|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|03-11-20||Vanderbilt v. Arkansas UNDER 146.5||Top||73-86||Loss||-110||13 h 46 m||Show|
10* Under Vanderbilt/Arkansas (9:25 ET): Both teams have been going Over a lot recently (three straight for Vandy and five straight for Arkansas). But when facing each other, Under has been the way to go in the past. The last four head to head meetings have all stayed Under including a 75-55 Hogs’ win in Fayatteville two months ago. Look for this 1st round SEC Tournament matchup to do the same.
Arkansas has basically been going Over in almost every game this year. Not only do they come into the SEC Tourney on five-game Over streak, the Razorbacks are 15-2 Over in conference play this season! The Vandy game was one of the two that stayed Under obviously, a 73-59 loss at Florida on 2/18 was the other. Of course, this is a team that played FOUR overtime games in the regular season (helps w/ Overs) as well. The L5 games have been far higher scoring than normal for the Hogs, averaging 164.8 PPG, which is way up from where they are at for the season (145 PPG). The recent numbers aren’t likely to hold.
While not on campus, the SEC Tournament does take place in Nashville, giving Vanderbilt a slight boost. The Commodores finished last in the regular season though w/ only three conference wins. Two of those three came in the last eight days in upsets over Alabama and South Carolina. The Commies averaged 85 PPG in that pair of victories, which is highly unlike them as they average only 71.7 PPG for the season. They too are “due” for a downturn in scoring. They’ve shot less than 40% in conference play this season! 10* Under Vanderbilt/Arkansas
|03-11-20||Nebraska +15 v. Indiana||Top||64-89||Loss||-109||9 h 31 m||Show|
8* Nebraska (8:30 ET): Look, there’s no sugarcoating how badly Nebraska has been beaten up by the rest of the Big 10 this year. The Cornhuskers not only enter the Tournament as the lowest seed, but also short-handed due to the suspensions of Burke and Mack. With their last win coming all the way back on January 7th, they clearly are not long for this event. It’s a 16-game losing streak they're on right now.
But Indiana happens to be the classic “overvalued” bubble team tonight. If you believe in Joe Lunardi, the Hoosiers are currently one of the “last four in” the field of 68. They would be the 10th team representing the Big 10 in the NCAA Tournament. Because of the “must-win” nature that they face right now, bettors have jumped on IU here and driven the line up to a far higher place than it should be. I don’t see the line getting any bigger, so jump in and play now.
Indiana has beaten Nebraska twice this year, but both wins were by single digits. The Hoosiers have a problem outside of Bloomington in that they only average 60.8 PPG. Incredibly, they did not win a single “true” road game during the regular season (0-12). Ask yourself - do you really want to lay double digits with a team like that? The Hoosiers have dropped three of their last four games and were held under 60 pts in two of the losses. 8* Nebraska
|03-11-20||Washington v. Arizona -5||Top||70-77||Win||100||10 h 29 m||Show|
10* Arizona (5:30 ET): Is it really true that Washington was once ranked in the Top 25 this season? I swear that it is! The Huskies even opened their season by beating Baylor. They got as high as #21 in the polls before the “bottom dropped out” and that “bottom” just so happened to be “conference play.” Going into last week, UW was just 3-13 SU vs. the rest of the Pac 12 and two of those victories came back in January. Two wins last week are not enough to convince me that this team is ready to make a move in the conference tournament.
Arizona can be prone to some truly awful shooting nights. But I believe this team is MUCH better than its 5th place regular season finish in the Pac 12 would seem to indicate. There’s a case to be made that on any given night the Wildcats are as good as any team in the league. Even though they underachieved and (like Washington) are no longer ranked, I still consider Arizona as a Top 20 team and a real “darkhorse” in the NCAA Tournament.
This is a revenge spot for the Wildcats, who dropped the regular season finale (at home) to Washington by a score of 68-62. They went into that game as 10-pt chalk. It was one of their “bad shooting nights” as they finished just 35.1% from the field despite shooting a reasonable percentage from 3-point range. Still a top 15 team in defensive efficiency, I’ll call for the Wildcats to shoot the ball MUCH better from inside the arc here. I can’t see Washington pulling a third straight upset after going 1-10 SU its previous 11 games. 10* Arizona
|03-10-20||Canisius v. Iona -3.5||Top||60-70||Win||100||12 h 16 m||Show|
10* Iona (7:00 ET): I thought Iona underachieved this season, but now they have a chance to atone for that in what looks to be a wide-open MAAC Tournament in Atlantic City. The Gaels’ regular season ended with three consecutive losses, but all were either by three points or less or in overtime. That’s almost par for the course for a team that was favored in the majority of its games this season only to end up with a losing SU record (11-16). But the irony of the three-game losing streak is it placed them in the bottom half of the tourney bracket (seeded 7th) and away from top seed Siena. In the first round, they face a Canisius team they swept in the regular season!
Canisius finished second to last in the MAAC with a 7-13 SU conference record. They are just 12-19 SU overall. While the Golden Griffins were generally pretty good as underdogs (14-5 ATS), they failed to cover at Iona (+2.5) and were then blown out in the rematch 86-65 as a 1.5-pt home favorite. They are 0-4 SU/ATS vs. Iona the L2 seasons. So while Iona obviously would have loved to avoid playing in the first round of this tournament, Canisius is definitely not a bad matchup.
Canisius did end the regular season w/ B2B wins, but they came against arguably the two weakest teams in the MAAC (Niagara, Marist) and one of those wins was by a single point. The Golden Griffins hadn’t won B2B games since mid-January prior to the current streak. They came into March having lost 11 of 13 games and BOTH wins were by 1 point! I have no unearthly idea how they were able to beat Niagara in the regular season finale as they shot below 40% overall (including 5 of 21 on 3-pt attempts) and made only 8 FT’s. Iona’s luck changes here! 10* Iona
|03-10-20||Illinois-Chicago v. Northern Kentucky -4||Top||62-71||Win||100||5 h 40 m||Show|
8* Northern Kentucky (7:00 ET): Northern Kentucky came into yesterday knowing that whomever the opponent was, the Horizon League Championship Game would be an opportunity for revenge. The Norse have lost only two games since the start of February. One was a two-point loss to regular season champ Wright State. The other was a shocking 30-point loss to UIC. Surprisingly, they find themselves with the opportunity to avenge the more shocking defeat as UIC upset top seed Wright State in yesterday’s semifinal round.
Of course, NKU also had to handle its own business in the semifinals yesterday. They did just that, beating Green Bay 80-69 as a 5.5-point favorite. The Norse weren’t necessarily dominant, but they got the job done. They went ahead for good with 9:52 left in the game and now look to make the NCAA Tournament for the third time in the last four years. They’d been regular season champs each of the past two seasons, so make no mistake about it - this has been the dominant program in the Horizon League.
When the Norse lost 73-43 (at home!) to UIC back on Feb 16th, they had to endure one of the most wretched shooting nights of the entire College Basketball season. They connected on only 22% of their total field goal attempts and were 4 of 32 from three-point range. Meanwhile, UIC shot 50% overall and was 11 of 20 from behind the arc. Needless to say, that kind of shooting discrepancy isn’t happening again here. Northern Kentucky beat UIC by 16 in the season’s first meeting and should roll in similar fashion tonight. 8* Northern Kentucky
|03-09-20||Elon v. Northeastern -8.5||Top||60-68||Loss||-107||9 h 44 m||Show|
8* Northeastern (8:30 ET): The second of the two Colonial semifinals is NOT the matchup anyone expected as the 6-seed Northeastern faces the 7-seed Elon. Elon ensured that William & Mary would not make their first ever NCAA Tourney, beating the 2-seed 68-63 as a 7-pt dog yday. In the nightcap, Northeastern upended 3-seed Towson, but what was most interesting about that quarter final battle is that the lower seeded team (N’eastern) was the betting favorite (-3.5). They won 72-62.
Elon is actually playing its third game in as many days here, which puts them at a pretty distinct disadvantage. Before last night’s upset over William & Mary, the Phoenix had to come from behind to defeat James Madison 63-61 in the 1st round of the tourney on Saturday. JMU finished in last place in the CAA this year, so that less than impressive win made Elon’s upset yday all the more surprising. Prior to Sunday, no team seeded 5th or lower had pulled an upset in the CAA Tournament since 2011. The fact we had two teams do it is noteworthy!
Again though, Northeastern’s win on Sunday should NOT be considered an upset as they went off as the betting favorite. Now it was an upset when Elon beat N’eastern on Feb 1st 74-69. They were 7-point dogs, but playing at home and they shot a ridiculous 61.4% from the floor. This is a neutral setting (Washington D.C.) and before yday, Elon had failed to cash in seven straight neutral court games. Northeastern did win the season’s first meeting 77-68 and should win by a larger margin tonight. 8* Northeastern
|03-09-20||UL - Lafayette v. Georgia Southern -8||Top||81-82||Loss||-110||11 h 14 m||Show|
10* Ga Southern (7:00 ET): The Sun Belt Tournament gives a tremendous amount of preferential treatment to the teams that finished at the top of the regular season standings (as more “mid-major” tourneys should). The top two teams get triple byes into the semifinals, which take place in New Orleans, and prior to that all games are at campus sites and hosted by the higher seed. Here we’ve got the #5 seed Georgia Southern hosting the #8 seed Louisiana (who had to beat Arkansas State Saturday just to get here).
Louisiana benefited from the home court advantage rule against ASU on Saturday, winning 73-66 as a 3.5-pt favorite. While five Ragin Cajuns finished in double figures, they only led by one in the final minute. Neither team shot well, though Louisiana did a much better job at converting its free throw opportunities. Important to keep in mind that the Cajuns are a below .500 team (14-18 SU) that ranks outside the top 200 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. They are only 3-11 SU on the road while being outscored by 11.7 PPG. Take away the games where they were a home favorite and Louisiana’s record falls to 8-18 SU and 9-14-1 ATS.
Ga Southern comes into the Sun Belt Tourney off a 1-pt loss, which should have them plenty motivated here. The loss was at home last Tuesday, to Arkansas State, and saw them blow a 10-point lead in the final minutes. The good news is that the Eagles are 9-3 off a loss this year and 9-5-1 ATS when playing on 3+ days rest. They were 12-pt favorites when they hosted Louisiana earlier this year (won by 20), so this is a great value we’re getting. They also beat the Ragin Cajuns by 7 in Lafayette. 10* Ga Southern
|03-08-20||Iowa v. Illinois OVER 148||Top||76-78||Win||100||11 h 29 m||Show|
10* Over Iowa/Illinois (7:00 ET): While these two teams are both considered safe for making the NCAA Tournament, they’re each off a loss. Obviously, you don’t want to head into your conference tournament on a losing streak. But that will be the reality for either the Hawkeyes (who lost 77-68 at home to Purdue on Tuesday) or the Fighting Illini (who lost 71-63 at Ohio State on Thursday). What I see taking place tonight in Champaign-Urbana is a high-scoring game. Take the Over.
I have to admit that I do have some reservations about Iowa entering the NCAA Tournament. While one of the premier teams in the country at the offensive end of the floor (7th in efficiency), they are just 88th in defensive efficiency and that’s traditionally not a good sign this time of year. Of course, those kinds of numbers also seem conducive to producing lots of Overs. Despite poor shooting from both sides (around 37%), the game vs. Illinois still went Over. I look for the Hawkeyes to shoot a lot better in this game.
The winner of this game will finish 4th in the Big 10 standings and thus get the final double-bye for the tournament. So plenty is at stake in this one. Illinois held Ohio State to 37.5% shooting on Thursday but still couldn’t get the job done in Columbus. Iowa is a tougher team to defend as they shot 50% in the first meeting and made 10 three-pointers en route to a 72-65 victory. The Over is 5-2 for Illinois following an ATS loss. 10* Over Iowa/Illinois
|03-07-20||Cal Poly v. UC-Santa Barbara -13.5||Top||67-69||Loss||-115||29 h 50 m||Show|
10* UC Santa Barbara (10:00 ET): The second place team in the Big West concludes its regular season Saturday night and couldn’t have asked for a better opponent as it’s the last place team in the conference Cal Poly. When these teams met earlier in the year, UCSB won by 18 on the road as they held the Mustangs to 28.3% shooting. Compounding problems for the underdog tonight is they’ve lost six in a row and given up at least 77 points in five of those games. This should be a very easy win for UCSB.
This game has some major seeding implications for UCSB. The Gauchos could clinch the #2 seed in the Big West Tournament with a win, but could fall precipitously down the standings with a loss. The team they are tied for second with is Cal Northridge and they swept the regular season series from the Gauchos. But again, UCSB couldn’t have asked for a better opponent in this spot.
It’s tough to ignore the kind of defense UCSB is playing right now. They just held Cal State Fullerton to 53 points Thursday as they held on for a two-point win. The Gauchos are allowing just 64.1 PPG this year at home where they’ve gone 12-3 SU. Incredibly, Cal Poly is 0-16 SU away from home this year and lost those games by an average of 13.2 PPG. They lost Thursday 80-73 at Long Beach State and are just 5-22 ATS the L3 seasons following a game in which they allowed 80+ points. 10* UC Santa Barbara
|03-07-20||Auburn v. Tennessee -2||Top||85-63||Loss||-115||19 h 51 m||Show|
8* Tennessee (12:00 ET): Throughout this season, I have NOT been as high on Auburn as the pollsters. The Tigers clearly benefited from being one of the last unbeatens in the country, just like the Duquesne team I successfully faded last night, but in similar fashion (to Duquesne) there has been “sputtering” down the stretch as four of the Tigers’ six losses this season have come over the L6 games. They just got beat at home Wednesday 78-75 (as a 12-pt favorite) by Texas A&M.
Tennessee will be honoring its senior class today, fresh off an upset at Kentucky earlier in the week. The Volunteers won 81-73 in Lexington as an 8.5-point dog, which followed a big win last weekend (here in Knoxville) against Florida. Speaking of seniors, UT’s John Fulkerson has led the way the L2 games w/ 49 points. Some other good news for the Vols is that they are 2-0 ATS this season after scoring 80+ pts the previous game.
I think it “speaks volumes” that Tennessee is favored here, even at home. The KenPom ratings list Auburn as the 39th best team in the country and my own personal power ratings are pretty much in line with that (#33). Tennessee is holding visitors to just 58.1 PPG here in Knoxville and in addition to having a chance to defeat their former HC (Bruce Pearl), the Volunteers have a shot at avenging a 73-66 loss from earlier in the year where they blew a 17-point lead. 8* Tennessee
|03-06-20||Richmond -1 v. Duquesne||Top||73-62||Win||100||12 h 44 m||Show|
10* Richmond (7:00 ET): Other than #3 Dayton (who has completely dominated this conference), no other team from the Atlantic 10 is considered a safe bet to make the NCAA Tournament. Two teams vying for second best in the conference meet Friday and the winner could have a case for the Big Dance. Richmond is the hotter of the two, having won 8 of its last 9 games. The lone loss during that stretch was by 4 pts at St. Bonaventure. Tonight the Spiders travel to face a Duquesne team whose number they’ve really had through the years.
Duquesne was actually one of the last remaining unbeaten teams in the country. They started out 10-0 SU but are just 11-8 since. I personally never took them very seriously, although they have played Dayton tough on two different occasions. The Dukes also just beat VCU three days ago, 80-77, but needed OT to do so in what was their third straight win by 4 points or less. Two of those have been overtime games. The Dukes have been among the most fortunate teams in the entire country this season w/ NINE wins coming by six points or less.
