to cash eight in a row. That’s why we’re able to get them at such a cheap price tonight.
Now laying points with a team that’s 1-8 ATS over its last nine lined games may seem like a dicey proposition. But, as stated earlier, C Conn St is one of the worst teams in the country. Currently #327 at KenPom (out of 363 teams), the Blue Devils have won just four games all season and three of those were at home.
In their last two games, we’ve seen C Conn State lose by scoring only 49 and then by giving 88 points. They are 1-10 SU when playing away from home and losing by a substantial margin (double digits in true road games). Lay it! 10*
|01-19-23||William & Mary v. Delaware -6||Top||53-80||Win||100||10 h 19 m||Show|
Delaware looks to halt a two-game losing skid here as it hosts William & Mary in Thursday night CAA action. The good news (for the Blue Hens) is they’re back home. The two straight losses both came on the road, at Hofstra and at Northeastern, the latter by just a single point in a game they led by 12 at the half.
Now the Blue Hens have been without Jameer Nelson Jr for the last four games and are just 1-3 with the lone win coming against Towson. Nelson is questionable to return here, but I still like the home team regardless. Note all three losses without Nelson came on the road.
William & Mary is also off a loss, and a humbling one at that, as they were beaten 82-54 at Charleston. Now there’s no shame in losing to a team that’s 19-1 and the “flag bearer” for your conference. But getting beat by 28 is another thing entirely.
Going back to the start of December. W&M is 5-6 SU overall. But three of the wins came by three points or less and another was over a non-DI team. All five losses, meanwhile, were by double digits.
With or without Nelson, look for the Blue Hens to blow out the Tribe. 10*
|01-18-23||Duquesne v. St Bonaventure +1.5||Top||56-65||Win||100||12 h 51 m||Show|
For this A-10 matchup, we’ve got two teams that have been covering the spread quite a bit lately. Duquesne is 7-1 ATS its last eight games, the only non-cover coming against Dayton where the Dukes were eight-point road underdogs and lost by 12. St. Bonaventure is 4-1 ATS over its last five games, also winning three of those straight up.
Obviously, the Bonnies have been the less successful team overall this year, but they come into this one sporting an 8-1 SU record at home. They are also 8-1 ATS here. The lone home loss came back on 12/13 to Florida Gulf Coast, as a 3.5-point favorite.
Saturday saw the Bonnies defeat Richmond, 71-63, as they outscored their opponents 48-34 in the second half.
I don’t like this spot at all for Duquesne as they are playing a third straight road game. They lost at Richmond the previous Saturday before winning at St. Joe’s last Wednesday.
Despite the rest advantage, the Dukes face a daunting task trying to win here at the Reilly Center. They opened as the favorite, something I disagree with, considering they have just one true road win. St. Bonaventure also holds teams to an average of 62.8 points and 40.2% shooting here at home. 8*
|01-18-23||TCU v. West Virginia -2||Top||65-74||Win||100||12 h 51 m||Show|
WVU is DESPERATE for a win tonight. The Mountaineers are 0-5 to start Big 12 play, which was tied for last (until Texas Tech lost Tuesday). But they’ve been in almost every game, save for the one against Kansas. The other four conference losses have all been by seven points or less.
Saturday saw West Virginia lose by one at Oklahoma. They at least got the cover, as 3.5 point underdogs, when Seth Wilson made a “meaningless” three right before the buzzer.
TCU is probably feeling pretty good about itself after smashing Kansas State over the weekend. But this looks like a bit of a letdown spot for a Horned Frogs team that is just 5-10 SU off a conference win the last three seasons.
West Virginia has one of the best home court advantages in the country, yet has lost two straight in Morgantown. Can’t see them losing three straight.
TCU’s three-point shooting issues (below 29% for the season) become a problem more so on the road. WVU is 9-1 SU as a favorite this year and I’m laying the short number here. 10*
|01-17-23||Illinois-Chicago v. Valparaiso -2||Top||66-76||Win||100||20 h 49 m||Show|
Valparaiso is not having a good season. The BEACONS are just 1-7 in Missouri Valley games. But so are their Tuesday opponents, UIC. The difference here is Valpo is coming off its first conference win while UIC has lost five in a row.
The Beacons beat Evansville, who are the worst team in the MVC. But UIC isn’t much better. The Flames may play fast (84th in tempo), but they aren’t efficient on offense (325th). The defense isn’t any good either (206th).
Five of UIC’s seven conference losses have been by at least 13 points. The two that weren’t both came at home.
Being at home tonight should motivate Valpo. They haven’t won here since 12/21. Saturday’s win was at Evansville.
Valpo is probably in store for some positive regression in terms of three-point shooting. They are below 30% from the year. It’s hard to imagine staying that bad for a full season. 10*
|01-16-23||Florida Atlantic v. Western Kentucky +4.5||Top||76-62||Loss||-110||10 h 7 m||Show|
FAU is 16-1 with the nation’s second longest win streak, but they have been a very lucky team so far, particularly of late. The Owls’ last five wins have all come by four points or less, four of them by that exact margin. I don’t think they can continue winning like this.
Hosting North Texas on Saturday, Florida Atlantic trailed at the half. That was after needing overtime to get by FIU earlier in the week.
Western Kentucky had been one of the most disappointing teams in the country, but the Hilltoppers have rallied for a three-game SU/ATS win streak, including an impressive victory at UAB. This despite HC Rick Stansbury being away from the team.
FAU has not had an easy time winning at WKU through the years. They’ve dropped 9 of the previous 12 visits. Those were different teams obviously, but the Hilltoppers have always been a strong home team.
The only other time they’ve been a home dog this year, WKU pushed, losing by four to North Texas. This time they get the cover and I obviously give them a great shot at pulling the outright upset against a team that’s due to drop a game. 10*
|01-15-23||Ohio State v. Rutgers -3||Top||64-68||Win||100||7 h 59 m||Show|
One could probably make the case that BOTH of these Big 10 squads are a bit underrated at the moment. Ohio State and Rutgers each find themselves listed in the KenPom top 15, however neither are to be found in the AP or Coaches’ polls.
Ohio State was in the Top 25 of those polls, but has dropped three straight relatively close decisions, including two when favored at home. I suppose there’s no shame in losing to Purdue, but losing as a 14.5-point favorite in Columbus to Minnesota was very bad for the Buckeyes.
The market seems to think this is a “must win” for OSU, but I’d be careful about that as Rutgers has lost just once over its last seven games (Iowa) and that was a game where the ShotQuality data suggested they probably should have won. A win here and you have to think the Scarlet Knights are in the “official” Top 25.
What I like about this Rutgers team is their defense. They are #3 in the country in defensive efficiency, trailing only Tennessee and Houston. That’s a massive edge over Ohio State, who is 99th in defensive efficiency.
This is the second meeting of the year between these teams. Ohio State won the first, 67-66, but that was not without controversy as the Big 10 later admitted that the game-winning shot should not have counted. Look for Rutgers, who is 34-9 L43 home games, to exact revenge in this one. Lay the short number. 10*
|01-14-23||Portland v. Gonzaga -17.5||Top||75-115||Win||100||14 h 19 m||Show|
Gonzaga just escaped BYU with a 75-74 win, but did not cover as 6.5-point road favorites. That makes it an 0-3 ATS start to the New Year for the Zags, all of those games coming as single digit favorites on the road.
I think it’s worth pointing out though that the three teams they just faced are all top five in the WCC.
Portland is NOT top five and that’s why the Zags are laying double digits here as they return home Saturday. The oddsmakers are expecting a blowout and so am I.
So far Gonzaga has won all seven home games by an average of 28.1 points/game. This remains an elite offensive team that is 6th in the country in efficiency, not to mention shoots it at a 51.4% clip.
Portland is coming off a bit of a surprise result as they were two-point home underdogs at home in a 92-87 win vs. San Francisco. But the last time the Pilots hit the road, they were beaten soundly, by St. Mary’s 85-43 as 17-point underdogs. May not get quite that ugly here, but the Zags will roll. 10*
|01-14-23||Kentucky +12 v. Tennessee||Top||63-56||Win||100||5 h 39 m||Show|
This is the ultimate buy low spot on Kentucky, who just lost outright - as a 20-point home favorite (!) - to South Carolina earlier in the week. Now the Wildcats face one of the best teams in the country (Tennessee) and are catching double digits themselves.
It’s not been a great watch in Lexington so far this season as UK has not covered a spread since before Thanksgiving. That’s 10 straight ATS losses for “those keeping score at home.”
But how many times do you get KENTUCKY catching double digits? Not many. The most points they’ve gotten in any game all season was 4.5. That was against Alabama, another top 10 team, on the road. I don’t think that the difference between ‘Bama and Tennessee is as great as the oddsmakers’ number here makes it out to be.
Teams have shot just 20.9% from three against Tennessee this season. That cannot possibly continue. I say that because the NCAA record for 3-point FG% defense (in a single season) is 25.3%.
Double digit road underdogs, after losing outright as a double digit favorite, are a solid 57.5% ATS the last 30 seasons. Grab the points here. 10*
|01-13-23||Yale +1.5 v. Cornell||Top||82-94||Loss||-110||18 h 27 m||Show|
Note the early tip time for this one (5 PM ET). After registering a big win over Penn (88-69 as 3.5 point favorites) last Friday, Cornell promptly dropped its first Ivy League game the following day (75-68 to Princeton, as three-point favorites). The Ivy League leaders are again at home this Friday and with such a short number, most are going to be calling for a bounce back. I’ve got a bit of a different read on this one.
Yale has played three close games to open conference play. They dropped the first two, 62-60 at Columbia and 81-77 at Dartmouth. Both times they were double digit favorites. Then came the first win in the Ivy League, 58-54 over Harvard last Saturday. But again the Bulldogs failed to cover, this time as 7.5-point favorites.
But this will be the first time Yale has been an underdog since facing Kentucky on 12/10. They covered the number in that game pretty easily.
It’s a much shorter number obviously vs. Cornell, but I still like Yale’s chances. They have a major edge defensively in this matchup as Cornell ranks 226th in efficiency over at KenPom. Yale is 69th. 8*
|01-12-23||Colorado v. USC -3.5||Top||61-68||Win||100||14 h 34 m||Show|
Let’s head to the Pac 12 for tonight’s College Basketball selection as USC hosts Colorado. The Trojans have already taken some early action, including from me, as I think this is a great spot for them to bounce back from back to back losses.
Both those losses occurred on the road, at Washington State and UCLA. It was a close one against their rivals, with USC even roaring back to take the lead in the final 30 seconds, but they ultimately fell two points short. But at least it was an easy cover as 11-point pups.
Before the two straight losses, USC had won seven games in a row, one of them over Auburn. Andy Enfield’s team was 11-3 overall with two of the losses coming to Tennessee and Wisconsin.
At home, don’t think the Trojans will shoot 18.5% from three again as they did vs. UCLA.
As for Colorado, they have prevailed in seven of their last eight games. But that one loss was to Cal, on the road. I understand that the Buffaloes just beat up on Oregon and Oregon State, but this line opened too low as USC is 6-1 ATS this season against teams that have a winning record. Lay it. 10*
|01-11-23||Missouri State v. Illinois State +4||Top||66-76||Win||100||13 h 34 m||Show|
Illinois State snapped a three-game losing skid its last time out, beating Evansville on the road, 69-61. Now they’ll turn around and host a Missouri State team that just had a four-game win streak ended with a 74-61 loss at Belmont.
I won’t lie and sell you that Illinois State is a “good team,” but the Redbirds’ record could certainly be a lot better. They have four losses by four points or less.
Missouri State being a road favorite here immediately caught my attention. The Bears have had to lay points in only one true road game so far this season. While they won and covered in that spot, it was against Illinois-Chicago, who is a pretty bad team.
If this game comes down to the free throws, and it very well might (considering the tight spread), then Illinois State has a huge edge. The Redbirds are making 79.8% of their FTs (82.1% at home). Missouri State, meanwhile, is a woeful 59.1% from the charity stripe (57.1% on the road).
