|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|02-21-19||UC-Davis v. CS-Fullerton -6.5||Top||58-62||Loss||-109||15 h 41 m||Show|
10* CS Fullerton (10:30 ET): The reality of the Big West is that UC Irvine is a lot better than everyone else. Only two other teams in the league (USCB, Hawaii) can claim to have a winning record overall. However, CS Fullerton (12-13 SU) can claim second place in the standings, thanks to an 8-3 SU conference record. The Titans come into Thursday having won eight of their last nine games, the lone loss coming at UC Irvine by a score of 60-53. While they were certainly held in check in that game, the Titans have scored at least 77 points in each of the last seven wins.
Cal Davis will also come into tonight riding a win streak as they've come out on top each of their L5 games. Three of those have been on the road, though the last two were both at home. Saturday saw them beat Long Beach State 77-73 as they rallied back from an eight-point halftime deficit. It should be pointed out that the entirety of the Aggies' win streak has come at the expense of the bottom half of the Big West. Not that Cal State Fullerton has downed any "world-beaters" either, but as you're about to read, home court advantage is going to play a significant role in this game.
CS Fullerton has only played nine home games so far. They're 7-2 SU outscoring opponents by 13.2 PPG. Given that they are just 12-13 SU overall, it should be pretty obvious that the Titans are simply a much better team here at home. Their scoring goes up substantially while the number of points allowed also drops noticeably. Cal Davis is just 3-10 SU on the road, averaging only 63.3 PPG. So, yes, coming into February, the Aggies were actually 0-10 SU on the road. This three-game win streak is pretty shocking then and unlikely to last. They are just 1-10 SU as a road underdog, getting outscored by double digits in those games. 10* CS Fullerton
|02-21-19||UL - Lafayette +3 v. Texas-Arlington||Top||76-64||Win||100||12 h 11 m||Show|
8* Louisiana (8:00 ET): UT Arlington's bid to win the Sun Belt hit a major "snag" last week as they lost twice, both times on the road. First, it was to Arkansas Little Rock by a score of 56-52. Leading scorer Edric Dennis scored only six points in that game (on 2 of 15 shooting), thus the Mavericks could not take advantage of the fact their opponents scored a season-low 30 pts in the 2nd half. On Saturday, it was a 4-point loss at Arkansas State (83-79). Dennis again struggled (only 8 pts), but it was more the Mavericks' defense betraying them than anything else.
Louisiana is coming off B2B wins. The latest was on Saturday, 83-76 over rival LA Monroe. The Rajin Cajuns had a nice long layoff going into that rivalry game (where they were also playing w/ revenge) as they had not played since the previous Friday when they beat Georgia State 76-72 as two-point underdogs. That, like the LA Monroe game, was at home. Against Georgia State, Louisiana had a double-digit lead at halftime and was able to hold on for the win.
It would be easy to simply look at where Louisiana's last two wins took place (at home!) and where UT Arlington's two losses took place (on the road!) and decide tonight will be different based on the changes in venue. But note that even though the Mavericks are still tied for third in the conference, they have a losing SU record overall (12-14) and have been beaten four times this year at home. Regardless of whether they are playing at home or on the road, Louisiana can score as they come in averaging 83.0 PPG, which is top 20 in the country. A high scoring underdog that's in better form than its opponent sounds like a "good deal" to me. 8* Louisiana
|02-20-19||Butler +6 v. Marquette||Top||69-79||Loss||-105||13 h 45 m||Show|
8* Butler (9:00 ET): Marquette is a team I've been "chasing" for much of this season. Quite frankly, I believe the Golden Eagles to be one of the more overrated teams in the country, at least in terms of ranking. Not that they don't deserve to be in the top 25 at this point, because they do. But #11 seems a little high to me. This is a team that has benefited from going an extremely fortunate 7-1 SU in games decided by five points or less. Their most recent "close" victory came two Saturday ago against Villanova, 70-69. That was followed by a much more convincing win @ DePaul.
So Marquette rolls into Wednesday having won 10 of 11 w/ the only loss coming by a single point to St. John's. They've been off for over a week and host a Butler team they already beat by 18 points - on the road - last month. Predictably, the line has shifted quite a bit for this rematch. But has it shifted TOO much? Marquette was actually an underdog when it won at Hinkle Fieldhouse. They may be playing tonight's game w/o the services of Sam Hauser, their second-leading scorer (15.3 PPG) and only one of two double digit scorers on the roster. Hauser is currently listed as questionable due to an eye injury suffered in the DePaul game. He is also the team's leading rebounder.
Butler has lost 10 straight games to Top 25 opponents. To win here, they're probably going to need to hold Marquette under 74 points. The Golden Eagles are a perfect 17-0 SU when hitting that benchmark this season, but just 4-4 SU when falling short. Butler is a team capable of having a big night from three-point range as there have been 11 games this season where they've made 10 or more shot from behind the arc. They are 9-2 SU in those 11 games. Something else to keep in mind here is that the Bulldogs' only loss in the last four games was in OT (at St. John's). They scored 91 pts against DePaul on Saturday and I like this revenge-minded dog. 8* Butler
|02-20-19||Arkansas v. Auburn -12||Top||56-79||Win||100||12 h 5 m||Show|
10* Auburn (8:30 ET): I understand why Auburn isn't currently ranked in the Top 25, but I've got them in them rated among the top 15 teams in America in my own personal power rankings and most objective rating systems (Vegas, BPI, KenPom) seem to agree. The Tigers did recently lose B2B games, to LSU and Ole Miss, but bounced back over the weekend w/ a 64-53 win at Vandy. Tonight, they return home to face an Arkansas squad that's on a three-game losing streak. The Razorbacks have pulled some upsets this year, most notably over LSU, but not tonight. Lay the points.
Auburn is 12-2 SU at home this season, generally blowing their visitors out. They've outscored the opposition by 23.6 PPG here. This is a strong offensive team, one that averages 86.3 PPG at home. They also play good defense, allowing just 62.7 PPG here. Arkansas can score too, but the big difference is the Hogs can't stop anybody, especially on the road where they are allowing 78.7 PPG. Look for that to be a major problem for them tonight. The Razorbacks have given up 77 or more points four times in the last five games. Auburn has held five of its last six opponents to 63 pts or less.
Arkansas' most recent loss was by 10, at home, to Mississippi State over the weekend. That came on the heels of two road losses to teams that were really struggling, South Carolina and Missouri. The Razorbacks did actually lead Miss St by six at halftime, but fell victim to a 23-1 run. That game is instructive b/c I have Auburn rated higher than Miss State (as would most). Right now, the Tigers would safely be in the NCAA Tournament, but a loss to a team like Arkansas could be potentially devastating. Look for them to show how "good they are" Wednesday night. 10* Auburn
|02-20-19||Florida +6.5 v. LSU||Top||82-77||Win||100||11 h 35 m||Show|
8* Florida (7:00 ET): LSU is 21-4 (SU) on the season and has climbed to #13 in the latest AP Poll (#15 in Coaches). The Tigers are a team I feel has been pretty lucky this year and that's pretty much confirmed by the fact they have gone 8-3 SU in games decided by six points or less this season. Three of their conference wins have required overtime and the last four have come by a total of 15 points (all by 4 pts or less). After beating Kentucky on a last second tip in last Tuesday, the Tigers were able to hold on against Georgia over the weekend, winning 83-79 as 7.5-point chalk. That win improved them to a perfect 7-0 SU on the SEC road.
Tonight, LSU returns to the Bayou to host Florida. The Gators have not enjoyed the same kind of luck as have the Tigers, especially at the betting window. They'd failed to cover seven in a row heading into the weekend, but then came a positive sign as they went to Tuscaloosa and upset Alabama 71-53 as 3.5-point dogs. That was one of the Gators' better efforts in recent memory as they held the Crimson Tide w/o a made basket for the first eight minutes en route to their largest MOV on the road this season. Something worth noting is that Florida has won its last two games (also beat Vandy, but did not cover) even w/ Noah Locke shooting 1 of 14 from the field.
These teams may be separated by five games in the SEC standings, but that is not an accurate measure of how they match up. Florida has a superior defensive efficiency rating (top 10 in the country). Granted, LSU is the better offensive team. But College Basketball may be the one sport left where "defense wins championships." LSU has a losing ATS record as a favorite this season. Last week, when they faced Kentucky, the Tigers probably benefited from UK having a "lookahead" to Tennessee (which UK won). Now, it's LSU w/ the lookahead to Tennessee this weekend and they're laying points. Bad spot. 8* Florida
|02-20-19||Xavier +5 v. Seton Hall||Top||70-69||Win||100||11 h 35 m||Show|
8* Xavier (7:00 ET): A late surge gave Seton Hall an 81-75 road win over Creighton this past Sunday. It was the Pirates' third win in a row overall and fourth in five games. They scored 51 points in the 2nd half, which was a season-high. As a result, the Pirates are now tied for third place in the Big East (w/ St. John's) at 7-6 SU. Recent showings are a far cry from last month when they dropped four in a row at one point. Tonight, they play host to a Xavier team they've already beaten, on the road, 80-70 as 3.5-point dogs. But the line looks a bit inflated for the rematch. Take the points.
Xavier had gone through a terrible stretch, losing six in a row - both SU and ATS. But they've since won B2B games, beating Creighton and Providence in the last seven days. The latter win came on the road and saw the Musketeers prevail by 14 on the road. They actually trailed by six going into halftime, but totally dominated the 2H, outscoring the Friars 49-29. Tyrique Jones led the way w/ 19 pts and 12 rebounds. He made 9 of 11 shots from the field. It's not too often Xavier shoots as well as they did on Saturday. They were 59.2% from the floor overall including 8 of 14 from three-point range (season-best 57.1%).
Xavier probably won't shoot that well again tonight, but they do get a slight advantage right off the bat by having an extra day to prepare for this rematch. They did not shoot the ball well at all in the first game vs. Seton Hall and I do expect them to improve on those numbers here tonight. Seton Hall is just 5-10 ATS as a favorite this season and their overall margin of victory is less than three points per game. The Pirates are also just 3-9 ATS at home. I can't call Xavier a great defensive team, but they have held B2B opponents to just 61 points. 8* Xavier
|02-19-19||Nebraska +3.5 v. Penn State||Top||71-95||Loss||-109||11 h 41 m||Show|
8* Nebraska (7:00 ET): The Cornhuskers certainly fell victim to a monumental slide in January, not only losing seven straight games, but failing to cover the spread in all seven losses as well. Some of that can be tied to the loss of the team's second leading scorer, Isaac Copeland Jr. But the slide had actually begun prior to Copeland's season-ending ACL injury and was quite mystifying. This is a team I had ranked in the top 15 of my own power rankings at one point. Thankfully, they have stopped the bleeding some w/ B2B wins over Minnesota and Northwestern in the last week. They even covered the spread against N'western, winning 59-50 as a 5.5-point choice in Lincoln.
We may have FINALLY reached the point where the Cornhuskers are truly being undervalued. Tonight, they face a Penn State team they've already beaten, 70-64, back on January 10th. They did not cover the spread in that game (were -10.5), but I certainly think it's instructive to look at how far the line has shifted for this rematch. Nebraska has gone from a DD favorite to a slight underdog here and I don't think that's warranted, even after factoring in the Copeland injury and change of venue. Penn State has won only twice in Big 10 play and both times came as an underdog. The two times they were favored both resulted in outright losses here in Happy Valley.
Exactly one week ago, the Nittany Lions did pull off a big upset here at home as they beat Michigan 75-69 as seven-point dogs. But that was followed up w/ a double digit loss at Purdue on Saturday. I do feel that Penn State has fallen victim to some "bad luck" this season, but that's all water under the bridge now. They are only 6-6 SU at home and have suffered five outright losses here (SU loss when favored). Tonight marks just the 5th time Nebraska has been an underdog all season. So as said earlier, we finally may have reached the point where they can truly be considered "undervalued." I expect them to win tonight. Take the points. 8* Nebraska
|02-19-19||Toledo -2.5 v. Eastern Michigan||Top||69-76||Loss||-109||11 h 41 m||Show|
10* Toledo (7:00 ET): This will be the second straight game we're fading Eastern Michigan. The decision worked out quite well on Saturday as they lost at Kent State, 71-58, which was my top NCAAB play for all of last week. The Eagles were facing a revenge-minded Golden Flashes team there, one that they'd beaten by 34 (here in Ypslianti) earlier in the season. Now EMU does get a slight edge tonight by returning home, but that alone will not be enough against a superior Toledo side, which had won five in a row before losing to conference leader Buffalo in its last game. Lay the short number here.
Despite losing (at home) to Buffalo on Friday, Toledo is still out in front in the MAC's Western Division w/ an 8-4 SU conference record. Two of those four losses are to Buffalo, who is quite clearly the class of this league. The Rockets were certainly a lot more competitive the second time around, losing by only six after getting blown out by 30 up in Buffalo. One of their other two conference losses came by two against Kent State, an overtime game where they blew a 17-point lead. So a strong case could be made for the Rockets being called the MAC's 2nd best team. They are 20-5 SU overall and actually led Buffalo 17-4 out of the gate Friday night. This is a strong three-point shooting team (36.6% of total pts come from behind the arc), which likely spells trouble for an offensively-challenged EMU squad.
Eastern Michigan scored only 58 pts in the loss to Kent State on Saturday. That's not too out of the ordinary as they have averaged only 57.3 points the L4 games. It would be one thing if their struggles scoring were confined to the road. But in a recent home game vs. Northern Illinois, they were held to just 48 points. I'm not even going to get into an early season loss at Rutgers where they set a NCAA record for futility, scoring just FOUR points in the 1st half. For the year, the Eagles are shooting below 30% from three-point range, which is beyond reproach. The slow pace at which they play is hurt by the fact they are turning the ball over at a 21% rate in conference play. Toledo has won 15 of the 17 games it has been favored in this season. 10* Toledo
|02-18-19||Kansas State v. West Virginia +7.5||Top||65-51||Loss||-108||21 h 52 m||Show|
10* West Virginia (9:00 ET): Back on January 9th, a result took place that set both Kansas State and West Virginia on their respective paths in the Big 12. K-State rallied back from a 21-point deficit to defeat WVU, 71-69, as four-point favorites in Manhattan. The Wildcats, despite losing Saturday to Iowa State, still lead the conference w/ a 9-3 SU record. West Virginia, plagued by injuries all season, is having a down year and is just 2-10 SU in conference play. But the line for Monday's rematch looks like a classic "overlay" to me and I'm taking the points here.
I mentioned that WVU has been hit hard by injuries this season. Well, Kansas State just had a brutal week in that department itself. Already w/o sixth man Cartier Diarra, the Wildcats lost preseason Big 12 Player of the Year Dean Wade to a foot injury in the loss Saturday to Iowa State. Wade's absence was immediately felt as the from the time he went out of the game, KSU was outscored 23-14. They lost the game by a final score of 78-64. This isn't the first time this year that Wade has been injured. He missed several weeks earlier in the year and that played a big role in the team starting slow. The Wildcats lost two of the six games Wade missed previously. Also, three of their four wins without him were by four points or less. One was the aforementioned West Virginia game.
I think it's interesting that the Mountaineers were only four-point underdogs in Manhattan, but now are catching an even bigger number in Morgantown. Yes, it's been a down year here and yes the team is short-handed. But now so too is Kansas State, who is w/o two of their top six rotation players. Given that, I wouldn't want any part of laying this many points on the road, especially since this is just the 2nd time K-State will be a road favorite in Big 12 play. The Wildcats are just 1-5 SU/ATS all-time in Morgantown w/ that one win coming back in 2013. WVU is going to be highly motivated here, not just because of revenge, but also after being embarrassed at Kansas over the weekend. They are 6-1 ATS the L3 seasons when off 3+ ATS losses, including 3-0 ATS this season. 10* West Virginia
|02-17-19||Seton Hall v. Creighton -4||Top||81-75||Loss||-110||8 h 24 m||Show|
10* Creighton (3:00 ET): Revenge was a key theme to our success yday in College Hoops as two of our three winners had revenge for an earlier season loss. Creighton is in that same spot Sunday as they host Seton Hall. This is a pretty quick rematch as the teams just played last Saturday w/ the Pirates prevailing at home, 63-58, a game where neither side shot the ball well. Back in Omaha, Creighton should bounce back as it's getting to be desperation time for the Blue Jays, who have lost three in a row (all on the road). Once again, I'll lay the points w/ a revenge-minded short home favorite.
Creighton was competitive in each of its three losses over the L2 weeks. They lost at Villanova by seven, Seton Hall by five and Xavier by three (in OT). Note that they didn't score more than 61 pts in any of those three games, which is atypical for a side that averages almost 80 PPG for the year. The last two games in particular saw poor shooting, the one vs. Seton Hall in particular where they finished just 30.3% from the field. It was their worst shooting night of the season. Anyway, expect a lot more offensively from the Blue Jays here as they return home where they average over 80 PPG (83.7 to be exact) on 51.6% shooting. Recent results are simply not indicative of what this team is capable of here.
Seton Hall had lost five of six before beating Creighton eight days ago. After winning that first meeting, the Pirates were able to beat Georgetown earlier in the week, 90-75. That was also at home. The road has been unkind to Seton Hall in conference play as they've dropped five in a row away from home. Their last road win came at Xavier on 1/2. Now three of those five losses have been by four points or less. But I wouldn't trust them here as the Pirates are only 2-5 ATS this season after scoring 80+ points. Keep in mind that the majority of Creighton's Big East losses have been close games as well. Revenge and home court advantage are again key Sunday afternoon. 10* Creighton
|02-17-19||Houston v. Tulane OVER 138.5||Top||85-50||Loss||-120||7 h 24 m||Show|
8* Over Houston/Tulane (2:00 ET): As far as mismatches go, this just may be the biggest on the Sunday College Hoops card. Houston leads the American w/ an 11-1 SU conference record (24-1 SU overall) and has won nine straight games. Today, they're facing last place Tulane, who is 0-11 SU in conference play and 4-19 SU overall. Obviously, I'd love to play Houston here, but the spread is massive and I worry about a late game scenario where the underdog could pull out a backdoor cover. But there is the total, which was set too low as Houston should score "at will" here and Tulane should score enough to help push this one Over.
Houston averages a healthy 75 PPG and should top that number today. The last time they faced a bottom-feeder from the conference was January 23rd vs. East Carolina and they scored 94 pts in that game. Now that was at home, but the Cougars' scoring doesn't drop off that much on the road. Plus, Tulane has allowed an average of 78.3 PPG in conference play. They just allowed 80 (here at home) on Thursday to Tulsa.
The lack of scoring from the Green Wave is a bit disconcerting, but it's not like they're going to shoot any worse here than they have in the last two games. They made only 27.6% of their FGA vs. Tulsa and only 36.7% at Wichita State last weekend. Houston is an excellent defensive team, but still, if this game were to get "out of hand" early (a distinct possibility!), then we probably won't be seeing the usual defensive intensity from the Cougars. Tulane's last four games have all stayed Under, but this number opened much lower than where those lines closed. Something like an 80-63 final certainly seems within the realm of possibility here and that would mean an Over. 8* Over Houston/Tulane
|02-16-19||Tennessee v. Kentucky -3||Top||69-86||Win||100||22 h 35 m||Show|
8* Kentucky (8:00 ET): Tennessee's #1 ranking gets its stiffest test to date here as they must go to Lexington and face a UK team that is going to be quite angry after losing to LSU earlier this week. Coach Cal's Wildcats had won 10 in a row before losing Tuesday here at Rupp Arena. Perhaps they got caught looking ahead to this showdown as they blew an eight-point halftime lead and lost on a controversial put-back at the buzzer. I don't see them dropping B2B home games. With all due respect, I don't know many (other than the pollsters) that think the Vols are really the top team in America. Lay the short number.
Kentucky had mostly been dominating before losing Tuesday to LSU. Maybe it was what they needed to refocus them for this Saturday night showdown. That was their first loss all year at home where they are now 14-1 SU and +17.4 PPG. Overall, they had won 17 straight at home. Defensively, I give UK a pretty significant edge in this matchup. They are top 8 in the country in defensive efficiency (per KenPom) while Tennessee is just 40th. The Vols are giving up an average of 76.9 PPG away from Knoxville this season. That simply won't cut it here as Kentucky is giving up just 62.2 PPG at home.
Tennessee is 23-1 SU, but like I already said, I'm not sure many outside the Volunteer State truly believe this to be the top team in America. They've held that spot for over a month, but that's mostly a byproduct of who they've played. Yes, they did beat Gonzaga in the non-conference portion of the schedule and won 19 in a row (school record) overall. But the schedule, particularly the SEC portion, hasn't been that challenging. Remember they needed OT to win at Vandy. The Vols definitely would NOT be a favorite on a neutral floor vs. the likes of Duke, Gonzaga or Virginia and they do not deserve to be favored here either. The time has come for them to lose. There's really no shame in it. 8* Kentucky
|02-16-19||Eastern Michigan v. Kent State -3.5||Top||58-71||Win||100||20 h 25 m||Show|
10* Kent State (7:00 ET): Massive revenge game for the Golden Flashes here. They owe Eastern Michigan a little payback due to an ugly 34-point loss up in Ypsilanti last month. Though they have won two straight coming into Saturday, Eastern Michigan rarely turns in a performance as strong as they one we saw vs. Kent last month. The Eagles shot a ridiculous 65.4% overall and were 12 of 19 from three-point range. Meanwhile, Kent State was an abysmal 35.5% from the field, including 9 of 28 from three-point range. Again, it's not like Eastern Michigan is some kind of offensive juggernaut. Earlier this year, they turned in a new record futility w/ just FOUR 1st half pts against Rutgers. I'll take the revenge-minded home chalk.