As alluded to above, Richmond has owned this particular A-10 rivalry. They are 22-2 SU the L24 times facing Duquesne while also going 18-6 ATS. The teams have not previously met this season. But Richmond has clearly been the more impressive team in conf play, going 13-4 SU w/ a +9.3 PPG scoring differential while Duquesne is 11-6 and only +1.5 PPG. The Spiders beat Davidson 80-63 earlier in the week and are 7-1 ATS this season after a game where they scored 80+ pts. 10* Richmond
|03-05-20||California v. Oregon -15||Top||56-90||Win||100||14 h 37 m||Show|
8* Oregon (11:00 ET): Since picking up a huge overtime win at Arizona two Saturdays ago, the Ducks have played a “light schedule.” They’ve played only one time and it was a 69-54 win at Oregon State last Thursday. They’ll conclude the regular season w/ a pair of home games they definitely “should” win - this one and vs. Stanford on Saturday. Plenty is still on the line, not just for seeding purposes in the NCAA Tournament, but the Ducks are also competing for a Pac 12 regular season championship. They currently trail UCLA by one game in the win column.
California has little to play for this week, though they’ve shown some grit recently by pulling three outright upsets in their last four games. Two were last week as they beat Colorado 76-62 (as an 8.5-pt dog) and Utah 86-79 (as a 1.5-pt dog). But both wins came in Berkeley. While they did win at Washington State the previous week, that’s the Bears’ ONLY “true” road win of the entire season (1-8 SU) and Wazzu is hardly on par with Oregon.
Two days after they went to Wazzu and won, Cal lost by 35 at Washington. Lack of offense has been a real issue for the Bears when they leave campus as they are averaging a paltry 54.8 PPG away from home. That’s a real problem for tonight as not only has Oregon won 20 straight games in Eugene, but they are averaging more than 80 PPG here this season. This one turns into a rout in a hurry. 8* Oregon
|03-05-20||Boise State v. UNLV UNDER 141||Top||67-61||Win||100||8 h 46 m||Show|
8* Under Boise St/UNLV (5:00 ET): This is a quarterfinal matchup in the Mountain West Tournament. Neither team had to win to get here and the winner will (likely) face top seed San Diego State in the semifinal tournament tomorrow. UNLV is the host team of this event (as per usual) and comes in hot. The Rebels have won and covered five straight games, including handing San Diego State its only loss of the regular season. But that’s not the only streak on the line today. Boise State has gone Under in eight consecutive contests.
These teams split the two regular season matchups, each winning at home. UNLV obviously has the edge here by being tournament hosts, but this is hardly a good shooting team. During their 5-0 SU/ATS run, they have made nearly 50% of their FG attempts. But that number figures to come down here. The Rebels are not a good outside shooting team (just 30.9% at home) and the two regular season games vs. Boise State saw them make only 12 of 49 attempts from behind the arc.
Boise State averages 81.1 PPG at home, but only 71.8 on the road. Good for them then that they do a great job defensively at guarding the three-point line, holding opponents below 30% there for the season. Another thing to consider here is that UNLV plays at a very slow pace. They are just 249th (per KenPom) in adjusted tempo this season. Prior to scoring 92 pts against a terrible San Jose State team in the final regular season game, the Rebels had gone Under four straight times themselves. 8* Under Boise St/UNLV
|03-04-20||Xavier v. Providence -5||Top||74-80||Win||100||24 h 27 m||Show|
10* Providence (6:30 ET): Providence has made an impressive run the last two weeks by going 4-0 SU and ATS. Three of those victories have been upsets as they’ve beaten Seton Hall, Georgetown (on the road) and Villanova (also on the road). This run has the Friars somewhat “solidly” in the field of 68 (NCAA Tournament) later this month as the current projections have them around a 9-seed. But they can’t afford any kind of letdown here in the final week of the regular season. A strong finish would cement their status.
As a whole, the Big East is projected to do well on Selection Sunday. There could be as many as seven teams from the conference making the Big Dance. Besides Providence, Xavier is another team fighting to make the cut line. The Musketeers only played once last week and they earned a 3-pt win @ Georgetown. While they failed to cover (were -3.5!), they are still 6-2 SU and ATS the L8 games. Note, however, they needed a 3-pointer w/ 4.5 seconds remaining to beat G’town. Xavier easily could have lost that game.
This is a rematch from a game played almost a month ago where Xavier won 64-58 as a 4-point choice. In that game, neither side shot well from 3-pt range. Providence had the lead at halftime, but could not hold. At home, the Friars seem to have the advantage though as they outscore opponents by 13.6 PPG here as opposed to a -3.0 PPG differential on the road. That’s a pretty dramatic swing there. The Friars area also 4-1 ATS when seeking revenge for a road loss this season. 10* Providence
|03-02-20||Texas Tech v. Baylor -7.5||Top||68-71||Loss||-109||14 h 52 m||Show|
10* Baylor (9:00 ET): The last time #2 Baylor was off a SU loss, we grabbed them and cashed a winning ticket. It was last Tuesday when they crushed Kansas State 85-66 as a DD home favorite. The Bears will almost certainly have dropped in the rankings by the time tonight’s game tips off as they fell Saturday in Ft. Worth, 75-72 to TCU (were -9.5) in what was certainly their “worst” loss of the season to date. But just like last Tuesday, I expect them to bounce back in a major way here.
Baylor’s only two other losses this year were to Kansas (current #1 team in the country) and out in Washington in the second game of the season. All of a sudden, after a record 23-game win streak, the Bears have now dropped 2 of 3. But as they showed against Kansas State, this team certainly remains formidable at home. They are 13-1 SU in Waco, winning by an average margin of 14.3 PPG. Getting them as a single digit favorite is a real bargain tonight.
Now Texas Tech presents a far greater challenge than Kansas State did, but the Red Raiders also aren’t Kansas (the only visitor to win in Waco this season). The Red Raiders are off a bad week where they lost to both Texas and Oklahoma (favored in both games) and that will certainly drop them out of the Top 25 when the new rankings are released later today. Back in January, Baylor went to Lubbock and won 57-52 as a 3.5-pt underdog. Following two more sub-60 pt efforts LW, I can’t see TT scoring many points tonight and that’s obviously problematic. 10* Baylor
|03-01-20||Virginia Tech v. Louisville -12||Top||52-68||Win||100||10 h 29 m||Show|
10* Louisville (6:00 ET): #11 Louisville has a chance to be in first place all by itself w/ a win tonight. That’s thanks to Florida State getting upset Saturday. But with the Cardinals having been swept by FSU this season, that means they’ll need to finish at least a game ahead. I look for them to take no prisoners Sunday in this matchup w/ Va Tech. L’ville is off its second straight loss to FSU, which occurred Monday in Tallahassee. They’ve had plenty of time to “stew” over that 82-67 defeat.
Virginia Tech has had little to no success throughout this ACC campaign. The Hokies have dropped eight of their last nine games, the only win coming at home vs. Pitt (were three-point favorites). They just lost Wednesday in Blacksburg, to Virginia, 56-53 as a three-point favorite. They’ve now failed to cover 10 of their last 11 games.
Louisville has won and covered three straight in this ACC rivalry including 72-64 in Blacksburg in their only meeting last season. With almost a week to prepare and coming off a loss, I expect a really strong effort here. They’ve had two extra days to prepare compared to Va Tech. It’s also “Senior Day” (final home game). Yes, they must overcome the injury to Malik Williams, but the Cardinals are 16-1 SU at home this season, winning by almost 17 PPG. 10* Louisville
|03-01-20||Creighton v. St. John's OVER 153||Top||71-91||Win||100||5 h 33 m||Show|
10* Over Creighton/St. John’s (12:00 ET): Very quietly, Creighton is a team peaking at the right time. While the Bluejays may not be garnering much national attention, they have made a pretty clear case to be considered one of the top 15 teams in America and perhaps the best in the Big East. They’ve won 9 of their last 10 games including a current five-game win streak where they’ve covered the spread in every game. The primary reason for their success is an offense which ranks 5th nationally in efficiency.
St. John’s isn’t having as much success as Creighton this season, but they can still score. Especially when they play at home. The Johnnies are averaging 77.2 PPG here, but that hasn’t done them much good lately as they are coming off losses at both Seton Hall and Villanova. Over the L5 games, the Red Storm have permitted their opponents to shoot 48.4% from the field. Creighton is obviously going to present a very tough challenge considering they come in averaging 78.2 PPG for the season.
I’ve established that both teams are capable of scoring plenty of points on any given night. For further evidence of that, let’s look at the last time they met, which was back on Feb 8th in Omaha. Creighton won that game 94-82 as an 8.5-pt favorite and it obviously sailed well past the total. I know it’s been “tough sledding” of late for the Johnnie’s w/o leading scorer Heron, but they’ll do enough offensively here for another Over. 10* Over Creighton/St. John’s
|02-29-20||Utah State v. New Mexico +8.5||Top||64-66||Win||100||15 h 7 m||Show|
10* New Mexico (10:00 ET): Utah State is trying to make sure that TWO Mountain West teams get in the NCAA Tournament (San Diego State the other) as they have won six in a row, the last three all coming by double digits. But while the last 10 days have seen the Aggies prevail by scores of 78-58 (over Wyoming) and 94-56 (San Jose State), both of those games were at home. They also were against the two weakest teams in the conference. Tonight they visit Albuquerque where the home team has lost only three times.
When it hosted San Diego State back on January 29th, New Mexico was undefeated at home (13-0). They were blown out in that game, 85-57, and have subsequently nosedived with six more losses in the last seven games. They are now 14-3 SU at home and the reason for the downturn has to do with injuries and players leaving the program altogether. Still, you should expect the remaining Lobos to “show up” for this final game of the regular season.
The Lobos still average 83.2 PPG at home. The game vs. San Diego State marked the only time they were getting more than a single point here in “The Pit.” I think Utah State is due for an “off-night” here as they get ready for the Mt West Tournament, an event where they must at least make the final. They’re just 3-6 ATS on the road. 10* New Mexico
|02-28-20||Davidson +10.5 v. Dayton||Top||67-82||Loss||-105||12 h 43 m||Show|
10* Davidson (7:00 ET): Dayton has emerged as a national force this season by winning 26 of its 28 games. The Flyers currently rank #4 in the country and unlike a San Diego State team that just lost its first game this season, I’ve got this team more in line with the pollsters. Right now, the only other team in the country w/o a conference loss is New Mexico State and they play in the rather hideous Big West.
I’m not sure what it says about the rest of the A-10 that no one has been able to beat the Flyers yet. What’s interesting here is that Dayton was NOT even the preseason pick to win the conference. They were pegged for third behind VCU and Davidson. The latter is who comes calling Friday and lately the Wildcats have FINALLY begun to flash the form that made them a choice to finish ahead of Dayton this year. They have won 8 of 11 including a very impressive 74-49 beatdown of LaSalle earlier this week.
Looking at the only three games Davidson has lost over the last month or so, one was a 4OT game and another was decided by a single point. You’d have to go all the way back to early December to find a game that the Wildcats lost by more points than what the oddsmakers are calling for tonight. While it’s been a disappointing season for them, this will be treated as the “Game of the Year.” Dayton’s last four wins have all been by single digits. 10* Davidson
|02-27-20||Indiana v. Purdue -6||Top||49-57||Win||100||12 h 9 m||Show|
10* Purdue (7:00 ET): Despite an overall record of .500 (14-14 SU), Purdue’s NCAA Tournament hopes aren’t done yet. But it’s getting to be “do or die” time for the Boilermakers, who not only need a strong finish to the regular season, but a strong showing in the Big 10 Tournament as well. They’ve lost four in a row, two of those coming as home favorites. But they’ll have many more chances to show that they’re better than several of the Big 10’s presumed NCAA Tourney teams, including here as they face the last time they beat.
It was back on Feb 8th that Purdue went to Indiana and won 74-62 as a three-point dog. That was the night Bobby Knight made his long-awaited return to Bloomington. At the time, it seemed like the Boilermakers were finally ready to “turn the corner” for good. They were coming off an impressive shellacking of Iowa (104-68!) here in West Lafayette just three days prior. But things haven’t gone their way since, including an ugly 71-63 home loss to Michigan on Sunday where they shot just 28% in the 1H.
IU has won three of its last four since Purdue handed them what was (at the time) a 4th straight loss. But I still consider Purdue the better team here, especially at home. This is the first time the Boilermakers have lost B2B home games in six years. Despite the .500 SU record, I still consider them to be just on the outskirts of the top 25 teams in the country. It’s been a massively disappointing season so far for Matt Painter’s team, but they’ve got a chance to rewrite the script against an Indiana team that is just 8-23 SU its L31 road games including 2-6 (SU and ATS) this season. 10* Purdue
|02-26-20||Missouri -2.5 v. Vanderbilt||Top||61-52||Win||100||26 h 30 m||Show|
10* Missouri (9:00 ET): I happen to think the SEC isn’t very good this year. Other than Kentucky, there’s no team I feel is a strong bet to get out of the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament (and the Wildcats are far from a lock to do so themselves). Neither of the two teams in question here are going to even make the NCAA Tournament, but it’s a matchup where there’s definitely value as the last place team in the conference is getting far too much respect here.
Vanderbilt is last in the SEC with a 1-13 SU conference record. That one win was a real shocker as they upset LSU (who was unbeaten in conference play at the time), here in Nashville. However, other than that, this season has been a disaster for the Commodores. They are being outscored by 11.4 PPG in SEC play and have lost their last five games by a pretty similar margin. I see no reason to expect them to win tonight.
Missouri isn’t exactly a world-beater but this spread basically dictates that all we need from them tonight is a SU win. The Tigers had covered four in a row before losing to Arkansas last Saturday. Mizzou has had a lot more success in the SEC this year than has Vandy, beating the likes of Arkansas (first time around), Auburn and Florida, all of whom could be NCAA Tournament teams. They also nearly upset LSU on the road. Lay the points here. 10* Missouri
|02-25-20||Kansas State v. Baylor -13.5||Top||66-85||Win||100||12 h 17 m||Show|
10* Baylor (8:00 ET): Pretty simple here as Baylor is looking to bounce back from its loss Saturday to Kansas. That loss snapped the Bears’ 23-game win streak and dropped them from #1 in the polls. Still though, there’s plenty to celebrate here in Waco. This remains a very likely #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and they could end up as the #1 overall seed in the field of 68.
Kansas State is the team that finds itself in the unenviable position of facing Baylor tonight. This is a case of “wrong place, wrong time” for the Wildcats and to make matters worse they come in on a seven-game losing streak. The most points they’ve scored in any of those games is 67, ironically against Baylor, but the issues scoring are likely to really bite this team tonight w/ Baylor allowing just 56.8 PPG at home.
Provided there’s no letdown amongst the players, Baylor should easily roll in this one. Kansas State has major issues scoring (60.5 PPG away from Manhattan) and has just one win away from home all season. The Wildcats’ current form doesn’t inspire any confidence that they can get the job done here and this one has the potential to get “ugly” in a hurry. Baylor is #2 in the country in defensive efficiency and has proven it can win games by large margins even w/o large production from its leading scorers. 10* Baylor
|02-25-20||La Salle v. Davidson UNDER 138.5||Top||49-74||Win||100||11 h 18 m||Show|
10* Under LaSalle/Davidson (7:00 ET): Davidson had certainly hoped to be a bigger factor in the A-10 this year, but like everyone else in the conference, the Wildcats are looking up at Dayton. Still though, that hasn’t stopped them from playing better of late. Davidson has won 7 of its last 10 games with one of the losses coming in 4OT’s and another coming by a single point. Of particular interest to this selection is the fact the L4 games have all gone Over the number.