ISU is a solid 13-6 ATS in its last 19 home games. Take the points. 10*
|01-10-23||VCU -3 v. Loyola-Chicago||Top||78-64||Win||100||11 h 29 m||Show|
I played VCU on Saturday, laying 5.5 against Davidson. They came through for me, winning in rather dominant fashion, 89-72. Let’s go back to the well with the Rams again.
VCU actually fell behind Davidson 10-0 after the first four minutes. But from there, it was all Rams. I don’t see them falling behind like that here against Loyola Chicago, so expect another comfortable victory.
Loyola has now failed to cover five in a row after it was beaten 86-75 at George Mason over the weekend. That was also the Ramblers’ fourth consecutive SU loss. Drew Valentine’s team is struggling big time right now as each of those four losses were by double digits.
Bettors can’t be happy with this Loyola team, who is 3-12 ATS in all games this season. Even getting points hasn’t really helped as they are 1-4 ATS in that role. After giving up 80 or more points in the previous game (as is the case here), the Ramblers are 0-4 ATS this season.
Give me VCU and it’s 52nd ranked defense. Loyola is outside the top 200 defensively. Lay the short number. 10*
|01-08-23||Niagara v. Manhattan +3||Top||59-64||Win||100||7 h 30 m||Show|
Let’s head to the MAAC Sunday afternoon where Manhattan will look to get back on track hosting Niagara. The Jaspers have lost three straight, the last two coming at home. They were slight favorites (-2) to beat Canisius earlier in the week, but went down 64-57. I don’t see this team losing three in a row at home, so as a dog, they are my lone College Hoops play for Sunday.
Now Niagara comes in riding a four-game win streak, the last two coming as short underdogs. The Purple Eagles beat Rider and Fairfield to start 2023, the latter on the road. But just like I cannot see Manhattan losing three straight at home, I can’t see Niagara making it five wins in a row.
Let’s point out that Thursday’s win at Fairfield was an OT game for Niagara and they really benefited from horrible shooting by the opposition, who went 31.8% overall from the floor and 2 of 16 from three. I don’t see Manhattan shooting that poorly here.
There have not been many wins so far for the 4-10 Jaspers. But being underdogs here should lead to a sense of “disrespect” as I believe the home team feels it can certainly win this one.
Also worth pointing out that Niagara is the 3rd luckiest team in the country per KenPom. They are 5-0 in games decided by seven points or less so far, which does not even include the overtime game on Thursday. The only other time that the Purple Eagles were road favorites this season, they lost outright to New Jersey Tech 62-53. Take the points here. (Probably won’t need them though). 10*
|01-06-23||Akron +3 v. Ball State||Top||63-70||Loss||-110||13 h 56 m||Show|
Akron hasn’t had much success on the road this season, but the Zips have won six of seven overall and tonight I expect them to go into Ball State, and at the very least, cover the number.
Ball State has won six in a row themselves. The Cardinals opened MAC play by winning at Toledo, 90-83 as an 8.5 point underdog. Coming off a win like that is usually a good time to fade a team. I just can’t see BSU matching the kind of shooting we saw from them in the last game (52.5% overall, 11 of 22 from three).
The underdog has a big edge defensively in this game, ranking 103rd in efficiency while the favorite is just 235th in that department.
Akron has also had Ball State’s number, winning and covering all four meetings the last two seasons. Every win has been by at least nine points.
I just think that the better team is getting points in this one. Ball State is 1-3 ATS this year after scoring 80 or more points the previous game.
|01-05-23||Pacific v. San Diego -6||Top||84-82||Loss||-110||15 h 38 m||Show|
Two teams looking to make their mark in the West Coast Conference square off late Thursday as San Diego welcomes in Pacific.
San Diego (8-8 SU, 5-9 ATS) is off a big win as 11-point underdogs at San Francisco. This will be the Toreros first time playing at the Jenny Craig Pavilion since an 84-58 win over UC San Diego back on December 12th. They went 2-3 SU/ATS on the recently completed road swing.
Pacific (8-9 SU, 6-9 ATS) is also coming off an outright win as they beat Loyola Marymount 78-72 as a 4.5-point underdog. But that was at home. I don’t see a second straight upset win in the cards for the Tigers.
San Diego is averaging over 80 points/game at home this season. They are #59 in the country in offensive efficiency as per KenPom.
The defensive numbers aren’t great for the Toreros, but I also don’t think Pacific can take advantage. This is a Tigers team that lost to a non-DI school (CS-East Bay) at home last month. They also lost by 20 at home to BYU. Lay the points here. 8*
|01-05-23||Fairleigh Dickinson +1 v. St Francis NY||Top||76-57||Win||100||15 h 2 m||Show|
Last month, Fairleigh Dickinson gave a truly horrific effort against Richmond, actually trailing at the half 42-9! The Knights then lost their next game, 82-73 to Queens U, one of the new D-I programs this season. But they battled back and posted consecutive wins to end 2022, first beating Merrimack 71-63 and then Centenary 99-50.
Certainly, those wins won’t impress anyone, but it is not as if Wednesday’s opposition, St. Francis (NY), is anything to be concerned about. This is not exactly the marquee matchup for Thursday College Hoops. FDU is rated #328 at KenPom while SFNY is #348.
FDU is one of the worst defensive teams in the country, but has the edge offensively and I think their tempo (70th fastest in the country) will bother St. Francis.
In their last game, St. Francis lost to Central Connecticut State, another of the worst teams in the country. Actually, they didn’t just lose, they got beat by 22!
The fact that this is a revenge game for FDU (five straight losses to St. Francis) puts them over the top for me. Homecourt advantage won’t mean much on a Thursday afternoon. 10*
|01-04-23||Northern Iowa v. Valparaiso +3||Top||69-67||Win||100||12 h 56 m||Show|
Four games into conference play and Valparaiso is still looking for its first Missouri Valley win. The Crusaders host Northern Iowa on Wednesday. I sense there will be a real sense of desperation here for the home team and thus will back them plus the points.
Valpo is coming off a dreadful shooting night, one in which it made just 29.5% of its FG attempts against Indiana State. They ended up losing 68-50. Coming off an embarrassing effort such as that, at home no less, you’ve got to expect an inspired effort here.
Northern Iowa is playing its second straight true road game, the first time that situation has come up for them in 2022-23. The Panthers won at Illinois State on New Year’s Eve, 66-60, a slight upset as they came into that game as one-point underdogs. Prior to that win, they’d dropped four of six.
This is a game flying under the radar on Wednesday’s CBB slate, but again, I like the situation for Valpo, who had scored 70 or more in each of its previous four home games. The Crusaders are due for better shooting after that abysmal last performance. They are 13-5 ATS when coming off a game where they scored 60 points or less.
UNI, on the other hand, is 4-10 ATS after holding its previous opponent to 60 or less. That includes 0-4 this season. Take the points. 10*
|01-02-23||West Virginia +3.5 v. Oklahoma State||Top||60-67||Loss||-105||11 h 39 m||Show|
Both teams are coming off close losses on the road to open Big XII play. In each instance, the loss occurred in the state of Kansas. West Virginia lost to Kansas State 82-76 in overtime (pick ‘em game) while Oklahoma State lost 69-67 (as 10-point underdogs) at Kansas.
The difference between these teams is that WVU is on an 0-3 ATS losing streak while OK State is 3-0 ATS its last three games. I look for these streaks to end Monday.
WVU had won four straight games before losing in Manhattan. Oklahoma State is only 3-3 SU over its last six games. I don’t think that the Mountaineers should be underdogs here, even on the road.
With this game likely to be pretty low-scoring (total is currently 139.5 - and it wouldn’t surprise me if it stayed Under), that’s just another reason to take the points.
I’ve got West VIrginia rated as the better team. Oklahoma State is 1-5 ATS the last six times it has been a home favorite of 3.5 to 6 points. 10*
|01-01-23||Cornell v. Dartmouth +8.5||Top||74-63||Loss||-110||6 h 58 m||Show|
I’m taking Dartmouth here, despite their five consecutive losses. Three of the five have been by single digits and the last four on the road. The Big Green now return home for the first time in a month, hosting a Cornell team that’s 10-3 and on a four-game win streak. Line is inflated here.
When off three consecutive SU losses, Dartmouth is 8-1 ATS. That includes covering the last two games.
As you may have surmised, the Big Green haven’t shot well during the 5-game skid. I’d say 35.6% is abnormally poor though. We should see that number start to go up at home though as they have a 49.5 FG% here for the year. They also are holding teams to 39.9%
Yes, Cornell can score and is very good at the offensive end. But they are not sound defensively, yielding 78.7 points/game away from home. They are 254th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency.
While I’m not so confident to predict an outright win here for the Big Green, they should easily cover at home. Take the points. 10*
|12-31-22||San Diego State -3.5 v. UNLV||Top||76-67||Win||100||8 h 58 m||Show|
San Diego State, the presumed favorite to win the Mountain West this year, has been termed “disappointing” thus far, even though the Aztecs have a fine record and their defensive efficiency rating (13th) is among the best in the country.
I had to settle for a ‘push’ when I played the Aztecs, as 16-point favorites, against Air Force earlier in the week. This time, as they are set to hit the conference road for the first time, we’re getting a far lower number and one that I believe they’ll cover easily.
UNLV is in a bit of freefall as the Runnin’ Rebels have lost two of three following a 10-0 start. Both losses were close, 75-73 to San Francisco and 75-72 to San Jose State, the latter being a game that went to OT. But the Rebels are a team that struggles to score in the half court. That will be a big problem here.
San Diego State should control tempo this afternoon. I think UNLV struggles at both ends of the court here. Since it’s last loss, SDSU has won three straight by 16+ points.
Just think the line is a little low in this one. Lay the points. 10*
|12-30-22||UCLA -8 v. Washington State||Top||67-66||Loss||-110||15 h 36 m||Show|
After a couple of hiccups against Illinois and Baylor, certainly excusable losses (especially since they were played on a neutral floor), UCLA has rattled off eight consecutive victories, most of them by double digits. I’ll look for them to continue rolling tonight when they visit the Palouse.
Washington State has dropped two in a row for the fourth time this season. The Cougars are just 5-8 on the season. Now, the three previous times they’ve been off back to back losses previously, they’ve delivered a win. But those wins came against Eastern Washington, Northern Kentucky and George Washington. In every one of those games, they were the favorites.
UCLA has dominated this Pac 12 rivalry through the years, winning 40 of the past 47 matchups.
The eighth ranked Bruins have eight wins by 10 or more over the past month, including beating Kentucky (in New York) and a 27-point thrashing of Maryland in a true road game. This should be a cakewalk by comparison.
The biggest problem for Wazzu in this game is that they are turning the ball over on 21.2% of all possessions, which is 292nd nationally. UCLA excels at turning its opponents over, doing so on 25.3% of all possessions, 11th best in the country. Lay the points here. 10*
|12-29-22||Iowa v. Nebraska +4.5||Top||50-66||Win||100||11 h 15 m||Show|
Many will view this as a “bounce back” or “get right” game for Iowa after they suffered an inexplicable 92-83 loss to Eastern Illinois last week, a game where the Hawkeyes were 31-point home favorites. I am far less convinced that any such “bounce back” takes place.
Nebraska is a team that has already taken Purdue, the class of the Big 10, into overtime this year. That game was played right in Lincoln. The Cornhuskers might be considered towards the bottom of the conference pecking order, but they are still a respectable 89th in the country over at KenPom.
Iowa is still soft defensively, ranking outside the top 100 in adjusted efficiency. So Nebraska should be able to put up points here. Particularly on the inside as Iowa lets teams shoot over 50% from inside the arc. For the season, 54% of the Cornhuskers’ FG attempts are two-pointers.
Overall, Iowa has lost four of seven since a 5-0 start. Something to keep in mind is that Eastern Illinois had just one D-I win prior to stunning the Hawkeyes. That’s a very concerning result if you’re Fran McCaffery.
Nebraska has balanced scoring with six players averaging between 9 and 14 points/game. Five players scored in double figures in the last game, a 75-65 win over Queens. Take the points in this Big 10 matchup. 10*
|12-28-22||Air Force v. San Diego State -16||Top||55-71||Push||0||14 h 48 m||Show|
At 9-4 overall, Air Force is a lot better than usual this year. The Flyboys have even covered seven in a row. But this is a spot to sell high on the Falcons as they face San Diego State, the class of the Mountain West.