Since losing to EMU, Kent State has been a pretty good basketball team. Their record is 6-2 SU the L8 games w/ one of those losses coming to MAC-leader Buffalo. The other was to rival Akron in a rough spot last Friday. I actually faded the Golden Flashes there, noting two of their previous three wins had come in OT. The team is a perfect 8-0 SU in games decided by 4 pts or less this season, so they've been equally "lucky" as they have been good. At home though, they've been more the latter as they average 79.4 PPG here w/ an 11-3 SU record. They have won 10 of the 12 games where they've been favored this season, so the Flashes are definitely "taking care of business." Thursday, they beat Western Michigan by 19 on the road.
After its blowout win over Kent, Eastern Michigan immediately lost five of its next six w/ the lone win being another "outlier" performance (against Western Michigan). Over the last week though, the Eagles have turned in two strong defensive efforts in holding Northern Illinois to 49 and Ohio U 57 points. Such an effort here would surprise me in what is a second road game in three nights. Eastern Michigan is just 4-8 ATS (2-10 SU) as an underdog this season, so a second straight outright upset would definitely be "out of the ordinary." 10* Kent State
|02-16-19||Detroit v. Green Bay -4.5||Top||73-82||Win||100||14 h 25 m||Show|
10* Green Bay (1:00 ET): This is a massive revenge spot for the Phoenix, for they lost in Detroit last month. They didn't just lose mind you; they got blown out, 101-83, in a game the oddsmakers had listed as a pick 'em. At the time, Green Bay was the last remaining unbeaten in the Horizon League. But Detroit was red-hot from the field, shooting 53.6% overall and making 14 three-pointers. I know the oddsmakers have to make some adjustment for this rematch, but Green Bay is at home and should be favored by more than this. I'm laying the points.
To say the shooting we saw from Detroit the first time around was "irregular" would be quite the understatement. The Titans are not a team that typically shoots the ball well. In fact, their FG% for the year is below 40.0 on the road. Defensively, they have their issues as well, giving up 77.8 PPG overall and 81.3 PPG on the road. I should also mention that this will be the 4th consecutive road game for Detroit. They did win last time out (Thursday at Milwaukee), but still gave up 83+ pts for a third straight game. It should be noted that Milwaukee isn't exactly a good team either and Detroit was still listed as a slight underdog. The market hardly has much respect for the Titans and rightly so.
Green Bay is a much better team at home than on the road, which is all too common at this level. The Phoenix are 9-2 SU here on campus, thanks to averaging 89.6 PPG! Defensively, they're also a lot better at home as they allow only 74.9 PPG. That kind of point differential here at home, plus revenge, make the Phoenix a pretty easy call for me Saturday. Green Bay won here Thursday, 66-54 over Oakland, in arguably their finest defensive effort of the season. They likely won't be that stingy again, but I also expect them to shoot a lot better than they did Thursday (34.4%). Their 2nd leading scorer (JayQuan McCloud) didn't even make a shot! He's a 14 PPG scorer. The Phoenix are 6-1 ATS the L7 times laying 3.5 to 6 pts at home. 10* Green Bay
|02-15-19||Troy State v. Georgia Southern UNDER 160||Top||51-76||Win||100||22 h 31 m||Show|
10* Under Troy/GA Southern (9:00 ET): The last time these teams met, it was quite the high scoring affair. Georgia Southern won, 90-82, on the back of some lights out shooting. The Eagles finished that game w/ an overall field goal percentage of 61.0 (season-high, obviously) and were 10 of 19 from three-point range. Overall, they are a pretty good shooting team. Actually, they are one of the nation's best as one of only five teams to be above 50% overall for the year. But I don't see them matching the efficiency from that first meeting. I look for this game to stay Under the total.
Despite Ga Southern's sharp shooting, they're still only fourth in the Sun Belt. Troy is close to the bottom and coming off a bad game where they made only 40% of their field goal attempts in a 77-63 loss to Georgia State. That loss took place just two days ago, so it's a quick turnaround here for the Trojans. The poor shooting was probably long overdue after a three-game stretch where they connected on nearly 50% of their three-point attempts. They made only 25% from behind the arc in that first meeting w/ Ga Southern. On the road, Troy averages about seven fewer points per game than they do at home.
The last six times these teams have played, the Over has cashed. But not tonight. We've already established how Georgia Southern is unlikely to shoot as well as they did the first time they played Troy this season. Well, the Under has also cashed in the Eagles' last five home games vs. teams w/ losing road records. Troy is just 3-8 SU in "true" road games this season. Their games, on average, see about 151 total PPG scored. Ga Southern may be one of the highest scoring teams in the country, but this is a pretty high total and they play much better defense here in Statesboro. 10* Under Troy/GA Southern
|02-15-19||Monmouth v. Rider -8||Top||72-81||Win||100||19 h 7 m||Show|
8* Rider (7:00 ET): Rider's shocking downfall hit a new low earlier this week when they lost 98-88 to Quinnipiac ... in overtime. That was the Broncs' fifth straight loss, a stunning turn of events for a team that started MAAC play a perfect 5-0. But even moreso than Rider fans, it's those who have bet on the team left scratching their heads. This team has failed to cover nine in a row, all as favorites, including six outright losses. You just don't see that very often. Friday finds the Broncs looking to avenge one of those losses as they host Monmouth. Enough is enough. They get the job done here.
Rider had already suffered four straight losses by seven points or less before losing to Quinnipiac in OT Tuesday. It was a close game most of the way, but w/ 49 seconds left in regulation, the Broncs led by nine. They led by seven w/ just 24 seconds remaining. Then came a real "comedy of errors" that saw them allow consecutive three point baskets. They were at least able to split a pair of free throws - twice - so they still led by three in the closing seconds. But then they fouled the shooter on a three-point attempt (w/ :01 left!). Three FT's later, we were going to overtime and by that point Rider was dispirited and done for. Bottom line is that they're NOT as bad as recent results suggest nor anywhere close, for that matter. Here at home, they still have an 8-2 SU record.
Monmouth has pulled out four consecutive wins as a pick 'em or underdog, one of them coming against Rider. That upset came on 2/2 and the Hawks were 4.5-pt dogs in a 75-71 outright win. Monmouth closed the game on a 12-2 run. At the time, Rider was still leading the MAAC, but that loss started their downfall and they haven't won since. Monmouth is now in 1st place (despite a 10-16 SU overall record). Five of the Hawks' nine league wins have come by four points or less. Last week, they beat the two bottom teams in the MAAC (Fairfield, St. Peter's) on the road, holding the latter to just 27.1% shooting. I think it's telling that Rider is still such a decisive favorite here. Lay the points. 8* Rider
|02-14-19||St. Mary's -10.5 v. Santa Clara||Top||66-55||Win||100||14 h 46 m||Show|
8* St. Mary's (11:00 ET): To me, this matchup shapes up similarly to the one I played last night w/ New Mexico whipping San Diego State. The favorite (in this case, St. Mary's) was just embarrassed by its conference heavyweight (in this case, Gonzaga) its last time out. The Gaels got beat 94-46 by the 'Zags. If you recall, last night we were unafraid to lay the points w/ New Mexico, who had just gotten blown out by Nevada. Same thing here w/ SMU, who already beat Santa Clara by 20 once this season and should have little difficulty doing the same again tonight. Lay the points.
Santa Clara may not be as bad as the team we faded last night (San Jose State), but the Broncos are still severely outclassed in this particular matchup. They have not fared well against St. Mary's the last three seasons, losing all five matchups while also failing to cover four times (pushed once). Over the L5 games, this team has shot just 40.4% from the field. That simply won't cut it against an opponent that ranks 12th in the country in offensive efficiency.
Santa Clara got little going offensively in the first matchup where it scored only 55 pts on 40.9% shooting. They were 2 of 12 from three-point range. Playing at home this time around can change their fortune only so much against an opponent that is simply much better at this point. St. Mary's shot just 25% from the field against Gonzaga after two straight games where they were 52.2% or better. I expect massive improvement on the offensive end from them tonight. The Gaels are 5-1 ATS off their previous six SU losses and they should roll here against an opponent that hasn't been able to do much in conference play except beat the bottom tier teams. 8* St. Mary's
|02-14-19||Pepperdine v. San Francisco -10.5||Top||77-89||Win||100||13 h 46 m||Show|
10* San Francisco (10:00 ET): Right off the bat, I spot some value on the favorite here as they were favored by eight on the road in the first meeting of the year. Granted, San Francisco did not cover that first matchup with Pepperdine (still won 72-69). But now they're at home where the only team to beat them here all season was Gonzaga. The Dons' home record currently stands at 13-1 SU w/ an avg MOV of 16.5 PPG. They're catching Pepperdine off an upset last weekend, so that's another reason the line opened so low. I look for the Dons to win in a blowout Thursday night.
San Francisco once looked like a potential at-large team for the NCAA Tournament (assuming Gonzaga wins the WCC Tournament). That's out the window now as the Dons dropped three in a row, all on the road. They stopped the bleeding on Saturday by beating Santa Clara 78-72, but did not cover the 13.5-pt spot. So that makes it a 4-game ATS losing skid entering tonight. Again, while you don't like to see streaks of that nature, they do have their way of creating value. The Dons are still a top 50 team in the country from where I sit and should have little difficulty covering this spread at home.
For years, Pepperdine has been terrible on the road. We're talking a 3-34 SU record the L3 seasons w/ two of those wins coming this year. As mentioned above, the Waves did pull an upset in their last game, winning outright as three-point home dogs over San Diego. That was their second win of the season over the Toreros. They're just 3-6 SU vs. the rest of the WCC w/ one of those wins coming against an atrocious Portland team. The Waves did not shoot well the first go around vs. USF, making only 4 of 19 three-pointers. Somehow they were able to stay in the game, but I don't envision them shooting much better here and San Fran should play a lot better at home. 10* San Francisco
|02-13-19||San Jose State v. New Mexico -16.5||Top||60-92||Win||100||13 h 13 m||Show|
10* New Mexico (9:00 ET): Think the Lobos might be a little "surly" Wednesday night at "The Pit?" They just got embarrassed over the weekend, losing to Nevada 92-61. Sometimes the worst thing for an underdog is overconfidence. New Mexico had drilled Nevada (a top 10 team) earlier in the season (85-58 as 14.5-pt dogs) here in Albuquerque. Fortunately for the Lobos, they have the perfect opponent for a bounce back game. San Jose State is about as bad as it gets, not just in the Mountain West, but in the entire country. The Spartans come in w/ a 3-19 overall record and are 0-11 on the road. I know it's a big number (and New Mexico is 0 for 4 ATS its last four tries as home chalk of 12.5 or more points), but lay it.
San Jose State just got beat by 48 points over the weekend, so that's something that can make New Mexico feel good by proxy. It was the second straight road game for the Spartans where they allowed 100+ points and it's not as if Boise State (team that beat them) is some kind of world-beater. On the flip side, SJSU has scored more than 57 pts in only one of its previous five road games and that was still a 30-point loss. This team enters Wednesday having lost 13 in a row overall w/ 10 of the last 11 defeats coming by double digits. Seven have been by at least 20 points.
New Mexico may have been overconfident heading into the rematch w/ Nevada, but they aren't likely to overlook this game. The Lobos have lost seven of nine since beating Nevada on Jan 5th and desperately need a win here. Their last home game was an 83-70 upset of San Diego State as 2.5-pt dogs. They already score plenty here (76.8 PPG) and should take full advantage of an opponent that surrenders 84.4 PPG on the road. 10* New Mexico
|02-12-19||Air Force v. UNLV -8.5||Top||72-77||Loss||-107||14 h 59 m||Show|
10* UNLV (10:30 ET): Neither Air Force nor UNLV is playing particularly well heading into this matchup. The Flyboys have failed to cover four in a row. But admittedly that has a lot to do w/ the fact they've been favored three times in that stretch, which is a rarity. They did beat Wyoming last Wednesday, 81-76 (as 9.5-pt chalk) for their fifth conference win (against six losses). UNLV is a game better in MWC play (6-5), but has lost four of five, including an embarrassing setback Saturday where they fell by 18 here in Las Vegas to Fresno State. As I'll get into a minute, the Rebels have some serious revenge to exact Tuesday night. I'll lay the points.
Last month in Colorado Springs, UNLV got absolutely hammered by Air Force. It was a 106-88 final, which at the time was the first MWC loss for the Rebels. They were four-point road favorites in that game, but couldn't stop the Falcons from topping 100 pts for the first time since February of last season. The AFA shot nearly 60% for the game, which was shocking as they came in ranked 320th in the country in points per game at the time. They still only average 67.4 PPG for the year and that number drops down to 61.5 away from home where they are just 2-9 SU. So don't expect anything close to the same offensive numbers from the Falcons this time around.
UNLV is actually 0-6 ATS the L6 meetings w/ Air Force. But based on what happened last time and on Saturday, the Rebels aren't going to be taking their opponents lightly. Note that they have been a dog in every game during this 1-4 SU stretch. The Rebels are still the significantly better team in this matchup and we're getting a little bit of value here based on the surprising result in the first meeting. Right now, we're getting them at an ultimate "buy low" price as this should be a double digit spread from where I sit. Defense has been an issue for the Rebels lately, but shouldn't be here. 10* UNLV
|02-11-19||Virginia v. North Carolina OVER 142||Top||69-61||Loss||-114||19 h 32 m||Show|
8* Over Virginia/North Carolina (7:00 ET): Virginia's vaunted defensive efficiency took a hit Saturday night as they allowed 57.8% shooting in an 81-71 loss to Duke. Under almost any "normal" circumstance, a return to "normalcy" would be expected the Hoos' next time out, but Monday is anything but a normal spot as they have to go to Chapel Hill to face North Carolina. As prolific as Duke is offensively, UNC is right there w/ them and possibly even stronger when factoring in the home court edge. The Tar Heels are #2 in the country in overall PPG (88.3) and here at home, they average a whopping 91.6. In other words, look for this to be another spot where we see more scoring than the "typical" Virginia game. Take the Over.
North Carolina did not start this season particularly strong. They had three losses before X-Mas, but over the last month or so, they've really caught fire. Since losing 83-62 to L'ville on 1.12, it's been seven consecutive wins, including avenging that loss to the Cardinals. Now it wasn't easy Saturday as they needed OT to get by Miami 88-85, a game they were favored to win by 15.5 points. Defensively, they've given up 181 pts the L2 games. They've also scored 201. For the purposes of tonight's total, note the Tar Heels have scored at least 75 pts every time during the seven game win streak. Note the only time previous to this that UNC played w/ just one days rest, that game easily went Over (beat Va Tech 103-82).
They might not be known for it, but Virginia can score too. They are a top five team in offensive efficiency, which is a higher ranking than the Tar Heels (per KenPom). They come in averaging 72.8 PPG for the season. They've been below that scoring average for three straight games now. As noted, North Carolina is not particularly stout defensively, so I expect a game similar to the Duke-Virginia one here. In their last eight games, the Tar Heels have given up at least 76 pts six different times. 8* Over Virginia/North Carolina
|02-10-19||Siena v. Rider -6.5||Top||59-57||Loss||-103||5 h 16 m||Show|
10* Rider (2:00 ET): Since not many people are intently following the MAAC, I wouldn't expect an answer to the question of "what has gone wrong" with Rider? But something definitely has gone awry here as the Broncs started conference play w/ five straight wins, only to lose four of their last six games, including three straight. Every loss has come as a favorite, the role they again find themselves in Sunday afternoon. But the good news here is they're facing an underdog that won't put up much resistance at all. Rider is undervalued here. Lay the points.
Siena has actually fought its way to the same conference record as Rider (both 7-4 SU) as the Saints have won six of their last seven games. However, I think it's critical to note how little scoring this team typically does. They average only 62.6 PPG and haven't even topped that number in six straight games. Obviously then, Siena has been playing some great defense as conference foes are averaging just 57.1 PPG against them. But I don't see the Saints being as fortunate here. Rider averages 76.2 PPG on the year. Despite how few points Siena has been giving up recently, they're still only 287th in efficiency (per KenPom) for the season.
Two of Siena's last three wins were by two points. Meanwhile, Rider has been on the wrong end of some close decisions recently, including a one-point loss to Canisius on Friday. That loss snapped the Broncs' 17-game home win streak. I certainly don't see them losing two straight. Nor can I see Siena winning two road games in just a three-day span. The loss Rider took on Friday saw Canisius make a last second three-pointer. It was their seventh straight ATS loss as well. That streak comes to an end here as the favorite is still the much better team here. 10* Rider
|02-10-19||La Salle v. George Mason -6.5||Top||76-84||Win||100||5 h 57 m||Show|
8* George Mason (2:00 ET): It's been more than a decade since the Patriots made their epic run to the Final Four, which in turn put the program on the map. They're now in the Atlantic 10, a move which hasn't necessarily treated them all that well, aside from the obvious financial upgrade of bolting from the Colonial. Sunday finds them simply looking for a win. January was a very good month for GMU as they went 7-1 SU overall. But February has started w/ B2B road losses to VCU (old CAA rival) and Richmond. They're back home this afternoon though and that should be the difference in this one as they're facing a bad LaSalle team.
While I think it's still fair to call LaSalle "bad," it should be pointed out that the Explorers have won four straight, three of those wins coming as underdogs. The most recent was as a 1.5-point favorite over St. Joe's on Wednesday. That win also doubled as their largest margin of victory in conference play (14 points). It was also their second largest MOV for the entire season, a 23-point win over a bad Alabama A&M team being the largest. I think it has to be pointed out that prior to this four-game win streak, LaSalle's record was 3-14 SU overall. They're barely even shooting 40% from the field for the season and are not a good defensive team either.
George Mason has gotten to play only four of its 10 conference games at home. They have won three of those four home games. They're 7-3 SU overall vs. the rest of the A-10 and remember they are off B2B losses. So it was a really strong start for the Patriots and I expect them to get back on track here. Defense failed them in the last two games as they allowed an average of 80 PPG to VCU and Richmond. The latter shot 56.6% against them, including 10 of 21 from three-point range, which was the difference as GMU was only 4 of 15 from behind the arc. The Patriots were three-point road favorites in that game, so by comparison this line is low as I actually have LaSalle rated lower than Richmond. Lay the points. 8* George Mason
|02-09-19||Texas v. West Virginia +5||Top||75-53||Loss||-110||22 h 50 m||Show|
10* West Virginia (8:00 ET): It's a down year in Morgantown, WV as the Mountaineers are 10-13 SU overall and 2-8 in Big 12 play. But those two conference wins have both been notable. Both were also here at home. One was against Kansas. The other was last Saturday vs. Oklahoma. Tonight, they host a Texas team that has covered three straight, including an 84-72 win over Baylor Wednesday. But the Longhorns have been very inconsistent this year as they haven't won B2B games in over a month and have lost six of nine overall. I'll be taking the points Saturday night.
It was a real ugly loss for WVU their last time out as they fell by 31 at Texas Tech. But that Red Raiders team is one of the nation's best defensively. One reason you can expect a bounce back performance from Bob Huggins squad in this spot is that they are a perfect 4-0 ATS this season after being held to 60 pts or less the previous game. Also, now they are back home (loss to Texas Tech was in Lubbock). The Mountaineers are still a respectable 8-4 SU in Morgantown this season. They've also had a couple extra days to prepare as the Texas Tech game was Monday night.
Ironically, the last time Texas won B2B games was when they beat West Virginia, 61-54 in Austin. That was back on January 5th and the Longhorns were eight-point home favorites. Comparing numbers, it sure looks as if we're getting some nice value on the home dog for this rematch. Texas has lost five straight on the road. While four of those losses have come by five points or less, I still don't believe they deserve to be favored by more than a bucket here as they're 0-2 straight up as a road favorite. The last two trips here to Morgantown have resulted in double digit defeats and last year was an ugly 35-point loss. Texas is just 8-21 ATS the L29 times it has been a road favorite of 3.5 to 6 points. 10* West Virginia
|02-09-19||Villanova +1.5 v. Marquette||Top||65-66||Win||100||16 h 25 m||Show|
8* Villanova (2:30 ET): It finally happened to Marquette Wednesday night, "it" being they lost a close game. Previously 6-0 SU in games decided by 5 pts or less this season, the Golden Eagles were dealt a "taste of their own medicine" by St. John's in a 70-69 loss. The loss was disappointing not only in that it snapped an eight-game win streak, but Marquette's only other Big East loss came at the hands of the Johnnies. Now comes Villanova, who almost never loses a Big East game. The Wildcats come in on an 11-game win streak and are a perfect 10-0 SU in Big East play. I look for them to keep that perfect record intact Saturday afternoon. Take the points.
I've been fairly outspoken this year regarding Marquette and its national ranking. I only wish I'd faded them Wednesday as this was a team due to fall from a top 10 national ranking. I'm not sure anyone outside of Wisconsin believes this to be a top 10 team in America. They've had the extremely good fortune in close games and numerous come from behind victories to boot. I just don't see them as the favorite here.
Villanova started the season slow, due to losing its top four scorers from LY's National Championship Game. Losses to Furman and Penn were downright embarrassing and they were blown out in a Nat'l Title Game rematch by Michigan. But all that's in the past now. Granted, the Wildcats needed OT to get by Creighton earlier this week, but credit them for winning a game where they shot only 37.5% from the floor (at home!). If you're wondering about how 'Nova performs as an underdog, well, they're a perfect 4-0 ATS this season - winning three of thre games outright. They've won 15 straight Big East games overall and haven't lost one in regulation since Valentine's Day of last season. 8* Villanova
|02-09-19||Minnesota v. Michigan State -12.5||Top||55-79||Win||100||16 h 51 m||Show|
10* Michigan State (2:00 ET): For the first time in two seasons, Michigan State has lost three in a row. Those losses have come in a variety of uncharacteristic ways, but HC Tom Izzo sounded confident when called Thursday's practice "probably the best I've seen in a while." The bottom line is the Spartans still belong on the short list of Final Four contenders as they are one of only three teams in country (Duke & Virginia are the others) to rank top 10 in both offensive & defensive efficiency. I expect a strong showing from the home team Saturday in East Lansing. Lay the points.