LaSalle went 2-0 last week including an upset win at GW on Sunday. The Explorers entered their last game as three-point pups and came away w/ a 72-62 win in what was (sadly) maybe their most impressive showing in conference play so far. Prior to last week, LaSalle was just 2-10 SU in A-10 games. Their three conference wins besides the one at GW have come at the expense of Fordham & St. Joe’s, who are a combined 2-26 SU in conference play and tied for last.
I mentioned earlier that Davidson’s L4 games have all gone Over. Well, the last one would NOT have done so had it not been for OT. There was also another game in the streak that saw them sink a season-high 18 three-pointers (against Fordham), which won’t happen again anytime soon. Davidson is actually a good defensive team (allowing just 61.1 PPG at home) and w/ LaSalle shooting only 40% in conference play, this looks like a pretty clear Under to me. 10* Under LaSalle/Davidson
|02-24-20||West Virginia v. Texas +4.5||Top||57-67||Win||100||22 h 59 m||Show|
10* Texas (7:00 ET): West Virginia has a problem winning on the road. An overtime loss at TCU Saturday dropped them to just 3-7 SU and ATS in “true” road games. It was their 5th consecutive loss away from Morgantown and three of those have come as favorites. As good as the Mountaineers are at home, I just can’t trust them laying points on the road right now and will play accordingly tonight as they visit Austin.
Texas is coming off a 2-0 week, including a win over TCU. While the Longhorns got the Horned Frogs here at home, they did have to travel to Kansas State for Saturday’s win and Manhattan is not an easy place to win. Even more impressive is that the 70-59 upset (UT was +5) was a lot more lopsided than the final score showed. The Longhorns led 42-23 at the half and were never really threatened.
To say Texas is “thinking revenge” here would be putting it mildly. They lost by 38 up in Morgantown last month, a result I’m sure HC Shaka Smart and his players have not forgotten. As noted above, WVU is obviously a much different team on the road. They are just 1-4 SU/ATS their L5 games overall. The Longhorns allow just 60.8 PPG in Austin and have allowed less than that in three of their last four games overall. Believe it or not, WVU is just one game up on Texas in the Big 12 standings. The Longhorns are getting career-best production out of Courtney Ramey right now. 10* Texas
|02-23-20||Wichita State v. Cincinnati -4||Top||64-67||Loss||-106||5 h 54 m||Show|
10* Cincinnati (1:00 ET): At last glance, Cincinnati is considered to be one of the last teams in the field of 68 (NCAA Tournament) that wouldn’t be in a “play-in game.” That makes today’s game vs. Wichita State critically important for the Bearcats as a loss here would place them squarely on the Tourney bubble. A win further solidifies their status as one of three teams from the American Conference likely to get in.
Wichita State is one of the two (Houston being the other) that is considered “safe” as far as making the Tourney goes. After a three-game losing streak to start the month, the Shockers have now won three straight - all by double digit margins. But those three wins have all come against bottom teams in the American. Interestingly enough, two of those three losses they took earlier this month came against Houston and Cincinnati. They lost 80-79 at home to Cincy as five-point chalk.
Cincinnati has only been beaten twice in its last nine games. Once was by a single point at UConn. The other was Wednesday vs. UCF, a game which went to double overtime. So, again, you can see how important this game is for them. While they’ve failed to cover four straight (overall), this is a team that’s 11-2 SU at home and covered both times they’ve been in the -3.5 to -6 range here. 10* Cincinnati
|02-22-20||Cal-Irvine v. CS-Northridge OVER 149||Top||87-64||Win||100||15 h 25 m||Show|
10* Over UC Irvine/CS Northridge (10:00 ET): UC Irvine has been the dominant team out in the Big West the last two seasons. Last year, the Anteaters went 15-1 SU in conference play and 31-6 SU overall. They’re not nearly that dominant this season, but still have only lost two conference games and come into Saturday having won three straight. Thursday saw them avenge one of those two Big West defeats as they easily handled Long Beach State, winning that game 70-55 as 15-point favorites (so it was a push).
CS Northridge was a team seemingly “left for dead” at one point as the Matadors started their season with seven consecutive losses. They are 11-9 SU since, but just got blitzed by UC Davis on Thursday, losing 110-98! No there wasn’t any overtime involved to get to that final score. Both teams shot almost 60% from the game and were a combined 25 of 44 on three-point attempts. While we shouldn’t expect that level of shooting again, it would require a pretty substantial dropoff for this one to go Under.
UC Irvine’s last four games have all gone Under as they’ve held the opposition to just over 60 PPG. But that’s going to be hard to do here as CS Northridge averages more than 80 PPG at home. Of course, you should also expect UC Irvine to score it’s “fair share” as Northridge is giving up almost 80 PPG for the season. This is the first meeting of the year and what’s interesting for UC Irvine is that the majority of their first meetings w/ conference opponents this year have gone Over. 10* Over UC Irvine/CS Northridge
|02-22-20||Michigan v. Purdue -3||Top||71-63||Loss||-109||7 h 26 m||Show|
10* Purdue (2:00 ET): Purdue has been one of the most confounding teams in the entire country this season. Thought by many (including me!) to be among the top 25 teams in the entire country, the Boilermakers have suffered 13 defeats and are now in serious danger of failing to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. At 14-13 SU overall, winning out between now and the Big 10 Tournament may be a necessity, especially in light of three straight losses. It’s obviously a “must win” today vs. Michigan.
The Wolverines went from unranked at the start of the season to as high as #4 in the polls. Clearly, they were underestimated with an unproven HC (Juwan Howard), but it was laughable to me that they were ever considered the 4th best team in the country. They got that high on the strength of an impressive early season showing in the Bahamas. While beating Gonzaga still looks impressive, the win over UNC (who was #6 at the time - HA!) definitely isn’t.
The Wolverines just handed Rutgers its first home loss of the season, 60-52 on Wednesday. They were 3.5-pt dogs in that game and it was their fourth consecutive win - SU and ATS. Two of those four wins have been as underdogs, but I don’t see them pulling the trick in B2B games as Purdue is about as desperate as it gets here. The Boilermakers are still 10-3 SU when playing at home and 12-4 SU as a favorite. We’re getting a great discounted price on them today. Trust me. 10* Purdue
|02-22-20||Virginia v. Pittsburgh +3.5||Top||59-56||Win||100||5 h 25 m||Show|
8* Pittsburgh (12:00 ET): I’ve been through before how this simply isn’t the same caliber Virginia team compared to the one that cut the nets down last April. This Cavaliers team, while still playing the same caliber defense we’re used to seeing from a Tony Bennett outfit, is just horrendous offensively. Consider that this year’s team actually ranks spot HIGHER in defensive efficiency compared to last season. But offensively, they’ve fallen from 2nd to 212th. They are averaging only 56.2 PPG on the road.
Then again, Pitt is not exactly tearing it up in the ACC this year either. The Panthers come into Saturday on a three-game losing streak. The most recent setback came Tuesday when they lost by 15 at Florida State. Most of their ACC wins have come against teams located at the bottom of the conference standings. Those three straight losses have all come by double digits. As a result, I expect a desperate team to bring its ‘A’ game here.
Despite only losing once (to Louisville) in its last eight games, Virginia still fails to crack my top 40 nationally and right now is still considered a “bubble team” for the NCAA Tournament. This is the first meeting of the year with Pitt. They’ve mostly handled Pitt through the years, but I continue to worry about this group’s ability to score. Averaging so few points makes it increasingly difficult to cover as a favorite and sure enough the Hoos are 4-13 ATS this year vs. winning teams. 8* Pittsburgh
|02-21-20||Princeton v. Harvard -7.5||Top||60-61||Loss||-108||22 h 36 m||Show|
10* Harvard (7:00 ET): Despite the fact that leading scorer Bryce Aiken has played in just seven games all season, Harvard has persevered to go 16-7 SU and they are just one game back of both Yale & Princeton in the Ivy League standings. Tonight, they get to host Princeton and it’s a revenge game for a 70-69 loss that occurred back on Feb 1st. Harvard was favored in that game, despite it being on the road, which is telling. I think laying the points is the right move in this rematch as the Crimson look to have a sizable edge at home.
That first meeting w/ Princeton was part of a five-game road trip for Harvard in which they finished up 2-3 SU. All five games were decided by four points or less (by 10 pts total!) including a pair of one-point losses. It was another close call for the Crimson in their last game as they needed double overtime to get by Columbia on Saturday. But that made it a 2-0 sweep for the week at home where they are now 8-1 SU on the year and holding opponents to a scant 59.4 PPG. The only loss at home was to Maryland, who is a top 10 team nationally.
Princeton is coming off an easy 73-54 win over Brown. That was a nice bounce back for them after being blown out by Yale, 88-64, in their own gym the night prior. While they did manage to slip by Harvard the first time, note it took a 56.5% shooting night from three-point range to do so. This line is rather telling given the Tigers are tied for 1st place in the conference. They give up 77.6 PPG on the road and w/ Harvard’s three league losses coming by a total of five points, it’s safe to say they are better than their record. 10* Harvard
|02-20-20||Loyola Marymount v. St. Mary's OVER 127||Top||51-57||Loss||-114||23 h 27 m||Show|
10* Over Loyola Marymount/St. Mary’s (11:00 ET): St. Mary’s goes for the season sweep of Loyola Marymount tonight and really the task shouldn’t prove too difficult. The Gaels won by 11 last month and LMU has won just two times away from home all season. One was a neutral site game as the Lions’ record in “true” road games is 1-8 SU. St. Mary’s is 4-0 SU/ATS the L4 head to head meetings. Still laying this many points is not something I have much interest in. Instead, let’s look at the total.
It’s a pretty low number here and I’m not exactly sure why. The Over is 5-1 for St. Mary’s this season when the total is 120 to 129.5 and this team is 13th in the country in offensive efficiency. Five of the last six St. Mary’s games have gone Over, most of them with higher O/U lines than this one. Their home games average 137.5 PPG, which is well above tonight’s total. The first meeting vs. LMU was a 73-62 final where the Gaels shot 56% from the field.
Now Loyola Marymount doesn’t exactly score a ton of points. But even if they can get to their season average of 60.3 per game away from home, we should be in good shape here. The Lions did just pull an upset over the weekend, holding Santa Clara to 59 pts in what was their first “true” road win of the season. But you shouldn’t look for that kind of defensive effort here against St. Mary’s. The good news is St. Mary’s ranks outside the top 100 in defensive efficiency. From LMU’s perspective, the number is low as the Over is 36-17 the L53 times the total has fallen into the 120 to 129.5 range. 10* Over Loyola Marymount/St. Mary’s
|02-20-20||Georgia Southern v. Texas State -5.5||Top||55-70||Win||100||20 h 26 m||Show|
10* Texas State (8:00 ET): Off to the Sun Belt we go for this one as Texas State hosts Ga Southern in what amounts to a very important game. This conference race remains wide open with the four teams at the top separated by just two games. These two teams are both two games back of leader Little Rock, who Texas State just beat exactly one week ago here in San Marcos. The Bobcats followed that up w/ another home victory, 69-64 over Arkansas State, and they enter tonight on a 9-2 hot streak w/ the two losses coming by a total of five points.
Georgia Southern, on the other hand, is off a loss and a bad one at that. They fell 62-57 at home to Appalachian State as a six-point home favorite. That result snapped a three-game win streak. What really hurt the Eagles in that loss Saturday was them missing 16 of 18 three-point attempts. Tonight they’re up against a team that allows just 63.6 PPG on the year and even fewer (60.6) at home. Again, Ga Southern scored just 57 points in its last game.
This is also a revenge spot for Texas State as they lost by three at Ga Southern back in December. Since then, things have obviously “picked up” (see above). Over the L11 games, no opponent has scored more than 66 pts on the Bobcats. Ga Southern has actually not been an underdog since Jan 18th when they lost at South Alabama. It’s a role that has not treated them well at all as they’ve failed to cover five of the seven times and lost six of those games outright. This is Texas State’s night. 10* Texas State
|02-19-20||South Dakota State v. North Dakota UNDER 150||Top||94-83||Loss||-109||13 h 52 m||Show|
10* Under South Dakota St/North Dakota (8:00 ET): If you recall, we went Under on South Dakota State’s last game and came away with a winning ticket. That game was played Sunday against IPFW and the Jackrabbits held their opponents to just 64 points on 37.5% shooting. The current Summit League leaders are now on a six-game win streak and have held their L5 opponents to an average of 65.6 PPG on 37.5% shooting. During that time, only one team (Denver) has scored more than 64 pts or shot better than 37.5% against them.
SDSU hits the road Wednesday to face North Dakota, who like IPFW is a middle of the pack team in this conference. The Fighting Hawks did just record an 86-83 victory at Western Illinois, who is one of the worst teams in the Summit League. Before that win & cover (were -2), ND had covered only one of its previous nine games. The first meeting with South Dakota State did not go well as the Jackrabbits rolled to an 87-66 win thanks to shooting 50% from the field. Fortunately, SDSU does not score nearly as much on the road as they do at home.
While North Dakota may have some issues defending, the Under remains 7-1 this year for South Dakota State when the O/U line is 150 to 159.5. Also note that North Dakota’s last game went into overtime. It was 73-73 at the end of regulation, so the final score is a little misleading. The Fighting Hawks shot just 41.3% overall and were a dreadful 5 of 23 from three-point range. What “propped” their point total up was them going 29 of 33 from the FT line. They also shot poorly from 3-pt range in that 1st meeting w/ SDSU, which should repeat itself here as the Jackrabbits are holding opponents to 30% from behind the arc this year. 10* Under South Dakota St/North Dakota
|02-19-20||Butler +6 v. Seton Hall||Top||72-74||Win||100||11 h 22 m||Show|
8* Butler (6:30 ET): I’ve got much respect for Seton Hall, who leads the Big East right now w/ a 10-3 SU record in conference play. But the Pirates have dropped two in a row, including one at home to Creighton, and this is a tough spot laying points to a fellow ranked team. Butler certainly won’t be lacking for motivation as it has revenge for a 78-70 home loss to “The Hall” last month and things have gone a little “sideways” recently for the Bulldogs as they are just 4-6 SU their L10 games.
Butler is coming off a bad loss to Georgetown where they were 12.5-point home favorites. They lost 73-66. While HC LaVall Jordan has been quick to point to defensive issues, it’s the offense that’s hurt the Bulldogs more of late. They’ve failed to hit 70 pts in three straight games as well as five of the last six. This is a team that still ranks 26th in the country in offensive efficiency and makes 53.3% of its two-point attempts. The good news is that it was only two games ago that the Bulldogs held a lead as large as 17 points against a good Xavier team.
Seton Hall HC Kevin Willard admitted after Saturday’s loss at Providence that he’s dealing with “some guys with bad attitudes right now.” That’s never a good sign, especially this late in the season. Curiously, the Pirates are shooting below 30% from three-point range at home. That’s a big break for a Butler team that admittedly struggles to defend beyond the arc. But they are holding opponents to 43.3% from two-point range. Virtually all of the recent head to head meetings have been close (three decided by 2 pts or less!) and w/ Butler 5-1 ATS L6 visits here, I’m taking the points. 8* Butler
|02-18-20||Colorado State v. UNLV UNDER 148||Top||56-80||Win||100||14 h 45 m||Show|
8* Under Colorado St/UNLV (10:30 ET): From Jan 8 through Feb 1, UNLV went Over in seven straight games. Since then, the Under is 3-1 in their games w/ the lone Over coming in a game that went to overtime (82-79 loss to Nevada). The Rebels aren’t exactly a great shooting team (I watched them in person vs. Nevada) and are making just 30.5% of their 3PA here at the Thomas & Mack Center. Tuesday sees them hosting a Colorado State team that has gone Over in five straight.