The Aztecs aren’t defending as well this year as we’re accustomed to seeing, but are still 14th in the country in efficiency and that’s good enough for me. They should have beaten Arkansas (blew a double digit lead) and also have a win over Ohio State on the non-conference slate.
The offense has been better for SDSU as well and that’s while not shooting all that well from three. Air Force is due for some serious regression when it comes to three-point defense (opponents only hitting 24% against them) so this is a game I’ve targeted for the Aztecs to get hot from deep.
So far, Air Force has played one of the weakest schedules in the entire country. San Diego State will be the best team they’ve faced yet.
This number will scare some away, but not me as the Aztecs have won their last two games by a total of 50 points. They are also 7-0 at home with an average margin of victory of +18.0. Lay it. 10*
|12-22-22||Chicago State v. Minnesota -13||Top||55-58||Loss||-110||15 h 15 m||Show|
Gonna fade this Chicago State team again. On Monday, we only needed to lay -6.5 with Illinois State, who covered fairly easily in a 66-52 win. Here, it’s a big number obviously, but we’re also getting Minnesota out of the Big 10. This game won’t be close.
As mentioned in Monday’s writeup, Chicago State is in the midst of a long road trip. It began 11 days ago and this will now be the fifth game in a row away from home. The previous four have all been losses with the final margins getting wider. The Cougars have just one win in their last 10 games.
But of course, we’re not just betting on a win here from Minnesota, we need them to win by margin. The Golden Gophers may be one of the weaker Big 10 teams this year, but they are still eons better than Chicago State. The respective KenPom ratings of these two teams are 181 and 327. You know who’s who.
Minnesota had lost five in a row before picking up a convincing 72-56 win over Arkansas Pine-Bluff last week. What’s significant about that win is that Ark Pine Bluff has a comparable KenPom rating to Chicago State. It was the Gophers’ first game against a non-quality opponent in some time, which partially explains their SU record.
Chicago State has to be gassed playing its fifth road game in 11 days. Meanwhile, Minnesota has been off for over a week. That’s a huge situational edge to the superior home team. Lay it! 10*
|12-21-22||Northeastern +11.5 v. Davidson||Top||73-70||Win||100||15 h 24 m||Show|
Early College Hoops action on Wednesday as Davidson hosts Northeastern. Both teams are coming off losses. Northeastern fell at IL-Chicago, 81-73 as a 2.5 point underdog. Davidson lost 69-61 to Purdue, but easily stayed within the number as 14.5 point underdogs.
Coming off a high-profile game against the #1 team in the country, this is a tricky spot for Davidson to be laying double digits. It being an afternoon game doesn’t help and could add to a potential “sleepy” effort. Following this game, the Wildcats are off for a week.
Northeastern is 0-5 so far in true road games and is 3-7 overall. They have not shot well at all this year, making just 40% overall and 30% from three. But we saw those numbers go up against UIC and they should continue to do so.
I also do not believe that opponents will continue to shoot only 29% from three against Davidson.
Nine of Davidson’s 11 games have been decided by single digits, including the last seven. I just don’t see the Wildcats winning this one by double digits. Grab those points. 10*
|12-20-22||Seton Hall v. Xavier -7.5||Top||70-73||Loss||-110||11 h 54 m||Show|
There were different results for these two squads in the respective Big East openers. Xavier hung 102 on hapless Georgetown Friday night while Seton Hall lost at home (71-67) to Providence.
It looks like a big number here, but I’m laying it with the Musketeers, whose three losses this year have been to Indiana, Duke and Gonzaga. All those games were close, decided by seven or less. Seton Hall has five losses and has been blown out a few times, losing by double digits to Iowa, Oklahoma and Kansas.
The Pirates also lost to Siena. I just don’t see them scoring enough to stay within this number tonight. They are averaging just 63.5 points/game away from home so far. That’s not going to cut it against a Xavier team that’s putting up 85.3 in its gym.
In addition to that, this is a double revenge game for Xavier, who dropped both meetings with Seton Hall last season.
Xavier has won its last six games coming into tonight and has the ninth most efficient offense in the country per KenPom. The worry if you’re Seton Hall is trying to keep up with the pace the Musketeers like to play at. Too much offense from the home team here. Lay it. 10*
|12-19-22||Chicago State v. Illinois State -6.5||Top||52-66||Win||100||12 h 15 m||Show|
Illinois State hasn’t had a ton to celebrate over the first month of the season, but this is a game where the Redbirds should roll. They are matched up with Chicago State, who (as per usual) is one of the worst teams in the country. Expect the home team to roll tonight in Normal.
ISU was on a three-game SU win streak and had covered four in a row before facing Ball State on Saturday. That game was played at a neutral site (Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis) and the Redbirds got victimized by a hot-shooting team as Ball State made 56.7% of its field goal attempts.
You can’t expect that from Chicago State, who is shooting just 41.5% as a team for the season. The Cougars have covered four in a row, but have lost the last three SU and this will be their fourth straight road game over the last nine days. That’s a bad spot to be in for a team that’s won only three times all season and one of those victories came against IUPUI, the worst D-I team in the country.
Chicago State has played 10 road games and lost them all, by an average of nearly 15 points/game. We don’t even need that margin here.
After losing its first two games of the season here in Normal, both by three points, Illinois State has won its last three home games including a nice little upset of Belmont. The Redbirds should win easily tonight. Lay the points. 10*
|12-18-22||Washington State v. Baylor -10||Top||59-65||Loss||-115||12 h 40 m||Show|
In the final game on the board, I look for Baylor to roll tonight against Washington State. This is being played at the American Airlines Arena (home of NBA’s Mavs), so not a true home game for the Bears, but we know which team will have more crowd support here.
Since a humiliating 26-point loss at the hands of Marquette, Baylor has beaten Gonzaga and predictably rolled Tarleton State. They remain in the top 15 at KenPom and are a top five offensive team.
Washington State has lost three of four, including close games to Utah (in overtime) and UNLV (who was still undefeated at the time). So the Cougs are getting some respect from the oddsmakers here. But not from the public, who has already bet this number up a couple points.
I agree with the line move. Wazzu turns the ball over way too much and that plays right into the hands of Baylor, who is 24th in the country in turnover percentage and 36th in steal percentage.
Probably going to be too much offense from the Bears as well. They average 84.6 points/game while Wazzu only averages 71.6. Really that second number is inflated. The Cougs have had three big offensive games so far (96, 82 and 83) but otherwise haven’t topped 70. They had just 65 in the OT loss at Utah. 8*
|12-17-22||Abilene Christian -4.5 v. CS Bakersfield||Top||65-59||Win||100||14 h 54 m||Show|
Abilene Christian comes into this game as the road favorite and has already taken significant money against a Cal State Bakersfield team that I’d have little faith in. Our side comes in having won four of five, including an 84-63 beatdown of Texas A&M-Commerce last Saturday.
CS-Bakersfield plays slow (341st in adjusted tempo) and is also one of the worst offensive teams in the entire country (342nd). There’s just not much to like about the Roadrunners right now. In their last three games vs. D-I opponents, they have failed to score more than 54 points. This will be their first time taking the court in 11 days. So on top of everything, they could be rusty.
Abilene Christian averages 76.4 points while outscoring opponents by 10.6 points per game. I just don’t think this spread is large enough, even with the Wildcats being the road team. 10*
|12-16-22||Creighton v. Marquette -3.5||Top||58-69||Win||100||13 h 24 m||Show|
A lot of people are probably going to want to jump on Creighton here as the Bluejays have dropped five in a row, the last three all coming as favorites. But Ryan Kalkbrenner remains questionable due to illness and this Marquette team is no joke. Therefore, now is NOT the time to be jumping on the Bluejays.
While Creighton has dropped five straight, Marquette has suffered only three losses all year. All three were by five points or less, to teams ranked in the Top 40 at KenPom: Purdue, Miss State and Wisconsin. The last loss (Wisconsin) was an overtime game. The Golden Eagles are coming off a 79-64 win at Notre Dame on Sunday. I played them there and will do so again today.
Against Notre Dame, the Golden Eagles won despite shooting only 26% from three. Winning at South Bend is not easy, especially when the visitor isn’t making threes. So tip your cap to Marquette there. Overall, this team is shooting very well this season; at nearly 50% from the field. Creighton does not defend the three-point line particularly well, ranking 240th in the country in doing so.
This is a huge revenge spot for Marquette, who has lost the last four meetings with Creighton.
Even if Kalkbrenner does play, don’t expect him to be that effective. At 7-4 ATS on the season, Marquette has been beating oddsmakers’ expectations and they are a strong home team (just two losses in the calendar year at Fiserv Forum). Lay the points. 10*
|12-15-22||Cal-Irvine v. Santa Clara -1.5||Top||74-86||Win||100||14 h 35 m||Show|
Santa Clara is going to be looking to reverse some trends here, namely the fact they are 0-5 ATS their last five games overall and 0-6 ATS the L6 meetings with tonight’s opponent, UC Irvine (also 0-6 straight up!)
Now while the Broncos haven’t been covering, they’ve been (mostly) winning. Their only SU loss since Thanksgiving came here at home to San Jose State, 75-64, as an 8.5-point favorite here at home.
They bounced back though by defeating Portland State 78-75, but as you already know did not cover the number. The Broncos were favored to win that game by 9.5 points.
Tonight, there really is no worry about winning and not covering as it’s a much shorter number vs. UC Irvine, a team that had dropped two in a row before winning at South Dakota on Saturday. I know it’s a shorter turnaround (between games) for Santa Clara, but I like them to get the job done tonight.
I do not think UC Irvine can continue to shoot 41% from three-point land nor do I believe their opponents will continue to shoot at a 28.8% clip from behind the arc. Lay the short number here. 10*
|12-14-22||Cal-Riverside v. Oregon -13.5||Top||65-71||Loss||-110||8 h 42 m||Show|
It was a rough start to the season in Eugene as, at one point, Oregon was down to just six scholarship players. After six games, they were 2-4 straight up. But the ship seems to have been righted as the Ducks have covered four in a row, winning three of those straight up (only SU loss was to UCLA).
I expect the home team to win big tonight against UC Riverside, who will be playing its third straight road game and second in the last four days. The Highlanders beat Idaho 76-74 on Sunday, however did not cover the spread as six-point favorites. They are outclassed in this matchup.
So far, UC Riverside has faced two opponents inside the KenPom top 100, Colorado and Creighton. They lost those two games by a combined 45 points. Another double digit loss is on the way.
Oregon will enjoy a nice size advantage in tonight’s matchup. In fact, by being the tallest team in the country, they enjoy a size advantage in every matchup. UC Riverside does not hit enough threes to counteract that. When facing D-I opponents, the Highlanders are barely hitting 30% from downtown.
The Ducks are 4-1 ATS as a favorite this season and allowing only 59.3 points/game at home. Their resurgence continues here. 10*
|12-12-22||Creighton v. Arizona State +4||Top||71-73||Win||100||13 h 8 m||Show|
Two teams trending in very different directions meet Monday night in Las Vegas with Arizona State taking on Creighton.
The unranked Sun Devils have won seven in a row (6-1 ATS) since taking their only loss of the season, which was by a single point, in overtime, to Texas Southern. While the loss of Marcus Bagley (“stepped away from the team”) has hurt ASU a bit offensively, this team gets it done with defense. They are 17th in defensive efficiency at KenPom and top 10 in both 2-point and 3-point FG% defense.
Meanwhile, #21 Creighton is reeling right now, having dropped four in a row after a 6-0 start. Worth monitoring is the status of Ryan Kalkbrenner, who missed the last game due to an illness. Without Kalkbrenner, the Bluejays lost 83-80 to BYU. His replacement in the starting lineup, Frederick King, had just four points and no rebounds in 18 minutes. BYU dominated them in the paint, 42-24.
Even if Kalkbrenner is able to go tonight, I still like Arizona State. It’s pretty darn impressive - at least to me - that they are 9-1 straight up despite shooting only 30% from three-point range. Sooner or later, the three-point shooting will improve and then the Sun Devils will be even tougher to stop.