At one point, the Big 10 was thought to have as many as 10 potential NCAA Tournament teams. But conference play has really started to sort out the "pretenders" from the "contenders." One team that I feel belongs in the "pretender" group is Minnesota. Sure, the Gophers are a respectable 6-6 SU vs. Big 10 opposition, but I still wouldn't consider them among the top 50 teams in America. They too are on a losing streak, having dropped two in a row. The officiating didn't seem to do the Golden Gophers any favors (only 13 FT attempts), but the bottom line is they still lost a home game in which they held the opponent to 34.5% from the field (season low for Wisconsin). This was due to Minnesota's own inept shooting (incl 1 of 13 from three-point range) on the heels of blowing a 13-point lead and losing by 10 at Purdue.
Michigan State lost to Purdue on 1/27 in what was their third game in seven nights. That was a 10* ULTIMATE POWER release on Purdue. I also played against them vs. Indiana, an overtime loss (were 8 of 22 from FT line) as 16.5-pt chalk). Then on Tuesday, they were outrebounded badly in a four-point loss to Purdue. Luckily, all of these issues can be corrected and Izzo seems to think they have been. Sparty was due for a "market correction" there, but they are still 16-5 ATS as a favorite this season and 14-3 ATS the L17 times hosting Minnesota. 10* Michigan State
|02-08-19||Kent State v. Akron -4||Top||53-72||Win||100||24 h 22 m||Show|
8* Akron (9:00 ET): Since the calendar turned to 2019, clear trends have emerged when it comes to betting both the side and total of Akron games: fade 'em & bet the Under. The Zips have covered only one of their last nine games plus the Under is 8-1 during that same time. But while the team may be "offensively challenged," I'm going to call for them to break out of their slump Friday by doing what they do best - play defense. They're at home and facing their main rival (Kent State). If ever there was a time for John Groce's team to "circle the wagons," it would be here. Lay the points.
Akron has taken a huge step defensively this year under Groce. They are 14th in the country in PPG allowed (62.4) and 30th in efficiency (per KenPom). They're especially good at home where they give up only 57.1 PPG! For the record, the Zips "struggles" are mainly confined to the pointspread. They are off a SU here as it was an ugly offensive showing (only 52 pts) earlier in the week at Toledo. But here at home, thanks largely to the MAC's 2nd best defense, they are 10-1 SU for the year. In addition to the defense, I'm going to call for a breakout game offensively here. Certainly, they can't shoot any worse than they did Tuesday when they had a 28.1 FG%.
To me, the Zips should certainly be able to keep in check a Kent team that has been more "lucky" than "good" this season. The Golden Flashes are a pretty shocking 17-5 SU on the year as they are an incredible 8-0 SU in games decided by 4 pts or less. Their last three wins have been by a total of eight points w/ two of them coming in OT. This is how Akron, despite an inferior 13-9 SU record, actually has a better point differential. The Zips only loss this year at James A. Rhodes Arena came by a single point (Marshall) and they have held every MAC foe under its season average in scoring. They come up big again at home in this big rivalry matchup. 8* Akron
|02-08-19||Cornell v. Dartmouth -3||Top||83-80||Loss||-115||22 h 22 m||Show|
10* Dartmouth (7:00 ET): We're just four games into the Ivy League season, but already both Cornell and Dartmouth can use some work. They'll each come into Friday sporting identical 10-10 SU records, though the former has fared slightly better in league play w/ a 2-2 mark as opposed to the latter's 1-3. Thus Dartmouth was already the side more likely to approach this game w/ a greater sense of urgency. Then you have the "small matter" of them trying to exact some revenge here. The Big Green have been swept by the Big Red each of the last two seasons, failing to cover in all but one of the four chances. This time the rivalry turns up green instead of red. Lay the points.
Dartmouth had an impressive performance in the Ivy League opener as they upset Harvard - as six point underdogs - here at home. They actually dominated, winning 81-63. But since X-Mas, they've lost three in a row, two of them coming by five points or less. Their most recent setback was the weakest performance to date in Ivy League play as they lost by 21 to Yale last Saturday, also at home. As you might have guessed by the 89-68 final score, it was not a banner day for the Dartmouth defense. It was the 2nd highest number of points they allowed in a game all season as Yale made 11 of 23 three-pointers.
I wouldn't look for such sharpshooting here from Cornell. The Big Red aren't exactly a great shooting team (43.7 FG% for the year) and only totaled 61 pts in their own home loss to Princeton last Saturday. That was an overtime game as well, so the offensive numbers are actually worse than they appear. Plus, Dartmouth is usually a stingy team at home as they allow just 63.0 PPG for the year at Edward Leede Arena. If that's not enough, they also average 79.4 PPG themselves. I think home court and revenge are the key angles here in what should be a comfortable win for the Big Green! 10* Dartmouth
|02-07-19||Iowa v. Indiana -2||Top||77-72||Loss||-105||11 h 5 m||Show|
8* Indiana (8:00 ET): I think that it would be premature to call Indiana's 79-75 upset of Michigan State last Saturday "season changing." After all, the Hoosiers still have a lot of work to do. Prior to beating Sparty, they'd lost seven in a row. Their record in the Big 10 is still only 4-7. But what happened Saturday in East Lansing could certainly be the start of a turnaround. I had IU Saturday and will come back with them again tonight at home. I think they're undervalued right now.
The Hoosiers aren't the only team in this matchup coming off a notable upset. Iowa beat Michigan on Friday, doing so as 5.5-pt home underdogs. The Hawkeyes desperately needed that one as they were off B2B themselves at the time. They're 5-3 SU in Big 10 play and thus in better position than Indiana. But history is really not on Iowa's side here as they are just 6-18 ATS their last 24 road games and 3-7 ATS the last 10 times taking the court w/ five or more days rest (0-2 ATS this season).
Indiana hasn't gotten to play much at home in conference play, which may help explain their slide. This and Sunday's game vs. Ohio State mark the 1st time the Hoosiers have had B2B home games since conference play began! They're 10-2 SU in Bloomington and allow just 61.6 PPG. Iowa might be ranked and off a win over Michigan, but I'm not sold on them. They give up 76.0 PPG outside of Iowa City. 8* Indiana
|02-07-19||Old Dominion -1.5 v. UAB||Top||70-59||Win||100||11 h 35 m||Show|
8* Old Dominion (8:00 ET): While Old Dominion hasn't been a profitable team to bet on, they do lead C-USA entering Thursday night's action. The Monarchs are 8-3 SU in conference play, which gives them a half-game edge on both UTSA and North Texas. They recently beat North Texas at home, 72-61 as four-point favorites, and then followed that up with an 80-76 win over Rice where they obviously did not cover the 12-point number. ODU is just 2-9 ATS in conference play, but we've finally got a short number to work with here as they visit UAB. Lay the points.
UAB is coming off B2B losses to the same team, Middle Tennessee. I was on the second game, which took place Saturday, and had the right side. After losing 71-65 as six-point road favorites last Wednesday, the Blazers fell to MTSU 79-78 as 11-point home favorites Saturday. Those two losses really sting considering how close the race in C-USA is. Keep in mind MTSU had lost nine in a row on the road before pulling the upset Saturday. UAB blew a 10-point halftime lead.
Old Dominion's strength lies on the defensive end where they are 11th in the country, giving up just 61.6 PPG. That would serve them well if they were able to get into the NCAA Tournament. They've won seven of eight overall w/ the one loss coming by a single point at UTSA. I realize that the Monarchs are not nearly as dominant on the road as they are at home, but they still should be able to win at UAB. Essentially a SU win is all we need here. UAB is 2-5 ATS as an underdog. 8* Old Dominion
|02-07-19||Florida International +8 v. Texas-San Antonio||Top||67-100||Loss||-105||10 h 16 m||Show|
8* Florida International (8:00 ET): Here's another C-USA game for Thursday. As stated in the other writeup, UTSA is near the top of the league, just one-half game out of first place. They are coming off a wild, 116-106 win at Marshall on Saturday. As you might have guessed from that final score, the game went to overtime. The Roadrunners got 45 points (career-high) from Keaton Wallace and 30 more from Jhivvan Jackson as they came back from an 18-point deficit in the second half. Coming off such a big win, I think it's only natural for a letdown to be in order here.
FIU pulled an upset of its own on Saturday, beating La Tech at home, 75-69 as three-point dogs. The win enabled the Panthers to avoid an 0-3 homestand as they'd previously lost to FAU and Southern Miss. Those two losses were uncharacteristic in that FIU wasn't that competitive in either (lost both by double digits). For the most part, their games have been close this season. Seven of the eight games prior to those two losses were single digit affairs. They're no stranger to the underdog role and have cashed seven of the nine times they've been getting points this year.
What makes FIU such a dangerous dog is that they can score. They average 85.9 PPG, which is the seventh highest average in the country. Four of the six teams ahead of them are Gonzaga, North Carolina, Duke and Tennessee. So that's some pretty exclusive company. Obviously, defense is a bit of an issue, but I don't see any reason why they shouldn't score enough to stay within the number here. UTSA just gave up 92 pts in regulation in their last game. Take the points. 8* Florida International
|02-07-19||William & Mary v. Northeastern -8.5||Top||60-72||Win||100||10 h 4 m||Show|
8* Northeastern (7:00 ET): This line has shot down and I don't understand why. N'eastern is off arguably its biggest win of the season, certainly in conference play, as they ended Hofstra's 16-game win streak on Saturday. The Huskies are now 7-3 in the Colonial and have won five of their last six games, the only loss being an upset at the hands of Towson (on the road). That loss to Towson is also their only ATS defeat in 2018 as they've gone 7-1 ATS the L8 games. This is a pretty good team and I expect them to roll William & Mary Thursday. Lay the points.
William & Mary has won B2B games for the 1st time in 2019, but before that the Tribe were really struggling. They'd lost five in a row, some of them close, but the bottom line is they were also 0-5 ATS during that same stretch. One of those losses was to Northeastern - by 20 points - at home. While they may not lose by that many this go around, this still should be a double digit game. Northeastern is averaging almost 80 PPG at home and W&M is a poor defensive team. The Tribe have just two road wins all season.
While Northeastern's 13-9 SU record may not seem like much, note all three losses in conference play have been by three points or less. They easily could be 10-0 SU and unbeaten in the Colonial. They really dominated Hofstra on Saturday, leading by double digits most of the way. If they can do that to a team that had the nation's longest win streak, then just think what they can do to a team that is only 5-14 ATS this season, including 2-8 ATS as a dog. 8* Northeastern
|02-07-19||Wisc-Milwaukee +4 v. Youngstown State||Top||71-72||Win||100||10 h 46 m||Show|
8* WI-Milwaukee (7:00 ET): These are two of the bottom teams in the Horizon League, but to me Milwaukee is actually substantially better and certainly due for a win. The Panthers will also have revenge on their mind from an embarrassing 25-point loss they took at home at the hands of Youngstown State. Now that would seem to indicate that Milwaukee is NOT the better team, but that game is in no way indicative of where these two squads are truly at. Yes, this is a 4th straight road game for the Panthers, but they've had five days off and will be ready. Take the points.
Youngstown State is off B2B wins. This is a rarity. It's just the second time all season that such a thing has happened and the first was back in November and included a win over a non-DI school. The two wins were by a combined three points. They were 7.5-pt dogs at Oakland (won 75-74) and 5.5-pt dogs at Detroit (won 72-70). So I'm not sure about this team being favored. It'll be just the second time ALL SEASON that the Penguins have been asked to lay points. The other was 12/28 vs. Detroit (-1.5) and they lost that game by a score of 78-66. They have just one win by more than six points in Horizon League play.
When these teams played the first time, Milwaukee scored only 14 pts in the 1st half. Clearly, that's not going to happen again. Youngstown State is not noted as any kind of defensive powerhouse, in fact, they give up over 80 PPG at home, which is why they only have two home wins this season. Milwaukee has lost three in a row, but they'd covered the spread in four straight games before losing to rival Green Bay last Friday. The Phoenix shot the lights out in that game in a way Youngstown State simply isn't capable of doing. 8* WI-Milwaukee
|02-06-19||Maryland v. Nebraska -1.5||Top||60-45||Loss||-101||12 h 32 m||Show|
10* Nebraska (7:00 ET): What on Earth has happened to the Cornhuskers? There is no singular answer to that question. Second leading scorer Isaac Copeland Jr is out for the season, but that injury only occurred two games ago. They've lost five in a row. Generally speaking, every loss has been close. They've also been favored to win each of their last four times out. Tonight, they'll host the team that started them on this downward slide. Even before the current five-game losing streak, Nebraska dropped a game at Maryland 74-72 on January 2nd. They're just 2-6 SU since. I do believe that the Huskers are a far better team than what they've shown recently. I'll call for them to gain a measure of revenge for what happened out in College Park a month ago. Lay the points.
Maryland hasn't exactly been trending in a positive direction itself. The Terrapins have lost three of four, a streak which has them barely still in the polls. They were as high as 13th on January 21st after beating Ohio State in Columbus. But since then they are 0-3 SU when playing away from home. Under HC Turgeon, the Terps are 0-18 SU against ranked teams on the road. That streak continued Friday w/ a 69-61 loss at Wisconsin. While Nebraska may not be a ranked team, they were at one point and in my eyes are still on the fringes of being considered one of the top 25 teams in America even w/ the slide. The Cornhuskers are 9-3 SU at home. They allow only 56.6 PPG in Lincoln.
In College Park last month, Nebraska had a slight lead at halftime. The game was decided in the closing seconds on a driving layup by Maryland's Jalen Smith. The Cornhuskers missed 8 of 23 FT attempts and were outrebounded 38-28. Defensively though, this team remains a force. Only one time in the last 47 games have they let the opponent shoot 50% from the floor. Now if only they could shoot well themselves. The L3 games has seen dismal shooting as they've gone 63 of 188, or 33.5%. At home, that number HAS to go up. This team has covered five out of the last six times it has been a home favorite of three points or less. 10* Nebraska
|02-05-19||St. Joe's +1.5 v. La Salle||Top||69-83||Loss||-110||11 h 35 m||Show|
8* St. Joseph's (7:00 ET): Not sure what's gotten into LaSalle, but out of nowhere the Explorers have won three in a row - all as underdogs. They were just 3-14 SU before the streak began, so let's not make the mistake of confusing this for a good team. Tonight, while the line is short, they are favored. This would be just the sixth time that has happened all year and only the second in A-10 play. The first saw them lose outright, here at home, to GW. The Explorers are just 2-8 SU at home this year and I see the "good times" being rather short-lived.
St. Joe's snapped a two-game losing streak on Saturday by beating UMass 64-62. But they failed to cover the 3.5-pt number. The Hawks are playing short-handed right now as only seven players suited up for the UMass game. But leading scorer Charlie Brown Jr continues to carry the load. He has delivered four straight games of 19+ pts and led the way w/ 20 on Saturday. Overall, offense has been the primary issue for St. Joe's in conference play, but curiously they are averaging more PPG on the road this season.
This is the first meeting of the year between these two teams. Last year, the home team won both times. But I look for a different result this go around. This is a good "sell high" point for LaSalle, which has pulled off an improbable three straight upsets. One of them saw the opponent shoot just 22% from the field. Saturday night saw them rally back from a nine-point deficit on three separate occasions against Richmond for a 66-58 road win. Note who the Explorers have beaten during this three-game win streak: Fordham, UMass and Richmond. Those are the bottom three teams in the A-10. St. Joe's happens to be fourth from the bottom, but they are demonstrably better than the aforementioned trio. Take the points. 8* St. Joseph's
|02-05-19||South Carolina +16 v. Kentucky||Top||48-76||Loss||-110||11 h 35 m||Show|
8* South Carolina (7:00 ET): The Gamecocks got off to a great start in SEC play as they won their first four league games, three of those coming as underdogs. But things have definitely slowed down since then as they've gone just 2-3 SU the L5 games. Still, it would seem to me that this team deserves a bit more respect than it is getting. They were an underdog in each of those last five games and pulled upsets over both Auburn and Georgia. Saturday saw them shoot 56.9% from the field in Athens, upsetting UGA 86-80 as 2.5-pts dogs. This is a team that took on a challenging non-conference schedule (Michigan, Virginia, Clemson), so I don't see them being intimidated tonight in Lexington.
Coach Cal seems to have Kentucky peaking right now as the Wildcats have won eight in a row. They've covered the spread in each of the last six games and are coming off a 65-54 win at Florida over the weekend. But that game was not as easy as the final score indicates. UK was actually down 11 w/ 13 minutes left to play. The defense then came up huge as Florida missed 24 of its final 33 shots, including 1 of 9 from three-point range. The Gators scored only 12 points in the final 13:53 and a 14-0 Kentucky run totally changed the complexion of the game.
As hot as UK might be right now, this is too many points to lay against a team that has gone 6-2 SU in SEC play. The Wildcats are now 5th in the country, so they have a large target on their backs. Also, might they be looking ahead to a stretch where they'll play Miss State, LSU and top-ranked Tennessee. To me, South Carolina is going to be the more motivated side Tuesday night. Frank Martin's team basically led the entire way vs. Georgia and has scored at least 70 pts in all but one SEC game. They'll find a way to stay within this generous number. 8* South Carolina
|02-05-19||Drake v. Loyola-Chicago -6.5||Top||64-86||Win||100||11 h 35 m||Show|
8* Loyola Chicago (7:00 ET): The Ramblers came into the year w/ massive shoes to fill after LY's squad made that improbable run to the Final Four. This year's team simply isn't as good, but they still come into tonight tied for the lead in the Missouri Valley w/ Illinois State (both have 7-3 SU records). The Ramblers have won just twice away from home this season, but fortunately for them, tonight's big showdown w/ Drake is at home. Considering they already beat Drake earlier in the year, 85-74 as 4.5-pt road chalk, this line seems a bit curious by comparison. Lay the points.
Drake has done a decent job at staying afloat despite losing leading scorer Nick Norton (ACL) for the rest of the season. Before Norton went down, the Bulldogs were looking like a serious threat to Loyola's reign as kings of the MVC. They're still just a game back in the standings, mind you, after going to Indiana State and winning 68-62 over the weekend. That was Drake's fifth win in the last six games. But the one loss did come to a co-leader in the conference, Illinois State, and it was by double digits at home. Drake has had little to no success vs. Loyola through the years, dropping four of the last five matchups - both SU and ATS. They have not won here in Chicago in a very long time.
That first meeting saw Loyola shoot the lights out (63.3 FG%). They probably won't be that hot again tonight, but they won't have to be. This team has been "money" coming off a SU loss in conference play, going 3-0 in that role this season. Last time they were in the situation, they responded w/ a 25-point blowout of Southern Illinois. Saturday saw them lose at Illinois State, a game the Redbirds "had to have." But Loyola has still won seven in a row at home plus I just can't see Drake continuing a 16-5 ATS run. The Ramblers are allowing just 57.9 PPG at home this season. 8* Loyola Chicago
|02-04-19||Louisville v. Virginia Tech -3.5||Top||72-64||Loss||-109||12 h 14 m||Show|
8* Virginia Tech (7:00 ET): A tough turnaround here for Louisville, who hosted North Carolina in a big game Saturday and lost 79-69. For me, that result was exactly what I was looking for, as I released UNC as a signature *10* ULTIMATE POWER release! That was a huge revenge game for the Tar Heels and snapped L'ville's seven-game win streak. The Cardinals were largely dominated on the interior and trailed big (by 16) at the half. "We didn't come out with much fire," Louisville coach Chris Mack said. "It was a great environment, and to essentially end the half with no offensive rebounds, let Carolina dismantle us on the glass, I can't tell you how disappointed I am in that effort alone." Unfortunately for L'ville, they don't have much time to figure things out.
While that was going, Virginia Tech was dominating NC State in a manner rarely seen. The Hokies made history by holding the Wolfpack to 24 pts Saturday (yes, for the full game), the fewest scored by a ranked team in the shot clock era (goes back to 1985). Va Tech held NC State to 16.7% shooting for the game, including 2 of 28 on three-point attempts. Keep in mind this was on the road. While there's almost no way the Hokies can be that stingy again, note that this team is known for its offense. It ranks 7th nationally in offensive efficiency (per KenPom), so expect them to score far more points tonight. They're also 11-0 SU in Blacksburg, winning by an average of 28.1 PPG.
Va Tech is 18-3 SU overall w/ two of its losses coming at North Carolina and Virginia. This is a legit top 10 team in my eyes, one that won't be lacking for motivation Monday as they've gone 0-5 vs. Louisville as ACC rivals. The Hokies have also gone 5-0 ATS the last five times they've been off a win by 20 or more points. They've won three in a row overall, all by double digits. They are one of just seven teams in the country to rank in the top 20 nationally in both offensive and defensive efficiency. Take the better team laying a short number at home. 8* Virginia Tech
|02-03-19||South Dakota State -9 v. Denver||Top||92-82||Win||100||9 h 51 m||Show|
8* South Dakota State (3:00 ET): South Dakota State is the class of the Summit League right now as the Jackrabbits are 8-1 SU in conference play and two games clear of everybody else. They've won seven straight coming into Sunday, though they failed to cover the number in each of their last two victories. One was 83-73 over Neb-Omaha at home where they were laying 11.5. Then, on Thursday, they won by only six (86-80) at Oral Roberts as 11-point chalk. As per usual, SDSU is being asked to lay a decent-sized number here. This time, I think they're up to the task. Lay the points!
The Jackrabbits have already played Denver once, doing so back on January 10th. It was another win, but non-cover, as they prevailed 78-66 as 16.5-point chalk. That game saw South Dakota State shoot the ball very well (53% overall), so well in fact that they did not really need to worry about extending a 11-pt halftime lead. They were 10 for 12 from three-point range in the 1st half and at that point, the game was basically over. This is an excellent shooting team overall (one of the best in the country) as the Jackrabbits are better than 50% overall for the year and 41.7% from three-point range. In fact, both percentages rank third in the nation! So I would not worry about any offensive decline from that first meeting.