These teams met not long ago in Fort Collins and CSU hung 95 points on the Runnin’ Rebels in a blowout victory. That was the final game of the 7-game Over streak for UNLV. It was also the 2nd straight game Colorado State scored 90+. They haven’t been able to reach that number since, but their games continue to go Over. These L5 games have seen the Rams average 83.2 PPG on 49.5% shooting. Both numbers are well above their season averages.
Playing on the road, I don’t expect Colorado State to have a big offensive night here. They only shot 40.7% in Saturday’s 77-70 win at Wyoming. Similarly, UNLV should not be expected to match the 50% shooting we saw against short-handed New Mexico Saturday. Their previous three games saw them finish below 40% from the field. Colorado State shot 61.5% overall in the first meeting and was 11 of 17 from three-point approach. It’s all but impossible for them to match those numbers here. 8* Under Colorado State/UNLV
|02-18-20||Ball State v. Buffalo OVER 148||Top||59-72||Loss||-110||10 h 15 m||Show|
10* Over Ball State/Buffalo (7:00 ET): Buffalo is a high-scoring team. Their 78.2 PPG average ranks among the top 25 in the country overall and they are averaging more than 80 PPG here at home. However, each of the Bulls’ previous six games have gone Under the total, three of those being among their lowest scoring efforts of the year. But after failing to top 65 pts in B2B games for the 1st time all season, there was an offensive breakthrough last Friday at Toledo. The Bulls won that game 83-65 (as a 2.5-pt dog).
Similarly, Ball State had gone Under in eight straight contests heading into this past weekend. But their streak has been snapped. Differing from Buffalo, it was a defensive breakdown that cost the Cardinals their last game as they gave up 77 points in a six-point loss at home to surprising Bowling Green. While that was the most points BSU has allowed in any MAC game this season, it was far from their worst defensive effort. The last time they played on the road, the Cardinals let Western Michigan shoot 61% from the field!
So Buffalo should definitely score plenty of points tonight. While the number may be on the rise, this is still one of the lower O/U lines in recent memory for the Bulls. Defensively, they have held three straight opponents below 70 pts and the last two both below 40% shooting. But they’re still giving up 74.6 PPG on the year with opponents shooting 45% in home games. So there’s an opening for Ball St offensively in this one and I look for them to take advantage of it. 10* Over Ball State/Buffalo
|02-18-20||Kent State -3 v. Eastern Michigan||Top||49-70||Loss||-109||10 h 15 m||Show|
10* Kent State (7:00 ET): After back to back “clunkers” against Ball State and Northern Illinois (scored 54 pts both games), Kent State played one of its best games of the year Saturday, riding a career-high 27 points from Troy Simons and a season-high 17 made three-pointers as a team en route to an 87-72 victory over Ohio. They look to continue better position themselves for the MAC Tournament Tuesday when they hit the road to face a rising Eastern Michigan team.
Eastern Michigan has covered five straight games and won them all but one, a 59-58 loss at Akron. The Eagles play pretty outstanding defense, especially at home where they are giving up only 59.5 PPG. Factoring that in along with the recent form makes it seem they’ll be a pretty “tough out” for the Golden Flashes tonight. But something that is very interesting here is the oddsmakers’ perception of EMU. Their last game (a 69-51 over Western Michigan) marked the 1st time ALL YEAR that they were favored in MAC play!
So I think it speaks volumes that the road team comes in favored here. Yes, Eastern Michigan has been winning, but three of their last four wins have been by four points or less. Before this 4-1 SU/5-0 ATS streak began, the Eagles had actually lost seven in a row. Incredibly, this is a team that has been favored only six times all year (6-0 in those games). They are still just 4-10 SU in the underdog role. Off the strong showing Saturday, look for Kent State to come in and take care of business. 10* Kent State
|02-17-20||Iowa State +16.5 v. Kansas||Top||71-91||Loss||-115||14 h 47 m||Show|
10* Iowa State (9:00 ET): Kansas figures to still be at #3 in the polls when it tips off against Iowa State Monday in Lawrence. The Jayhawks, now 22-3 SU on the year, notched impressive wins over West Virginia (58-49) and Oklahoma (87-70) over the past week. They’ve now won 10 in a row and truth be told there is an argument to be made that this is the best team in the entire country. KU has covered the spread in three straight games.
Iowa State had a far more tumultuous week as they learned star Tyrese Haliburton, projected to be a 1st round NBA pick, will miss the rest of the season with a wrist injury. In their first game w/o Haliburton, the Cyclones were crushed 90-61 at Oklahoma. But they then circled the wagons Saturday for arguably their most impressive performance to date, an 81-52 thrashing of Texas in Ames.
Kansas has #1 Baylor on deck, a showdown in Waco that takes place Saturday. They already faced Iowa State right before Baylor earlier this season and this time KU is hopeful things turn out better. That’s because last time they ended up losing to Baylor 67-55. They did defeat ISU 79-53 in Ames, but I look for this rematch to be a lot closer than that. It’s the most points the Cyclones will get in any game all season and they’re 22-10 ATS as a road dog of at least 12.5 points going back more than a decade. The “lookahead” factor is real here. 10* Iowa State
|02-16-20||Arizona State v. California +5||Top||80-75||Push||0||10 h 3 m||Show|
8* California (6:00 ET): It would appear as if these two teams are trending in pretty different directions coming into Sunday, but the reality of the matter is that neither is really heading anywhere of note. Arizona State has won four in a row, including an upset at Stanford on Thursday, but the Sun Devils are still aren’t considered a NCAA Tourney team (nor should they be). Cal, who no one expected to do much this year, has lost three in a row. But save for Thursday’s loss to a very good Arizona team, the Bears have proven to be a pretty tough “out” here in Berkeley.
I consider Arizona to be the Pac 12’s best team, so I won’t put much stock in the fact California lost to them by a score of 68-52. That non-cover (were +10.5) snapped a 5-0 ATS run in Pac 12 home games for Cal, which included three outright upsets. The only two conference opponents to come in here and win are Arizona and Oregon, the two best teams. This is simply a much better team when at home and it’s a benefit that ASU is playing its second straight road game.
While in the midst of (arguably) their most successful stretch of the season, Arizona State is mostly winning close. The last two games have seen them prevail by a total of seven points and four of their last five wins have been by five points or fewer. That leaves them on “shaky ground” as a road favorite as far as I’m concerned. This will be just the third time the Sun Devils have been a road favorite this season and they are 0-2 ATS the previous two occasions with a two-point win over Princeton (2nd game of the season) and an outright loss at Washington State last month. 8* California
|02-16-20||Memphis v. Connecticut -3.5||Top||61-64||Loss||-110||7 h 59 m||Show|
8* Connecticut (3:00 ET): As it stands now, the American Conference may be sending as few as 2-3 teams to the NCAA Tournament and Memphis won’t be one of them. Anfernee Hardaway’s Tigers came into the 2019-20 season with plenty of promise, but things have been marred with controversy from the start as top recruit James Wiseman was quickly ruled ineligible. The team has still managed to go 17-7 SU, but comes into Sunday off B2B losses (to South Florida and Cincinnati), the latter of which coming in a game that went to OT.
UConn’s glory days seem like a long time ago, but the Huskies have proven to be a tough out lately by going 3-0 ATS their L3 games. Two of those were also SU wins, one of them against the AAC leader (at the time) Tulsa. That was followed by a minor upset of Cincinnati here at home (also an overtime game)) and then on Wednesday the Huskies gave SMU all they could handle in an eventual 79-75 loss. The Huskies still covered the spread (+5) even though they allowed SMU to shoot 55% from the field.
This is a revenge game for UConn as they lost 70-63 down in Memphis on Feb 1. That was a tie game w/ under three minutes to go, but Memphis uncharacteristically hit most of its free throws down the stretch (9 of 10) to get the win and cash as five-point chalk. While UConn is 0-5 ATS its L5 times hosting the Tigers, I see them getting revenge this afternoon as they are simply a much better team at home where they are 10-3 SU/9-4 ATS. They shot poorly in the game at Memphis, something I don’t see happening today. Memphis makes less than 41% of its FG attempts on the road. 8* Connecticut
|02-16-20||IUPU Ft Wayne v. South Dakota State UNDER 144.5||Top||64-75||Win||100||7 h 59 m||Show|
10* Under IPFW-South Dakota St (3:00 ET): Out in the Summit League, South Dakota State is tied with North Dakota State for first place (both teams sporting 10-2 SU records in conf play). The Jackrabbits have won five straight and 10 of their last 11 as they remain perfect on the year at home (14-0 SU). They’ve enjoyed a strong season at the betting window as well, going 17-8 ATS overall including 12-4 when favored. They tend to put a lot of points on the board, especially at home where they average 82.4 PPG.
IPFW is facing a pretty tough “ask” from the schedule makers here as they just played at North Dakota State Thursday. They lost, 80-70, but at least got the cash as 12.5-poingt dogs. The loss snapped a two game win streak for the Mastadons, who now have to travel to face the other co-leader in the Summit. The first meeting this season with SD State yielded a 70-61 loss, at home obviously, as IPFW had a dreadful shooting night (32.4% overall) which included them missing 22 of 26 three-point attempts.
As you may have guessed, South Dakota State shoots the ball well here at home. They shot the ball well vs. IPFW in that first meeting, making over 52% of their FG attempts. They figure to shoot it pretty well again this afternoon, but let’s not discount the defense the Jackrabbits are playing either. Before the 90-78 win over Denver on Friday, they’d held three straight opponents to under 37% shooting. IPFW generally does NOT shoot the ball well. Neither team ranks in the top 200 in adjusted tempo. 10* Under IPFW/South Dakota St
|02-16-20||Cal-Irvine -3 v. Hawaii||Top||70-63||Win||100||26 h 9 m||Show|
8* UC Irvine (11:59 ET): UC Irvine continues to lead the Big West (8-2 SU in conf play) and should be considered - by far - the best team this league has to offer. The Anteaters’ overall record may be just 16-10. But they took on a tough non-conference schedule. It was last Saturday when they suffered their second loss in Big West play, 64-61 at UCSB. But they wasted little time in rebounding as they went to rival UC Riverside and won 63-59. The next goal is ending a 3-game ATS losing streak.
Hawaii host UC Irvine tonight. The Warriors have not covered the spread in any of their last seven lined contests. They’ve also lost the last three on the court. The most recent was by a single point, 50-49, to Long Beach State right here at home. While that was only their third home loss of the season, the Warriors definitely still deserve to be underdogs tonight. They lost at UC Irvine by 14 last month and were never really in the game.
It’s pretty crazy that three of the last six meetings between these teams have been decided by exactly one point. But the other three have all been comfortable victories for UC Irvine. Hawaii is one of only three teams besides UC Irvine in the Big West to have a winning overall record. But that should also say something about the Warriors inability to get the cash. Wednesday’s 4-point win by UC Irvine was their first all year in the Big West by less than seven points. They cover the spread here. 8* UC Irvine
|02-15-20||Virginia v. North Carolina OVER 117.5||Top||64-62||Win||100||22 h 15 m||Show|
10* Over Virginia/North Carolina (8:00 ET): Even though the conference currently has three top eight teams (Louisville, Duke, Florida State), on the whole it’s been a very disappointing season for the ACC. Nowhere is that more evident than here as Virginia faces North Carolina Saturday night. Virginia, who won last year’s NCAA Tournament, is fighting just to get in the Big Dance this year. North Carolina has no shot to make it into March Madness unless it wins the ACC Tournament, which seems unlikely at this point.
Virginia is still playing its usual trademark defense as they rank third nationally in efficiency. But the offensive end has been ugly with them ranking 250th in efficiency. Compare that to last year’s title team which ranked 2nd in the country in offensive efficiency (5th in defensive efficiency). Overall, UVA games are only averaging a paltry 108.1 PPG this season, easily the fewest in the entire country. So it should be no shock that the total is really low here. But with UNC as the opponent, it’s too low.
The Tar Heels have dropped four in a row including that heartbreaker to Duke last Saturday night. That was followed by a dismal effort at Wake Forest where they lost 74-57 as a 1.5-point favorite. But here in Chapel Hill, they are still averaging 74.6 PPG. Will they reach that average tonight against Virginia? Probably not. But UNC should score enough to get this one Over. My view is that both teams are capable of scoring 60 here. The Over is 5-1 this year in Virginia road games with a total of 119.5 or less. 10* Over Virginia/North Carolina
|02-15-20||Tulsa v. South Florida -2||Top||56-48||Loss||-105||14 h 10 m||Show|
10* South Florida (12:00 ET): Tulsa was badly exposed last week when they lost by 16 to UConn as a three-point home favorite. Believe it or not, the Golden Hurricane actually came into that game leading the American Conference. They were further exposed in their next game, an 83-75 loss at UCF. But they did bounce back earlier this week w/ a convincing 70-56 win over East Carolina, a team near the bottom of the AAC. Still in third place, the Golden Hurricane now make the long trip to USF for an early Saturday start.
South Florida has covered four straight, the lone SU loss in that stretch coming last time out when they faced first place (and the only ranked AAC team) Houston. But the Bulls lost by only four. This team may have its issues scoring, but they play excellent defense as is evident by the fact they are allowing only 57.8 PPG at home. The game before they lost to Houston, USF went to Memphis and won outright. The two previous games saw them allow just 100 points total. The Bulls are 5-0 ATS on Saturdays this season.
Other than vs. East Carolina, the only other time Tulsa has been a favorite in conference play was the game against UConn. We saw what happened there. Once again, oddsmakers are speaking volumes by installing them as an underdog here. The kind of defense USF can play here at home is the difference. They lead the conference in scoring defense. We saw Tulsa allow 83 pts in their last road game to a UCF team that USF held to 48 pts. Both times this year that the Bulls have been favored at home by three points or less, they have gotten the cash. 10* South Florida
|02-14-20||Manhattan v. Iona OVER 134||Top||57-80||Win||100||11 h 34 m||Show|
10* Over Manhattan/Iona (7:00 ET): These MAAC schools just met 12 days ago with Manhattan dealing Iona a humiliating 72-49 blow as 4-point favorites. Since then, Iona has bounced back with two convincing wins on the road: 73-52 over Quinnipiac and 78-54 over Fairfield. Both came as underdogs. The Gaels are certainly better than their 7-12 SU record, but have also proven to be wildly inconsistent. Not sure if they can be trusted as favorites tonight, even though they are back home in a huge revenge spot.
Manhattan is also unbeaten since the Iona game having beaten Niagara 77-59 (-6.5) and Quinnipiac (65-63). The latter was on the road while the former was at home. Over the course of what is now a 3-game SU/ATS win streak, the Jaspers have allowed an average of only 57 PPG on 36.6% shooting. But I cannot see them continuing that level of defensive play for much longer, especially on the road. On the flip side, the Jaspers may not be a deadly offensive team, but look for them to take advantage of the fact Iona is allowing opponents to shoot better than 45% from behind the 3-point arc this season.
Iona likely won’t shoot as well here as they did in their last game (57.4%!) but they’ll definitely be more proficient than they were in the first meeting with Manhattan when they made only 32.6% of their shots. Iona home games are averaging 147.1 PPG, which is well up from 136.9 PPG on the road. Because of that, I’m throwing down on the Over here as both sides are capable of scoring far more than you think. 10* Over Manhattan/Iona
|02-14-20||Buffalo v. Toledo OVER 153||Top||83-67||Loss||-110||10 h 4 m||Show|
8* Over Buffalo/Toledo (6:30 ET): Buffalo enjoyed a really nice run of success under Nate Oats. During his tenure, the Bulls made it to the NCAA Tournament three times and advanced to the Round of 32 twice. But Oats bolted for “greener pastures” (i.e. Alabama), leaving his former program as basically “just another MAC team.” While still one of the better teams in the conference, UB can no longer count on dominating night after night. They come into tonight’s game having lost 3 of 5, leaving them at 15-9 SU on the year.