Based on how this line has moved, it looks like Kalkbrenner is going to play. But still, I am taking the points in what should be a close game. Though three of Creighton’s four straight losses ended up close (five points or less), they really didn’t look good in any of them. ASU’s defense carries them to another cover and possibly another SU win. 10*
|12-11-22||Marquette -1 v. Notre Dame||Top||79-64||Win||100||8 h 41 m||Show|
Marquette’s only game over the last eight days was a 90-78 win over NC Central. They did not cover the large 19.5-point spread. Prior to that the Golden Eagles turned in a monster performance against Baylor (won 96-70) but then lost in overtime to Wisconsin (80-77). They come into Sunday at 7-3 SU, 5-4-1 ATS overall.
Pretty similar deal with Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish have played just once over the last eight days and they failed to cover in a tighter than expected 81-75 victory over Boston U. Before that they upset Michigan State, then lost outright to Syracuse, both here at home.
So it seems like a pretty even matchup Sunday at 4:30 ET on ESPN2. But it’s pretty telling that Marquette is favored. They are the better team. In terms of offensive efficiency, the teams have pretty similar ratings (28th for Marquette, 26th for ND). But defensively, Marquette is far ahead (67 vs. 174).
Look for the Golden Eagles to do damage from three-point land. That’s where they get roughly one-third of their scoring. They average 9.3 makes per game. The Notre Dame defense is allowing 35% three-point shooting for the season, which is outside the Top 200.
Let’s go back to that final score vs. Boston U. ND won 81-75. The Irish are 0-3 ATS this season after a game where they scored 80 or more points. They gave up 46 points in the second half to the Terriers. Marquette was almost up 30 in the second half of their last game. 10*
|12-10-22||Clemson v. Loyola-Chicago +4.5||Top||58-76||Win||100||9 h 41 m||Show|
This game is being played in Atlanta (State Farm Arena) as part of the 2022 “Holiday Hoopsgiving” event.
It’s not been a great start to the year for Loyola, who is 4-5 straight up and 2-7 against the spread. But I do think this is a good time to back the Ramblers, plus the points, as they are facing a Clemson team due for some shooting regression after sinking 50% (or better) of their FG attempts in four straight games.
Clemson has just two losses and both were close games. They lost by two at South Carolina (their only true road game so far) and then by three to Iowa in the Emerald Coast Classic (which was played down in Florida). But the Tigers have had their fair share of close victories as well. Beating Penn State required two overtimes and earlier this week they escaped a game with Towson, winning by just five.
Loyola started this season ranked in the Top 60 over at KenPom but have now dropped outside the Top 100. Like I said it’s a good buy low spot as this team is definitely better than what its shown. This was a Sweet 16 team last March, much to the delight of Sister Jean (now 103 years old).
Clemson only beat Cal (who is horrible) by eight. Loyola has had some close losses and this will be only the second time they’ve been an underdog so far. Not sure I’m ready to buy Clemson just yet, despite its 8-2 record. They won’t continue to hit 42% from three, moving forward. Take the points. 10*
|12-09-22||Washington +16.5 v. Gonzaga||Top||60-77||Loss||-110||13 h 16 m||Show|
Gonzaga is now just 2-7 against the spread this year, including 0-5 the last five games. I played against the Zags in their last game, which saw them barely get by Kent State, here at home. The market remains too high on this team and I’ll take the points against Friday with Washington coming to Spokane.
Washington is off a 73-63 win over Colorado that squared away their Pac 12 record at 1-1. The Huskies have already beaten the “other” top WCC team, that being St. Mary’s, and did so in impressive fashion by going to a neutral site and prevailing 68-64 as a 10-point underdog. Overall, the Huskies are 7-2 straight up (better record than Gonzaga!) and have covered four of their last five games.
Now Franck Kepnang is done for the season for Washington, due to a knee injury, which is a major blow. But this team plays terrific defense, which will keep them in a lot of games like this one. Huskies’ opponents are shooting only 26% from three.
They are also great at forcing turnovers, notable because Gonzaga comes in having given the ball away on 19.4% of its possessions this season. The Zags have also been bad when it comes to fouling. Washington already gets to the FT line at a decent rate and is shooting 75% there.
An in-state rivalry, this game means more to UW, who has lost six straight times to the Zags. I expect the underdog to hang around in this one. Take the points. 10*
|12-08-22||Jacksonville State v. Utah -15||Top||58-99||Win||100||9 h 52 m||Show|
Utah has won three in a row and covered four in a row to get to 7-2 SU and 6-3 ATS. Look for the Utes to win handily tonight against a Jacksonville State team that’s coming off some close calls and not really used to this level of competition.
Jacksonville State last played on Saturday. They went on the road and beat E Tenn St 63-61 as a 2.5 point underdog. Leading the way was Skyelar Potter with 27 points. He’s the team’s leading scorer. Notable, however, were two things. The Gamecocks really benefited from E Tenn St going 8 of 26 from three-point range. There was also a +10 advantage in free throw makes and attempts, a rarity for the ROAD team in College Basketball.
Prior to beating E Tenn St, the Gamecocks had played three other true road games. They’d lost all of them and were blown out twice, losing by 18 at New Mexico and by 42 at Alabama. In the KenPom ratings, Utah is higher than all previous Jacksonville State opponents with the exception of ‘Bama.
Jacksonville State needs to hit their threes to have any chance. But Utah is holding opponents to 22.5% shooting from behind the arc this season and allows fewer than one point per possession overall. Remember this game is at elevation, which should make it tough on the JSU shooters.
Utah has gotten off to a 2-0 start in Pac 12 play, beating Arizona and Washington State. If they can beat Arizona by 15 here at home, they should be able to win by the necessary margin here tonight. 8*
|12-06-22||CS Bakersfield +8.5 v. San Jose State||Top||48-58||Loss||-115||12 h 16 m||Show|
San Jose State just got absolutely waxed by Arkansas over the weekend, losing by 41. After taking a shellacking like that from a Top 10 team, I worry about the Spartans’ psyche heading into this game against Cal State Bakersfield where the oddsmakers are asking them to win by a decent margin.
Now things didn’t go so well for CS Bakersfield in their last game either. They lost to Dartmouth by 25. That was just the second double digit loss for the Roadrunners though and the first came at Utah.
CS Bakersfield was just 3 of 12 from three in that last game. Expect them to improve on that number here as SJSU is allowing teams to make 37.3% from behind the arc.
The Spartans are also a bad free throw shooting team (64.3%), which is yet another reason to want to fade them as a favorite.
So in a battle of two teams off blowout losses, I’ll grab the points. It’s a low total, so with points likely at a premium it seems wise to be on the dog. The number has even dropped a bit, but there’s still plenty of value here. 10*
|12-06-22||St. Joe's +11.5 v. Temple||Top||60-70||Win||100||9 h 17 m||Show|
Love the spot here for St. Joe’s heading into this “Big 5” matchup with Philly rival Temple on Tuesday. The Hawks just suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Fairleigh Dickinson while Temple is coming off three consecutive wins/covers. That’s opened up some real value on the underdog in this matchup.
St. Joe’s was a 12-point favorite when they lost to Fairleigh Dickinson. They were blitzed, giving up 97 points as FDU somehow shot an incomprehensible 57.6% from the field including 12 of 24 from three. I don’t see Temple doing that here.
While the Hawks have lost three of the last four games overall, including both when they were favored (also vs. USF), they do hold an outright win (as 5.5-point dogs) over another city rival (Penn) during that same stretch.
While Temple has covered three in a row as a favorite, they were 0-3 ATS laying points prior to the current streak. Just don’t think the Owls are a team built to win by margin, at least not consistently.
A key thing to watch in this game is that Temple really struggles to defend the pick and roll. St. Joe’s is a top 60 PNR offense. Take the points. 10*
|12-05-22||Kent State +15 v. Gonzaga||Top||66-73||Win||100||9 h 7 m||Show|
Interesting matchup here as Kent State is a perfect 7-0 against the spread while Gonzaga is just 1-6 ATS its last eight games.
I’m assuming that at some point the market will catchup with these two teams. But I’m not sure it has here. Gonzaga is coming off a major gag job against Baylor last Friday where it blew a seven-point lead in the final 93 seconds.
I suppose there is an argument, coming off a loss like that, the Zags will be fired up and looking to take their frustrations out. But do we really think they’ll be THAT motivated by a visit from Kent State, after losing a rematch of the Title Game from two years ago and a four-run down in Portland?
The underdog, on the other hand, should be really fired up and ready to go. This is a team that only lost by five at Houston (49-44) and its only two losses are by a combined seven points.
Yes, Gonzaga’s ability to score is always a concern. But Kent State is 12th nationally in 2-point FG% defense and top six in forcing turnovers. The Golden Flashes could have pulled the outright upset at Houston had it not been for some woeful shooting from three-point range (6 of 29) and Sincere Carry (who was 2 of 22). Take the points. 10*
|12-04-22||St. John's v. Iowa State -4.5||Top||60-71||Win||100||7 h 53 m||Show|
St. John’s is still unbeaten, one of 14 teams in the country that can still say that, but I believe they’ll go down for the first time Sunday in Ames. Iowa State’s only loss was to one of the very best teams in the country (UConn), at a neutral site, and has continued to be an incredible story after going 2-22 SU two years ago.
Remember that the Cyclones have already defeated Villanova and North Carolina this season. They come in off a win over North Dakota - where they failed to cover as big 24-point favorites - but still won 63-44. Although laying points, we don’t need a big win here.
This is the final game of the Big East-Big 12 Battle. So far, the Big East holds a 5-4 head to head edge after a couple of wins on Saturday (Villanova over Oklahoma, Xavier over W Virginia). But the real interesting thing is that the home team is a perfect 9-0 straight up so far in this event, also covering the spread seven times.
St. John’s hasn’t really played anybody and this is their first true road game of the season. I’d say some of their numbers are misleading due to the lack of competition. The Red Storm did not cover in either of the last two wins, against Long Island or Niagara.
Iowa State is the better defensive team in this matchup. They are surrendering an average of only 56.3 points/game thus far and only 44.7 here in Ames! Look for the ‘Clones to hand the Johnnies their first loss of the season and cover the spread in the process. 10*
|12-03-22||UNLV -3.5 v. San Diego||Top||95-78||Win||100||12 h 36 m||Show|
UNLV is undefeated (7-0). Only 14 other teams can still say that. The Runnin’ Rebels are allowing 57.7 points/game and have been off for a week. Look for them to roll tonight at San Diego.
San Diego has lost three times, twice by just two points. But those losses were to Utah Tech and Nicholls State, hardly the same level of competition they’ll face tonight.
The Rebels haven’t been the most prolific offensive team, but they are turning opponents over more than any team in the country. That leads to extra points that are critical when needing to cover as a favorite. They also don’t foul much.
San Diego is letting teams shoot 48% so the UNLV offensive effort should be better than normal tonight.
Not only are the Torerors 0 for their last 5 (straight up) as a home dog of 3.5 to 6 points, but they are 5-24 SU L29 as a dog! UNLV is far superior than what this line suggests. 10*
|12-03-22||College of Charleston -11.5 v. The Citadel||Top||79-57||Win||100||5 h 28 m||Show|
Charleston has gotten off to a nice start at 7-1, which includes winning their home tournament. Now three of their wins (Richmond, Va Tech and Kent St) were all by three points. But remember that the Cougars’ only loss, to North Carolina, had a misleading 102-86 final score. The Cougs led that game into the second half.
Now this will be Charleston’s first time leaving home since that loss to North Carolina and also their first time laying double digits this season. But I think they’ll be up for the “challenge” against The Citadel, who may be looking ahead to their own game vs. UNC in 10 days.
The Citadel was blown out at Butler earlier this year, losing by 47. Since then, they’ve won three of four with the only loss by three points. But the level of competition has not been strong and I believe the Bulldogs are severely outclassed here.
Charleston likes to play fast as they are inside the Top 50 nationally adjusted tempo. That’s going to be a problem for The Citadel, who only averages 67.7 points on 43% shooting when you remove non-DI competition.