Denver is in last place in the Summit League as they're just 2-7 SU in conference play. The Pioneers are off extended rest here as they haven't taken the court since lost 91-81 to IPFW eight days ago. The time off is nice, but the bottom line is that they're no more likely to slow down SDSU's shooting than if this game took place w/ "normal" rest. Denver is letting its opponents shoot better than 41% from three-point range for the year. They allow 76.8 PPG overall. They've been slightly better at home, but that's thanks in large part to one game vs. Oral Roberts where they allowed only 58 pts. There have been a lot of double digit losses for the Pioneers so far (9) and their record as an underdog (2-12 SU, 4-9-1 ATS) leaves a lot to be desired. 8* South Dakota State
|02-02-19||Middle Tennessee +11.5 v. UAB||Top||79-78||Win||100||13 h 46 m||Show|
8* Middle Tennessee (8:00 ET): Despite their pretty poor record, Middle Tennessee is a team I've had some success with this season. The Blue Raiders have covered only five games all season, but I've been on them in two of those. The last time was 1/16 when they pulled a minor upset (were 4-pt home dogs) over UTSA. The followed that w/ another SU win (over UTEP) and are now coming off their third win in five games as they beat UAB on Wednesday, 71-65 as 6-point home dogs. In a bit of a unique scheduling spot, Middle Tennessee and UAB will play again Saturday. From an ATS perspective, I expect the same result. Take the points.
I've seen this before in C-USA w/ two teams playing each other in B2B games. It happened last month w/ UTSA and UTEP and the same team (UTSA) won both games. Wednesday was a pretty close game, one that either side could have won, but in the end it probably came down to three-point shooting as MTSU went 10-25 from behind the arc while UAB was only 4 of 21. Counting on a repeat of that may be "wishful thinking" for the Blue Raiders here. After all, they have not won a single road game all season. But it's been a little while since UAB has beaten anyone by double digits. The Blazers last two wins each came by only three points.
Middle Tennessee has now beaten UAB five straight times, covering the spread in all but one of those victories. The team is clearly picking up some confidence w/ its best stretch of the season. I realize UAB was a 1st place team in C-USA before losing Wednesday, but in my opinion they are not as good as the other top teams in this league.This will be the 1st time in conference play that they have been asked to lay double digits. They are just 1-2 ATS as DD chalk this year against the likes of Alcorn State, North Alabama and Alabama A&M. 8* Middle Tennessee
|02-02-19||Indiana +15 v. Michigan State||Top||79-75||Win||100||11 h 46 m||Show|
8* Indiana (6:00 ET): Last Sunday marked the 1st time that Michigan State tasted defeat in Big 10 play. They lost 73-63 to Purdue and quite frankly, it wasn't even that close. Sparty trailed 37-19 at the half and was down by as many as 23 in the second half. A late surge certainly put a scare into me (I was on the Boilermakers), but it turned out that it was nothing worth worrying about. Tom Izzo's team has certainly had plenty of time to get over that defeat and looks to be in a good spot to bounce back tonight vs. a struggling Indiana team. But after MSU was able to cover nine straight times before losing to Purdue, I expect them to start "giving some back" and for the pointspread to be a factor tonight. Take the points.
Injuries seem to have derailed Indiana's season as they come into East Lansing on a seven-game losing streak. If they aren't able to turn things around, then what once looked like an assured NCAA Tournament berth may not be such a sure thing anymore. The Hoosiers last won on January 3rd (over Illinois) and things are going from bad to worse as Wednesday saw them on the wrong end of a 22-0 run against Rutgers and they lost 66-58 on the road. One positive though is that Devonte Green has been upgraded to probable here after serving a suspension. Indiana is obviously a desperate team right now. I expect them to play like it.
Michigan State may not be as infallible as they look. It was announced earlier this week that Joshua Langford is done for the year. The team had managed to go 7-1 SU w/o him, but it looks like the extra minutes being logged by his teammates are starting to have an adverse effect. As much as these teams have trended in opposite directions in 2019, I think this pointspread is simply too high. Take the points. 8* Indiana
|02-02-19||North Carolina -1.5 v. Louisville||Top||79-69||Win||100||7 h 46 m||Show|
10* North Carolina (2:00 ET): Needless to say, revenge will be a big factor here for UNC. The Tar Heels got their doors blown off, in Chapel Hill, by Louisville last month. It was an 83-62loss as 11-pt favorites. That game begat the current six-game win streak for L'ville that has them now ranked #15 in the country. North Carolina is #9, mind you, and has won four in a row (last two by 44 pts) since that loss to the Cardinals. Much has obviously changed since that first meeting, at least in the eyes of the oddsmakers, as this rematch is basically a pick 'em. But I still believe Roy Williams' team to be the better squad here and motivated by revenge, they should roll Saturday.
Scary for future UNC opponents (including L'ville) is the fact the Tar Heels just won a game by 23 points despite missing 32 shots and getting just one second chance point. Overall, UNC is the ACC's top rebounding team at +9.9 per game. They've also made a total of 29 three-pointers the L2 games, which is the most over a two-game stretch in program HISTORY. Speaking of history, that 21-point loss to Louisville last month was the worst EVER suffered by Williams in Chapel Hill. It obviously hasn't been forgotten. The Tar Heels are 4-0 in ACC road games thus far, including the 23-pt win Tuesday (over Ga Tech). They shot horrifically that 1st meeting vs. L'ville, going 3 for 22 from three-point range. That won't happen again.
The way Louisville has kind of "come from nowhere" leads me to believe they're in store for a loss. They must be careful here in February as they're about to embark on a tough four-game stretch, all against ranked opponents. Their ACC schedule, at least to this point, hasn't been all that challenging (w/ the obvious exception of the 1st UNC game). When seeking revenge for a home loss, the Tar Heels are a perfect 4-0 ATS the L3 seasons. They are also 3-0 ATS this season after allowing 60 pts or less their previous game. Louisville is a good team, but UNC is simply better (despite what happened last month) in my eyes. 10* North Carolina
|02-01-19||Maryland v. Wisconsin OVER 132.5||Top||61-69||Loss||-110||13 h 23 m||Show|
10* Over Maryland/Wisconsin (9:00 ET): Wisconsin's season has really taken a turn for the better since I played them on 1.19 when they upset (then undefeated) Michigan. The Badgers enter tonight's game w/ Maryland on a four-game SU and ATS win streak. They are one of five Big 10 teams that are ranked and one of 10 that are likely NCAA Tournament bound. But then again, so too is tonight's opponent, Maryland. After going 0-2 last week, the Terrapins rebounded with a 70-52 win over Northwestern on Tuesday. With both teams coming into Friday riding their own Under streaks, my focus here is going to be on the total and I'm looking for this one to go Over.
Wisconsin's last five games have all stayed Under the total. This is due in no small part to the defense that they are playing. Over those L5 games, the Badgers have held opponents to 55.0 PPG on 33.6% shooting. That's "Virginia territory" there, folks. Wisconsin is now a top five team nationally in defensive efficiency after holding its last two opponents, Northwestern & Nebraska, both under 30% shooting. Impressive as these numbers are, they're probably also unsustainable. At the same time, the Badgers should start to improve offensively after averaging only 64.0 pts those same last five games. In Madison, they are averaging 77.2 PPG this year on 49.4% shooting (including 41.4% from 3-pt range).
The last time Wisconsin lost was 1.14 at Maryland. They shot 38.3% from the field. They also held the Terps to 34.0% shooting. Both teams should shoot better in tonight's rematch. Maryland is also coming off a stellar defensive effort, having just held N'western to 52 points on 31.0% shooting. That probably won't be happening again tonight. In its previous game, the Terps gave up 78 pts to Illinois (at MSG). The Under is 4-0-1 in Maryland's last five games, but there is value here on the Over as the number opened low. Wisconsin only made three free throws in that first meeting w/ Maryland and that number will go WAY up tonight. 10* Over Maryland/Wisconsin
|01-31-19||UTEP v. Marshall OVER 149.5||Top||86-91||Win||100||12 h 41 m||Show|
10* Over UTEP/Marshall (7:30 ET): While scrolling through tonight's NCAAB card, this total immediately caught my eye. Given that both of the teams involved were held below 60 pts in their last games, you'd probably think that the number was pretty high. But Marshall games, on average, have seen 161.2 PPG scored this season. The Thundering Herd just threw up one of the all-time stinkers last Saturday, losing to Southern Miss 101-51! That was their lowest scoring effort of the year and the second time in three games they were held under 60 pts. But the kicker is that their last three games - all losses - took place out on the road. Back in Huntington, we're going to see a LOT more offense from the Herd considering they average a healthy 86.0 PPG here. Take the Over.
Aiding in Marshall's likely offensive revival is the fact that UTEP is giving up 79.4 PPG on the road. Thus, this game taking place in Huntington is significant for both sides. Marshall averages nearly 12 more points per game at home than they do on the road. UTEP allows nearly 15 PPG more on the road than they do at home. That defensive disparity for UTEP is a big reason why they have not won a single time in seven tries off campus. Marshall shot only 25.0% from the field in their last game. But something to consider is that they had gotten out to a 5-0 start to conference play before losing their last three, all out on the road. In the Herd's last home game, they scored 105 pts and that was w/o overtime!
UTEP has been, without question, an Under team this year. The Miners are 12-5 Under in all games, including 6-2 in conference play. But, coming off B2B dismal shooting nights of their own, there is hope for them offensively in this game. I say that because Marshall has allowed 100+ points FOUR different times this season! I fully anticipate tonight being UTEP's highest scoring game of the season. Teams are shooting better than 50% in conference play against Marshall. 10* Over UTEP/Marshall
|01-30-19||CS-Northridge v. CS-Fullerton -7||Top||71-78||Push||0||13 h 10 m||Show|
8* Cal State Fullerton (10:00 ET): Cal State Northridge seems to be a team I have greatly misread this season. Tbh, I've been unsuccessful a number of times going against them. The vast majority of games the Matadors have played this month have been close ones. That's a trend that actually extends to the entirety of the season. Twelve of the team's 20 games have been decided by six points or less. They are 6-6 SU in those games, including a 3-3 mark in the ones decided by three points or less. That's not really out of the ordinary. If anything, such a record in close games is what you'd expect. Yet the Matadors have still found a way to go 8-1-1 ATS since 12.22. A lot of their recent games have been close to a "pick 'em." So as a definitive underdog tonight, one might be inclined to grab the points. But I still view this as a poor basketball team, outside my top 300.
Tonight, the Matadors find themselves on the road playing rival Fullerton. This is the first meeting of the year between the two long-time Big West rivals. Cal State Fullerton has a pretty similar record to Northridge. In fact, they're actually a half game WORSE at 8-12 straight up. But the Titans have managed to go 4-2 SU in conference play, which is a half game BETTER than what Northridge can claim. Recently, Fullerton has turned it on w/ four straight wins and they've covered the spread in each of the last three. Two of them were on the road and they've scored 80 or more points three straight times. For tonight, defense may be the key as the Titans are allowing just 60.0 points per game at home. Consider that Northridge is giving up 82.3 PPG on the road.
Northridge isn't exactly a strong defensive team to begin with as the number of PPG allowed on the road is pretty much in line w/ their overall season average (of 82.0 PPG). Recently, the Matadors have been better on that end of the floor, especially in last Wednesday's 86-71 win over Long Beach State. But that game also took place at home. This is a spread that I believe should be double digits. Fullerton has been pretty dominant its last two games, first shocking UCSB w/ a 21-point win (UCSB's only Big West loss) and then an 80-63 win over Cal Poly over the weekend. The Titans never trailed in that game and haven't been behind since midway through the 1st half of that UCSB. They'll show Northridge "who's boss" tonight. 8* Cal State Fullerton
|01-30-19||Marquette v. Butler -2.5||Top||76-58||Loss||-112||10 h 41 m||Show|
10* Butler (6:30 ET): Marquette seems to be one of those teams (every year, there's always ONE!) destined to succeed more than the metrics say they should. The Golden Eagles are 18-3 SU and now find themselves ranked #10 or #9 (depending on which poll you're looking at), but I don't think there's anyone besides the pollsters who honestly thinks this is one of the 10 best teams in America. The key for them has been an amazing propensity for winning close games. They're now a perfect 5-0 SU in games decided by five points or less w/ three of those wins requiring overtime. Saturday may have been their "greatest escape" yet as they came back from an 11-point 2H deficit to defeat Xavier 87-82, a game Marquette really had no business winning.
Tonight, Marquette goes to Butler. The host Bulldogs are coming off B2B losses (one to Villanova), so it's not as if they need the added motivation of having a top 10 team visit their campus. Friday saw Butler get held below 40% shooting for just the third time all season, in a double digit loss at Creighton (went 5 of 22 from three-point range). While the B2B losses might seem to indicate "poor form," one thing Butler definitely has going for it is a "mastery" over Marquette. They have won and covered the last four meetings, including a pair of double digit victories last season (won by 20 on the road!). Also, the Bulldogs are a perfect 5-0 SU and ATS all-time hosting Marquette. The loss to Villanova eight days ago was one of just two home losses this season. They average 80.1 PPG here.
So I expect Butler to be a lot better tonight at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Marquette would certainly seem "due" to lose w/ four of their seven Big East victories having come by five pts or less. I will concede that this Golden Eagles team does do the "little things" right in that they lead the conference in FG% defense - both overall and from three-point range. They are also 9th nationally in free throw percentage. But they just let Xavier, who came into Saturday ranked last in the Big East in scoring and 3-pt shooting, score 82 points on 50% overall shooting (8 of 18 from 3-pt range). The current win streak is Marquette's longest in conference play since 2012 and their ranking is their highest since 2013. I love this spot for Butler. Lay the short number. 10* Butler
|01-29-19||Ohio State +10 v. Michigan||Top||49-65||Loss||-109||14 h 53 m||Show|
8* Ohio State (9:00 ET): One of College Sports' most well-known rivalries is renewed tonight, this time on the basketball court, with Ohio State taking on Michigan. We all know about the one-sided nature of the rivalry on the football field (OSU 14-1 L15), but the Wolverines certainly come into tonight thinking they have the better hoops program in 2019. But I'm not sure the gap is as large as the oddsmakers are expressing w/ their line here. Michigan has definitely overachieved so far this season while the Buckeyes are still a bit undervalued despite coming in off an upset win at Nebraska. Take the points.
Part of the reason Ohio State comes in as such a heavy underdog tonight is that they have not had a good January in terms of wins and losses. Before beating Nebraska on Saturday, the Buckeyes had lost five straight games and were 0-6 ATS their L6. But winning at Nebraska was no small feat as the Cornhuskers are still a legit top 20 team. The five-game losing streak that preceded Saturday's win was OSU's longest in 21 seasons. They played desperate Saturday and should be very motivated coming in as a big dog against their rivals tonight.
Michigan destroyed Indiana Friday night, racing out to a 17-0 lead and never looking back in what ended up as a 69-46 win and cover. But prior to that, they'd been struggling a bit. The previous seven days saw them suffer their 1st loss of the season (at Wisconsin) and then need a buzzer-beater to escape w/ a win over Minnesota here in Ann Arbor. Tip your cap to another phenomenal coaching effort from John Beilein this season as the Wolverines were not a preseason top 10 team. But I think the pointspread catches up w/ them here as they're only 9-9 ATS as a favorite and 5-7 ATS at home. This just feels like it will be a close game. 8* Ohio State
|01-28-19||TCU v. Texas Tech -4.5||Top||65-84||Win||100||12 h 55 m||Show|
10* Texas Tech (9:00 ET): Texas Tech is a better team that I think most people realize. The Red Raiders are #1 in the country in defensive efficiency (per KenPom), which can help a team go a long way come March. But offense is also required in this sport and that's where this team has failed at time this season. Recently, they lost three in a row, including a putrid 45-point effort at Kansas State last week. But stepping out of Big XII play proved fruitful on Saturday as they beat Arkansas 67-64. Still, they did not cover though and that leaves the Red Raiders at a money-burning 1-8-1 ATS their L10 games.
TCU is a team that I thought was overrated coming into the season. But the Horned Frogs have fought their way back and should probably now be considered one of the top 25 teams in America. But they're still not as good as Texas Tech. Like the Red Raiders, the Horned Frogs were successful in the Big 10 vs. SEC Challenge, beating a good Florida team 55-50 on Saturday. It was TCU's second straight close win as they beat Texas (in Ft Worth) by four last Wednesday. But the problem for Jaime Dixon's team is they have yet to win a conference road game. They're 0-3 SU, having lost at Kansas State, Oklahoma and Kansas this month.
Texas Tech's #1 ranking in defensive efficiency and being at home should go a long way tonight. They are 11-1 SU in Lubbock and give up only 52.0 PPG. TCU shot just 36% from the field against Florida, so I think points are going to be very difficult to come by for them this evening. Nine of the past 13 meetings have gone the Red Raiders' way, including both last season. I look at T.T. as a very undervalued side here, likely due to the fact they've recently struggled so much against the spread. But, even off a win, this qualifies as a great "buy low" spot as they'll be desperate to snap a three-game losing streak in conference play. 10* Texas Tech
|01-27-19||Florida State v. Miami-FL +3.5||Top||78-66||Loss||-105||11 h 44 m||Show|
8* Miami FL (6:00 ET): Miami played a bad game Thursday, losing by 20 at the Carrier Dome. But Syracuse had been a hot team (well, until yday), so maybe that loss can be excused. Then again, another loss was the last thing they needed down in Coral Gables as the Hurricanes have gone just 1-5 SU their last six games to fall to 9-9 SU on the year. But it should be pointed out that the Canes have faced most of the best teams in the ACC so far. The one exception is their only conference win, 76-65 over Wake Forest, which came here at home two weeks ago. I'll take the points here as Miami is desperate and Florida State is a shaky road favorite.
FSU did get back on track itself w/ a 77-68 win over Clemson on Tuesday. But before that, the Seminoles had lost three in a row to tumble out of the top 25. I personally never bought the Noles as a Top 25 team so said tumble was not surprising to me. The key vs. Clemson was three-point shooting as they made 10 shots from behind the arc, their most vs. any ACC opponent and second most in a game all season. This is a team that went into that game shooting just 31.3% from long distance. On the road, I would not expect the Seminoles to have another prolific game from three-point range today.
FSU's last two road games were losses to BC and Pitt, two of the ACC's weaker teams. So them being favored today seems like a precarious bet at best. They were favored in those two previous losses as well, dropping them to a 6-11 ATS as a favorite overall this season. Miami is averaging 77.3 PPG at home this season where it has gone 7-3 SU. One of those three losses was to North Carolina. The other two were by a combined eight points. Florida State may again be w/o one of its best players, Phil Cofer, who is battling a foot injury. 8* Miami FL
|01-27-19||Michigan State v. Purdue +3.5||Top||63-73||Win||100||6 h 44 m||Show|
10* Purdue (1:00 ET): This shapes up as a heck of a contest. #6 Michigan State has won 13 in a row, the third longest such streak in the nation, trailing only Tennessee (14) and Hofstra (16!). But I have Purdue as the most underrated team in the country right now. The advanced metrics LOVE this Boilermakers squad in spite of their somewhat pedestrian six-loss resume. One of those six losses came up in East Lansing about three weeks ago, 77-59 as 7-point dogs. Today, they'll get their shot at revenge and to prove they're as good as those advanced metrics say they are. I think they get the job done. Take the points.
Now Michigan State hasn't just won 13 straight games. They've also covered the spread nine straight times. They are 9-0 SU/ATS in conference play and coming off an 82-67 win at Iowa on Thursday. But despite the rather convincing final margin of victory, that wasn't an "easy" game for Sparty per se. They trailed at the half. Also, Iowa shot very poorly from the field. The Hawkeyes finished the game at 38.6% overall and were 5 of 24 from three-point range. Some of the credit must go to the MSU defense (#6 nationally in efficiency), but I expect Purdue to shoot a lot better here than Iowa did. A big part of the reason the Boilermakers are still unbeaten here in West Lafayette (9-0 SU) is that they average 81.4 PPG on 48.5% shooting.
Another key in Michigan State picking up its school record 21st consecutive Big 10 victory Thursday was that Iowa, the nation's best team at getting to the FT line, only had eight attempts from the charity stripe. Michigan State also turned it over 19 times in Iowa City. Purdue, who has gotten hot w/ four straight wins to get to 6-2 SU in the Big 10, is a better team that Iowa. Their ONLY loss since X-Mas was the one to Michigan State. Despite a slow start Wednesday, the Boilermakers still won by double digits at Ohio State (even w/ the Buckeyes shooting 52%). Michigan State has not won here in West Lafayette since 2014. This is a rare home underdog opportunity w/ Purdue. 10* Purdue
|01-26-19||San Francisco -2.5 v. San Diego||Top||63-67||Loss||-110||10 h 44 m||Show|
8* San Francisco (10:00 ET): Not sure if the "bloom is off the rose" or what, but the Dons are deserving of far more respect than this! This is a team w/ a 17-3 SU record and two of those losses are to Buffalo and Gonzaga. The other one was a 2-pt loss at UCSB after a week-long holiday layoff. The Dons sport a strong defensive efficiency rating (34th), which is the highest in the West Coast Conference. I don't see San Diego measuring up tonight. Lay the short number.
Consider this: San Francisco has already beaten two Pac 12 teams this season. Now that may speak to how bad the Pac 12 actually is this year, and the two teams were Stanford and Cal, but those wins came by an average of 14 PPG. That's right in line w/ the Dons' season-long scoring margin. They're also 4-1 SU in "true" road games. Their last three have all been decided by three points or less (six pts total!), so maybe that's the reason for the short number here. But I just don't see any area where San Diego is a better basketball team. The Dons also have double revenge here, stemming from a pair of losses last season.