I would rate Toledo fairly comparably to Buffalo so the line tonight doesn’t surprise me. Toledo has a losing record (12-13 SU) and has not done well against the spread this season as they are just 2-10-1 ATS the L13 games. But earlier this week, the Rockets were able to put an end to five-game SU losing streak by beating Miami (OH) 65-57. They held the RedHawks to 36.2% shooting, which is abnormally good defensive performance for them. The same statement could be made for Buffalo in their last game (which was last Friday) as they held Central Michigan to 35.7% shooting in a 65-60 win.
Buffalo’s last five games have all stayed Under, the last two by huge margins. But by playing at the sixth fastest tempo in the entire country, this team is due for an offensive resurgence. They still average 78.0 PPG on the year. Toledo is not a good defensive team as they rank a woeful 258th nationally in defensive efficiency. Expect this to be a high-scoring game. 8* Over Buffalo/Toledo
|02-12-20||Nevada v. UNLV UNDER 149.5||Top||82-79||Loss||-109||12 h 8 m||Show|
10* Under Nevada/UNLV (10:00 ET): I’ll be taking in this game in person! That’s right, I plan on being at the Thomas & Mack Center this evening as UNLV hosts in-state rival Nevada. Like everyone else in the Mountain West, these teams find themselves staring up at undefeated San Diego State. Both have five losses in conference play, which ties them for second. Nevada won the first meeting 86-72 in Reno as they were four-point favorites. But you should look for the Wolf Pack’s scoring to drop off tonight.
UNLV has not shot well recently, making less than 40% of its FG attempts over the L5 games. That’s helped put an end to what was a seven-game Over streak for the Runnin’ Rebels. The last two games have both gone Under as they’ve scored just 54 and 68 points. The 68 was enough to get by Fresno State at home over the weekend and the Rebels have been pretty good at the defensive end here, giving up just 65.9 PPG. So, again, Nevada isn’t going to be scoring anywhere close to the 86 pts they had in the 1st meeting.
I know the Wolf Pack are coming off a couple of high-scoring wins. They put 88 on the board against Air Force and 95 against San Jose State. But again, those were home games, not to mention against two of the worst teams in the league. Nevada averages 81.8 PPG in Reno but just 70.1 on the road. Not to beat a dead horse, but that’s the key here. If the Wolf Pack are to sweep the season series, it will be because they are holding conference opponents to 40.7% shooting this year. 10* Under Nevada/UNLV
|02-11-20||Utah State v. Colorado State UNDER 144||Top||75-72||Loss||-110||28 h 36 m||Show|
10* Over Utah St/Colorado St (9:30 ET): Utah State is 19-7 SU but it’s been a disappointing season. They’ve had to sit back and watch Mt West rival San Diego State explode on the national scene as the only unbeaten team left in College Basketball. They’ve already lost twice to the Aztecs, so USU’s path to the Big Dance probably goes through the conference tourney. The Aggies have won two straight, but both wins were at home. It remains to be seen if they can do it on the road where they are 1-4 SU in conference play.
Colorado State is on a three-game win streak and they have scored 80 or more in every victory. All three games went Over, obviously something that caught our eye. The Rams are a team that can definitely score and it’s not just a recent trend. They average 76.5 PPG for the year and that number jumps to almost 80 PPG here in Fort Collins. They did not have a good night at the offensive end when they visited Utah State last month, scoring only 61 points on 37.3% shooting. It goes without saying they should be better tonight.
Utah State shot the lights out in that game, making 59% of their FG attempts. Clearly, it’s going to be very difficult to replicate that kind of proficiency here. But the big key is at the other end. The number of points the Aggies are allowing on the road vs. at home is quite the split, especially when factoring in only conference games. Take away the Wyoming game and the Aggies have allowed at least 70 in every MWC road game and 79 or more in three of the four. 10* Over Utah St/Colorado St
|02-11-20||Penn State v. Purdue -4.5||Top||88-76||Loss||-110||25 h 36 m||Show|
8* Purdue (6:30 ET): I cannot stress enough just how loaded the Big 10 is this year. The conference has 12 of its members ranked among my top 40 teams in the country! Perhaps the most interesting of those 12 is Purdue, a 14-10 SU team that I call one of my top 15 in the country! Go ahead and disregard that record as I’ve long believed the Boilermakers are set to go on a big run. We’re already starting to see signs of a surge w/ them winning their last three games, two of which were on the road.
Penn State is ranked (#13) coming into this game and that seems about right to me. The Nittany Lions are having a breakthrough season and lately they’ve been getting the job done for bettors, not only winning six in a row straight up, but covering the spread in all six games as well. That includes wins at Michigan and Michigan State. Because of that they figure to be a popular dog tonight, but I’m going in the opposite direction.
Penn State is just 2-17 SU its last 19 visits to West Lafayette. Purdue is 10-2 SU at home this season and winning by an average of more than 20 PPG. Their last time here saw them absolutely crush a very good Iowa team, 104-68. They followed that up w/ their largest win at Assembly Hall in Indiana in more than 40 years (74-62). Those two games have seen the Boilermakers shoot a jaw-dropping 54% from three-point range. They’ve covered 8 of the 12 home games and are 41-3 SU their L44 here overall. 8* Purdue
|02-10-20||Florida State v. Duke UNDER 148.5||Top||65-70||Win||100||21 h 34 m||Show|
10* Under FSU/Duke (7:00 ET): Duke survived a huge scare Saturday as they rallied to defeat rival North Carolina in overtime, 98-96. Down 13 with just 4 ½ minutes to go in regulation and five with 20 seconds left, the Blue Devils somehow forced overtime and then won at the buzzer. Thus, they’ve five in a row overall, the last three of which all came on the road. It’s the first time Duke swept a three-game road trip in over 40 years! This is a rare situation where a showdown w/ a fellow Top 10 opponent might actually be a letdown spot.
For the second straight week, Florida State plays on Big Monday. Last week, they faced North Carolina and won a low-scoring affair 65-59 (were 8 pt chalk). The Seminoles followed that up by crushing Miami 99-81, making it three straight wins as well as 13 wins in the last 14 games. Both teams come into tonight at 20-3 SU overall and 10-2 SU in ACC play. It’s obviously a big edge for Duke getting the game in Durham, although FSU did win at L’ville earlier in the year. Both sides have been going Over a lot recently, but given the respective situations, I look for a different kind of game tonight.
Duke is 7-1 Over its last eight games while Florida State is 7-2 Over its last nine. While tonight’s O/U line is right in line with what we’re accustomed to seeing for both teams, take note that FSU is off its best shooting night in over a month and it came against the last place team in the conference. Duke’s previous scoring effort was obviously aided by OT. We’re looking at two Top 20 teams in terms of defensive efficiency here. FSU has held ACC opponents below 40% shooting so far while Duke isn’t far behind that number here at home. 10* Under FSU/Duke
|02-09-20||Notre Dame v. Clemson -1.5||Top||61-57||Loss||-108||23 h 35 m||Show|
10* Clemson (6:00 ET): The largest gap in the ACC standings exists between the top three and the rest of the field (three games). After L’ville, Duke & Florida State, the next nine teams are separated by only 2.5 games. These two schools are among that group of nine, but seem to be trending in opposite directions as Notre Dame has won and covered three straight while Clemson is coming off two straight losses. Sometimes though, handicapping a game can be as simple as who has the home court edge. That’s the case here.
Both Clemson losses in the last week have been on the road. They scored only 44 points against both Wake Forest and Virginia, not something the Tigers should be proud of in the least. But there’s been a bit of a predictable pattern to their games this year, at least in ACC play. The last four road games - all losses with them scoring no more than 62 points. The last four home games - all wins with them scoring at least 71 points. That includes an upset of Duke (79-72, +10.5) back on January 14th, which came on the heels of the program’s 1st ever win at North Carolina.
Similarly, ND has looked good at home recently with the entirety of the 3-game win streak coming in South Bend. Those three wins also all came against teams in the bottom half of the ACC. We’re about to find out what the Fighting Irish are made of as their next three games are on the road. The Irish are just 2-5 SU outside of South Bend this year. Clemson has proven it can beat the “big boys” (UNC and Duke in a 4-day span) and holds teams to 62.2 PPG at home. This has “bounce back” written all over it. 10* Clemson
|02-08-20||Oregon v. Oregon State OVER 139.5||Top||53-63||Loss||-110||15 h 42 m||Show|
10* Over Oregon/Oregon State (10:30 ET): The “Civil War” may not mean as much on the basketball court (compared to the football field), but spirits should be high tonight in Corvallis as Oregon State is having one of its better seasons in a long time. Of course, Oregon has developed into a mainstay atop the Pac 12 and the Ducks come into Saturday as the highest ranked team in the conference and tied for first place with Colorado. These teams are a combined 30-15 Over this season and I look for a high-scoring game.
Oregon is off a loss, but that was to a Stanford team that is quietly one of the best in the country at the defensive end. The Cardinal rank 5th nationally in defensive efficiency (look out for them in the Tournament?) and held the Ducks well below their scoring average on Thursday night. The 70-60 final was emblematic of a Stanford-type game, not an Oregon one, as the Ducks are 8th in the country in offensive efficiency, but 94th in defensive efficiency. It’s a good thing then that they aren’t facing Stanford tonight.
Oregon State plays similar to Oregon. The Beavers are 26th in offensive efficiency, but a horrendous 199th in defensive efficiency. This all but guarantees a bounce back game at the offensive end for the Ducks, who come in averaging 76.8 points per game. Oregon State has won just one of its last six games, leaving them at 13-9 SU, but as I said earlier this is one of the better teams coming out of Corvallis in many years. They shoot 48.2% at home. The Over is 5-0 when the Beavers are the underdog. 10* Over Oregon/Oregon State
|02-08-20||Gonzaga v. St. Mary's +6||Top||90-60||Loss||-109||14 h 12 m||Show|
10* St. Mary’s (10:00 ET): We all know Gonzaga is “head and shoulders” above the rest of the West Coast Conference, but if there’s one rival known to give them fits it would be St. Mary’s. The Gaels have won two of the last five head to head meetings outright including LY’s WCC Tourney Final. Gonzaga may come into this game at 24-1 SU overall and 10-0 in conference play with those 10 victories coming by an average of 23.0 PPG. But they’ve failed to cover the L3 games and if they were to lose a WCC game outright, it would be this one. Take the points.
In the last 10 days, I’ve actually faded both of these teams. St. Mary’s, I faded exactly one week ago at BYU. As a dog, they led most of the way and ended up covering the spread in an 81-79 loss. So I was wrong there. The Gaels have since bounced back with a 66-60 win at San Diego, though they did not cover the 11-point spread. Looking at their three WCC losses this year, two have been by two points or less while the other was a quadruple overtime game. Gonzaga may be the most efficient offense in the country but SMU also happens to be in the top 10.
Gonzaga has gone 751 days w/o losing a regular season conference game. The last loss came January 18th, 2018 -- to St. Mary’s. Despite the perceived invincibility, oddsmakers seem to have caught up to the Zags, who have failed to cover three in a row including our Game of the Week on Santa Clara last Thursday. So let’s make it two straight weeks going against Gonzaga with a GOW play as this is the only time SMU will be a home dog this season. They are allowing only 62.5 PPG at home. 10* St. Mary’s
|02-08-20||SMU v. Temple +2||Top||90-97||Win||100||5 h 45 m||Show|
8* Temple (12:00 ET): We revisit the American Conference early Saturday afternoon as SMU visits Philly to face Temple. For the past several years, SMU has been a really good home team. But outside of Moody Coliseum, they are just 9-19 straight up the last three seasons. That includes just 1-3 SU on the conference road this season with the most recent defeat coming at Cincinnati, a little over a week ago. Since suffering that 22-point defeat, the Mustangs have played only one time. It was a 15-point home win over last place Tulane.
Temple hasn’t been as good as usual this year (just 9-13 SU) and since we turned the calendar to 2020 things have really taken a downturn. The Owls are only 2-8 SU their L10 games after a 79-65 loss at Memphis earlier in the week. But they did beat arguably the top team in the American, Wichita State, here at home. They also won their last home game, 76-64 over East Carolina, covering a 10.5-pt spread. As a home favorite of 3.5 to 6 points, Temple has gone 6-1 ATS the L3 seasons.
Three of SMU’s four road wins this year have been by four points or less, so the overall record could be a lot worse. Temple might only be 6-4 SU at home this year, but they are 27-11 SU here the L3 seasons. SMU is -1.8 points per game on the road while Temple is +7.4. I don’t think the Owls should be the dog here. I know SMU won by 16 in Dallas, but that was a terrible shooting night for Temple as they made only 32.7% of their shots, including a stunning 12 of 37 on 2-pt attempts. While SMU may lead the conference in scoring, Temple held them below their average last month and has allowed 68 pts or less in 14 of 22 games. 8* Temple
|02-07-20||Maryland v. Illinois -2||Top||75-66||Loss||-108||24 h 24 m||Show|
10* Illinois (8:00 ET): We all know just how loaded the Big 10 is. So these two teams should be commended for entering Friday night’s showdown on FS-1 in a first place tie with one another. Maryland being tied for first is not that big of a surprise as the Terps were expected to be near the top of the league standings (most had them finishing 2nd behind Michigan State). Illinois is a surprise as they were pegged for a “middle of the pack” finish. While their seven-game win streak was snapped Sunday in Iowa, the Illini are my pick to get the cash Friday as they are back in Champaign-Urbana where they’ve gone 12-1 SU this season.
Maryland comes into this game on a five-game win streak and has held its last two opponents to less than 37% shooting. They are coming off a hard-fought 54-51 win over Rutgers Tuesday night as they held the Scarlet Knights to 33.8%. But that was in College Park. The Terrapins are just 2-4 SU in “true” road games this season and despite winning the last two, their defense wasn’t nearly as tight as both opponents (Northwestern, Indiana) shot north of 50% from the field.
Illinois should be the more motivated team tonight as not only are they coming off a loss, but they’ve also got revenge on the mind from a 59-58 loss at Maryland back in December. That game saw the Illini blow a 14-pt halftime lead. They are the more rested team coming into this rematch with two extra days of prep time. They have covered all times this year as a home favorite of three points or less. 10* Illinois
|02-07-20||Harvard v. Yale -6.5||Top||78-77||Loss||-108||21 h 24 m||Show|
8* Harvard (5:00 ET): One of college sports’ most prominent rivalries is renewed on the basketball court Friday night with Harvard taking on Yale. Yale is the consensus top team in the Ivy League this year and they should be considering they not only boast a perfect conference record (4-0 SU) but are also 16-5 SU overall and 13-4 ATS. Those four conference wins have all been by double digits and by an average of 17.8 points per game. They are definitely a team to be reckoned with.
However, Yale is not only facing a chief rival here but also a team that is an amazing 20-4 ATS the L24 times it has been an underdog. While Harvard is 0-4 ATS in Ivy League play and 0-5 ATS its L5 overall, they were actually favored in all of those games. After opening the conference slate by sweeping a home and home from Dartmouth, last week was not a good one for the Crimson as they lost by three at Penn and by one at Princeton. Incredibly, seven of Harvard’s last eight games have been decided by five points or less. But because they were favored in all but one, they haven’t been doing well ATS.