While the teams haven’t met since 2016, this is a bit of a local rivalry (campuses just 2 miles apart) and Charleston has captured the L10 meetings. They’ll look to win in blowout fashion here. 8*
|12-01-22||Cornell v. Delaware -5||Top||74-67||Loss||-110||8 h 43 m||Show|
Delaware is only 3-3 but all three losses occurred away from home, one of them at Duke. In fact, this will be just the second home game for the Blue Hens with the first one being the season opener, which was a 78-54 win over non-DI Wilmington. Off the loss at Penn Sunday, I look for Delaware to bounce back tonight.
Cornell makes its two straight Ivy League opponents for Delaware, but the Big Red are not as good as Penn. They do play faster and that has led to 87.4 points/game during a five-game win streak. But those five wins have been against SUNY-Delhi, St. Francis (PA), Ithaca, Canisius and Monmouth. Not exactly a “murderer’s row” there.
We’ve already seen this line tick up a bit and I completely agree with the move. I know Delaware struggled to get stops against Penn and that’s concerning when turning around and facing an offense like Cornell. But this being a home game is huge for the Blue Hens.
They’ve won 16 of their last 24 games here and are also 22-6 straight up their last 28 games as a favorite. With such a short number, that seems worth mentioning.
This is back to back road games for Cornell and while there’s been nearly a week between games, the Big Red simply can’t continue to shoot as well as they have. Lay the points. 10*
|11-30-22||Rutgers v. Miami-FL -2.5||Top||61-68||Win||100||10 h 3 m||Show|
Miami treated me kindly on Sunday at UCF as they were my 10* Game of the Month and delivered (just barely) an ATS win. The Hurricanes won by 2 (66-64) as 1.5-point favorites. Back in Coral Gables, I’m expecting a much larger margin of victory tonight as “The U” hosts Rutgers as part of the Big 10 vs. ACC Challenge.
The Hurricanes brought back a ton of experience from a group that made it to the Elite Eight last March. Jim Larranaga also did a good job in the transfer portal and the result is he has a team with four double digit scorers, led by Isaiah Wong, who is the team leader in points, assists and steals.
This will be Rutgers’ first true road game this season. They’ve already lost on a neutral floor to Temple, which is the only game this season where they weren’t at home. Miami not only has the win at UCF, but also a neutral court victory over Providence. They’ve won the first four home games by an average of 19 points.
Rutgers has been good defensively, but lacks experience and that’s what has me worried for them heading into tonight’s contest.
KenPom has Miami as a Top 27 team in the country in offensive efficiency. Rutgers has not faced anyone nearly as good as the Hurricanes so far, so expect them to fail their first road test. 10*
|11-29-22||Georgia Tech v. Iowa -16||Top||65-81||Push||0||10 h 18 m||Show|
Iowa should roll here in what promises to be another easy win for the Big 10 against the ACC. The Hawkeyes come in at 5-1 on the season and, as per usual, are one of the more lethal offensive teams in the country. KenPom has them seventh in adjusted offensive efficiency.
Now some might make the case that the Hawkeyes have been trending down ever since their big 16-point win at Seton Hall. They did blow out Omaha by 36 (hanging 100 in the process), however then only managed to beat Clemson (another ACC team) by three points and then lost to TCU, getting held to a season-low 66 points.
But Georgia Tech is not TCU. The Yellow Jackets are outside the Top 120 at KenPom and were blown out by Marquette, losing on a neutral floor by 24. They also lost to Utah.
Every GT game with an O/U line has stayed Under, but that figures to probably change after tonight. In three previous games here in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes have scored 100+ twice and 89 in the other game.
Just too much offense from Iowa in this one for the underdog to stay within the number. Georgia Tech is shooting below 30% from three, so I just don’t see how they can stay close. This team barely won at Georgia State. Iowa has covered 15 of the last 19 times it has been a home favorite of 12.5 or more points. 8*
|11-29-22||Maryland -12.5 v. Louisville||Top||79-54||Win||100||9 h 39 m||Show|
There are a couple of Big 10-ACC Challenge matchups today where I think the Big 10 team should roll. This is definitely one of them as Maryland faces a Louisville team that could be the biggest disaster in the entire country right now.
Louisville is not just 0-6 straight up, its worst start in over 80 years, but also 0-6 against the spread. They are one of just eight teams left that hasn’t covered a single spread. The season started with three straight one-point losses. Things have only gotten worse for the Cardinals since then. They lost to Arkansas, Texas Tech and Cincinnati by a combined 77 points. None of the games ended up closer than 19.
Maryland is undefeated (6-0) and on par with those last three teams that Louisville has faced. Actually, the Terrapins are substantially better than Cincinnati. KenPom also has them rated above Texas Tech. They are ranked 22nd in the latest AP Poll, which is in line with KenPom.
The Terps six wins have come by an average of 21.3 points/game and they are allowing just 61.3 points/game. All six wins have been by at least 16 points and they are 5-1 ATS. They have averaged 93 points themselves in the last three games and have beaten the likes of Miami FL and St. Louis.
This should be another long night for Louisville, who struggles to take care of the basketball. 10*
|11-27-22||Miami-FL -1.5 v. UCF||Top||66-64||Win||100||7 h 49 m||Show|
We’ve got two 5-1 teams from the Sunshine State squaring off here. Miami FL is looking to avenge a six-point loss from last year. That previous matchup took place in Coral Gables and the Hurricanes were three-point favorites. You may recall that the ‘Canes ended up making it all the way to the Elite 8.
That loss last year took place in just the second game of the season. Despite the rematch, Miami is again a slight favorite to win here. This is the first true road game for Jim Larranga’s team, which has looked good so far with the exception of an 18-point loss to Maryland.
UCF lost to UNC Asheville (98-95) in the season opener. Since then, the Knights have stormed back to win and cover five in a row. They won a tournament in the Bahamas, then came back home to defeat Evansville by 20 earlier this week.
But this is a tough matchup for UCF. Miami has better guard play and I think UCF’s defensive numbers are a bit fraudulent. The Knights were able to slow down Santa Clara in the Bahamas. But Miami as the most efficient offense UCF has seen this year.
The Canes are 14-7 ATS L21 road games and 12-4 ATS L16 against teams that allowed fewer than 64.5 points/game. Lay the short number. 10*
|11-25-22||Butler +1.5 v. NC State||Top||61-76||Loss||-115||9 h 21 m||Show|
Butler and North Carolina State will wrap up the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament Friday night with fifth place on the line.
Butler was crushed in its first game here, losing 71-45 to Tennessee (was close for a half). But the Bulldogs bounced back with a 75-70 win over BYU last night. NC State got a lucky cover in its first game here (thanks to a last-second three), an 80-74 loss to Kansas. The Wolfpack then surprised me a bit by defeating Dayton 76-64 as a three-point underdog last night.
Looking at NC State as a whole, they are overly reliant on three-pointers to score and weak on the interior defensively.
Even in the blowout loss to Tennessee, Butler did a good job defensively, allowing only 1.03 points/possession.
The transfer portal has given Butler a key edge here. They now have Manny Bates, who chose to leave Raleigh. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Bates be the difference tonight. 10*
|11-23-22||Tennessee v. Butler +8||Top||71-45||Loss||-110||9 h 46 m||Show|
The nightcap in the Battle 4 Atlantis features #22 Tennessee taking on Butler. Need I remind you that the Volunteers have already lost a game this year, a real stunner to Colorado. The final score there was 78-66, a game the Vols were supposed to win by 16 points.
Butler also has a loss, on the road to Penn State, but I think that the Bulldogs’ offense has looked great so far. They’ve put up 89 or more points three times for Thad Matta, who is back here after becoming the winningest coach in Ohio State history.
Matta has five double digit scorers right now and Butler is top five in the country in both eFG% and two-point FG%. I know that Tennessee is solid defensively (#3 in efficiency per KenPom), but the Bulldogs will find a way to score enough to cover this generous spread.
Tennessee is also turning the ball over more than you’d like to see. The team’s point guard from last season, Kennedy Chandler, is now in the NBA. The Vols will obviously look to shoot a high-volume of threes here, but the only made 27% against Colorado, notable because that’s the only time so far they’ve played away from Knoxville.
In fact, Rick Barnes’ team is shooting just 37% overall from the field. I think the favorite struggles to score here and that leads to, at the very least, an ATS loss for UT. This is what I’d consider to be a “generous” number. 10*
|11-23-22||Creighton v. Arizona -2||Top||79-81||Push||0||6 h 56 m||Show|
The Final of the Maui Invitational should be a good one as we’ve got two Top 15 teams set to do battle - #10 Creighton and #14 Arizona. Both teams remain undefeated with Creighton 6-0 and Arizona 5-0. But, if I can state the obvious, someone is heading for their first loss here.
Backing Creighton yesterday paid off for me as the Bluejays handed Arkansas its first loss of the season. As I said, that was a good matchup for Creighton as the Razorbacks are not particularly good at shooting threes and Creighton takes good care of the basketball.
It also helps that the Bluejays have shot the lights out thus far. They are making 52% of their field goal attempts thus far, which probably won’t continue. They shot 58.5% yesterday vs. Arkansas.
Arizona does a good job at defending the interior, which is where Creighton finds a lot of its offensive success.
Creighton’s win was impressive yesterday and I certainly enjoyed it. But Arizona beating San Diego State by 17 was even more impressive. Talk about offense. The Wildcats scored 87 points yesterday and that was their lowest scoring game of the season! Three times they’ve hit 100! I’m laying the points. 10*
|11-23-22||Kansas -8.5 v. NC State||Top||80-74||Loss||-110||4 h 51 m||Show|
Two unbeaten 4-0 teams will tip off the Battle 4 Atlantis Wednesday afternoon, but there’s obviously a big gulf in class between #3 Kansas and unranked North Carolina State.
The big story here is that Bill Self will be on the Jayhawks’ bench for the first time this season, after serving a self-imposed four-game suspension. I think that, and the close call against Southern Utah (just a six-point win), will have KU properly motivated for this tournament contest.
Remember that Kansas already holds a win over Duke in the Champions Classic. Jalen Wilson is leading the team with 24.5 points/game and has set career highs in points each of the last two games, including 33 vs. Southern Utah.
This Battle 4 Atlantis tournament marks the first time NC State has left home this season. They are really diving into the deep end here after facing Austin Peay, Campbell, FIU and Elon all in the comfortable confines of Raleigh. The Wolfpack like to take a lot of threes, but so far Kansas has held its opponents to 25.5% from behind the arc.
NC State, projected for a 10th place finish in the ACC this year, is going to struggle defensively in this matchup. Particular when it comes to preventing Kansas’ wings from driving to the hoop. Since the start of 2020-21, the Wolfpack have covered the number just one-third of the time (20-40 ATS) and are 12-26 ATS vs. winning teams. Lay it. 10*
|11-22-22||Creighton +2 v. Arkansas||Top||90-87||Win||100||11 h 8 m||Show|
Creighton and Arkansas are two teams coming off impressive wins Monday in Maui. The Bluejays beat Texas Tech 76-65 while the Razorbacks smoked hapless Louisville 80-54. These two teams are now a combined 9-0 straight up to start the year with Creighton at 5-0 and Arkansas 4-0.
Only one can remain unbeaten after Tuesday, obviously. While Arkansas’ margin of victory was greater on Monday, I’d argue Creighton’s win was more impressive, given who they beat. This could also be the spot where not having five-star recruit Nick Smith Jr (listed as “day to day”) finally catches up with the Razorbacks.
The biggest area of concern for Creighton is defending the three-point line. But fortunately for them, Arkansas does not make, or even take, a ton of threes. The Hogs are shooting just 30% from deep through four games and average only five makes per game.
Where Arkansas thrives is forcing turnovers. But Creighton is well-suited to counteract that as they don’t turn it over much, ranking 13th in the country in TO rate.
With four double digit scorers, Creighton is shooting the ball exceptionally well thus far. Look for them to prevail in this battle of Top 10 teams. 10*
|11-22-22||San Francisco -1 v. Wichita State||Top||67-63||Win||100||5 h 10 m||Show|
The Finals of the Hall of Fame Classic (played in Kansas City) go down Tuesday afternoon with 5-0 San Francisco taking on 3-1 Wichita State. Both teams won their semifinal games in impressive fashion yesterday. USF knocked off Northern Iowa 75-69 while Wichita State beat Grand Canyon 55-43.