USD is off an impressive DD win at home as they beat Loyola Marymount by 13 on Thursday. But USF is also off a DD win at home as they beat Portland by 22. San Diego has followed up every conference win this year w/ a loss. One of those losses took place here at home, as eight-point chalk, to a Pepperdine team that rarely wins on the road. USD has also been fortunate to avoid Gonzaga to this point, but that ends next Saturday when they'll head to Spokane. San Francisco is the 2nd best team in the WCC this season and they'll demonstrate that Saturday night. 8* San Francisco
|01-26-19||Texas State v. Georgia Southern -2||Top||58-74||Win||100||9 h 9 m||Show|
10* Georgia Southern (5:00 ET): Texas State is off to an absolutely stunning start to the season as they're 17-3 SU and all alone in 1st place in the Sun Belt. Such a start to the season has not been seen in San Marcos since the 1959-60 campaign, something that I'm sure very few remember. The Bobcats have 1st place to their lonesome by virtue of upsetting Georgia State Thursday. They did so in highly impressive fashion, going on an 18-0 second half run and ending up w/ an 81-68 win (as 3.5-pt dogs). But I think it speaks volumes that this team again comes in as the underdog, as they stay in the Peach State to face Georgia Southern.
While Texas State is off a SU win as a road dog, Georgia Southern is off an outright loss as a home favorite. So it's the exact opposite situation for them as they get set to play a second home game in three days while Texas State is on the road for the second time in three days. The Eagles lost as 9.5-point faves to TX-Arlington on Thursday, which was a pretty stunning setback all things considered. Ga Southern led by six at the half and by 13 early in the second, but completely fell apart down the stretch. They didn't make a single basket in the final 3:35 and finished only 5 of 21 from three-point range. It's somewhat perplexing how a team that averages 89.0 PPG at home is only 5-3 straight up in its own gym.
Georgia Southern's last four losses have all been by five points or less, so their record could be a LOT better coming into this game. One of those four close losses came against Texas State, 73-70, back on January 3rd. That game saw the Eagles again betrayed by three-point shooting as they went just 3 of 19 from behind the arc. That won't be happening again today, especially after another shaky performance from long distance. Perhaps the Eagles should focus on the interior as - despite less than stellar numbers from 3-pt range - they are still shooting 50% overall for the year. The situation calls for a big-time performance from the home side here. 10* Georgia Southern
|01-26-19||Marquette v. Xavier +3||Top||87-82||Loss||-110||6 h 9 m||Show|
10* Xavier (2:00 ET): Going by the top 25, I have Marquette as the most overrated team in the country right now. Certainly, tip your cap to the Golden Eagles for starting 17-3 SU. But two of those losses were blowouts to teams (Indiana, St. John's) that simply aren't as good as we thought they once were. For a frame of reference, I have Marquette as just the 29th best team in America. So that's a big difference from where the pollsters have them (12th). They were able to escape earlier this week against DePaul. But it should be a different story this afternoon at Xavier.
The Musketeers are in dire need of a win here. They enter this game off B2B defeats, one at the hands of Villanova (no big deal) and the other vs. Providence. The loss to Providence came Wednesday here at home. Xavier turned the ball over 18 times in that game, which ended up being a difference maker in a two-point game. The Musketeers are now just 3-4 SU in Big East play. One thing that's not up for debate is that this is a huge revenge game for the home dog today. They lost up in Marquette earlier this month, 70-52, as 7.5-point dogs. Oddsmakers have definitely adjusted their view of the teams for this rematch. There's now some real value on Xavier.
In that first meeting, Xavier had a dreadful shooting night. They went just 17 of 54 from the field (31.5%), which included a horrible 1 of 17 from three-point range. They won't shoot anywhere close to that poorly again here as they're averaging 77.1 PPG on 49.6% shooting here at home. On the flip side, Marquette does not play good defense away from home, giving up 85.2 PPG. The Golden Eagles have played just four "true" road games previously. They were blown out by Indiana and St. John's. Their two wins, over Creighton and Georgetown, were by a total of five points and one (Creighton) was an overtime game. They trailed at the half in both. It's time for this team to drop a game. 10* Xavier
|01-26-19||Texas-Arlington v. Georgia State -8||Top||71-77||Loss||-115||5 h 9 m||Show|
8* Georgia State (1:00 ET): The Sun Belt traditionally employs a Thursday-Saturday schedule, meaning you get a lot of teams playing two road games in three days. That's the case this afternoon for Texas Arlington, who just upset Georgia Southern two nights ago, on the road. The Mavericks improved to 6-1 ATS in SBC play w/ a 72-67 outright victory as 9.5-point underdogs. That win moved them into a second place tie w/ Saturday's opponent, Georgia State, who happens to be coming off an outright loss to first place Texas State (here at home) on Thursday. This is an excellent sell high/buy low spot with the two teams involved here.
Georgia State's loss to Texas State on Thursday was the second straight time they've gone down in conference play following a 5-0 start. The Panthers had actually won seven in a row before going to Troy last Saturday and getting upset there as well. That was a 77-75 loss where Troy hit the GW three-pointer w/ 1.7 seconds remaining. Thursday was equally as disappointing w/ 1st place in the Sun Belt on the line and Texas State came in and laid it to them. That game was all about an 18-0 2nd half run (by Texas State obvi). But it bears noting that this Georgia State team has been to the NCAA Tournament two of the last four years and was the favorite to win the SBC coming into 2018-19.
Georgia State hadn't lost at home before going down at the hands of Texas State Thursday, and I don't see them losing two straight here in Atlanta. UT Arlington averages just 62.6 PPG away from home this year. They are a surprising 3-0 SU on the conference road so far, but were actually 6.5-point underdogs when they visited Appalachian State, who is now 0-6 and the last place team in the SBC. A five-game win streak has the Mavericks overrated coming into Saturday while at the same time, the B2B losses for Georgia State clearly have them undervalued. I'll lay the points w/ the vastly superior side as the Panthers average 83.1 PPG here at home. 8* Georgia State
|01-26-19||Iowa State -1 v. Ole Miss||Top||87-73||Win||100||4 h 10 m||Show|
8* Iowa State (12:00 ET): Iowa State is the better team here, although you probably could have already ascertained that simply by looking at the line. But I say that the Cyclones still aren't getting the respect they deserve in this Big 12 vs. SEC Challenge matchups. Yes, the game will take place in Oxford. But, Ole Miss has twice proven that they probably don't belong in the Top 25. Earlier this week, they were blown out by Alabama (73-54). That was the Rebels second straight Thursday loss as they week prior saw them beaten here at home by LSU. Iowa State is a legit Top 15 team in the country and will make a statement here.
ISU is off a loss themselves. On Monday, they fell by four at Kansas, a tough result considering they led at the half. For virtually the entire 1H, the Cyclones were out in front, but a 14-0 run by KU in the second half changed things dramatically. The Jayhawks wound up shooting nearly 52% from the field and when they do that, they're extremely tough to beat at Allen Fieldhouse. Yet, Iowa State still only lost by four points. Consider that four of the Cyclones' five losses this year have been by four points or fewer. They easily could have an 18-1 SU record coming into this game.
Ole Miss has definitely been a surprise in the SEC (were picked to finish last!). Taking advantage of low expectations, they have a 15-3 ATS record. But double digit losses in two of their last three games tell me that the Rebels are finally "coming back down to Earth." They did not play a very challenging non-conference schedule, so the fact they are 11-1 ATS outside the SEC doesn't mean as much as you might think. After losing to LSU last week, the Rebels did bounce back with a nice win (here at home) vs. Arkansas. But Iowa State is a much tougher foe than Arkansas. Ole Miss simply did not look very good against Bama, scoring a season-low 53 points. Iowa State will be their best team they have faced all season. 8* Iowa State
|01-25-19||Michigan v. Indiana +4.5||Top||69-46||Loss||-110||11 h 31 m||Show|
8* Indiana (6:30 ET): It's been a pretty shaky week for Michigan, who suffered its first loss of the year (at Wisconsin) last Saturday and then barely escaped Minnesota (at home) on Tuesday. The former saw the Wolverines turn in a season-worst performance. They weren't a whole lot better vs. Minnesota, scoring fewer than 60 pts for a second straight time. They needed a buzzer-beater just to prevail and they're now a dismal 20% from three-point range (8 of 40) the L2 games while being well below 40% shooting overall. Things will get no easier tonight in Bloomington as the face a desperate (and revenge-minded) Indiana team.
The Hoosiers come into this Friday night showdown on a five-game losing streak. The streak began w/ a 74-63 loss at Michigan on January 6th. Foul trouble cost IU that game. At the time, they were ranked 21st in the country and on a seven-game win streak. They've been playing short-handed recently, which has certainly contributed to the current losing skid. But they've still only lost one home game this season (to a vastly underrated Nebraska squad). Like Michigan against Wisconsin, I faded Indiana in that home loss. So I feel I know these teams well.
At home, I expect the Hoosiers to come out hot in this one. They are 0-4 SU/ATS vs. Michigan the L4 meetings. But I am a bit surprised to see them getting points at home. This will be the 1st time they're a home dog all year. I suppose it makes sense given Michigan's lofty ranking, but I believe the Maize and Blue are a bit overrated right now. Race Thompson, who has missed the entirety of the season so far for Indiana (concussion), could debut here. The Hoosiers are a significantly better team at home and Michigan is struggling right now. Take the points. 8* Indiana
|01-24-19||Appalachian State +2.5 v. Arkansas State||Top||81-82||Win||100||12 h 49 m||Show|
8* Appalachian State (8:00 ET): It would appear as if Appalachian State has little going for itself going into Thursday night's game in Jonesboro. The Mountaineers are 0-11 SU on the road and have dropped six in a row overall. They are the only team in the Sun Belt w/o a conference win. So you may be wondering why they're only a small dog on the road. Well, Arkansas State isn't very good either. The Red Wolves have their own three-game losing streak coming into tonight and are 0-5 ATS the L5 games. In what shapes up as an "ugly game," I'll take the points.
App State has generally been competitive here in conference play. Three of the five losses have been by six points or less. Saturday's game at Coastal Carolina was certainly their worst effort yet against a Sun Belt opponent as they fell by 17. Really, the game was "over before it started" w/ CC racing out to a 16-0 lead to start the game. From there, App State played basically an even game, but it hardly mattered. After such a brutal start to a game, I expect the Mountaineers to come out far more focused tonight against an opponent they know they can beat.
App State definitely "owes" Arkansas State after losing to them three straight times, all by five points or less. Last year's two meetings were decided by a total of eight points and the last two times the Mountaineers have come to Jonesboro, they've lost by one and three points. Arkansas State was 0-2 last week, scoring just 59 and 64 points in losses to TX-Arlington and Texas State. Both losses were on the road. While the Red Wolves have been better at home, you have to think this line is a little bit curious. Note Arkansas State was on the wrong end of a 30-0 (!) run in their last game as they missed 12 consecutive shots. This entire three-pack is based on fading shaky looking favorites and that's what the Red Wolves are here. 8* Appalachian State
|01-24-19||Middle Tennessee +4.5 v. Rice||Top||68-79||Loss||-109||12 h 49 m||Show|
8* Middle Tennessee (8:00 ET): It's been a pretty ugly year for the Blue Raiders. They're 5-14 SU and 4-13 ATS. But that hasn't stopped me from cashing them twice already this month. The first time was at Southern Miss exactly two weeks ago when they covered as 10.5-pt dogs in a 77-70 loss. Things worked out even better last Thursday when I had them as a four-point dog and they won outright over UTSA, 89-86. While that game ended up being close, note MTSU had a double digit lead for most of the second half and led by as many as 19 points! Let's make it three Thursdays in a row w/ this team as I'll again grab them as a road dog this week.
The good news didn't stop last Thursday for Middle Tennessee. They followed up their "upset" of UTSA w/ another win, this one over UTEP, also at home and by three points. This is the Blue Raiders' first win streak since starting the season w/ two wins over non-board teams. While the win over UTSA saw them jump out to a big lead early and hold on, MTSU was forced to rally vs. UTEP, coming back from an early 13-point deficit. The game was close for much of the second half and the Blue Raiders really helped themselves by scoring 27 points over 20 UTEP turnovers.
Rice is the opponent for Middle Tennessee this Thursday. The Owls have lost three in a row, all on the road, the last two each coming by a point. Those two one-point losses were both heartbreakers w/ the Owls losing on a buzzer beater each time. Saturday's 76-75 loss to North Texas (who is a good team) was really painful as the Owls blew a 16-point lead in that one. I know they've had four days off, but I wonder how much Rice will have left in the tank after a week like that. This is a team that gives up 79.2 PPG on the year. Wouldn't want any part of laying points w/ them right now. 8* Middle Tennessee
|01-24-19||Hofstra v. James Madison +7.5||Top||85-68||Loss||-109||11 h 49 m||Show|
8* James Madison (7:00 ET): The number of teams w/ unbeaten conference records seems to be rapidly dwindling. Count Hofstra among the survivors though as the Pride are off to a 7-0 start in the Colonial and have won 14 in a row overall, which is the nation's longest active win streak! They've already built a two-game lead in conference play. They are 7-1 ATS on the road (14-4 ATS overall), but I'd be a bit worried about this outfit considering it ranks an ugly 186th in the country in defensive efficiency. I'll take the points here as I'm not yet sold on this Hofstra team.
James Madison should be more than excited to be back home. The road has been unkind to the Dukes this season as they just dropped two more games last week away from home. They lost to Delaware on Thursday and Drexel on Saturday to fall to 2-5 in the CAA, which has them tied for last. Six of JMU's last nine games have been played on the road and they've lost all six. But they went 2-1 SU in the three home games w/ the one loss coming by only three points. The Dukes are 6-2 SU at home for the year and I think it's important to note that it's been over a month since this team lost a game by more than seven points.
Hofstra's two road wins in league play were both three point games. They needed three overtimes to win one of them (William & Mary) while a 74-71 win at Elon required them to battle back from an eight-point halftime deficit. The team can score, but it's shooting percentage are down considerably when on the road. James Madison certainly looked as if it was headed for a win Saturday at Drexel when it jumped out to an early 22-4 lead. But it was not to be and they lost 73-68 as a 3.5-pt road dog. Their own offensive numbers are way up here at home as they average 78.7 PPG on 47.5% shooting. They will be a tough out tonight. 8* James Madison
|01-23-19||Long Beach State -1 v. CS-Northridge||Top||71-86||Loss||-105||14 h 31 m||Show|
8* Long Beach State (10:00 ET): We return to our "previously scheduled program" of fading Cal State Northridge, a team I maintain is getting too much respect from the oddsmakers on a game by game basis. Perhaps the joke is on me, however, as the Matadors have managed to go a somewhat impressive 7-1-1 ATS their last nine games. But that one ATS loss happened to be the last time I played against them, which was 1.17 at home vs. a Hawaii team that hadn't played on the road in months. The Matadors did cover over the weekend against UC Irvine, but lost the game straight up, by six points (they were getting seven).
Long Beach State is off an outright loss here as they lost by two, at home, to Cal State Fullerton. That was an overtime game as the 49ers were able to rally back from a 10-point halftime deficit. But, it was not to be as the extra period saw them only able to grab the lead briefly. Still, this is a team that has been beaten in regulation only one time since blowing an eight-point halftime lead on December 10th and that was at Stanford. While they did not cover either game LY vs. Cal State Northridge, LBSU did win both. They also won their last road game, beating UC Irvine exactly one week ago.
Cal State Northridge has been involved in a LOT of close calls so far this season. Their last nine games have all been decided by eight points or less w/ eight of them decided by six or less. They've managed to go 5-4 SU and 7-1-1 ATS in that stretch, but the loss to UC Irvine on Saturday was pretty crushing as it not only came here at home, but also saw the Matadors blow a 16-point halftime lead. They were outscored 43-21 over the game's final 20 minutes including a 14-0 run by UC Irvine in the final six minutes. Cal State Northridge was only able to secure the cover when they hit a "meaningless" three-pointer w/ two seconds remaining, their only made basket in the game's six minutes. 8* Long Beach State
|01-23-19||DePaul +10 v. Marquette||Top||69-79||Push||0||12 h 1 m||Show|
8* DePaul (8:30 ET): While it's an arguable point whether or not LSU belongs in the Top 25 right now, I think it's inarguable that Marquette is NOT the 12th best team in the country. Yet, that's exactly where the Golden Eagles find themselves this week, based on the strength of a 16-3 SU record and five-game win streak. Personally, I don't even consider Marquette a Top 25 team, so there's an argument to be had that they are the most overrated team in the country right now. Don't sleep on DePaul here as the Blue Demons just upset Seton Hall over the weekend. I'm taking the points in this Big East matchup.
DePaul is 11-8 SU and coming off its second upset of Seton Hall this season. The Blue Demons won 97-93, on the road, Saturday as 7-pt pups. It was an impressive all-around performance shooting the basketball for the contingent from Chicago as they made 52.5% of their field goal attempts, including 6 of 11 from three-point range, and went 29 of 32 from the free throw line. Making the Blue Demons a force to be reckoned with is the fact that was the third outright upset they've pulled in the last four games. In addition to getting Seton Hall twice, they also went to St. John's and won. Consider that Marquette lost by 20 at St. John's, though you do have to factor in that the Johnnies were w/o their leading scorer when they faced DePaul.
Marquette is 13-0 SU at home this season, putting them in a pretty exclusive class of 19 teams that are currently 10-0 SU or better on campus. Only Houston (14-0 SU) has a better home record. Certainly, that has to be a little bit intimidating for a DePaul team that is just 2-17 SU its L19 visits here. But this is an underdog that can score (77.6 PPG) and they have four different players averaging double figures. Note that Marquette's last three games have not been easy. Two were wins by four pts or less (Seton Hall, G'town) and then on Sunday, they had to come back and erase an eight-point halftime deficit (here at home) vs. Providence. 8* DePaul
|01-23-19||Georgia +11.5 v. LSU||Top||82-92||Win||100||11 h 31 m||Show|
8* Georgia (7:00 ET): LSU has cracked the top 25, but I'm not entirely sure they belong there. Sure, they own a 14-3 SU record and have won seven in a row since a failed attempt at ending Houston's unbeaten run (which has since come to an end). But the Bayou Bengals haven't exactly taken on the toughest competition the SEC has to offer. Even an 87-69 win Saturday over a South Carolina team that had previously not dropped a conference game wasn't all THAT impressive when you consider the Tigers were 9-pt favorites here in Baton Rouge. I think LSU is ripe for a letdown.
Georgia has taken on the best the SEC has to offer and it really hasn't gone too well for them. They are 1-4 SU in SEC play, but those losses were to Tennessee (new #1 team in the country), Kentucky (hot as anybody right now), Auburn (who I still consider a top 15 team) and Florida. In my own personal power rankings, I have all of those teams rated higher than LSU. Now UGA lost all four of those games by double digits. But they should come in very motivated tonight and with some confidence, knowing that they are a perfect 3-0 (straight up) vs. LSU the past two seasons.
LSU HC Will Wade noted his team didn't handle being ranked in the polls very well earlier this year. "Human nature is to relax; human nature is to give in a little bit," he said. That's what happened after LSU started the year 5-0 SU and found itself ranked #19 in the country. They then lost their next two games, to Florida State and Oklahoma State. While the Tigers are on a 17-game home win streak (10-0 TY), the last team to beat them here in Baton Rouge was UGA, 61-60 last season. The Bulldogs played better than the final score (62-52) showed vs. Florida on Saturday as they shot almost 58% from the field (but 38% in the 2H), only to turn it over 20 times, which led to 28 pts for the Gators. Despite all that, the Dawgs were still up by five in the 2H. Take the points tonight. 8* Georgia
|01-22-19||Wichita State +2.5 v. South Florida||Top||41-54||Loss||-110||13 h 1 m||Show|
10* Wichita State (8:00 ET): What a difference a year makes. Last year, right around this time, Wichita State hosted USF and was a 29-point favorite at Koch Arena. They wound up covering that lofty spread in a 95-60 blowout win. Now, a year later, they are getting points from the Bulls in Tampa. While we know it's been a down year for the Shockers, this is a bad line in my opinion. Wichita State is coming off a tough run of games, losing to the top two teams in the American (Houston, Cincinnati) plus an OT defeat at the hands of Temple. Their one win in the last four games came as a short dog, at home though, against UCF last Wednesday. I'm taking the points here.
South Florida is 12-6 SU overall, but only 2-4 SU in conference play. They are a definite "drop in class" in terms of opponent for Wichita State, who just played the four top teams in the American all in a row. With five losses in its last six games (including one out of conference to VCU), the Shockers will be a desperate team tonight. Then again, four of USF's six losses have come in the last five games. They too had a tough time against the top teams from the American as they've just lost three in a row to Temple, Cincy and Houston. Only one team can get on track here though and I think it's going to be Wichita State.
South Florida shot very poorly Saturday against Houston, leading to a seven-game home win streak coming to an end. As for Wichita State's loss to Cincinnati, that was a close game (five points) before HC Gregg Marshall and freshman Erik Stevenson were both whistled for technical fouls for complaining about the officiating. Given that the Bearcats attempted 35 free throws to the Shockers' seven, maybe they had a right to complain. I thought USF was a bit lucky defensively against Houston as the Cougars didn't shoot the ball particularly well either. That came after the Bulls allowed B2B 82-point games to their two previous opponents. I'm on Wichita State here. 10* Wichita State
|01-22-19||Bowling Green v. Eastern Michigan -1.5||Top||80-67||Loss||-112||12 h 2 m||Show|
8* Eastern Michigan (7:00 ET): Maybe I should have called this as an "oddsmakers trap" as opposed to an "error." Because I think most would be surprised to see a team w/ an unbeaten conference record (Bowling Green) getting points from a team w/ a losing record (like 8-10 Eastern Michigan). But the bottom line is that BG is a pretty fraudulent group, despite being 5-0 SU in MAC play. Granted, I tried fading them over the weekend and that certainly didn't work out as the Falcons blew out Western Michigan. But that game was also at home where they're now 10-0 SU on the year. The road has been a different story and tonight's game in Ypsilanti will be their 1st conference loss of the year.