But the one time in that stretch that Harvard was catching points, they won outright at UC Irvine (top team in Big West). As mentioned above, the Crimson have been nothing short of extraordinary as underdogs, not only covering 20 of the last 24 opportunities but also winning 11 of those outright! They may only be 1-4 SU/ATS vs. Yale the L2 seasons, but the one win came here in New Haven last season - as six-point pups. While there’s no Bryce Aiken (injured since December), Harvard can absolutely still win this game. Yale has yet to beat or even face a top four Ivy League team. 8* Harvard
|02-06-20||Connecticut v. Tulsa -3||Top||72-56||Loss||-103||11 h 46 m||Show|
10* Tulsa (7:00 ET): You may be surprised to learn that it is Tulsa - not Wichita State, Memphis or even Houston - leading the American Conference right now with a 7-1 SU record. The Golden Hurricane picked up a huge 54-51 win over Wichita State this past weekend, a game in which they were at home but also getting points. Incredibly, Tulsa’s last four SU wins have all come as underdogs. They’ve now won and covered each of their last six games, five of them coming as underdogs. Thus, it’s interesting that tonight they are favored.
While favored, it still seems as if the market isn’t respecting the leaders in the American. It’s only a small number that they are laying to a UConn team that is subpar at best. The Huskies come in at 11-10 SU overall, but are 0-5 in “true” road games and just 2-6 SU in conference games. This once proud program has taken a severe nosedive in recent years. It’s only win over the L6 games came as a 4.5-pt home favorite vs. Temple. They were beaten 70-63 at Memphis on Saturday, failing to cover as 5-pt dogs.
This is the second meeting of the season between these teams. Tulsa, not surprisingly, won the first. It was a 79-75 final where the Golden Hurricane came in 5.5 point underdogs. UConn shot poorly in that game (below 40%) and that should be expected again here w/ Tulsa only allowing 60.4 PPG at home. On the flip side, Tulsa made just three 3-pointers in the first meeting and that number should at least double here. In a battle between the first place and second to last place team in a conference, the former should be laying more than this at home. It’s that simple. Tulsa is an underrated team right now. 10* Tulsa
|02-05-20||Villanova v. Butler -2.5||Top||76-79||Win||100||9 h 23 m||Show|
8* Butler (6:30 ET): The last time these teams met (Jan 21), Villanova won rather comfortably. It was a 76-61 final (Nova -3.5), but that was in Philly obviously. Butler now gets its chance to play host as the teams come in ranked #10 and #19 respectively. The Bulldogs have lost only two home games all year, but come into this rematch having dropped four of six overall after a 15-1 SU start. Villanova is also off a loss, 76-61 (oh, the irony!) to Creighton at home. They were 6.5-pt favorites as their seven-game win streak came to an end.
Butler also lost as a 6.5-point favorite their last time out. It was not a good effort against Providence, which was a home game. It was also the third straight game w/o PG Aaron Thompson. For the first time, it looked like the Bulldogs really missed him. They missed 14 of 15 three-point attempts and turned it over 15 times. I can’t see them losing for a second straight time at home, however. They give up just 57.6 points per game here. Visiting teams are making just 27.6% of three-point attempts. Villanova, for all its success, has made only 40.8% of its FG attempts in conference play.
Butler is just 1-5 SU/ATS its last six meetings with Villanova including four straight losses. So you know they’ll come out motivated. When I look at Villanova being ranked #10, I can’t help but think that’s too high. I have them on the fringes of the Top 20 and KenPom agrees, having them at #23. Four of their seven wins during the recently ended streak were by six points or less. 8* Butler
|02-03-20||Baylor v. Kansas State +7||Top||73-67||Win||100||13 h 2 m||Show|
10* Kansas State (9:00 ET): With easy wins (both by double digits) over Iowa State and TCU, #1 Baylor figures to hold the top spot in the new poll that comes out later today. The Bears assumed that spot two weeks ago in the AP and last week in the Coaches, moving past Gonzaga. I think I speak for a lot of people though when I say the Bears are probably NOT the best team in America. There’s still a handful of teams I’d favor over them in a neutral setting (one in their own conference - Kansas) Tonight, they put their 18-game win streak (nation’s longest) on the line at the “Octagon of Doom” in Manhattan, KS.
Kansas State is not having a particularly good season as they are just 9-12 SU overall. But the Wildcats have covered three straight, including at West Virginia on Saturday. They also defeated the Mountaineers here in Manhattan. All but one of KSU’s victories this season have been at home where they’re 8-3 SU overall and holding teams to only 59.5 PPG. They were a seven-point home dog when they beat WVU here, 84-68.
Look for Wildcats’ leading scorer Xavier Sneed (14.4 PPG) to have a big, bounce-back game tonight. He’s struggled some recently, including tallying only 11 pts in the loss to WVU over the weekend. That game saw the team shoot just 3 of 17 from three-point range. At home, Sneed and the Wildcats figure to shoot much better. Baylor has clearly been impressive all season long, but in what figures to be a low-scoring, defensive-minded game, I want the points. Baylor has not shot better than 45% in any game in 2020. 10* Kansas State
|02-01-20||St. Mary's v. BYU -5.5||Top||79-81||Loss||-113||14 h 27 m||Show|
8* BYU (10:00 ET): As I went over on Thursday, the West Coast Conference has basically become “Gonzaga & everyone else competing for second place.” This has been the case going back many seasons. Since their arrival into the WCC mix back in 2011, BYU has finished either second or third in the conference every season. Of course, the other perennial challenger to Gonzaga is St. Mary’s. Sure enough, St. Mary’s & BYU come into tonight in 2nd and 3rd place respectively in the WCC. But I’ve got a strong preference here.
While unranked, most power rating systems (including my own!) consider BYU to be a Top 25 team (in the country) this year. KenPom has them #18 while BPI (ESPN) has them #27. All three of the Cougars’ WCC losses have come on the road, two of them coming by three points or less and the other at Gonzaga. They have revenge here having fallen at St. Mary’s 87-84 back on January 9th. Sure enough, I cashed St. Mary’s (-2.5) in that game, which went to overtime. But things should turn out much differently here in Provo where BYU is 10-1 SU and outscoring teams by 22.3 PPG.
Three of BYU’s losses this year came against Gonzaga, San Diego State and Kansas. All three of those teams are currently projected to be #1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. All three losses came when BYU’s best player, Yoeli Childs, was suspended. They were also without Childs when they lost to St. Mary’s, one of four losses by either one point or in overtime for the Cougars. The bottom line is that this team is better than its WL record as we saw in a 27-point win (107-80 over Pepperdine) on Thursday as Childs led the way with 21 pts. This time St. Mary’s has to contend with him and I think the number here speaks volumes. 8* BYU
|02-01-20||Houston v. Cincinnati -3||Top||62-64||Loss||-110||10 h 27 m||Show|
10* Cincinnati (6:00 ET): With Memphis predictably underachieving, a “vacuum” was created in the American Conference and both of these teams have moved their way to the top. Houston leads with a 7-1 SU conference record, but Cincy is just a game back as they’ve won three in a row heading into this Saturday showdown. That means a win here would pull the Bearcats even with the Cougars and possibly into a first place tie depending on what Tulsa (6-1) does today vs. Wichita State. The stakes are high here.
Cincy has been rolling here at home so they’ve got to be loving the fact they get to host tonight. The Bearcats have had four conference home games so far. They’ve won all of them by at least 16 points. That includes a 31-point drubbing of Tulsa back on January 8th. Tuesday, they won by 22 against SMU, holding the Mustangs to just 43 points on 25.9% shooting. Looking at the Bearcats’ 13-7 SU record, it could be a lot better had they won all five games that either went to OT or were decided by 1 pt (3-2 SU in those games).
The Bearcats being favored here may surprise some considering Houston is ranked (#21) and generally considered to be the American’s top team. The Cougars have won 15 of their last 17 games including five straight. Despite Houston holding its opponents to 56.6 PPG on 35,4% shooting during the win streak, Cincy actually comes in with the better defensive efficiency rating for the year as it is holding teams to 35.1% shooting at home. The Bearcats can match Houston on the boards, which is key, and they’ve won 40 of the L44 home games. 10* Cincinnati
|01-31-20||Bowling Green v. Buffalo -4||Top||78-77||Loss||-109||11 h 15 m||Show|
10* Buffalo (7:00 ET): The MAC has belonged to Buffalo the last couple years as former HC Nate Oats led the program to four NCAA Tournament appearances over the last five seasons, including a pair of wins. Oats has since moved on (to Alabama), but the Bulls showed they are still a team to be reckoned with as they beat Akron (MAC’s best team this year) on the road Tuesday. The 77-74 outright win (as 7.5-pt dogs) improved UB to 5-1 SU its L6 games, the lone loss coming by four points (here at home) to Kent St last Friday.
I look for the Bulls to go into the weekend a lot happier this time around. Tonight, they’ll host Bowling Green, a team that has won seven in a row. Beating such an opponent may sound like a challenge, but note that the Falcons have been incredibly lucky during this win streak of theirs, prevailing by three points or less four times and by six points or less six times. I’m not saying this is going to be an easy win for Buffalo, but BG is definitely “due” to drop a game and I’m all too willing to lay the small number as a result.
Bowling Green may have the MAC’s best record (7-1 SU), but Akron and Kent State are probably the two best teams (Akron definitely #1) and that’s who Buffalo has had to face over the past week. Meanwhile, Bowling Green has generally avoided the league’s top teams, save for a 67-61 win over Ball State earlier this week. But that came at home. Buffalo remains one of the country’s highest scoring teams and averages 81.5 PPG when they are at home. While BG may lead the conference, they are just 5th in offensive efficiency and 8th in defensive efficiency. 10* Buffalo
|01-30-20||Gonzaga v. Santa Clara +17.5||Top||87-72||Win||100||13 h 2 m||Show|
10* Santa Clara (10:30 ET): Santa Clara will try and do here what no WCC team has been able to do since the Tourney Final last year. That’s beat Gonzaga. The #2 ranked Zags have not lost a regular season WCC game since Jan 18, 2018. Both that and LY’s WCC Tourney Final loss were to St. Mary’s. The last time a WCC team other than St. Mary’s beat Gonzaga was Feb 25th, 2017 (BYU). Overall, the Zags have won 57 of their 59 conference games the L3+ seasons, including a 7-0 mark here in 2019-20. So when it comes to pulling an upset, history is definitely NOT on Santa Clara’s side here.
Fortunately though, there is a pointspread. Now oddsmakers haven’t been much assistance for Santa Clara when facing Gonzaga recently. Two weeks ago in Spokane, they lost by 50 (104-54!) to the Zags. That was their 20th straight loss in the rivalry and the fourth time in the last five meetings Gonzaga won by at least 43 points. After failing to cover the first two WCC games this year, the Zags have now covered five straight coming into tonight.
But despite the horrible series history, I believe Santa Clara is worth taking plus the points here. It’s a huge difference getting the Zags at home. Santa Clara is 15-1 SU at home this season (only loss was in OT), outscoring teams by 17.4 PPG. The Broncos are coming off a win over San Diego (on the road) and you know revenge has to be on the mind after taking a 50-point drubbing. Gonzaga has a bigger road game (at San Francisco) on deck Saturday, so this one probably won’t have their full attention. 10* Santa Clara
|01-29-20||West Virginia v. Texas Tech -2||Top||81-89||Win||100||11 h 16 m||Show|
10* Texas Tech (8:00 ET): This is an important game in the Big 12, especially on the Texas Tech side. The Red Raiders come in on a two-game losing streak, their second of the new year, plus they have revenge for a loss in Morgantown 18 days ago. The last two losses both came w/ TT favored, the more recent was vs. Kentucky (were -3) and the game went to overtime. I think it’s certainly notable that a now-unranked Red Raiders team remains favored over the #12 team in the country (WVU). That should tell you something right there.
West Virginia is definitely a surprise this year as they’ve moved up to #12 in the rankings. They are back to playing defense in Morgantown as this Mountaineers team currently ranks #1 in the country in defensive efficiency, a key metric for March. Bob Huggins’ team is 7-1 ATS its last eight games and coming off a 74-51 beatdown of Missouri in Morgantown. However, all three losses this year came in “true” road games where they are only 3-3 SU. Something to keep in mind is that in the preseason WVU was pegged to finish fifth in the 10-team Big XII.
Three-point shooting seemed to be the difference in the UK-Texas Tech matchup. While Kentucky shot 46.7% from behind the arch, TT finished at only 15.8%. Similar poor shooting was the story the Red Raiders in the loss to WVU earlier this month as they were held to 28% overall in Morgantown. I expect them to shoot better in this game, despite WVU’s tremendous defense. Texas Tech is no slouch defensively either, ranking 5th nationally in defensive efficiency and holding opponents to 58.5 PPG here in Lubbock. 10* Texas Tech
|01-28-20||Villanova v. St. John's +3.5||Top||79-59||Loss||-115||11 h 56 m||Show|
8* St. John’s (6:30 ET): Coming in at #8 in the latest AP Poll (#10 in Coaches), Villanova feels a bit “overrated,” even with a 16-3 SU record. The Wildcats are certainly a Top 20 team, but that’s about it from where I sit. While they’ve won six in a row and are 12-1 SU since December 1st, ‘Nova has been extremely fortunate to go 6-0 in games decided by six points or less during that time. It just feels like Jay Wright’s squad is “due” to drop one and Tuesday’s road game at St. John’s is the place I’ll fade them.
Most of the winning Villanova has been doing of late has been in Philly. Four of the last five wins have come at home, the exception being Saturday’s 64-60 triumph at Providence. I feel the Wildcats were pretty lucky to win there as they made only ONE field goal over the final 6:45 of game time and were outrebounded badly (-14 in offensive rebounds). Providence also had a bad shooting night, making only 31.7% of their shots including 3 of 23 from three-point range. It’s tough to win, on the road no less, when you attempt 15 fewer shots than your opponent. But somehow Villanova did it.
St. John’s is a “tougher out” than Providence even though the Red Storm have only two wins in their previous eight games. Both wins were against DePaul, the second one coming on Saturday, 79-66 as 4.5-pt road underdogs. That improves the Red Storm’s record when getting points to 6-3 ATS this season. They are also 8-3 ATS at home where they average 79.5 PPG. On the defensive end, St. John’s has a higher defensive efficiency rating than Villanova. The Red Storm have covered all four meetings w/ Nova the past two seasons (all decided by 7 pts or less). For the favorite, Jermaine Samuels is listed as “day to day” with a foot injury sustained in the Providence game. 8* St. John’s
|01-27-20||Northern Colorado v. Eastern Washington +1||Top||84-89||Win||100||13 h 8 m||Show|
10* Eastern Washington (9:05 ET): The homecourt advantage should be the decisive factor in this game as Eastern Washington has lost only once here in Cheney and that was to Big Sky leader Montana. The Eagles are 5-1 SU in all other conference games and come into Monday on a three-game win streak after handling Southern Utah here at home Saturday night. They needed overtime to get the job done there and did not cover the 3.5-point spread (won 81-78). But all we need tonight is a SU win and that seems like the logical result here.
Northern Colorado is also 5-2 SU in Big Sky play. These teams are tied for second, one game back of Montana. Northern Colorado beat Montana, but did so at home. What the Bears must contend with here is an Eastern Washington team that is third in the entire country in scoring, trailing only Gonzaga and Dayton. At home, the Eagles are averaging 93.7 PPG, which is the highest scoring average in the country in home games. It’s been more than six years since Northern Colorado won a game here.