We’ve already seen a change in favorite with the line moving in San Francisco’s direction. Considering the Dons failed to cover against Northern Iowa (were -7), that’s pretty interesting, but I also happen to agree with the line move.
The Dons like to play fast, much faster than Wichita State would like, and they take a lot of threes. They were 14 of 36 from behind the arc yesterday. The fact they were behind by 11 entering halftime may not sound all that encouraging, but the way they stormed back in the second half was. Also, while the Dons do love to shoot the three, you’ve got to expect they’ll make more than 11 two-point field goals in this game (that’s how many they made vs. N Iowa).
Wichita State is rightly earning praise following wins over Richmond and Grand Canyon, but let’s not forget this team also lost - as a 16-point favorite - at home to Alcorn State. I just don’t see the Shockers (57, 56, 55 points L3 games) scoring enough to stick with San Francisco this afternoon.
Teams are shooting just 22% from three against Wichita State this season. There’s simply no way that can continue. San Francisco is the ideal team to send the Shockers’ 3-point defense into negative regression. Look out for Khalil Shabazz, who had 24 points yesterday for the Dons. 10*
|11-21-22||Ohio State v. San Diego State -4.5||Top||77-88||Win||100||10 h 50 m||Show|
We head to Maui for our third and final College Hoops selection for the night. San Diego State is a favorite here over Ohio State and I expect the Aztecs to cover the number here.
San Diego State is a team that I’ve played before. The last time the Aztecs took the court, I laid a similar number (on the road) to Stanford and they easily came out ahead, 74-62.
The Aztecs are outstanding defensively as they were a year ago. Last year they ended up #2 in the country at KenPom in defensive efficiency. So far this season, they are eighth.
In terms of experience, SDSU has the edge here with four of last year’s five starters returning. They also added a key piece via the transfer portal with Darrion Trammell, who had averaged 19.5 points the first two games before going 0 for 5 from the field against Stanford. I’d expect a bounce back from Trammell tonight.
Ohio State had to hit the transfer portal hard after losing the likes of E.J. Liddell and Malakai Branham. Holden, Likekele and McNeil have all proven that they can be key contributors, but the relatively young Buckeyes have yet to face an opponent that’s this challenging defensively. Lay the points. 10*
|11-21-22||Georgia Tech v. Utah -4.5||Top||64-68||Loss||-110||7 h 16 m||Show|
Utah takes on Georgia Tech here as part of the Fort Myers Tipoff. These teams are in the event’s “Beach Division.” Every team from the “Beach Division” was successful in games vs. teams from the “Palms Division” with one exception, that being Utah, who lost 65-55 to Sam Houston State as a 10-point favorite.
As a result of that embarrassing defeat, expect the Utes to come out motivated tonight. First off, SHSU had previously beaten Oklahoma before beating the Utes. The other big takeaway from that game is how SHSU, a team that was making only 50% of its free throws, went 12 of 14 from the line against Utah.
Utah is usually pretty sound defensively. They’re allowing a FG% of just 34.0 and 53.7 points/game. I don’t think it will be very difficult to guard a Georgia Tech team that is only averaging five made three-pointers per game thus far.
The Yellow Jackets are 3-0 following an 18-point win over Northern Illinois last week. But this is easily their toughest test yet and being so limited offensively, I expect the underdog to struggle.
One of the tallest teams in the entire country, look for Utah to dominate the boards in this matchup. We’re getting a cheap price on the Utes because of the previous result. Take advantage. 10*
|11-20-22||Virginia v. Illinois -1||Top||70-61||Loss||-110||5 h 52 m||Show|
This is the Final of the Continental Tire Main Event in Las Vegas. #16 Virginia upset #5 Baylor to get here while #19 Illinois rallied back to beat #8 UCLA. Whoever wins this thing is going to have a nice mark on their resume.
I like Illinois to win. Here’s the thing. Virginia just can’t possibly hope to shoot the ball as well here as they did vs. Baylor.
The Cavaliers made 55.6% of their overall field goal attempts on Friday and were 9 of 14 from downtown. They also attempted 35 free throws and made 27.
Illinois, I believe, has the edge here both on the inside and from behind the arc. Terrance Shannon Jr, a transfer from Texas Tech, is the player to watch. He scored 29 points against UCLA and was 8 of 9 from three.
Virginia has been uncharacteristically bad at defending the three-point line so far. They rank outside the top 300 in 3pt% allowed. Illinois scored 51 pts in the second half vs. UCLA after going for 103 against Monmouth and 86.5 PPG in the two contests before that. 10*
|11-18-22||Indiana -2.5 v. Xavier||Top||81-79||Loss||-110||7 h 45 m||Show|
Lots of neutral site tournament action in Friday College Hoops, but here we’ve got Indiana traveling to Xavier for a true road game as part of the Gavitt Games. I think the Hoosiers are - by far - the better team here and will cover the spread without much trouble.
Morehead State and Bethune-Cookman are hardly what I’d call “high-caliber” opposition, but those first two IU opponents didn’t stand a chance, losing 35 and 52 respectively. The Hoosiers have shot almost 60% from the field so far and Mike Woodson has a deep team here.
Many believe Woodson’s team is going to win the Big 10 this year and I’m not going to disagree with that assessment, especially with what we’re also seeing at the defensive end (allowing just .664 points/possession).
Sean Miller is back at Xavier for a second stint. But I’m not really high on this Musketeers team despite starting the year with three double digit wins (over Morgan State, Montana and Fairfield). There’s no way they will continue to shoot 45.5% from three.
First-team All Big East selection Colby Jones sat out against Fairfield due to an ankle injury suffered in practice. They didn’t need him in the last game, but Jones would be a significant loss going against a team like Indiana. 10*
|11-18-22||Buffalo v. Drake -12.5||Top||72-80||Loss||-110||2 h 5 m||Show|
I’m expecting this first game in the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam to be a blowout. All signs point the favorite (Drake) winning very big.
About the only positive thing I can say about Buffalo right now is they are playing fast. The Bulls are listed at #1 in adjusted tempo over at KenPom. However, being that they are so inexperienced, the fast pace has led to a lot of turnovers and poor defense. Through three games, UB is 313th in turnovers while allowing 58% shooting from inside the arc (311th) and they are sending opponents to the free throw line at a very high rate as well.
The result is a 1-2 start with nearly 90 points/game allowed. After beating Colgate by a single point, the Bulls have lost by 35 to James Madison (at home) and by 20 to UConn.
Drake is a team that can take advantage of Buffalo’s deficiencies. The Bulldogs should have beaten Wofford by more than they did on Monday. They won by only eight because Wofford made six more threes. It was a pretty woeful 5 of 24 for Drake from behind the arc.
But they shot 68% on two-point attempts. Remember what I said earlier about Buffalo’s poor interior defense. Drake doesn’t turn the ball over much either. They’ve scored 80 points against two teams that like to play slow. Here, against a sloppy, inexperienced team, the Bulldogs should put a ton of points on the board and cover the number rather easily. 10*
|11-15-22||San Diego State -4.5 v. Stanford||Top||74-62||Win||100||12 h 53 m||Show|
A “mid-major” laying points on the road against a Power 5 Conference team speaks volumes and in the case of San Diego State-Stanford, the number is more than justified. SDSU is no “ordinary” mid-major. They’ve made back to back NCAA Tournament appearances and are the preseason favorite to win the Mountain West. Meanwhile, Stanford has yet to appear in the Big Dance since Jerod Haase came to Palo Alto in 2016.
San Diego State is excellent defensively. They ranked 2nd in efficiency in the KenPom rankings a year ago and have allowed the ninth fewest points per 100 possessions to start this season. The Aztecs held Cal State Fullerton to 57 points and BYU to 75.
Stanford figures to have all sorts of trouble scoring tonight. The Cardinal are shooting just 23.7% from three thus far and were just held to 50 points by Wisconsin on Friday. They are 0-2 ATS on the year, having also failed to cover the season opener vs. Pacific.
A real encouraging sign for San Diego State to start the season is that they’ve scored 80 points in both games. That’s something they did only once all of last season. Stanford let Pacific score 78.
Back to the San Diego State defense - they have been outstanding at forcing turnovers. CS Fullerton and BYU coughed it up a combined 38 times. Not only has Stanford turned it over a total of 34 times so far, but they had one of the worst turnover rates in the country last year. This is a terrible matchup for the home side. Lay the points. 10* San Diego State
|11-14-22||Wofford v. Drake -10||Top||72-80||Loss||-110||10 h 17 m||Show|
This is a tough spot for Wofford. After losing 91-80 at High Point, a game they were favored to win, this is the second road game in three days for the Terriers. I don’t like their chances.
Meanwhile, Drake has played only once - last Wednesday - and they easily defeated IUPUI by a score of 80-48.
For Wofford, the best player from last season is back. B.J. Mack led the team in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks in 2021-22. Mack has averaged 18 points in the first two games this year. The problem is that he doesn’t have much returning help. After Mack, last year’s top seven scorers all departed. They’ve been replaced by JUCOs and six freshmen.
Against High Point, the Terriers never really stood a chance. They were down 17 at halftime and just couldn’t get enough stops in the second half.
Unlike tonight’s opponent, Drake is an experienced team. Five players started at least 13 games on last year’s 25-win squad, making them the logical favorite to win the Missouri Valley Conference in 2022-23. The Bulldogs are a very deserved double digit favorite in this game and should have no problem covering the spread. 10*
|11-11-22||Kansas State -6 v. California||Top||63-54||Win||100||8 h 50 m||Show|
Kansas State figures to struggle when the Big 12 portion of the schedule begins, so it is imperative that the Wildcats perform well against non-conference opponents. Tonight’s game vs. Cal typifies the concept of “must win” and I believe they will - by a comfortable margin.
There are nine newcomers on the roster this year in Manhattan. Yet the season opener vs. UTRGV could not have gone any better. Now KSU was expected to win big as 22-point favorites. But they ended up delivering a 34-point victory, which was a very encouraging sign.
On the other hand, Cal’s season did not get off to a rousing start. As a six-point favorite here in Berkeley, they lost outright to UC Davis as a six-point favorite. Over the game’s final 9:30, the Bears made only one field goal.
Cal is not exactly expected to light it up this year as they were picked to finish second to last in the Pac 12.
Six players finished in double figures for K-State in the opener. Cal shot just 38.1% as a team in its first game. I know it’s a small sample size, but the road team is a justifiable favorite in this one and should roll. 10*
|11-10-22||Central Michigan v. Marquette -17.5||Top||73-97||Win||100||10 h 31 m||Show|
While Marquette won its first game against Radford by only 10 points, I’m expecting a blowout tonight. The Golden Eagles were up 21 on Radford before a five-minute scoring drought helped close the gap and make the final score closer than it should have been.
This is the first game of the season for Central Michigan. The Chippewas are off their worst season in many years as they finished 7-23 overall. They were competitive in the MAC, losing by an average of only six points per game, but struggled against non-conference foes, going 1-10 losing by 18 points/game.
Need I remind you that Marquette is NOT a MAC team?
The Golden Eagles were solid defensively in the opener, limiting Radford to 20% shooting from three. The problem was they shot just 26% from three themselves and also turned it over 18 times.
But I expect a more solid game from start to finish from Shaka Smart’s team tonight. They had four double digit scorers vs. Radford. CMU lost a lot from last season’s roster and figures to really struggle in the early going. Four of the top five scorers and rebounders from last year departed. A team that turned it over on nearly 20% of its possessions in 2021-22 figures to not fare well against a Smart-coached team. 10*
|11-08-22||Montana +4 v. Duquesne||Top||63-91||Loss||-108||7 h 18 m||Show|
This number has already been bet down, but there’s still value with underdog Montana.
The Grizzlies experienced a terrible finish to last season, losing 8 of their last 11 games. Before that, they were 15-6 overall and 8-2 vs. the rest of the Big Sky Conference. I believe this team is going to be on a mission to start the season and it helps that last year’s leading scorer Josh Bannan (15.1 points/game) is back.
There were a couple of key transfers brought into Missoula as well. The most notable being Dischon Thomas from Colorado State.