Eastern Michigan can claim a similar home vs. road dichotomy. They're a solid 7-3 SU at home this year, but just 1-7 on the road. They just lost at Buffalo over the weekend by 12, but covered the spread. As you probably know, the Bulls are the MAC's other unbeaten, but certainly far stronger than Bowling Green. Though they've lost twice to Buffalo this month, Eastern Michigan should hold its head high knowing they were 2-0 ATS vs. the #14 team in the country. The MAC slate will only get much easier from here and it should be noted that four of the Eagles' 10 losses this year have come against teams currently ranked in the top 15. Two others were to Power 5 schools.
Bowling Green has lost five of the seven "true" road games it has played this year. They might be a perfect 5-0 ATS in January and 8-0 ATS since December 8th, but Eastern Michigan happens to be riding its own 4-game ATS win streak. The Falcons have played an incredibly easy schedule to this point and might already be looking ahead to a showdown (at home) vs. Buffalo that takes place next week. I am simply not a believer in this team and Eastern Michigan isn't going to shoot only 28% from the field in this game like Western Michigan did vs. BG on Saturday. Lay the short number. 8* Eastern Michigan
|01-21-19||Marshall v. Western Kentucky -4.5||Top||59-68||Win||100||13 h 29 m||Show|
10* Western Kentucky (9:00 ET): This line should tell you all you need to know about the current C-USA standings. Marshall is the only team in the league w/o a loss, but the Thundering Herd come in as underdogs to Western Kentucky tonight in a rematch of a game played less than 10 days ago. Obviously, Marshall was victorious the first time around, but only by 1 point (70-69) and they had to rally back from a 15-point deficit. WKU is the better team here and should get its revenge tonight in Bowling Green. Lay the points.
Western Kentucky knows it let one slip away in Huntington and thus should come out highly motivated this evening. The disappointment from losing to Marshall the first time seemed to carry over into the Hilltoppers' next game, also a one-point loss, where they were 10-pt favorites over Florida International. Then again, that was a game WKU led by as many as 16 - at home. That not only made it B2B 1-pt losses, but three straight by three points or less. Finally, the Hilltoppers were able to get back into the win column on Saturday, defeating FAU 72-66 in their own come from behind effort. WKU is better than its 9-9 record as its last six losses have all been by six points or less.
Marshall has had just the opposite luck in close games. That 70-69 win over Western Kentucky was their third straight win by three points or less at the time and second straight by exactly one point. In their last road game, they were only able to defeat Charlotte (last place team in C-USA) 85-84. The Herd are also off a week where they played both FAU and FIU (just in the reverse order). They gave up plenty of points in both games, including 97 to FIU on Saturday. That marked the SIXTH time this season that they've allowed 90 pts in a game! Marshall has just been awful defensively on the road, giving up 88.0 PPG for the year and they rank an atrocious 221st in the country in defensive efficiency. I rate them only as the 4th best team in C-USA w/ WKU as one of the three that are better. 10* Western Kentucky
|01-20-19||Illinois +8 v. Iowa||Top||71-95||Loss||-105||13 h 38 m||Show|
10* Illinois (1:00 ET): I've had some pretty good success betting Big 10 games this year. Just yesterday, I was on Wisconsin, who handed Michigan its first loss of the year. I also won w/ Penn State plus the points over Minnesota. Another Big 10 matchup I cashed earlier in the week was Illinois over Minnesota. The Illini, a slight dog on their home floor, won "going away" by 27 points. It was a much needed result in what has been quite the unlucky season in Champaign-Urbana. Sunday finds the Illini getting more points against an Iowa team that I feel is "ripe for the pickin'." Take the points here.
The Big 10 is very interesting this year. You could have as many as 10 teams making the NCAA Tournament. Michigan and Michigan State are the clear heavyweights. I happen to think that three of the more underrated teams in the country - Nebraska, Purdue and Wisconsin - hail from this league. I also think there's some overrated teams like Minnesota and Iowa. Illinois now has a chance to beat both overrated squads. They scored 51 pts in the 1st half against Minnesota on Wednesday and led for all but 28 seconds of that game. They ended up shooting 56.1% from the field.
Illinois had ample time to prepare for Minnesota (were off last weekend), but remember what I said in my analysis. They have played better than their record, even taking Michigan to the limit. They have three losses by exactly two points. As for Iowa, they've had quite the opposite kind of luck. They've pulled off three upsets in the last four games. They may or may not be getting leading scorer Tyler Cook back here. Cook sat out the win vs. Penn State earlier in the week as he's been hobbled by an ankle injury. But the Hawkeyes are 0 for their last 7 ATS in home games when the total is 155 to 159.5. That includes an 0-4 record this year. 10* Illinois
|01-19-19||Penn State +4 v. Minnesota||Top||64-65||Win||100||9 h 42 m||Show|
8* Penn State (8:30 ET): I smell upset here. Isn't a little curious that a Penn State team that is 0-7 SU and 1-6 ATS in Big 10 play is only a short road dog here to a Minnesota team that is 13-4 SU overall on the season? Of course, anyone who joined me for my ANTI-PUBLIC BURIAL against the Golden Gophers on Wednesday knows that this team is pretty much a fraud. The Gophers lost by 27 at Illinois, a team that also was without a Big 10 win at the time. Take the points here!
Penn State hasn't necessarily been bad this year, they've just been unlucky. Case in point, an 89-82 loss to Iowa on Wednesday where they were actually favored by 3.5 points. Iowa is a ranked team and the Nittany Lions held a five-point lead at the break. But it was not be as they ended the game w/ some extremely cold shooting. Up eight w/ just over 11 minutes to go in the game, they would go onto miss 16 of their next 21 shots and 10 in a row from three-point range. Also disappointing was the fact they didn't defend as well as they normally do. None of their previous five opponents had scored more than 71 points before Iowa (a good offensive team) went for 89. Despite this, the Nittany Lions still rank top 30 in the country in defensive efficiency.
In my writeup for that Minnesota-Illinois game, I said the line was just as curious as it looks to be here and this is due to the oddsmakers being all too aware how fraudulent the Gophers truly are. I talked about this quite a bit in the analysis for the Illinois game, but would like to add that this is a poor shooting team, from both two and three-point range as they sit outside the top 200 in percentage. They've been helped by a strong offensive rebounding rate, but that will probably go down here in Big 10 play. The Gophers really do not have a quality win. 8* Penn State
|01-19-19||Western Michigan +8.5 v. Bowling Green||Top||48-79||Loss||-109||11 h 55 m||Show|
Start time for this game has been moved up due to weather. Play is still valid!
10* Western Michigan (2:30 ET): Bowling Green is the only MAC team besides Buffalo w/o a conference loss, but to consider those two squads as anything close to equals would be downright laughable. Buffalo is a legit top 20 team in the country right now. I wouldn't even consider BG to be among the top 200. While the Falcons' Saturday opponent, Western Michigan, isn't exactly lighting the world on fire, I do like the Broncos plus the points here. Bowling Green is not accustomed to being this large of a favorite and will struggle here to win by any kind of margin.
Bowling Green does enter this game on a seven-game ATS win streak. But the Falcons have been a slight underdog in three of their four MAC games, including here at home Tuesday where they escaped w/ a 79-78 victory over Ball State. They won that game despite shooting just 33.9% from the field. But they made 8 of the 20 three-pointers they took and were 29 of 33 from the FT line. Give credit to the Falcons for being 9-0 SU at home. They're averaging a lot of points here while visitors are shooting just 38.4% from the field. But I just don't see this good fortune continuing.
Western Michigan has dropped its last four games as well as seven of its last eight. As of now, they and Miami are the only teams in the MAC w/o a conference win. But the Broncos are coming off a couple of "game efforts" at home over the last week against Toledo and Buffalo. They actually gave Buffalo its toughest test in MAC play thus far - by far - as they led by 11 pts in the first half. Obviously, they weren't able to hold on, but they easily covered as 14-point home dogs. The L3 games have seen WMU score 73, 77 and 79 points. If they can get to that threshold today, then they'll have no problem covering this generous pointspread. 10* Western Michigan
|01-19-19||Virginia v. Duke -2.5||Top||70-72||Loss||-105||11 h 55 m||Show|
8* Duke (6:00 ET): This is a rare battle of teams each ranked #1 in different polls. Duke is the AP's top choice while Virginia is #1 according to the Coaches. This is just the 4th time this has happened in CBB history where teams ranked #1 in the two polls are meeting. Don't let the fact that Duke is w/o PG Tre Jones lure you into thinking the luster of this matchup is gone. I agree with the AP that the Blue Devils are the top team in the country, despite what happened to them earlier this week. Virginia is one of two remaining unbeaten teams in the country, but I believe they will go DOWN on Saturday. Lay the points.
It's certainly a bit odd to consider Duke an "anti-public" bet. But coming off a loss and w/o Jones, they are here. Facing an unbeaten team is also a contributing factor. But the Blue Devils have the depth to overcome the loss of Jones and will obviously be highly motivated coming off the 95-91 loss to Syracuse on Monday. That game saw them lose Jones to a separated shoulder just six minutes in and they were already w/o Cam Reddish. But Reddish is set to return here. Zion Williamson just set a Duke freshman record w/ 35 pts in that Syracuse game. The Blue Devils have outscored teams by more than 30 PPG here at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Virginia, as per usual, is the near the top of the country in defensive efficiency. They are giving up just 51.7 PPG and enter this game at 13-3 ATS. But two things to keep in mind here. One, it's hard to shake the memory of what happened to the Cavaliers in LY's NCAA Tournament. How will they handle this step up game? Two, I'm sure Duke remembers losing to Virginia LY here at home. This year's team is better w/ Williamson and R.J. Barrett and I don't see them going down in Durham two years in a row to the Hoos. This line should be higher. The fact that it's not is an overreaction to what happened Monday (Jones injury, Duke losing). 8* Duke
|01-19-19||Michigan v. Wisconsin +4||Top||54-64||Win||100||5 h 55 m||Show|
8* Wisconsin (12:00 ET): There are only two unbeaten teams left in the country (Virginia, Michigan) and both face stern road tests on Saturday. Michigan, ranked #2 (AP) and #4 (Coaches) in the polls must visit Madison for this early tip and as of press time, I believe this line is trending in the WRONG directions. Don't let Wisconsin's six losses fool you; the Badgers will be the Wolverines most worthy adversary yet. Michigan has played only a handful of "true" road games so far (three to be exact) and this one happens to come at a team that is not only top 15 in the country in defensive efficiency (per KenPom), but also top 20 in my own personal power ratings.
Michigan is 17-0 overall and has started Big 10 play 4-0 ATS. But they've gotten dealt a "pretty easy hand" so far in conference play, drawing three of the league's four teams that likely won't be making the NCAA Tournament. You have to tip your cap to the job done by HC John Beilein here in Ann Arbor as once again he has his team overachieving. Last year's national runner-up came into the year barely even considered a top 20 team in the country. This 17-0 record is Michigan's best start EVER, but I believe a few losses are coming. They got career-highs from TWO players in last Saturday's 80-60 win over Northwestern. That won't be happening again on the road.
Wisconsin enters this game off B2B losses, both by just four points. They've also dropped four of five, all by seven points or less. So it's not just facing a top 5 and unbeaten opponent in their gym that should have the Badgers motivated here. They desperately need a win as well. As I mentioned earlier, despite these recent results, I still have Wisconsin as a top 20 team nationally. It is not often you find them as an underdog at the Kohl Center. (Hasn't happened until now this season). Even last year when they had a down year, the Badgers were only a home dog three times. I'm taking the points here and obviously don't be surprised if it's an outright upset. 8* Wisconsin
|01-18-19||Ohio +9 v. Toledo||Top||52-75||Loss||-107||12 h 60 m||Show|
10* Ohio (7:00 ET): Led by a very good Buffalo team, the MAC is a surprisingly decent league this year. Granted, everyone else is playing for 2nd place (behind UB), but there's some quality squads here. One team that I think is a bit underrated at the moment is the contingent from Athens, Ohio. OU is just 1-3 SU in conference play thus far and has suffered a couple of losses when they were favored (Northern Illinois, Kent State) at home. But they also went on the road last week and posted a very nice 70-52 win at Ball State (as 10-pt underdogs). Not sure the Bobcats will win outright again tonight, but I love them plus the points in this spot.
The one thing that caught my eye w/ this Ohio team is that they have a very high defensive efficiency rating. They're 45th in the country (per KenPom) in that regard, which is second in the conference, right behind Buffalo. Offensively, things can get a bit dicey, but that is what the pointspread is there for. With a defense that can keep the opposition in check, the Bobcats become a very attractive play as underdogs. It was an absolutely dreadful shooting night that cost them earlier this week vs. Kent State. OU finished that game at just 31.7% from the field, including 4 of 20 from three-point range. Even on the road, you have to figure those numbers will go up tonight.
Toledo is a good team, but remember they started MAC play at 0-2 before rolling in their last two games. Back to back wins as favorites have the Rockets a little overvalued coming into this one, similar to when they hosted Ball State in the conference opener and lost 79-64. That was followed w/ a 30-point loss to Buffalo (gave up 110 points!), but getting Western Michigan and Miami OH B2B has got UT back on track. Still, those are two of the weaker teams in the MAC. The Rockets might be the better offensive team in this matchup, but they've still posted two double digit losses in games against teams I consider in the upper half of the MAC (Buffalo obviously included). This is a big revenge game for Ohio as well considering they were swept by the Rockets LY and are just 3-11 ATS the L14 meetings. Take the points. 10* Ohio
|01-18-19||Maryland v. Ohio State -2||Top||75-61||Loss||-115||12 h 30 m||Show|
8* Ohio State (6:30 ET): The Big 10 is beyond loaded this year w/ possibly 10 teams NCAA Tournament bound (Illinois, Penn St, Rutgers, N'western are the exceptions). So, more often than not, a conference game is going to carry a lot of meaning. Take this one for example, which is crucial to Ohio State. The Buckeyes have lost three in a row, the last two coming on the road. That has them 10th in the standings. But they're back in Columbus Friday where they'll host a Maryland team whose 6-1 conference record trails only Michigan and Michigan State. I think it's time for the Terps to drop a game as I do NOT view them as better than "the rest of the pack" in the Big 10.
Ohio State's losing streak began w/ a loss here in Columbus to Michigan State. At the time, the Buckeyes were ranked #14 in the country and they looked to be sitting pretty w/ a seven-point halftime lead. But they let Sparty score 50 pts in the final 20 minutes of that game and still have yet to recover. A shocking upset loss at the hands of Rutgers soon followed, then came a loss at Iowa last weekend where they again fell apart in the 2nd half. The good news for this game is the schedule lines up in OSU's favor. They have not played since Saturday while Maryland had a tough game vs. Wisconsin on Monday. Tonight is the Terps' third game in the last eight days.
Maryland won that game over Wisconsin, 64-60 in College Park. It was their sixth straight win, however, three of those have been by three points or less. Again, I view this team as being more in line w/ the "rest of the pack" and not Michigan & Michigan State. So it makes sense that they would drop a game sooner rather than later. The Terps may be 4-0 ATS on the road, but Ohio State is 8-2 SU at home and the better defensive team, in my opinion. Last year, the Buckeyes destroyed the Terps 91-68 here in Columbus. It might not be that lopsided this time around, but OSU will win again. Lay the short number. 8* Ohio State
|01-17-19||Hawaii -1 v. CS-Northridge||Top||84-79||Win||100||14 h 9 m||Show|
8* Hawaii (10:00 ET): The "curious" case of Cal State Northridge continued last Saturday as the Matadors got me again w/ a 78-74 road win over Cal Poly. It was the second time in a week that this team, who I have ranked outside my top 300, proved me wrong. Last Wednesday, they won 84-83 at Cal Riverside. Have I simply underestimated this team? I don't think so. Two wins by a combined five points, even on the road, is not enough to lead to any kind of critical reassessment. They're back at home tonight, but I like Hawaii to hand them a dose of their own medicine.
Hawaii is 10-5 SU and been off for more than a week as they prepare to hit the mainland for the first time in 2019. In fact, this will be the Warriors first road game since playing at UCLA on November 28th and that is their ONLY "true" road game so far this season! They just completed a 6-1 SU homestand on the island w/ a 79-68 win over Cal State Fullerton as three-point favorites. That result ran their mark to a perfect 4-0 ATS when favored this year, so monitor that line. But no matter where the line ends up, make no mistake that Hawaii is still a strong play tonight against an opponent that is just bad on the defensive end.
These teams split their pair of games last season and my goodness was it a tail of two shooting performances from Cal State Northridge. At home, they lost 65-46 as they shot a woeful 27.5% from the field. But out in Honolulu, they turned the tables w/ a 65.1% shooting night. But I say that no matter how well (or poorly) they shoot tonight, their poor defense will have them "behind the 8-ball." The Matadors still are giving up 83.0 points per game. Hawaii, meanwhile, does an excellent job at guarding the three-point line. Opponents are barely even shooting 30% from there this season. 8* Hawaii
|01-17-19||Texas-San Antonio v. Middle Tennessee +3.5||Top||86-89||Win||100||12 h 39 m||Show|
10* Middle Tennessee (7:30 ET): The Blue Raiders are having a somewhat disastrous season (3-14 SU record, 2-13 ATS), but they recently cashed for me in a decent showing at Southern Miss last week. The follow up to that was not good (I laid off) as they went to Louisiana Tech and fell 73-56. But now they're back at home for the first time in two weeks and desperate to end this ugly 13-game losing streak. In many ways, this play reminds me of last night's ANTI-PUBLIC BURIAL on Illinois, who was another short home dog that many were quick to write off. I'll take the points here.
UTSA is 10-7 SU so far. They have won and covered all four times that they have been favored. They are also 4-0 SU/ATS in conference play, one of only two teams in Conference USA w/o a league loss. (MTSU is only C-USA team w/o a win). But I'm not sure there's anyone that considers the Roadrunners as the top team in C-USA; in fact I wouldn't even have them top five. Two of their four conference wins came at the expense of UTEP in a "unique" scheduling spot where those teams played B2B games against one another. The Roadrunners did just earn an impressive win over North Texas, but that was by only two points and at home. They won on a last-second shot.
Going back to the end of December, UTSA has won seven straight games. It is their longest win streak in a decade and their first 4-0 start in conference play in 30 years. Meanwhile, it's been a long time since MTSU had this kind of year as the toll from former HC Kermit Davis bolting for Ole Miss is clearly being felt. That all being said, I still look at this game as a matchup where one team is due to regress and the other set to improve. To make a stock analogy, it's time to "sell high" on UTSA while we should "buy low" on Middle Tennessee. Despite the disparate records, I would still make the Blue Raiders a slight favorite on their home floor! 10* Middle Tennessee
|01-16-19||Minnesota v. Illinois +2||Top||68-95||Win||100||13 h 58 m||Show|
8* Illinois (9:00 ET): Many are going to look at this game and see a 13-3 team barely favored over 4-12 team. In terms of the ratio of tickets written on the two sides here, the result will be predictable. Minnesota figures to be (and is) a popular public choice, but I'm here to tell you not to fall for the trap. Illinois has been one of the unluckiest teams in the country thus far and is actually far better than its record suggests. The Illini have lost three games this year by exactly two points. Something else you should consider is Minnesota's 0-6 ATS record when facing an opponent that has a losing record.
Illinois comes into this game on a five-game losing streak, which includes two of their three two-point losses. Their most recent defeat came at the hands of unbeaten Michigan, 79-69, right here in Champaign-Urbana. The Illini actually outshot the Wolverines, even holding them to just 5 of 19 from the three-point range. But that discrepancy was made up for at the FT line where Michigan went 18 of 22 while Illinois was just 4 of 7 (at home!). Something key (for me) in handicapping tonight's game is that Illinois has had a little extra time to prepare. That Michigan game was last Thursday. They were off over the weekend.
Minnesota won on Saturday, 88-70 over Rutgers. But that was a good spot for the Golden Gophers. Not only were they getting the Scarlet Knights in a clear letdown spot (Rutgers had just upset Ohio State for their biggest win in YEARS), but Rutgers was also missing its best player (Eugene Omoruyi) and it showed. Omoruyi got hurt in the upset of Ohio State, so it was the Scarlet Knights' first time playing w/o him (he's also their leading rebounder). Minnesota did go to Wisconsin and win earlier this month, but I do not consider them even one of the NINE best teams in the Big 10 right now. They are ripe for the "pickin" tonight. 8* Illinois
|01-16-19||Butler -2 v. DePaul||Top||87-69||Win||100||12 h 28 m||Show|
10* Butler (8:30 ET): Butler is coming off B2B 1-pt losses, both on the road. The first was to Seton Hall, a game where the Bulldogs scored 50 pts in the 2nd half, yet still came up just short. The second was to Xavier as this time they succumbed to a second half rally (blew 10-pt lead). That Xavier loss was particularly frustrating in the sense that the Bulldogs not only shot the ball well, but also much better than their opponents. But Xavier got to the free throw line way more (double the attempts) and was +11 in scoring there, and that proved to be the difference in the ballgame.
While still on the road, tonight sets up as the easiest game of the the trip for Butler. That's confirmed by the fact they are slightly favored. A win here would give the Bulldogs some positive "momentum" (still hate that word) going into home games vs. St. John's and Big East leader Villanova over the next week. Depaul is a team they've beaten four times over the past two seasons, three of those victories coming by double digits. Maybe the gap isn't quite as large in 2019, but Butler still is the better team. Butler has lost four of five overall, but is still a top 40 team in the country in my eyes.