Northern Colorado is 2-0 SU in Big Sky road games this season, but those wins came against the two weakest teams in the conference, Weber State and Idaho. The latter was Saturday, by a score of 74-53. This will be the third time this season that the Bears are playing consecutive games on the road. They have yet to sweep as they lost twice back in November and then split a pair last month. So history is not on their side for this one and I just don’t think the Bears have the offense necessary to “keep up” here. 10* Eastern Washington
|01-26-20||Missouri State v. Drake -4.5||Top||69-71||Loss||-110||8 h 33 m||Show|
10* Drake (4:00 ET): For the first time this year, Missouri State is off B2B conference wins. The Bears beat Evansville 68-58 and Valparaiso 67-60. Ironically, the last time they lost, I was on them -- a 91-78 loss to Bradley. I just don’t see this middle of the pack MVC team winning for a third straight time as Sunday they have to visit Drake, who they are 0-4 SU/ATS against the last two seasons. Furthermore, Drake is a perfect 10-0 SU here at home, winning by an average of 15.3 PPG.
Though a somewhat pedestrian 10-8 ATS this season, Drake has been something of a pointspread juggernaut in recent years. They are 50-29-8 ATS the L88 games including 23-8 here at home. The 10-0 start this year has them at 34-5 SU L39 home games and they’ve covered six of the eight lined affairs here this season. I just find it very hard to believe that that they’re not a safe bet as such as short favorite, especially considering a 25-11 ATS run as chalk.
What’s strange about Missouri State’s recent “surge” is that it has come with G Tyrik Dixon out with a shoulder injury. Dixon is the only player on the roster averaging more than two assists per game! Drake is simply the superior side here and coming off a 23-point road win (at Evansville), it’s hard to imagine them stumbling in this situation. 10* Drake
|01-26-20||Fordham v. St. Louis UNDER 119.5||Top||39-55||Win||100||7 h 33 m||Show|
10* Under Fordham/St. Louis (3:00 ET): Perhaps they were still reeling from their near upset of Dayton the previous Friday (lost in OT), but St. Louis lost to Davidson on Wednesday 71-59. Granted, the Billikens were 2.5 pt underdogs for that one, but they were certainly hoping for a better result after taking one of the top teams in the country to overtime. They’ll look to bounce back at home Sunday and it’s a spot where they should do well as they host A-10 lightweight Fordham.
Fordham is coming off a win here, 59-54 over George Washington on Wednesday. But that was on the heels of a five-game losing streak. The Rams had actually dropped 9 out of their last 10, the only win coming against Coppin State. What doesn’t bode well for them today (or most others for that matter) is that they only average 59.6 points per game. St. Louis is a strong defensive outfit, giving up only 65.8 PPG.
That said, I’m not about to lay this many points with a team that couldn’t break 60 points in its last game. Fordham actually plays great defense, giving up only 60.9 PPG. This has all the makings of an ugly slugfest where it could be the first team to 60 wins. Fordham has been held under 63 points in seven straight games, averaging only 56.2 their L5. Both teams here hold opponents under 41% shooting for the year. 10* Under Fordham/St. Louis
|01-26-20||Virginia -5 v. Wake Forest||Top||65-63||Loss||-109||4 h 34 m||Show|
8* Virginia (12:00 ET): This Virginia team is nowhere near as talented as what we’ve seen coming out of Charlottesville the last several seasons. That’s evident by the fact the defending National Champs are out of the Top 25, thanks to losses in four of their last five games. But despite this, I’m still not shy about backing them here at Wake Forest. The Cavaliers are 21-6 ATS L27 road games including 8-1 when laying between 3.5 to 6 points. They are well rested (last game was Monday) and all four of those recent losses were of the single digit variety (two by four points or less).
Even in a down year in the ACC, Wake Forest is struggling to remain relevant. The Demon Deacons come into Sunday also having lost four out of five. The most recent setback was Tuesday at Clemson, 71-68 as a 9.5-point underdog. Something interesting about this WF team is that their last nine games have gone Over. While they can score, they are also very bad at the defensive end, ranking 151st in the nation in efficiency. I have the Demon Deacons rated as the third worst team in the entire ACC right now.
Wake’s ability to score will be severely tested by a Virginia defense that is still among the nation’s best. The Hoos are again #1 in the country, allowing just 49.7 PPG. While their ability to score can certainly be called into question, I think they’re going to have one of their most productive offensive days in awhile here. Wake Forest is a shockingly poor 15-31 ATS its last 46 ACC games and without their second leading scorer (Chaundee Brown) they are really going to struggle to score here. 8* Virginia
|01-25-20||Notre Dame v. Florida State -8||Top||84-85||Loss||-107||13 h 36 m||Show|
10* Florida State (8:00 ET): Florida State has climbed all the way up to #5 in the country as they are 16-2 SU and won nine in a row. This is the first time since 1972 that FSU, a school known for its football, has been in the top five in College Basketball. Do I think this is one of the five best teams in America? No I don’t. But in what is a shockingly “down year” for the ACC, the Seminoles are going to finish with a very good record. Them, Duke & Louisville are the only “sure things” for the NCAA Tournament.
The Noles do have to play L’ville twice, but they’ve already beaten them on the road. They’ll have to travel to Duke on Feb 10th, but that’s the only game the rest of the way where they’re guaranteed to be underdogs. Now it was not easy last Saturday against Miami as FSU had to rally back from a late nine-point deficit to force OT (where they would go onto win 83-79). That snapped a four-game ATS win streak as the Noles were six-point chalk in Coral Gables. But with a full week off, they should be ready to go tonight at home.
Notre Dame lost to Syracuse Wednesday as a five-point favorite in South Bend. Each of the Fighting Irish’s last five games have been decided by five points or less with them winning two and losing three. Tonight, it’s time for them to be on the wrong end of a more lopsided game. Florida State is 9-0 SU this year in Tallahassee, winning by an average of 20.3 PPG. They are 58-3 SU their L61 home games including 28 ACC wins. Notre Dame, never a good road team, is overmatched here. 10* Florida State
|01-25-20||Florida International v. Charlotte UNDER 142||Top||49-75||Win||100||9 h 36 m||Show|
8* Under Florida International/Charlotte (4:00 ET): Charlotte’s results when it comes to the O/U have been very “streaky.” At one point, they’d gone Under in six straight games. But now the 49ers are on a four-game Over run. Key to the latest streak is that three of the four games were on the road. This is a team that plays much better defense here at home where it allows just 57.5 PPG. Neither of the last two games were that high scoring, it was just that the totals for both were exceptionally low.
Meanwhile, there’s no denying how most FIU games go. This is a high-scoring team, one that averages 81.1 PPG (14th in the country) and even 77.4 on the road. They also give up 76.6 PPG away from home. Yet the Panthers’ OU record for the year is actually 10-7 to the Under, due in large part to consistently high totals. The last three games, all wins, have seen FIU score 93, 83 and 83 points. They didn’t even shoot that well in two of the games.
This one will largely come down to which team can dictate the pace. FIU is 14th in adjusted tempo while Charlotte is 280th. Ultimately, I think this game is going to be played at Charlotte’s pace. Again, this is a pretty high total for them. Conversely, it’s pretty low by FIU standards. But note the Under is 4-1 in Panthers’ games where the O/U line is between 140 and 149.5. They are also 7-2 Under after scoring 80+ pts in their previous game. The Under is 7-3 in Charlotte home games. 8* Under Florida International/Charlotte
|01-25-20||Wisc-Milwaukee -2.5 v. Cleveland State||Top||53-70||Loss||-105||8 h 37 m||Show|
10* WI-Milwaukee (3:00 ET): Milwaukee, normally not a contender in the Horizon League, has moved up into third place by virtue of B2B wins, the most recent coming in OT against Youngstown State on Thursday. They’ll now go for what would be their second three-game win streak in the New Year (won 5 of 6 overall) Saturday at Cleveland State. The Panthers have yet to string together consecutive road victories this season, but this is also the first time they will have been favored away from home.
Given this is WI-Milwaukee’s first time in the road chalk role this year, you can probably guess that the team they are facing here is not very good. That assertion would be correct. Cleveland State comes in at 7-14 SU on the year and has lost four straight. Three of those losses have come by double digits while the last one, here at home, saw them down 12 with just over three minutes to go. The Vikings have really fallen on some “hard times” in recent years. They rank outside the top 300 in the country according to most ratings systems, which is obviously very bad (I have them 314th, 2nd worst among Horizon League schools).
Cleveland State just doesn’t score very much. They are averaging only 63 PPG for the season and rank in the bottom 20 nationally in offensive efficiency. Milwaukee seems to have really turned it around in 2020 and a win today would have them in great position going into next week when they’ll face the top two teams in the Horizon League. Note the Panthers had a 10-pt halftime lead (on the road) Thursday, so that game going to OT was a little unfortunate. But they still won and should have too much offense for Cleveland State. 10* WI-Milwaukee
|01-25-20||Iowa State v. Auburn -8.5||Top||76-80||Loss||-110||5 h 46 m||Show|
8* Auburn (12:00 ET): Auburn was one of only two remaining unbeatens in all of College Basketball when it lost last 84-63 at Alabama last Wednesday. More “bloom” came off the rose when three days later the Tigers were blown out in Gainesville, losing 69-47 to Florida. That’s a heck of a way for an unbeaten run to end, but Bruce Pearl’s team subsequently bounced back with an 80-67 win over South Carolina earlier in the week. It’s important to note Auburn is still undefeated at home and that’s where they’ll be for today’s game vs. Iowa State, part of the Big 12 vs. SEC Challenge.
Iowa State enters this game at just .500 overall (9-9 SU). They squared away their record with a 89-82 win in Ames over Oklahoma State on Tuesday. But the bad news for the Cyclones is that it’s been a LONG time since they won B2B games. One would have to go back to a 76-66 win over Seton Hall (shocking in retrospect) to find the last time they did so. That was back on December 8th. Since then, ISU is only 3-6 SU overall.
Sometimes it’s as simple as “who’s at home?” Iowa State has not won a “true” road game all season (0-5 SU) while Auburn is 11-0 SU at home. The Tigers are averaging 84.6 PPG at home and they should hit that number today considering the Cyclones allow 79.6 PPG outside of Ames. It’s been a 17.4 PPG margin of victory for Auburn here at home this season and with ISU a money-burning 0 for their last 6 ATS as a road dog of +6.5 to +9, I’ll lay the number here. ISU is just 1-6 ATS as a dog this season. 8* Auburn
|01-24-20||Canisius v. Iona -2.5||Top||66-69||Win||100||11 h 5 m||Show|
10* Iona (7:00 ET): It has not been a good year (so far) for Iona. The Gaels has a strangely “light” schedule in November and December, playing only seven games total. They’re set to double that number for January tonight as they host MAAC rival Canisius. While just 2-4 SU this month and 4-9 SU overall, Iona looks like a great play in this spot despite all their previous difficulties. Canisius has pulled three straight “small” upsets (all as dogs of +2 or less) but a fourth seems quite unlikely.
Iona has been very poor so far at the betting window. They are 2-10 ATS overall including 1-6 as a favorite. That they continue to be favored though tells me something. Something to keep in mind is that the Gaels have played only four home games all year! Two have been one-point losses (to St. Peter’s and Niagara). So their overall (and conference) record could be a lot better. Keep in mind that while Iona is currently last in the MAAC (2-4 SU), only two games separate them from first!
The Gaels won last Friday here at home, beating Fairfield 64-57. Unfortunately, they could not sustain that success, losing their next time out (Sunday) to Marist by a score of 83-73 (that was on the road). I think this team is ready to make a run. As for Canisius, regression seems likely. Before their string of upsets, they’d lost six in a row. They are just 3-8 SU on the road this season. The Golden Griffins shot better than 60% in their last game, which was at home, a number they won’t come close to duplicating out on the road. 10* Iona
|01-23-20||Utah Valley v. CS Bakersfield UNDER 136.5||Top||57-58||Win||100||13 h 27 m||Show|
10* Under Utah Valley State/CS-Bakersfield (10:00 ET): Utah Valley comes in at 8-12 SU on the year and just snapped a three-game losing streak with a 72-70 win over UT Rio Grand Valley last Saturday. But the Wolverines failed to cover (were -4.5) so the ATS losing skid is still alive at four straight games. Tonight they head to Cal State Bakersfield to take on a team that’s returning home after B2B road wins against the bottom of the Big West. I am envisioning this to be an ugly, low-scoring game.
So CS-Bakersfield’s two road wins came against Missouri-KC and Chicago State. The latter is probably the worst team in the entire country, so read little into the fact that the Roadrunners were able to shoot 51% from the floor in that game. It was actually their highest shooting percentage vs. a D-I opponent all season. While you may look at CS-Bakersfield’s scoring average at home this year (78.5 PPG) and be weary over playing the Under, take note that scoring average is greatly inflated by three wins over non-DI opponents. They’ve scored more than 75 pts vs. just one D-I foe this year and that was the second game of the season.
Utah Valley has gone Under in four straight games, due in large part to some dreadful efforts at the offensive end. Prior to the win last Saturday, they had scored 56, 50 and 63 pts in their previous three contests. The Wolverines shoot a poor percentage (30.2) for the year from three-point range, so they’re not much of a threat there. Even in victory, they were just 5 of 21 from behind the arc Saturday. 10* Under Utah Valley State/CS Bakersfield
|01-23-20||Tenn-Martin v. Eastern Illinois -8||Top||83-95||Win||100||12 h 57 m||Show|
10* Eastern Illinois (8:30 ET): We’re heading to the Ohio Valley Conference for this one, a league that still has TWO unbeaten teams in conference play. Believe it or not, no other conference can say that. But neither of those two teams - Austin Peay or Murray State - are involved in this play. Instead, it’s two teams in the “middle of the pack,” but are trending in opposite directions. Eastern Illinois (Tony Romo’s alma mater) is off a blowout win and back to .500 overall while UT Martin has lost three straight (all at home) to fall to 5-12 SU on the year.
To be fair, UT Martin’s losing streak has come at the hands of the three top teams in the OVC, including both unbeatens. But they really struggled on the defensive end against those three teams, giving up 85, 84 and 92 points. There’s really no way of sugarcoating just how bad the Skyhawks are at the defensive end. They are giving up 83.5 PPG on the year and only two of their L10 opponents have failed to score at least 82 points on them. They are second to last in the COUNTRY in defensive efficiency, ahead of only Houston Baptist.
The defensive issues have obviously resulted in a poor start to conference play for UT Martin (1-5 SU) and now comes a visit to Eastern Illinois, who is averaging a whopping 91.8 PPG at home. They’ve only played five home games, but the Panthers are undefeated while outscoring their opponents by more than 30 points per game! That’s really impressive. They are in off an 84-59 beatdown of Tenn Tech as 11-pt favorites, which snapped a 6-game ATS losing skid. The Panthers are shooting better than 53% from the field at home! I realize UT Martin has faced Austin Peay and Murray State a total of four times already, but this is a terrible matchup for their terrible defense. 10* Eastern Illinois
|01-23-20||Delaware +7 v. Hofstra||Top||73-71||Win||100||10 h 57 m||Show|
8* Delaware (6:30 ET): The CAA “ain’t what it used to be,” so what we’re left with is a far more “wide-open” league. A conference that has produced TWO Final Four teams this century does have another storyline going for it in 2020 as current leader William & Mary is one of only FOUR original D-I schools NEVER to have made the NCAA Tournament. But tonight, the focus is on Delaware and Hofstra, both of whom are off a close games that didn’t turn out the same way. For a variety of reasons, I’ll be taking the points here.
Delaware is off a 79-78 win over Elon, a game that was decided on a three-pointer with just two seconds left. While they escaped with the SU, the Blue Hens did not come close to covering the 10-point spread and are now just 1-5 ATS their L6 games. Tonight, they are looking to make it B2B wins for the first time since conference play began. Interestingly enough, this will be just the second time Delaware has been an underdog to a Colonial opponent and it’s the most points they’ll be taking for any game since facing Villanova last month.