After going 6-24 with 17 straight losses last season, Duquesne head coach Keith Dambrot decided to clean house and he’s basically got a whole new roster coming into the year. Four of the top six scorers from last year are gone as are 7 of the 10 players that averaged at least nine minutes per game. One of the key new pieces, Tevin Brewer, is out due to an appendectomy.
Montana was very effective from the free throw line last season, ranking 11th nationally in FT percentage. They also were top 35 in fewest turnover rate. Duquesne was bottom 20 in the country in home field goal shooting percentage and bottom 10 in three-point shooting percentage allowed. Take the points here. 10*
|11-07-22||Memphis -2.5 v. Vanderbilt||Top||76-67||Win||100||11 h 57 m||Show|
This is one of the “juicier” matchups on Opening Night of the College Basketball season as two teams coached by former NBA All-Stars collide.
Memphis went 22-11 last season, including 13-5 in the American Conference, and made the NCAA Tournament. In the Big Dance, Anfernee Hardaway’s team gave Gonzaga a real scare in the second round as they had a 10-point lead at halftime. Eventually though, the Tigers would lose by four points.
Vanderbilt went just 19-17 last season and they were 7-11 in the SEC for Jerry Stackhouse. Notably, the Commodores were just 1-7 when up against a ranked team. Memphis may not be ranked heading into 2022-23, but they are certainly the better team in this matchup.
Kendric Davis is a key transfer for Memphis, coming over from conference rival SMU. Davis joins holdovers Alex Lomax and DeAndre Williams for what should be a formidable scoring trio. The Tigers have nine seniors on the roster, so it’s a veteran team and I look for them to attack Vandy inside in this matchup.
Vanderbilt lost their best player from last year, Scottie Pippen Jr, to the NBA. I think they’re going to struggle to score here against what should be one of the best defensive teams in the entire country. Furthermore, not only should Memphis have success attacking Vandy down low, but they should have a big night from three. Defending the arc was a major problem for the Commodores last season. 10*
|04-04-22||North Carolina v. Kansas -4||Top||69-72||Loss||-110||20 h 14 m||Show|
For the second half of the Miami game and first half against Villanova, Kansas pretty clearly looked like the best team in the country. They outscored those two opponents 87-44 over that 40 minute span. Now you may consider that to be “cherry picking” the best of the Jayhawks. But at no point in this NCAA Tournament have I ever believed they were in real danger of being eliminated.
North Carolina trailed at the half in the Sweet 16 and Final Four. They also were taken to overtime by Baylor after blowing a 25-point lead. The Tar Heels were an 8-seed coming into this Tournament, so few expected them to get this far. This is the fourth time in six games where the Heels are underdogs. I think their run ends Monday.
Let’s start with an update on the ankle injury to UNC’s Armando Bacot. Coach Hubert Davis has dubbed him “ready to play,” but having your leading scorer and rebounder injured going into the biggest game of the season is not ideal. Bacot also leads the Tar Heels in blocks and field goal percentage.
I expect David McCormack of Kansas to take advantage of Bacot being less than 100 percent. McCormack went for a season-high 25 against Villanova. Also, don’t forget about Ochai Agbaji, who leads the Jayhawks in scoring.
Kansas is more experienced on the bench as Bill Self has been here forever and won a National Championship. North Carolina’s Hubert Davis is a rookie coach. The Jayhawks’ top eight scorers have played in a combined 973 games. They were built for this. Lay the points.
|04-02-22||North Carolina v. Duke -3.5||Top||81-77||Loss||-115||57 h 55 m||Show|
UNC is 4-0 ATS in the tournament and going back to the last couple weeks of the regular season, they are on a 10-1 SU run in their previous 11 games, also going 9-2 against the spread. Duke has covered its last three games after a last second layup by Cal State Fullerton handed the Blue Devils a 1.5 point ATS loss in Round 1.
Both teams were eliminated by Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament. The only other loss for Duke, over their last 15 games, came to North Carolina, in Coach K’s home finale. The final score of that game was 94-81. That was after Duke won the first meeting, 87-67, in Chapel Hill. To say the Blue Devils will be highly motivated to avenge that last loss UNC is putting it mildly.
Duke was clearly the best team in the ACC this year. North Carolina has had a nice run, but it is worth mentioning that they were an 8-seed coming into the NCAA Tournament. Obviously, they are better than how they were seeded, but being an 8-seed shows they are far from the most consistent team.
The Blue Devils are just the better team here. North Carolina could have lost to either Baylor or UCLA, before they got lucky and faced a 15-seed in the Elite 8. I’ve never sensed Duke being in any danger in their tourney run.
While most teams have struggled to find their shot in the NCAA Tournament, Duke hasn’t. The Blue Devils have made over 50% of their field goal attempts and scored at least 78 points in every game.
|04-02-22||Villanova +4.5 v. Kansas||Top||65-81||Loss||-110||54 h 26 m||Show|
Villanova is 4-0 ATS in the tournament. Kansas is 2-2 ATS. Villanova has not trailed at halftime in any game. Kansas, the lone 1-seed left, trailed at the half against Miami in the Elite 8, before putting the clamps down in the second half. In three of their four games thus far, the Jayhawks have allowed less than 20 points in one half. Don’t see that happening against Villanova.
There’s a major edge at the charity stripe for ‘Nova as they are one of the best free throw shooting teams in College Basketball history. Kansas shoots it at just 72% from the FT line.
Jay Wright has fared very well in NCAA Tournament games during his time at Villanova, covering 21 of the last 27. Kansas is 7-20 ATS the previous 27 times they’ve been off a straight-up win by 20 or more points.
Villanova is 8-3 ATS in neutral site games this season. Kansas is just 7-5 ATS. Villanova is also 27-17-2 ATS as an underdog over the last 10 seasons. They have the best overall ATS record in the country during that time.
The last five head to head meetings between Villanova and Kansas have seen ‘Nova cover all five times. They also won four of the games outright, including a National Semifinal in 2018 by a score of 95-78. These teams seem pretty even to me, and even with the Moore injury, I will be taking the points.
|04-01-22||Fresno State v. Coastal Carolina +3||Top||85-74||Loss||-110||11 h 36 m||Show|
I like Coastal Carolina to at least cover, and probably win, The Basketball Classic. They get this game at home where they’ve already won twice in the tournament - by 24 and 16 points. Things were a lot closer when the Chanticleers had to travel to face South Alabama on Monday. But they still came out ahead 69-68 in overtime and that is not an easy place to win at (South Alabama had just two home losses previously).
Fresno State has played all of its games at home for The Basketball Classic and I can’t see them replicating Monday when they waxed Southern Utah by 19 points. That game saw the Bulldogs make more than 50% of their threes while the opponent shot terribly (31.1% overall, 20% from three).
Coastal Carolina is averaging 76.7 points per game at home. They outscore teams by 14.5 PPG here.
Fresno State averages only 63.1 points per game on the road. Their last road win came on February 22nd. It was against a terrible Air Force team. The Bulldogs are the favorites here and I’m not exactly sure why!
Coastal Carolina is at home, will obviously be motivated and getting points. What’s not to like? FSU is 1-4 ATS its last five tries as a favorite.
|03-28-22||Coastal Carolina +3 v. South Alabama||Top||69-68||Win||100||21 h 31 m||Show|
We’re down to the semifinals of “The Basketball Classic” with Coastal Carolina taking on South Alabama. Winner here will meet the winner of Southern Utah vs. Fresno State (also played tonight). I’m taking the dog.
This game is taking place in Mobile, but the home court advantage hasn’t been a big boost to South Alabama so far in this tournament. The previous two games were at home and the Jaguars are 0-2 ATS. They obviously won both, but by a total of only six points.
Will USA shoot 58.8% again like they did last week vs. USC Upstate? Unlikely. Coastal Carolina has held its opponents to 38.4% shooting overall for the season.
The Chanticleers have been far more dominant than South Alabama has in this tournament. CC’s first two wins have been by 24 and 16 points. Going back to the end of the regular season, this is a team that has won five of its last six games.
These teams are conference rivals, both hailing from the Sun Belt. It is a huge revenge opportunity for the underdog, who lost the only regular season matchup - by three points at home. Coastal has lost three in a row to USA, but all three losses were by six points or less. They will be amped for this opportunity to exact revenge.
|03-27-22||St. Peter's +9.5 v. North Carolina||Top||49-69||Loss||-110||9 h 21 m||Show|
St. Peter’s has stunned the College Basketball world by becoming the first 15 seed to make the Elite 8. In addition to upsets over Kentucky, Murray State and Purdue, the Peacocks have covered the spread in 10 straight games. They have not lost a game since Feb 20th at Siena.
Somewhat lost in the Peacocks’ miracle run is the team they’re facing in the Regional Final is an 8-seed. No one expected North Carolina to get here either, even though the Tar Heels have now won 13 of their last 15 games.
With Duke advancing to the Final Four yesterday, EVERYONE is going to be anticipating a Duke-UNC rematch next weekend (UNC handed Duke a humbling loss in Coach K’s final home game).
But St. Peter’s has the better defensive efficiency rating in this matchup. They are top 25 nationally in that regard, which tells me that this run is not all smoke and mirrors. This is a team that just held Purdue, who had the country’s most efficient offense, to 64 points.
The Peacocks may not win, but I’m taking the points. Remember that North Carolina trailed most of the game against UCLA. I don’t see the favorite scoring a ton of points in this matchup.
|03-26-22||Houston -2 v. Villanova||Top||44-50||Loss||-105||27 h 58 m||Show|
Houston is the favorite in this Regional Final, despite being the lower seed, as they have covered six in a row and just dispatched top seeded Arizona. The Cougars appear to be as strong as any team left in the field. They are top ten in offensive AND defensive efficiency. No other team still standing can say that.
Villanova, like Houston, is 3-0 ATS in the NCAA Tournament. They’ve beaten Delaware, Ohio State and Michigan, none of whom were seeded higher than seventh (and the 7-seed Ohio State was basically a pick ‘em vs. 10-seed Loyola Chicago in the first round). ‘Nova’s shooting percentages - both overall and from three - have gone down each game.
This will be only the sixth time where the Wildcats are underdogs this year. They are 1-4 (straight up) previously in the role. Houston is one of the top pointspread teams in the entire country at 25-12 ATS, including 9-1 on a neutral court.
The way Houston dominated Arizona, an elite team, from start to finish cannot be overlooked. All three Houston wins in this tournament have been by double digits. They’ve actually won six straight by double digits.
Defensively, the Cougars are #1 in the country in FG% defense and I think they are going to do an excellent job at limiting Villanova’s threes. Also, look for Houston to continue to clean up on the offensive glass. They’ve collected 10+ offensive rebounds in five straight games. Villanova has allowed 11+ offensive rebounds in five of the last six games, the lone exception coming against Delaware. Lay the points.
|03-25-22||Providence +8 v. Kansas||Top||61-66||Win||100||128 h 30 m||Show|
So Providence has proven a lot of its detractors wrong thus far by turning in two strong efforts here in the NCAA Tournament. First they defeated high-flying South Dakota State 66-57. That one was impressive because they held the second highest scoring team in the nation to almost 30 points less than its season average. Then, in the second round, the Friars really put the clamps down in a 79-51 blowout of Richmond.
Now that was a 13 and a 12 seed that Providence faced. Now they face top seeded Kansas. The Jayhawks have beaten Texas Southern (a 16-seed) and Creighton (who finished several games back of Providence in the Big East). So this is also their stiffest test so far in the Big Dance.
Providence has lost only five games this season and only three times by more than five points. That’s a fewer number of overall losses than Kansas. As an underdog, the Friars are 8-1 against the spread.
Creighton shot well against Kansas, at least from three, where it made 43%. I think Providence is capable of replicating that kind of long-range success. The Friars are 22-1 this season when making at least 30% or better from beyond the arc.
Perfect trend alert: Providence is 8-0 ATS against teams averaging 77 or more points per game. Kansas averages 78.7. I think the Friars will hold the Jayhawks well below their season total, just as they did to South Dakota State and Richmond, both of whom shot under 36 percent. Take the points.
|03-24-22||Texas Tech -1 v. Duke||Top||73-78||Loss||-110||72 h 17 m||Show|
I think we’re about to see the end of a legendary coaching career as this should end up being Coach K’s final time on the bench when Duke faces Texas Tech.