Three days before Butler lost to Seton Hall by a point, Depaul picked up a one-point victory over the Pirates. That win saw some remarkable shooting from the Blue Demons and snapped a three-game losing streak. Then came a surprise win at St. John's over the weekend. However, it should be noted the Blue Demons benefited from playing St. John's w/o its leading scorer and assist man Shamorie Ponds. That was another game where FT differential mattered as Depaul went 17 of 28 from the charity stripe while St. John's (at home!) was just 4 of 6. Don't let recent results fool you; Butler is the better team here and justifiably favored. 10* Butler
|01-15-19||South Florida v. Cincinnati -13||Top||74-82||Loss||-108||11 h 49 m||Show|
10* Cincinnati (7:00 ET): Cincy has has its fair share of problems w/ the pointspread here in 2019. Their three-game ATS slide began w/ a real head-scratching defeat at East Carolina (where they were 17.5-point favorites!) on 1.5. Over the course of the last week they did win a pair of games, both in overtime, but didn't cover either. They beat Tulsa by five and UConn by only two. As a result, the line for tonight's home date w/ USF opened a lot lower than it should have. This is an opponent that the Bearcats have handled through the years, winning 13 straight, although they are just 3-10 ATS in those 13 SU wins. Tonight, I look for them to "get back on track" w/ a blowout victory. Lay the number here.
South Florida comes into this game w/ a 12-4 SU and ATS record, so most are going to be tempted by them getting double digits in this spot. Don't be. Looking over USF's resume brings me back to a few months ago when I was warning clients about how overrated the school's football program was in spite of an undefeated SU record. For the record, the Bulls' hoops team is just outside my top 150 teams in the country at this point. They have really not played anyone of note this entire season. It's true that all four of their losses have been by three points or less. But two of those have come in the L3 games (at Tulsa, at Temple). Their last game (at Temple) also went to OT and they were lucky to get past regulation as they trailed by 14 at the half. This is a team that won only 10 games all of last season.
Cincinnati will easily be the best team USF has faced all season. The Bearcats bring it on the defensive end, giving up just 58.5 PPG at home. That's a big reason why they're 10-1 SU here. They are top 25 in defensive efficiency (per KenPom) and to me, on the fringes of being a top 25 team in America. The loss to East Carolina was definitely head-scratching (they let the Pirates shoot 51.1%). It should be noted that the two OT wins over the last week both saw Cincy leading comfortably in the second half, only to squander said leads. They led Tulsa by six w/ less than two minutes to go in regulation and UConn by as many as 11. Not only is this spread justified, it should be higher. 10* Cincinnati
|01-15-19||Ball State -1 v. Bowling Green||Top||78-79||Loss||-115||11 h 49 m||Show|
8* Ball State (7:00 ET): While undoubtedly "under the radar," Ball State probably just had as bad a 7-day stretch as any team in the country last week. They lost outright twice - both times as double digit favorites - and those games were in Muncie! That has the Cardinals reeling a bit in the MAC West, a division that looked like it could be theirs for the taking following a 79-64 win at Toledo earlier this month. But the good news is that there's plenty of time to recover and I think the team is being severely mispriced tonight at Bowling Green. This is a game the Cardinals should win easily.
Bowling Green does come in hot as they're on a seven-game win streak. They've covered all six games that were lined, including a couple of minor upsets at Kent State and Central Michigan. The Falcons are now tied w/ Buffalo (the clear conference heavyweight) atop the MAC East. But don't expect that to last for too long. I think too many will be infatuated w/ BGSU's 8-0 SU home record here and the fact they are 6-0 ATS when there's been a line in those games. I'm not. The last time the Falcons started MAC play 3-0 was 2004-05 and while all three wins have come by double digits, the last one (at Central Mich) actually required overtime.
I have no unearthly idea what happened w/ Ball State Saturday at home vs. Ohio. The Cardinals fell behind quickly and it was basically over from the start. They trailed 39-18 at halftime and ended up shooting a pitiful 1 of 12 from three-point range (overall FG% was just 35.4). Even on the road, those numbers HAVE to come up tonight. The loss to Eastern Michigan was a double OT affair that saw the Cards again fall victim to ridiculous three-point shooting, only this time it was by the opponent, who was 61.5% from behind the arc. Recent results have incorrectly influenced this line and I'm taking full advantage. 8* Ball State
|01-14-19||Nebraska +3 v. Indiana||Top||66-51||Win||100||10 h 24 m||Show|
8* Play on Nebraska (6:30 ET): As of this writing, Indiana is still ranked (#22), but that's likely to change before tipoff as they lost to Maryland on Friday. Interestingly enough, despite that ranking, this is the second straight game where the Hoosiers are NOT the higher rated team in my eyes. You needed to look no further than the pointspread for confirmation of that in the Maryland game. IU was a 5.5-pt dog in College Park and backers were lucky to get a miracle "backdoor" cover on a last-second three that made the game a 78-75 final. Here, Indiana's "inferiority" isn't quite as obvious, but I personally have Nebraska rated noticeably higher in my own personal power ratings. Take the points.
I've written this before, but it bears repeating here. I'm pretty high on this Cornhuskers squad and believe them to be one of the more underrated teams in the country right now. They're top 10 in the country in offensive efficiency (per KenPom) and coming off a 70-64 win over Penn State on Thursday. They come into this game having had one more day than Indiana to prepare. Nebraska is outscoring teams by almost 18 PPG this year. While they're 0-3 in Big 10 road games thus far (including a 2-pt loss at Maryland), the Huskers do own a win at Clemson earlier in the year.
This game being in Bloomington figures to be a big talking points coming into this game. Yes, Indiana is 10-0 SU at home this year. But isn't it curious then that they're not favored by more? The Hoosiers are in the same predicament Nebraska found itself in Thursday, that being off B2B road losses. They blew a 14-pt 1st half lead vs. Maryland after losing to Michigan. Nebraska is one of the few teams in the Big 10 (or country, for that matter) that can shoot the ball as well as IU. The Hoosiers' depth is currently being tested as several reserves are injured. In the last two games, they've gotten a grand total of TWO points from their bench! Meanwhile, I actually think it was a good sign for Nebraska that they were able to win Thursday despite leading scorer James Palmer Jr scoring only 11 pts on 3 of 12 shooting. He has eight 20+ pt games this year and averages 19.5 PPG. He'll bounce back tonight and lead his team to the cover (and likely SU win). 8* Nebraska
|01-13-19||Drake v. Northern Iowa -2||Top||54-57||Win||100||7 h 30 m||Show|
10* Northern Iowa (4:00 ET): You might be wondering why a 6-10 team that's struggled at the betting window (N Iowa) would be laying points to a 12-4 team (Drake) that's been highly profitable. Well, unless you've been following the Missouri Valley closely, then you are likely unaware that Drake lost senior guard Nick Norton (14.0 PPG) for the season to an ACL injury. In addition to being second on the team in scoring, Norton was the assist leader. It's a loss that will be very difficult to overcome and likely derails the Bulldogs season.
Today will be the first road game for Drake since the Norton injury, which occurred at Evansville back on the 2nd of this month. The Bulldogs lost that Evansville game in double overtime (Norton injury occurred in 1st half) and then predictably got humbled by Loyola-Chicago at home last weekend (lost by 11). The team did bounce back Tuesday, beating Southern Illinois at home, 82-70 as a two-point dog. That was a situation where the oddsmakers had clearly overadjusted for the injury. But here's a spot where the opposite holds true. I just don't see Drake winning, given that they already allow 79.6 PPG away from home.
Northern Iowa was a nice winner for me that same night Norton got hurt. The Panthers went to Bradley and won outright, 65-47 as 7.5-point dogs. They've since resumed their losing ways, dropping a couple close ones to Southern Illinois and Illinois State. But this is a good bounce back spot in Cedar Falls as UNI has to start improving upon a 3-11 ATS mark for this year (they're 24-46 ATS L3 seasons). The Panthers play good defense at home, giving up just 64 PPG. Drake has failed to cover the spread in 10 of its last 11 visits to Cedar Falls. I do not expect their hot three-point shooting from the start of the season to continue (Norton was 40.0%) while at the same time, their turnover rate (already an alarming 19.2%) should continue to rise. 10* Northern Iowa
|01-12-19||CS-Northridge v. Cal Poly +1||Top||78-74||Loss||-105||22 h 18 m||Show|
10* Play on Cal Poly (10:00 ET): I continue to be a little astounded at how a bad team like Cal State Northridge is being priced on the road. Granted I was wrong on Wednesday when they went out and beat UC Riverside 84-83, a final that fell very close to the number. But still, the Matadors don't have a profile of a team that should be EXPECTED to win on the road as they're just dreadful defensively (83.6 PPG allowed) and aren't in my top 300 teams in the country. Cal Poly also happens to be on the "wrong side" of 300 in my own personal power ratings, but they're at home Saturday night and thus deserve to be favored, at least by the token amount. Go w/ the home side here.
It's not been a good season for Cal Poly as they're only 4-10 SU and have lost five of their last six. Their last win over a D-I opponent came back on December 8th, over Bethune-Cookman, by just two points. So this sets up as a pretty ugly battle at the bottom of the Big West, but one thing that I expect is for the Mustangs to score more than usual in this game. Their last two games on the road have produced dreadful offensive showings. They shot just 37.7% from the field Wednesday against UCSB, including 7 of 25 from three-point range. They also attempted only 7 free throws in the contest and made just three. Numbers should be up across the board tonight as like I said earlier, Cal State Northridge is not a good team defensively.
Cal State Northridge has been involved in a lot of close games recently w/ their last six all decided by eight points or less. Thus, because they're typically the underdog, they've managed to go 8-1 ATS their last nine contests. But I just can't see this team winning B2B games on the conference road. Terrell Gomez had a career-high 32 pts against UC Riverside on Wednesday and the Matadors probably aren't getting that kind of game from him again. Also note they trailed by seven at the half in that last game. There's been only one game all year that the Matadors didn't give up at least 77 points. That's bad. When these teams met on this floor LY, Cal Poly scored 90. 10* Play on Cal Poly
|01-12-19||San Diego State -5.5 v. Air Force||Top||48-62||Loss||-109||16 h 19 m||Show|
8* San Diego State (4:00 ET): I won w/ SDSU on Tuesday and quite frankly, it was even easier than I expected as they dispatched of Wyoming, 84-54 as 13.5-pt chalk. Taking advantage of an opponent that was down to just seven scholarship players, the Aztecs wasted little time in taking control of their 1st conference home game. They led by 23 going into the break and in terms of shooting, it was the complete opposite of what we saw vs. Boise State. Though back on the road Saturday afternoon, I have little doubt that the Aztecs should roll against a bad Air Force squad. Lay the short number.
Air Force has lost five of its last six games, including B2B double digit defeats. Now both of those losses took place on the road, one at Utah State (by 17) and the other at Colorado State (by 23). But it's not like the Flyboys are particularly dominant here in Colorado Springs where their SU record is only 4-3 for the year. The Falcons lost their 1st MWC home game - to New Mexico - by seven points. They and Wyoming are the only MWC teams at 0-3 SU in conference play right now. The Falcons trailed by as many as 25 against Colorado State and were down double digits virtually the entire game. This is not a very good team, plain and simple.
San Diego State has lost its two road games, at Cal and Boise State, somewhat skewing their home vs. road splits. But the Aztecs are a team that can score as is evident by the fact they come in averaging 76.5 PPG. It's kind of been "feast or famine" of late w/ the L6 games seeing them score 84+ three times, but also 65 or less in the other three. The AFA allows 71.8 PPG for the year, but has given up 79 and 87 its L2 games. Another key is that SDSU is 3-1 ATS this year after allowing fewer than 60 pts in its last game. They've won three straight over Air Force, all of the wins coming by at least 11 points. 8* San Diego State
|01-11-19||Wright State +6 v. Northern Kentucky||Top||64-68||Win||100||10 h 25 m||Show|
10* Wright State (7:00 ET): These are the two top teams in the Horizon this year, a league which has become quite watered down through the years (no more Butler or even Valpo). So far in 2019, Northern Kentucky has been the one to seemingly emerge as the true favorite to win the regular season crown. The Norse are 13-4 SU w/ a perfect 10-0 record at home. They're off to a 3-1 start in conference play w/ the lone loss coming last Thursday, by two points, on the road vs. Oakland. But considering the stakes here, I view Northern Kentucky as overvalued coming into the first game w/ Wright State this year. Take the points.
Wright State played the same two teams Northern Kentucky did last week, also both on the road, just in reverse order. They also experienced opposite results, losing at Detroit, but then beating Oakland. After that 1-1 Michigan split, the Raiders are now set for their biggest road test of the entire conference schedule. The schedule makers have not been kind to Wright State as they'll end up playing five in a row on the road after all is said and done next week. They hadn't won a single time away from home before beating Oakland on Saturday, so it might seem like they're in trouble here, but I think it's quite the contrary.
This is the first time Wright State will have been an underdog in conference play this season. They did sweep Northern Kentucky last year, winning both games by a total of just five points. For what it's worth, it was Wright State picked over Northern Kentucky in the preseason Horizon League poll. As good as Northern Kentucky has looked at home so far, the last five meetings between these teams have all been decided by seven points or less. Wright State might only be 8-9 SU this season, but they have six losses by seven points or less, not to mention four by 4 pts or less. They're a better team than their SU record and I expect them to "show up" in a big way tonight. 10* Wright State
|01-10-19||Middle Tennessee +11.5 v. Southern Miss||Top||70-77||Win||100||21 h 41 m||Show|
10* Play on Middle Tennessee (8:00 ET): So, as alluded to in the promo for this pick, two nights ago saw me win with a Missouri State team that had previously been pretty dreadful at the pay window this season. But that didn't stop them from going to Indiana State and winning outright, 72-57, in shockingly easy fashion. I'm not saying this dog is going to win that easy, or even win outright, but we're getting a really good value on Middle Tennessee due to their terrible 1-12 ATS record this season. That's the worst ATS record in the country right now. But tonight they're facing a Southern Miss team that's lost three in a row and getting double digits. I say take the points.
Not only has Middle Tennessee not been covering, they haven't been winning much either. Their last SU victory came back on November 16th against Charleston Southern, 76-73, a game they were favored to win by 9.5 points. Their only other two SU wins both came against non-DI competition. The Blue Raiders have taken on some tough competition over the last two months, facing the likes of Virginia, Butler, Vanderbilt, Murray State and Ole Miss. I won't bore you w/ the particulars, but it generally hasn't been a fun time. That said, conference play has opened w/ a pair of close losses, the first time they've started 0-2 in C-USA in over a decade. The Blue Raiders were actually favored their last time out (vs. FAU) and led by seven points at halftime. So that's a step in the right direction.
As bad as things have been for Middle Tennessee this year, I remain unconvinced that Southern Miss should be a DD fave in this spot, even in Hattiesburg. The Golden Eagles are coming off a brutal six-game road trip, which ended w/ three consecutive defeats. They've generally been competitive, even against the likes of Wichita State and Kansas State, but competitive "won't cut it" in this price range. Setting aside a couple wins against non-DI opponents, USM has not won many games by significant margins this season. They even lost to a non-DI team, William Carey, back on November 25th! It's an 0-5 ATS record for the Golden Eagles as chalk this season. 10* Play on Middle Tennessee
|01-09-19||CS-Northridge v. UC Riverside +1.5||Top||84-83||Win||100||14 h 18 m||Show|
10* UC Riverside (10:00 ET): I don't understand the way this line is moving - at all. The home team (UC Riverside) is clearly the better side here, yet not even getting the "token" respect one deserves when playing in their own gym. Perhaps this is because Cal State Northridge comes in on a 5-0 ATS run. But the Matadors have dropped B2B games SU, losing by five at San Diego State, then by four at home to Yale. Those close calls may very well have taken something out of it the Matadors (especially the Yale game as it went to OT) heading into tonight's Big West opener where UC Riverside will be primed for a big performance.
Recently, I took UC Riverside in a big spot and they delivered. It was here at home, December 22nd, against a Loyola Marymount team that had lost only one game all season. As nine-point dogs, the Highlanders delivered for me in a major way, winning outright 60-53. Then came one of the more brutal B2B road games I've seen any team have to play all season. Wrapping up 2018, they had to play at Air Force and Western Michigan in a three-day span. That's quite a bit of holiday travel and sure enough the Highlanders dropped both games. But upon returning home last week, they crushed Bethesda (non-DI school) 112-47 in a "tune up" for conference play.
UC Riverside is 5-1 SU at home this season, allowing just 59 PPG. That's a far cry from the kind of defense Cal State Northridge plays as they're allowing 83.6 PPG this season (345th in the country!). Again, neither of these teams are going to be cutting down the nets in March, but I just don't see how you can make the case that the home team isn't the better side here and should be priced as such. Cal State Northridge is outside my top 300 for crying out loud, so expecting them to win on the road seems a bit foolish to me. If they end up closing as a road favorite here, it would mark the 1st time all season for them in that role. A key to this game could be the fact the visitors are terrible from the FT line, shooting at a 63% clip there. They're also below 30% from three-point range on the road while allowing opponents to shoot almost 40%. 10* UC Riverside
|01-09-19||Auburn -2.5 v. Ole Miss||Top||67-82||Loss||-106||11 h 18 m||Show|
8* Auburn (7:00 ET): #11 Auburn is set to begin its SEC schedule w/ a visit to Oxford to face an Ole Miss team that has been a covering machine this season. Obviously, this can be a tricky spot for Bruce Pearl's team seeing as Ole Miss has been the best ATS team in the country so far at 12-1. But it's a spot that I believe the Tigers are set up well to prevail. They're certainly well rested having yet to play a game in 2019. Conversely, Ole Miss had to play over the weekend, opening its SEC slate w/ a 10-pt road win over Vanderbilt. Auburn is one of the top teams in the country though and a great value on Wednesday's NCAAB card. Lay the points.
I think people forget just how good this Auburn team is. They won the SEC last season. To me, they're a legit Top 10 team w/ an offense that ranks 9th in efficiency. They come in averaging 85.2 PPG on the year w/ four players averaging in double figures, led by senior Bryce Brown's 15.3 PPG. The last time they played was December 29th when they crushed North Florida 95-49 as 23-pt chalk. That's actually the ONLY game the Tigers have played in the L17 days. It ended a five-game ATS slide, but something to keep in mind is they were a DD favorite in the majority of those contests. For a team that was actually favored to win at NC State, this is a great value.
You've got to tip your cap to the job being done by HC Kermit Davis in his 1st year here at Ole Miss, but I can't help but feel the Rebels are a bit overrated coming into this game. They have won eight in a row, but none of the opponents were even close to the caliber of what awaits them tonight. The last time Ole Miss played a ranked team was November 24th and they lost to Cincinnati by double digits. They haven't lost since (8-0 SI/ATS), but I've got to come back to the fact that the Rebels were NOT expected to contend in the SEC this season. This is going to be a challenging week for them, first w/ this game, then a visit to rival Mississippi State over the weekend. Auburn won both meetings LY, including a nine-point win here in Oxford. Tonight will be a "reality check" for Ole Miss. 8* Auburn
|01-08-19||Wyoming v. San Diego State -11.5||Top||54-84||Win||100||24 h 41 m||Show|
8* San Diego State (10:00 ET): Wyoming is a team that I targeted early on (in the season) as a regular fade and quite frankly I should have continued to do so (fade them, that is) more. The Cowboys' record is now 4-11 SU, 3-11 ATS and two of those SU wins were of the two-point variety, one of them against non-DI school Dixie State. Now that I've hopefully established that the Pokes aren't a very good team, I'll let you know that they have little to no chance tonight at San Diego State. The Aztecs are looking to rebound from a bad loss at Boise State over the weekend and will be in an ornery mood. Lay the points.
San Diego State lost by 24 up in Boise Saturday. It was their second bad loss in the last three games as they also went down in shocking fashion at home (by 19 points) to Brown the previous weekend. In between, they did beat Cal State Northridge, but failed to cover. I made the mistake of laying the points with them there, but off this loss I feel they're in better position to cover. Wyoming's power rating is still propped up by way too lofty preseason expectations that were clearly foolish. Even last year's 20-win team was just awful defensively (78.7 PPG allowed). Losing four of the top five scorers from that team was always going to be too much to overcome.
San Diego State's is a "buy low" stock right now after two bad losses in the last 10 days. I was shocked to see how poorly the Aztecs played Saturday night in Boise. This is normally a very good defensive team. Luckily, this game is in their gym where they only allow 63.7 PPG on 38.9% shooting. Their average margin of victory at home this year is 16.5 PPG. This is what I call a "get well" game for the favorite as Wyoming is very bad and SDSU is much better than what they've shown recently. 8* San Diego State
|01-08-19||Eastern Michigan v. Ball State -11.5||Top||84-82||Loss||-108||21 h 42 m||Show|
8* Ball State (7:00 ET): Ball State is off quite the impressive win here as they went to Toledo on Saturday and easily ended the Rockets' 10-game win streak, doing so in 79-64 fashion (as 4.5-pt dogs). The Cardinals have now won and covered four in a row since suffering an outright loss to Evansville (a team they'd beaten earlier in the season) back on December 9th. They've won 9 of 10 overall since an early three-game stretch against power conference teams (Alabama, Purdue, Va Tech). They've yet to lose a game here in Muncie, winning by an average of 31.8 PPG! Sounds to me like they should roll against a bad Eastern Michigan squad Tuesday night. Lay the points.
Do you remember the last time I faded Eastern Michigan? Maybe not as it was all the way back on November 19th. But I certainly do & it's a game Eagles' fans would just as soon forget. They set a NCAA record for offensive futility in a half, scoring just FOUR points before the break (yes, you read that correctly). They ended up losing 63-36 to Rutgers, one of the easiest bets I have ever made in my life. You would think that game would make the nadir of the season in Ypsilanti and perhaps it will be. But things have really gotten no better for EMU as they're now 1-9 ATS this season, including 0-7 as a dog. They have just two SU wins in the L9 games and both were against non-DI teams. The Eagles are 0-5 SU on the road, losing by an average of 24.2 PPG.