Even though they shot 57.1 percent from the field, the Blue Devils’ 85-76 win over Michigan State in the second round was a little misleading, at least when judged on the final score. Duke trailed with under three minutes to go before closing the game on a 13-2 run. The final four points all came at the free throw line, in the last 16 seconds, giving the Blue Devils the cover.
Duke will not be shooting 57% against Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are arguably the best defensive team in the country. They just held Duke’s ACC rival Notre Dame to 32.7% shooting in a 59-53 Round 2 victory.
Texas Tech failed to cover that game as they were laying eight at the betting window. Here we do not need to really be concerned with the pointspread. By the way, the Red Raiders are 18-9 ATS this season when faced with a team that has a winning record.
Duke’s defense has been lousy for about the last two months. Over the last six games, the only team that failed to hit 76 against them was first round opponent Cal State Fullerton. Texas Tech scored 97 in its first round game, so they are more than capable of making the Blue Devils pay at the defensive end.
|03-23-22||Washington State v. BYU -3||Top||77-58||Loss||-105||47 h 25 m||Show|
Washington State and BYU meet in the NIT Quarterfinals on Wednesday, at Provo. BYU has advanced to this point with consecutive 90+ point performances over Long Beach State (93-72) and Northern Iowa (90-72). Both wins came here at home.
Wazzu has gotten to this point mostly with defense, downing Santa Clara (another WCC team) 63-50 and then winning at SMU (which is not easy to do) 75-63. The Cougars were three-point underdogs for that second game.
BYU has lost only two home games this season. One was obviously to Gonzaga, the other was to San Francisco, another NCAA Tournament team. Earlier I talked about BYU’s recent offensive output. Well, they also are allowing only 63.9 points per game at home.
Washington State has played pretty well recently, but is 0-8 against NCAA Tournament teams. BYU is obviously not a NCAA Tournament team, but they were pretty close to being one; I’d say they were one of the top teams that did not get in. I like them as small home favorites.
As for the Cougars, they are just 2-6 ATS off their last eight straight up wins. That was 1-6 ATS off their last seven before upsetting SMU three days ago. BYU has had one more day to get ready for this game.
|03-20-22||Notre Dame v. Texas Tech -7.5||Top||53-59||Loss||-110||11 h 35 m||Show|
Notre Dame has already had to win twice to get here and may very well be on fumes going into this second round matchup against Texas Tech. That’s problematic as this Red Raiders team is legit, as we saw in their complete dismantling of Montana State on Friday.
I had TT in that one. They won 97-62 as a 15-point favorite. The result was never in doubt with the Red Raiders jumping out to a 18-4 lead less than five minutes in. They wound up shooting 66.7% for the game, the fourth highest percentage ever in the first round, and made 12 of 20 threes.
Notre Dame is one of the weaker teams left in the field. Let’s not forget that it took TWO overtimes to get by Rutgers in the “First Four.” Then the Irish got hot themselves against Alabama, shooting 10 of 16 from three-point land.
But Texas Tech is perhaps the top defensive team in the country. They are 1st in the defensive efficiency rankings over at KenPom. Look for them to shut down Notre Dame in this one.
Don’t be concerned about the Red Raiders being unable to follow up an impressive offensive display. They are 4-0 ATS off the previous four games where they scored 90 or more points.
|03-20-22||Houston -4.5 v. Illinois||Top||68-53||Win||100||12 h 56 m||Show|
Illinois barely survived Chattanooga in the first round, not taking the lead until the final minute. But that’s when you want to have the lead and the Illini prevailed 54-53. It was certainly not an impressive performance and I think the Fighting Illini are in trouble here against 5-seed Houston.
Houston made it to the Final Four last season. The Cougars began this year’s tourney run with a dominant 82-68 win over UAB. It’s now eight covers in the last nine games for Kelvin Sampson’s team, who is 30-5 on the year.
Illinois was outrebounded by Chattanooga. That’s a terrible sign. So are the Illini’s offensive numbers from the L4 games, a stretch in which they’ve gone 0-4 against the spread. Three of those games have seen the team score 63 points or less and shoot worse than 40 percent from the field. They made only 3 of 17 three-point attempts against Chattanooga.
Houston averages 76 points per game while giving up an average of just 59.1. They are one of only five teams in the country to rank in the top 20 nationally in both offensive and defensive efficiency. This is a championship contender.
Illinois has failed to cover each of the last six times they’ve been off a straight up win. Lay the points.
|03-19-22||Memphis +10.5 v. Gonzaga||Top||78-82||Win||100||28 h 11 m||Show|
So, after a sluggish start, Gonzaga was finally able to pull away from 16-seed Georgia State in the first round. The Zags used a 24-1 second half run to put the game away, but still ended up not covering the large 22.5-point spread. (They won 93-72). Once again, in the second round vs. Memphis, I think the spread will prove to be too large.
Memphis has been on a real roll down the stretch. They beat Boise State in the first round 64-53 and covered the three-point spread. The Tigers took control of that game pretty early and never were really threatened after that. They have now won 13 of their last 15 games.
I don’t think Gonzaga can count on the wide shooting discrepancy that they enjoyed vs. Georgia State. They shot 50.7%, which isn’t that atypical, but Georgia State shot just 32.9%. Memphis actually did a better job defensively against Boise State, holding the Broncos to 31.5%.
The defensive improvement we’ve seen from the Tigers, since Penny Hardaway’s infamous press conference in late January, has been substantial. The most points they’ve given up in a game since February is 74. Only three times have they allowed more than 70.
The Tigers are 16-5 ATS their previous 21 tries as an underdog. Grab the points here.
|03-18-22||Delaware v. Villanova -15||Top||60-80||Win||100||90 h 36 m||Show|
Villanova should really smash Delaware here. The Blue Hens made a surprise run through the Colonial Tournament as the 5-seed. Now they are facing the Big East Tournament Champs and one of the best teams in the country. This isn’t exactly a Saturday vs. Northeastern.
‘Nova is 10-1 its last 11 games and that one loss was by two points. They are probably going to make a deep run in this Tournament. Late in the game, when it comes to covering this spread, it is nice that the Wildcats are the #1 team in the country when it comes to making free throws.
Delaware has never won an NCAA Tournament in five previous tries. They are also 0-15 all-time against Villanova. They had lost three straight games entering the CAA Tournament.
Since 2014, Jay Wright’s Wildcats have five wins by 20 or more points as a top two seed in the NCAA Tournament.
On offense, ‘Nova will overwhelm the Delaware. Defensively, the Wildcats allow just 63.1 points per game.
|03-18-22||Montana State v. Texas Tech -15||Top||62-97||Win||100||89 h 31 m||Show|
Look for Texas Tech to have no trouble beating Montana State on Friday. This 3 vs. 14 matchup is a total mismatch.
Texas Tech is #1 in the nation in defensive efficiency. This will serve them well. Montana State normally shoots well, but there’s a big difference in going from facing your typical team out of the Big Sky to the one the Bobcats will face here.
Though Montana State was regular season and conference tournament champs out of the Big Sky, this is their first NCAA Tourney appearance since 1996. Texas Tech, who made the Big 12 Final against Kansas, is a regular in this event. They played for the National Championship, under Chris Beard, in 2019.
The Red Raiders beat every single Big 12 team at least once this year and had two wins over Baylor, a 1-seed. They are also 8-1 ATS off their last nine straight up losses.
Montana State simply will not be able to shoot the three as well as they normally do here. Lay the points.
|03-17-22||New Mexico State +6.5 v. Connecticut||Top||70-63||Win||100||45 h 1 m||Show|
There have been only five years where a 12-seed has never beaten a 5 in the NCAA Tournament. I’d be shocked if it didn’t happen in this Tournament, so why not take the points here with New Mexico State, a team that is 26-6 on the year?
The Aggies have been to the NCAA Tournament before. They made it three straight years from 2017-19. Incredibly, they have lost 11 consecutive first round games, going back to the mid-90s. Eventually, a team is due. This team is better than most previous editions.
UConn has not been good at covering games. They are only 3-11 ATS in their previous 14. During that time, they have only four wins by more than seven points. The Huskies have also not won a NCAA Tourney game since 2016.
New Mexico State has wins over Davidson, Washington State, Cal Irvine and UTEP. So I don’t expect them to be intimidated at all. Their record as an underdog is a perfect 4-0 against the spread.
I have to take the points here in what should be a close matchup throughout.
|03-17-22||South Dakota State v. Providence -2||Top||57-66||Win||100||63 h 27 m||Show|
Providence is much maligned as a four seed as they won a lot of close games and thus probably are not as good as their overall record. But the Friars are being WAY undervalued for their first round matchup vs. 13-seed South Dakota State, a team that plays little in the way of defense.
The underdog Jackrabbits rank 223rd in the country in defensive efficiency. That is second worst among ALL tournament teams.
Not that a team needs any added motivation to win in March Madness, but the way Providence exited the Big East Tournament - an 85-58 loss to Creighton - should have them ready to go here.
This is tied for the shortest spread ever in a 4 vs. 13 matchup. The Friars will take it as a sign of disrespect.
While South Dakota State has not lost a game since Dec 15, the conference that they play in (Summit) is weak. The Jackrabbits live and die by the three, so thankfully Providence can hang its hat on the fact they are allowing just 31.2 percent shooting from long range. Lay the short number.
|03-13-22||Richmond v. Davidson -3.5||Top||64-62||Loss||-110||6 h 38 m||Show|
Davidson, win or lose today, is probably safe when it comes to making the NCAA Tournament. However, that doesn’t mean the A-10 regular season champs and top seed won’t be motivated to defeat Richmond on Sunday. I’m laying the points as fatigue is probably going to be a factor for the underdog here.
Richmond will be playing its fourth game in as many days. Going back to Thursday, the Spiders rallied back from a 14-point halftime deficit to get past Rhode Island. Since then, they’ve upset the #3 (VCU) and #2 (Dayton) in this tournament. It’s a big ask for them to now take out Davidson, who has been the best team in the conference this season.
Davidson has only had to win two games to get here and wasn’t really challenged in either. The Wildcats were 18-point winners over Fordham in the quarterfinal round, then 15-point winners over St. Louis in the semis. In both games, they jumped out to big leads by halftime and never looked back.
Richmond was again down at the half in yesterday’s game vs. Dayton. In fact, they were down as many as 14 in the second half, with just over 13 minutes remaining. The Spiders did not take the lead for good until less than two minutes remained.
Davidson is the better team and has had the easier path to get here. They won at Richmond, 87-84, in the only regular season matchup. I believe Richmond’s defense will crack here against a Davidson offense that is Top 10 in the country in offensive efficiency.
|03-12-22||Creighton v. Villanova -6.5||Top||48-54||Loss||-110||11 h 36 m||Show|
Creighton turned in an incredible performance yesterday in its semifinal win over Providence. They won 85-58. It was the largest loss for a #1 seed in Big East Tournament history. Providence couldn’t make anything, going 3 of 24 from three and shooting just 30% overall.
I think it’s important to note that Providence seemed to be overrated and to remember that - with no starters back from last year’s Sweet 16 team - Creighton was picked to finish eighth in the Big East this year. Thanks to yesterday, their 9th win in the last 11 games, the Bluejays are all but assured of making the NCAA Tournament.
Thus, the motivation may not be there on Saturday against Villanova, a supremely talented team that is the best in the Big East. ‘Nova beat UConn Friday, 63-60, avenging its last loss. Speaking of avenging losses, that’s precisely what the Wildcats did against Creighton the last time the teams met. After Creighton took the first meeting, ‘Nova bounced back with a 34-point win on January 5th.
Villanova is simply the much better team at the offensive end, where it ranks 8th nationally in efficiency.
Creighton is 0-3 all-time in Big East Tournament Finals. They can’t possibly play any better than they did yesterday nor can they count on Villanova shooting as poorly as Providence did. As for the Wildcats, they managed to still win last night despite not making a single field goal in the final five minutes. The favorite doesn’t turn it over and is one of the best free throw shooting teams in NCAA history.