Eastern Michigan's last "effort" was a 16-point home loss at Buffalo on Friday night. Before that, they lost by 24 at Kansas. Earlier in the analysis, I mentioned Ball State's tremendous MOV here in Muncie and that has a lot to do w/ them averaging 98.0 PPG at home. They are 6-2 ATS when favored this year and considering how bad Eastern Michigan has been on the road, this is really not that high of a pointspread. The Cardinals' last four wins have all been by double digits. This is also a team that went to Loyola IL (Final 4 team LY) and won last month. 8* Ball State
|01-08-19||Missouri State +8.5 v. Indiana State||Top||72-57||Win||100||21 h 41 m||Show|
8* Missouri State (7:00 ET): For the lone underdog selection in this package, we turn to a Missouri State team that might be a little shorthanded (two reserves out), but is also also being undervalued. Like Eastern Michigan, the Bears are a team that struggles to win on the road. In fact, they have yet to do so in eight previous tries (1-5 ATS). Despite this, we're still looking at a team that has a positive point differential on the year (in all games). They're playing a team Tuesday (Indiana State) that they've had plenty of success against in the past. I'll take the points.
Indiana State won over the weekend, but only by five over a bad Bradley team. That game was here in Terre Haute. Larry Bird (school's most famous alum) "ain't walking through that door" this year for the Sycamores, who are a respectable 9-5 SU, but most of their losses have come in blowout fashion. Before beating Bradley, they were destroyed by 35 at Loyola Chicago. In that game, Indiana State scored just *12* points in the first half. Things obviously went much better offensively vs. Bradley, but that was tied to the fact they attempted 47 free throws, twice the number as their opponents. It also helped Bradley was a miserable 3 of 20 from 3-pt range.
Missouri State is off a bad 82-66 loss at home to Valparaiso, a game that they were favored to win by 5.5 points. That result undoubtedly had an effect on the pointspread for this one as my numbers say these long-time Missouri Valley rivals would be close to even at a neutral setting. Missouri State played a terrible 1st half vs. Valpo, going into the break down 46-24. That was on the heels of losing a close one at Southern Illinois. I mentioned earlier that the Bears have had Indiana State's number the last couple years. They are 4-0 SU against them the L2 seasons including a 19-pt win here in Terre Haute last February. They'll at least stay within the number here. 8* Missouri State
|01-06-19||Wisconsin +1 v. Penn State||Top||71-52||Win||100||12 h 43 m||Show|
10* Wisconsin (7:30 ET): There's never a good time to lose your coach (more on that in a moment), but for Penn State today is most inopportune as they'll be facing an angry Wisconsin team that is coming in off B2B losses. Nittany Lions HC Pat Chambers will not be on the bench here as he is suspended for shoving freshman Myles Dread in a heated altercation during the team's 68-55 loss at Michigan Thursday. It has already been a disappointing season in Happy Valley w/ Penn State starting just 7-7 SU overall, including an 0-3 mark in Big 10 play. I'm shocked they are listed in the pick 'em range here.
Both of Wisconsin's recent losses came as favorites. The more shocking of the two was two Saturdays ago at Western Kentucky. But, for what it's worth, that was a road game and WKU had already beaten one ranked team this year in Bowling Green (West Virginia). The Badgers allowed 67.8% shooting in the second half of the game, which pretty much means you'll lose to anybody. Then, on Thursday, they couldn't buy a bucket in Madison as they lost 59-52 to Minnesota. That game saw them score only 14 pts in the 1st half and they killed themselves at the FT line where they finished the game just 7 of 17.
As they showed vs. Minnesota, the defensive issues that cost Wisconsin against WKU are certainly correctable. This is still a top 20 team nationally in defensive efficiency, mind you. So is Penn State, but their defense is likely to suffer in a game where they're playing w/o their head coach. The Badgers won here LY, holding the Nittany Lions to 35% shooting, including 2 of 14 from three-point range. I would have made them around a three-point favorite here even if Chambers was coaching this game for PSU. But he's not and I look for the Nittany Lions to drop to 0-4 ATS in conference play this season. Penn State has been pretty dreadful on offense this season, shooting below 40% in Big 10 play and just 32.1% for the year from three-point range. 10* Wisconsin
|01-05-19||Colorado State v. Fresno State -15||Top||67-78||Loss||-109||14 h 9 m||Show|
8* Fresno State (10:00 ET): FSU is a team I won w/ earlier in the week as they went to San Jose State and blew out the Spartans 73-53 as 14.5-point favorites. As I mentioned in that analysis, the Bulldogs were coming off a very embarrassing loss to Utah Valley State (were 10-pt home favorites) as they shot a dreadful 34% from the field. As expected, they bounced back in a major way against one of the worst defensive teams in the country. They wasted little time in gaining an early lead as they shot better than 60% from the floor in the 1st half and took a 22-pt lead into the break. From there, it was smooth sailing. I believe Fresno State is likely to consider its mastery of the Mountain West tonight as they're back at home. Lay the points.
Colorado State might be a little stronger than San Jose State, but they still should not present much of a challenge to FSU. The Rams come into this game having dropped eight of nine, including four straight. Their lone win during that stretch came at the expense of Sam Houston State. The last four losses have been a particularly brutal streak for CSU as three of the defeats have been by five points or less. But even w/ those close calls, I don't expect them to compete here as Fresno State is a much tougher opponent than what the Rams have faced recently. Last year, they came to this building and lost by 21 when priced similarly by the oddsmakers.
Fresno State is putting together an impressive season at 10-3 SU. The loss to Utah Valley State right before the New Year is the only time they've been beaten at home. Their other two losses were to Miami and TCU, both by single digits. All but one of their wins have come by double digits and at home they're winning by an average of 17.3 PPG. Offensively, they have been very sharp, averaging nearly 80 PPG. Colorado State has been a sieve defensively, giving up almost 80 PPG. This is a second road game in four nights for the Rams and they may very well be spent after taking another close loss at UNLV Wednesday (blew 10-pt second half lead). They are ripe for the "pickin'" here. 8* Fresno State
|01-05-19||Texas-San Antonio v. UTEP OVER 139.5||Top||67-63||Loss||-105||13 h 9 m||Show|
10* Over UTSA/UTEP (9:00 ET): In a bit of a weird scheduling quirk, these teams are playing each other in B2B games. As the underdog, I thought UTEP was a solid value Thursday night on the road. I was wrong. The Miners lost 75-60 (even though they'd been bet down all day) on what was an absolutely dreadful shooting night for them (34.0 FG%). Here at home, I'm obviously expecting a much better offensive performance. But what really sticks out to me here is the total. These teams have gone Under against one another the last 10 times they've played! I think that streak comes to an end tonight. Take the Over.
Not only do these C-USA rivals have a history of going Under against each other, both have primarily been Under teams all season. UTSA has gone Under in 8 of its 10 lined games this year and UTEP isn't far behind at 7-2 Under. In fact, 21 of the Miners' last 30 home games have stayed Under. Since December 1st, UTSA has played in four games where the oddsmakers posted an O/U line. All four stayed Under. UTEP is 4-0 Under its last four games as well. This is highly irregular, obviously. Note that despite the terrible shooting by the Miners Thursday, the game still nearly went Over, only falling short by seven points.
UTSA hardly shot the ball well two nights ago as they finished the game barely above 40.0% from the field. So they too are likely due for an "uptick" offensively in this quick rematch. They're also due for a downswing defensively. Before allowing just 50, 67 and 60 pts the L3 games (all wins), the Roadrunners were routinely giving up 74+ points. This total is low for them as many of their previous O/U lines this season were north of 150 points. They are averaging almost 75 points per game while giving up nearly 74 PPG. The simple laws of regression (to the mean) tell me that we are in store for an Over in El Paso tonight! 10* Over UTSA/UTEP
|01-03-19||UTEP +7 v. Texas-San Antonio||Top||60-75||Loss||-109||12 h 5 m||Show|
8* UTEP (8:00 ET): I don't see any real difference between these foes coming into the C-USA opener, thus I'll be taking what certainly appears to be an inflated number. Both UTEP and UTSA enter this game at a game below .500, though the host Roadrunners have played two more games. UTSA has won three in a row, but all were against clearly inferior opponents (two games not even lined). UTEP has been the better bet at the window this year as they've covered six of their last seven games, including a 76-65 win over Wyoming back on 12.22. They've been off ever since and come into this game w/ legit triple revenge for a trio of losses suffered to UTSA last season.
Maybe it's the fact that UTEP hasn't won on the road yet that has the oddsmakers "down" on them here. But it's not as if the Miners haven't played a challenging set of road games thus far. They've visited New Mexico State, Arizona, New Mexico and Marquette. They covered the last two times on the road, including losing to Marquette by only seven. It was 12 days ago that the Miners last played, winning the 3rd place game in the Sun Belt Invitational over Wyoming. The only other time in this season they've played w/ this much rest was when they ended up beating Cal Riverside by double digits back on 12.16. The Miners have played only three games in the L30 days, so they should be extremely well-rested coming into tonight's conference opener.
The triple revenge angle is huge here as two of the three losses UTEP suffered to UTSA last year were by four points. Then, on an awful shooting night, they lost to them again in the C-USA Tournament. But I'm just "not seeing it" w/ this UTSA team right now as three of their six wins have come against non-DI opponents and their "best" win was against a Texas A&M-Corpus Christi team that I wouldn't even consider among the top 275 teams in the country. The Roadrunners boast only two double-digit scorers and shoot just 31.8% from three-point range. Though 2-0 ATS as chalk YTD, they are simply not trustworthy in this price range. Take the points. 8* UTEP
|01-02-19||Fresno State -13.5 v. San Jose State||Top||73-53||Win||100||14 h 19 m||Show|
8* Fresno State (10:00 ET): This lines up as a colossal mismatch on the Wednesday card. Fresno State is one of several teams across the country that recently suffered a rather head-scratching loss. Theirs came at home Saturday against Utah Valley State. FSU was a 10-point home favorite, but lost 64-60 as they shot a dreadful 34.0% from the field. That snapped a seven-game win streak and was a "far cry" from what we usually see from this Bulldogs team on the offensive end as they still average over 80 PPG for the year. This is only their second "true" road game of the year, but I had them in the 1st and they covered there (at TCU). Lay the points this time.
San Jose State is very bad. I count them outside the top 300 teams in the country. Now the Spartans are coming off a difficult three-game road trek where they had to play two Pac 12 teams (Stanford, Cal), then St. Mary's. In the finale, they were blown out by 30 and scored a season-low 45 points. This is a team w/ only three wins this year. One was against Life Pacific (an actual team, not a life insurance company!) and the other two were by a total of seven points against Bethune-Cookman and Northern Arizona, two other very bad teams. Among schools w/ both a D-I football and basketball program, SJSU may have the weakest athletic department in the country. The school's football program is among the worst in the country and so is the basketball team.
San Jose State won just a single game in conference play last season (by two points!), going 1-17 SU against the rest of the Mountain West. They were 4-26 SU overall. They have now lost 35 of their last 41 games. Fresno State beat them twice last season, by nearly identical scores - 77-59 at home and 77-57 on the road. It was a simple case of an "off-shooting night" for FSU against Utah Valley State as their percentages were down across the board. Look for them to bounce back in a major way in this Mt. West Conference opener. 8* Fresno State
|01-02-19||Northern Iowa +8 v. Bradley||Top||65-47||Win||100||12 h 19 m||Show|
10* Northern Iowa (8:00 ET): What in the world has happened in Cedar Falls? Northern Iowa, a once proud program, has fallen on some really hard times the last couple seasons including a 5-8 SU start this year. The Panthers have been even more dreadful against the pointspread, owning a 1-10 ATS mark this year. That shows the oddsmakers have been a little slow in keeping up w/ the program's overall regression. But here they've overadjusted as UNI is set to face a middling Bradley team that's been pretty overrated all season. The Braves have proven to be a poor bet in the role of favorite, so I'm taking the points here in the Missouri Valley Conference opener for both.
Over the L6 games, Bradley has lost outright THREE different times as a favorite. Two of those were here at home as both New Mexico (+7.5) and Eastern Illinois (+13) came to Normal and pulled upsets. The Braves have not played since 12/22 when they barely escaped SE Louisiana, winning by only three as 13-point favorites. On a poor shooting night overall (34.0 FG%), Bradley made a three-pointer in the final seconds to notch the SU win. Their last four games have all been decided by seven points or less. I just think it would be a mistake to expect this team to win by any kind of margin, especially against a conference foe following a long layoff. The Braves are just 1-5 ATS in home games this season.
Northern Iowa's only ATS win this year came back on 11/19 against Old Dominion (favorite to win the Colonial), a 54-53 upset as 2.5-pt dogs. In a weird scheduling spot, the Panthers then had to face the Monarchs again four days later (on the road) and lost by seven, starting the current 7-game ATS slide. Last Saturday, UNI lost at home to Stony Brook as 1.5-pt chalk, 73-63. Stony Brook isn't a bad team mind you (set school record w/ 12 non-conf wins this Year). As ugly as things have gotten for the Panthers at the betting window this year, I have to believe they're being undervalued in this spot. 10* Northern Iowa
|01-01-19||CS-Northridge v. San Diego State -15.5||Top||60-65||Loss||-105||7 h 3 m||Show|
10* San Diego State (3:00 ET): The Aztecs are off an absolutely shocking loss to Brown on Saturday. It's not just THAT they lost, it's HOW. They fell 82-61 as 11-pt favorites, getting victimized by a barrage of three-pointers from the Ivy League contingent. The 1st half in particular was as shocking as any box score you'll see all season w/ Brown going into the break w/ a 50-22 advantage. The Bears shot only nine free throws for the game, but went 15 of 28 from three-point range and shot 53.4% overall. That was a far cry from SDSU's shooting as they went just 35.2% overall from the field, including 5 of 17 from behind the arc. I expect a massive bounce back on New Year's Day. Lay the points.
What made that loss to Brown all the more shocking is that it simply was not in line w/ the Aztecs' season performance at all. Even after the disaster Saturday, visitors are still shooting just 29.2% from three-point range here, for the season. The Aztecs allow just 64.3 PPG at home. Also, as impressive as those defensive numbers are, the Aztecs also rank 53rd in the country in offensive efficiency. They average 82.4 PPG at home.
Perhaps SDSU could be tested defensively here by a CS Northridge squad that averages almost 80 PPG itself. But there's a reason that the Matadors lost 8 of their first 10 games vs. D-I opponents this season. They can't stop anybody. They are allowing a frightening 84.2 PPG and predictably that number goes up even further when they're on the road as home teams are hitting over 40% against them from three-point range. The Matadors have managed to win three straight (also 3-0 ATS), including a 94-86 home win over Morgan State on Saturday. But they are just 8-20 ATS the L3 seasons after allowing 80+ pts the previous game. This should be a big bounce back game for the home favorite. 10* San Diego State
|12-31-18||Monmouth v. Pennsylvania -14||Top||76-74||Loss||-109||5 h 4 m||Show|
8* Pennsylvania (1:00 ET): Penn suffered a bad loss its last time out, 77-45 at Toledo. But that's nothing compared to the kind of SEASON Monmouth is having. The Hawks are on the verge of a winless 2018, having started 0-12. While a few of the losses have been close, generally speaking, the Hawks have been getting blown out with great regularity. This fall from grace has been quite ugly for the team from New Jersey and I'm not sure there's any immediate end in sight, not until MAAC play starts, at least. With Penn at home and antsy to atone for a bad loss, I see them rolling this afternoon. Lay the points.
Monmouth is one of only two teams in the country that is still winless. The other is perennial bottom-feeder Coppin State. To say that it's surprising to find the Hawks this low on the totem pole would be an understatement. They won the MAAC B2B years in 2015-16 and 2016-17 and the upperclassmen have been to the NCAA Tournament before. But after last season's disappointing finish (11-20 SU), the Hawks' best player (Micah Seaborn) decided to declare for the NBA Draft. He wasn't even picked, so it was kind of a lose-lose situation all around. Now there are reports that Monmouth HC King Rice and four reserves are able to beat the starters in scrimmages. The Hawks' confidence is clearly shot right now and I don't see them getting things fixed today.
The Toledo team that blew out Penn is no slouch. While you never want to lose by 32, the Rockets are 12-1 SU this year. It was also a road game for Penn where they were underdogs. As a favorite, the team is a perfect 6-0 ATS. They are 5-0 SU at home. Remember, the Quakers upset defending National Champ Villanova earlier this month (I was on 'em!). They also won at New Mexico and upset Miami FL. This despite losing all-conference player Ryan Betley early in the season. This is a good team and with the blowout loss still fresh in its collective mind (happened Saturday), I fully anticipate the Quakers to roll here. They've been undervalued most of the year. A real key here is that Penn is 31st in the country in effective field goal percentage (they shoot 55.6% from the field at home!) and Monmouth is one of the worst defensive teams in the country right now at 329th in effective FG% allowed. 8* Pennsylvania
|12-30-18||Towson +8.5 v. William & Mary||Top||61-71||Loss||-109||8 h 50 m||Show|
8* Towson State (4:00 ET): Both of these teams opened Colonial play w/ a win on Friday. Towson went to Elon and beat the Phoenix 77-60 as a one-point favorite. William & Mary was here at home hosting James Madison and won by only five, 79-74, as seven-point chalk. I realize that Towson isn't exactly being picked to finish at the top of the CAA standings this year, but I also believe they are deserving of a bit more respect than they are getting here against a middling William & Mary team. The Tigers beat the Tribe both times in the regular season LY before getting ousted by them in the conference tournament. Take the points.
Towson actually did trail Elon by nine early in the second half before storming back and winning comfortably. Over an 11-minute stretch, they outscored the Phoenix 34-8. It was a 53-point second half, led by an 8 for 12 performance from three-point range. Will they shoot that well again? The inclination is to say "no," but William & Mary is also giving up 80 PPG on the season, so the Tigers should score plenty this afternoon. Each of Towson's last four losses have been by six points or less, so they've been competitive. Last year, they came here to Williamsburg and blew out W&M 99-73 (as three-point dogs). In fact, the Tigers hung 90+ on W&M in both regular season matchups LY.
It was also not easy for William & Mary their last time out as they erased a double digit deficit in a come from behind effort against James Madison. It was the third third this season that the Tribe won a game in which they trailed by double digits. That hardly sounds like a sustainable blueprint to me. Had they not erased a 20-point deficit against St. Joe's back on 11.24 (won 87-85), then the Tribe would have been 1-8 SU to start the season. They've won three of their last four, but have yet to beat a D-I opponent this year by more than 10 points. Three of their five wins have come by five points or less. 8* Towson State
|12-30-18||Appalachian State +12 v. St. Louis||Top||55-83||Loss||-109||7 h 50 m||Show|
10* Appalachian State (3:00 ET): The Mountaineers come into St. Louis as pretty heavy underdogs, but I'm not exactly sure why that is. They've been more than competitive in their losses so far this year, save for a neutral court game against a good Purdue team. Other than that, ASU hasn't been beaten by more than 10 pts in any game this season! They've been off for 10 days since a confidence-building win over Milligan, a non-board team they destroyed by a score of 99-60. They're facing an opponent this afternoon that doesn't score much, so points are at premium. That makes taking the points sound like the right move to me.
St. Louis is a really good defensive team (22nd in the country in efficiency), but that's about all the Billikens have going for them. They were humiliated their last time out, losing 81-59 at Florida State. That marked a season-high in points allowed They do own a two-point win at Seton Hall earlier in the year, but have dropped every road game since and are just 4-4 SU overall. This isn't a team I'd want to lay double digits with, given they average only 66.7 PPG on the season. Only once in the last six games have they topped that average. Sure enough, the Billikens are just 1-6 ATS as favorites this season, including 0-4 when laying 12 or more points here at home.
These teams play at very different tempos. App State comes in averaging 85.4 PPG (13th in the country). While they also give up their fair share, the Mountaineers definitely will be looking to push the pace here in St. Louis. That could very well make the favored Billikens quite uncomfortable, especially coming after a week-long layoff. The Billikens are just 2-9 ATS when playing w/ 7 or more days rest. Though 0-7 SU on the road this season, App State is a respectable 3-4 ATS in those games. Meanwhile, St. Louis is 7-0 SU at home, but 2-5 ATS. Two of SLU's top three scorers have been struggling from the field recently while App State leading scorer Shabazz has twice gone for 29 pts in the L3 games. 10* Appalachian State
|12-29-18||St. John's v. Seton Hall -3||Top||74-76||Loss||-107||13 h 54 m||Show|
10* Seton Hall (8:30 ET): There are only five remaining unbeatens in College Basketball, and of those five, I don't think there's any disputing that St. John's is the weakest team. Really, there's a pretty huge gap that exists between three of the unbeatens (Virginia, Michigan, Nevada) and the other two (Houston, St. John's). Tonight, the Red Storm are underdogs for the very first time this season as it will be just their second "true" road game. They face a Seton Hall team that has had their number in this Big East opener and I look for St. John's to fall for the very 1st time. Lay the points.
Seton Hall is no slouch either and this isn't simply a case of being the right team at the right time. The Pirates hold a win over Kentucky this year and will come into tonight riding a five-game win streak. Three of those wins, including the one over UK (84-83), were close (as in decided by six points or less). But the Pirates have also lost a couple tight ones as well. As I stated above, they've certainly had St. John's number in this Big East rivalry, including a season sweep last year. At home, they've won and covered 12 of their previous 14 meetings with the Red Storm. This is a team that just beat Maryland on the road its last time out.
St. John's being undefeated is simply a byproduct of the schedule as they have played one of the weakest slates of games in the entire country to this point. KenPom has their schedule rated 344th out of 353 teams in the country. That's why they're unbeaten and not even ranked at this point. Four of the team's first six wins came by four points or less and then the schedule got real soft. They should also be concerned about the fact they just allowed Sacred Hart to shoot 50% in the last game. They were able to overcome that by sinking a school record 17 three-pointers, but fate catches up with them here and Seton Hall will hand them their 1st loss. 10* Seton Hall