Hofstra lost by two at College of Charleston Saturday, capping a three-game road trip where every decision was by exactly two points. The Pride won the first two games, 74-72 over Northeastern and 63-61 over UNC Wilmington. All three games saw the game winning basket made in the final 10 seconds. While a fine home team, this just looks like too many points for Hofstra to be laying. Being in the lower half of the CAA standings, Delaware figures to come in as the more desperate side and I just can’t see them losing by double digits here. 8* Delaware
|01-22-20||Rutgers v. Iowa UNDER 138||Top||80-85||Loss||-109||12 h 12 m||Show|
10* Under Rutgers/Iowa (9:00 ET): Rutgers’ games have been going Under for quite awhile now. The last seven, a streak which goes all the way back to December 14th, have all stayed Under. But more important to the Scarlet Knights right now is that they’ve covered nine straight games, a streak which stretches back to December 9th. They’ve lost only one game during that time - by three at Illinois on Jan 11 - and have to be feeling pretty good about their chances of surviving the Big 10 gauntlet heading into Iowa City tonight.
Iowa has won its last three games as well as seven of its last nine. The Hawkeyes are now nationally ranked (#19 in both polls) and that’s pretty close to where I have them in my own power rankings (#18). They just hung 90 points on Michigan last Friday, but repeating that kind of offensive effort here against a team that ranks #7 nationally (per KenPom) in defensive efficiency seems unlikely.
In its last nine games, the most points Rutgers has allowed is 65. They’ve held six opponents below 60 points. For the year, they allow just 58.7 PPG, which matches their efficiency ranking (#7 in the country). Obviously, Iowa is a better offensive team than most of the teams that Rutgers has faced. But Under is the call here. 10* Under Rutgers/Iowa
|01-22-20||Duquesne v. Rhode Island -4||Top||55-77||Win||100||10 h 13 m||Show|
10* Rhode Island (7:00 ET): Duquesne started the season red hot. They were even one of the last remaining unbeatens at 10-0. The Dukes then lost their next two games, but have subsequently bounced back with 5-0 start in Atlantic 10 play. They and Dayton are the only two A-10 teams without a loss. But a generous schedule is as responsible for this 15-2 SU record as much as anything else. The Dukes’ strength of schedule is outside the top 300 and it’s telling that they are not even in the top 75 of the KenPom rankings.
Rhode Island is 4-1 in the A-10. Their only loss was to Richmond, 69-61 at home, in the conference opener. Not only is that the Rams only conference loss, it’s their only home defeat. They are 8-0 otherwise in their own gym and Saturday saw them take care of LaSalle here, 66-63. While the Rhodies did not cover the 10-pt spread, that was because of a poor shooting night. I expect them to bounce back on the offensive end tonight plus they’ve held their L5 opponents to a 39.7 FG%.
Three of Rhode Island’s five losses were to Maryland, LSU and West Virginia. Duquesne simply is not in that same class. Keep in mind that none of those three losses were here at home either. Duquesne needed OT to get by Fordham 58-56 last week as an 18-point favorite. Fordham is one of two teams in the conference (St. Joe’s is the other) without a win. I really like the short number here. 10* Rhode Island
|01-21-20||Miami-FL +17.5 v. Duke||Top||59-89||Loss||-105||13 h 18 m||Show|
8* Miami FL (9:00 ET): I mentioned Duke in the WF/Clemson writeup and here we are playing against them Tuesday. The Blue Devils have lost two in a row, dropping them to #8 in the rankings. While I still believe this is easily one of the best teams in the country, it’s also a good time to fade Coach K as most bettors are going to look at this matchup and simply assume “bounce back.” Duke will win most likely, but it won’t be as easy as it was down in Coral Gables earlier this month when they beat Miami by 33 points.
That was a horrendous loss for Miami as they were coming off an impressive upset at Clemson on New Year’s Eve. Since the Duke game, the Hurricanes have lost three of four, but they were quite competitive on Saturday against another top 10 squad, that being Florida State. The Seminoles are very likely the ACC’s 3rd best team this season (trailing only Duke & Louisville), yet the Canes were able to hang tight,, losing by only four points (83-79) at home. They covered as seven-point dogs and are 3-1 ATS this season after allowing 80+ points in their last game.
Duke lost a heavily-hyped showdown with Louisville on Saturday, 79-73, right here at home as 8.5-point chalk. It was their second loss of the season in Durham, the only being that absolute shocker to Stephen F. Austin. It was a near identical score when the Blue Devils lost at Clemson exactly one week ago (79-72). It’s very rare to see Duke off B2B losses and the number looks inflated, especially off two straight poor defensive performances. 8* Miami FL
|01-21-20||Wake Forest v. Clemson UNDER 136.5||Top||68-71||Loss||-109||12 h 18 m||Show|
10* Under Wake Forest/Clemson (8:00 ET): A couple of 9-8 teams fighting to stay relevant in the ACC meet Tuesday in Death Valley. Wake Forest is off a big 80-62 home win over Boston College on Sunday, which ended a three-game losing skid. But it’s a quick turnaround for the Demon Deacons as tonight they hit the road and face a Clemson team that just had a three-game win streak snapped with a 60-54 loss at NC State on Saturday. The Tigers still covered that game (were +7), so they are 4-0 ATS the last four games.
It’s not the pointspread I’m concerned with tonight, however. Wake Forest also comes in having gone Over in eight consecutive contests. But some of those Overs have been by the “skin of the teeth” for Danny Manning’s squad. In fact, five of the eight games have gone Over by no more than four points. The Demon Deacons scored 80 points Sunday against B.C. but won’t come close to that number tonight as they are averaging just 68.7 PPG outside of Winston-Salem. Their last road game saw them get held to just 59 points by Duke.
Clemson is ranked 33rd in the country in defensive efficiency, a strong rating. This is a team that beat both North Carolina and Duke three days apart earlier this month. Saturday’s loss to NC State was a revenge game for the Wolfpack after the Tigers had beaten them here at home on January 4th. The 60-54 loss in Raleigh snapped Clemson’s own four-game Over streak. They hold teams to just 39.7% shooting here at home and WF is shooting that exact same percentage on the road. 10* Under Wake Forest/Clemson
|01-21-20||Illinois v. Purdue -5.5||Top||79-62||Loss||-104||11 h 19 m||Show|
10* Purdue (7:00 ET): Purdue is a team I’ve been closely tracking for awhile now. With eight losses already on their resume, the Boilermakers certainly aren’t getting any consideration as a Top 25 team right now. But, make no mistake about it, this is a team that’s far better than it’s 10-8 SU record would seem to indicate. Nine days ago, they proved what they are capable of by demolishing #11 Michigan State (another underrated team) 72-41 right here in West Lafayette. Despite a loss at Maryland on Saturday, both the KenPom ratings and my own consider Purdue to be one of the 25 best teams in the country.
Illinois is one of the teams that may pay the price for the Big 10 being so good this year. There are 12 teams from this conference that I have rated within my Top 40 in the country. That’s amazing. The problem for the Illini is that I have them 11th in the pecking order. It’s pretty hard to make the NCAA Tournament when you’re only the 11th best team in your own conference, though Joe Lunardi currently has 11 Big 10 teams in his projected field and the Fighting Illini are among them. Still, despite what happened when these teams met on January 5th, I have Illinois rated as the inferior squad.
What happened on January 5th was a 63-37 beatdown of the Boilermakers by the Illini over in Champaign-Urbana. That shocking result began what is now a four-game win streak for Illinois. But I believe revenge is going to be sweet for Purdue tonight. They are 8-1 SU at home and winning by an average of almost 19 PPG. Illinois has been outscored by about 6.0 PPG when they leave campus. Purdue has a top 6 defensive efficiency rating per KenPom and will obviously shoot the ball better tonight than they did two weeks ago when they made only 25% of their FG attempts vs. the Illini. Love the spot and the number here. 10* Purdue.
|01-20-20||Weber State v. Portland State -4.5||Top||76-92||Win||100||15 h 45 m||Show|
8* Portland State (10:05 ET): Portland State began 2020 with four straight road games, three of them ending up as losses. But they returned home on Saturday and prevailed 82-76 against Idaho State. The Vikings have played a lot of close games in conference play, but tonight they host one of the Big Sky’s weaker teams, that being Weber State. Damian Lillard’s alma mater also happens to be off a win over Idaho State (Thursday) but they needed OT and are only 6-11 SU on the season. This will be Weber State’s fourth time playing on the road since the new year began.
Weber State has won just one time as an underdog (1-10 SU in that role) all year and that was 72-67 at Utah Valley State back on December 4th. They’re just 4-7 ATS getting points so them getting such a small number here doesn’t make them the least bit attractive. Again, the Wildcats needed overtime to snap a three-game losing skid on Thursday. They trailed by seven at halftime. It was the fourth straight game where they were held to 64 pts or less in regulation. This team is 287th in offensive efficiency and 280th in defensive efficiency.
Portland State has been one of the worst defensive teams in the country so far, but is far more efficient than Weber State on the offensive end (80th nationally). Despite a quicker turnaround between games, I like the spot more for the Vikings as they are at home where they’ve won 25 of their last 36 games straight up. Weber State’s struggles as an underdog aren’t just limited to this season. They’ve lost 23 of their last 28 in that role. It’ll be too much offense from Portland State (82.1 PPG at home) for the underdog to overcome in this one. 8* Portland State
|01-19-20||California v. UCLA OVER 131||Top||40-50||Loss||-105||10 h 21 m||Show|
10* Over Cal/UCLA (8:00 ET): Neither team is playing well and both are off less than stellar offensive efforts. California put just 56 points on the board Thursday night at USC in what ended up being a humiliating 32 point defeat. UCLA could manage only 59 points in a 15-point loss at Stanford Wednesday. The two 8-9 teams meet Sunday night in Pauley Pavillion, both desperate for a win. UCLA is 1-6 SU/ATS its last seven games (0-3 SU/ATS L3) while Cal is 3-7 SU/ATS its L10.
The struggles you’ve seen from both of these teams are not limited to the offensive end of the floor. Cal let USC shoot 50% from the field as it remained winless on the road this year. A big reason for that winless record is that they give up 75.7 PPG away from Berkeley. They don’t exactly shoot well either, but going against UCLA should help. The Bruins have given up at least 74 points in six of their last seven games.
UCLA’s last two opponents have both shot better than 50%. I expect this to turn into a pretty high scoring game. Cal is 164th nationally in defensive efficiency while UCLA is an atrocious 233rd. UCLA is 7-4 Over as a favorite this year while Cal is 4-1 Over after being held to 60 points or less in its last game. 10* Over Cal/UCLA
|01-18-20||Colorado v. Arizona -6||Top||54-75||Win||100||6 h 1 m||Show|
10* Arizona (2:30 ET): Last Sunday, we touted Arizona as our Game of the Week and they failed. It was an embarrassing loss at Oregon State where the Wildcats went down 82-65. In our analysis for that game, I made it pretty clear that Arizona was better than its record shows. In fact, I’d go so far as to call this one of the most underrated teams in the country at this point! They bounced back from Sunday’s loss w/ a nice 93-77 beatdown of Utah here in Tucson Thursday night. Now it’s time to take care of Colorado.
Colorado comes in ranked #20 in the country. They are one of just two Pac 12 teams ranked in the current AP Poll (Stanford is #25 in the Coaches). But, by now, I’m sure you’ve noticed this line which would certainly seem to indicate that unranked Arizona is better in the eyes of the oddsmakers. I definitely agree with that assertion and the oddsmakers are usually better than the pollsters anyway. I’ll take things a step further and call Arizona the best team in the Pac 12 despite what the WL records may say.
Arizona is 12-5 SU on the season. But before Oregon State got them on Sunday, the previous four losses had all been by five points or fewer. Three of the losses were to top 10 teams including Gonzaga & Baylor, who are currently 1-2. At home, the Wildcats are 10-1 SU and outscoring opponents by 25.6 PPG. So there’s no hesitation to lay the points here. Colorado had a nice road win Thursday, 68-61 at Arizona State, but as those who follow the Pac 12 closely will tell you, it’s the second road game of the weekend that usually gets you. The Buffaloes have dropped 20 of their last 29 “true” road games. 10* Arizona
|01-17-20||Dayton v. St. Louis +8||Top||78-76||Win||100||11 h 44 m||Show|
10* St. Louis (7:00 ET): Conference play isn’t even a month old, but across the country most teams have already experienced a loss. But in the Atlantic 10, there are still three unbeatens left, one of them the clear class of the league and that’s #13 Dayton, who is in action here. The Flyers were lucky in that leading scorer Obi Toppin’s ankle injury wasn’t as serious as originally thought. As a result, they had little difficulty defeating preseason favorite VCU on Tuesday. But that was also home. Friday, they hit the road to face a dangerous St. Louis team.
St. Louis comes in riding a three-game win streak. They have not played since Saturday when they went to Richmond and picked up a nice 74-58 road win as 5.5-point underdogs. Having had the extra time off is surely an advantage heading into what will be the biggest home game of the entire conference slate. The Billikens suffered their only A-10 loss on the road, to also undefeated Duquesne, but are a strong 10-1 SU at home with the lone loss coming to a very good Seton Hall team. They won the only other time they were a home dog this season, that coming against Belmont right before Thanksgiving.
I know what kind of season Toppin is having, but SLU also has a pair of standouts with Goodwin and French being the ONLY teammates nationally to both be averaging a double-double. The duo combines for 29 points and 20.5 rebounds per game. The Billikens are also a strong defensive team, which is needed to beat what has been a very efficient Dayton offense. This figures to be one of Dayton’s toughest remaining games and it’s a lot of points to lay on the road. St. Louis is already 5-2 ATS as a dog with four outright wins. Take the points. 10* St. Louis
|01-16-20||William & Mary v. Delaware -1||Top||77-68||Loss||-110||9 h 59 m||Show|
10* Delaware (7:00 ET): Delaware is going to be happy to be back at home Thursday night after playing three straight on the road. They lost two of those three games including 84-68 at Towson on Saturday. That leaves the Blue Hens at 2-3 SU in CAA play, but again this one is all about the return home. Delaware is 7-1 SU in Newark where it averages over 77 PPG. The Blue Hens have certainly been priced like a contender in this conference as tonight is the fifth time in six games they’ll go off as the favorite.
William & Mary, infamously, is one of four original D-I schools to have never made the NCAA Tournament. They’re looking to change that in 2020 as they come into tonight as the lone unbeaten team in Colonial play. The Tribe have opened conference play with five straight wins, two of those by two points or less. Defense has been very key with W&M holding conference opponents to 63.4 PPG on 39.4% shooting. That’s an improvement from non-conference play when opponents averaged 72 PPG against the Tribe.
Look for Delaware to break the streak of poor shooting William & Mary opponents. I already went over their scoring average here at home and the Blue Hens are also a strong shooting team. They also play good defense at home, holding the opposition to 64.7 PPG on 38.4% shooting. Since starting the year 9-0, the Blue Hens are just 3-6, but they’ve lost to Villanova and an OT game. William & Mary is the hot team now, but can easily “cool off” just like Delaware did. They’re not running the table in conference play. 10* Delaware
|01-15-20||Bradley v. Missouri State -1.5||Top||91-78||Loss||-110||11 h 1 m||Show|
10* Missouri State (8:00 ET): I would certainly say that it “speaks volumes” that Missouri State is favored here, even though the game is at home. The Bears are coming off a terrible 23-point loss to Northern Iowa here in Springfield and just 8-9 SU on the season. Bradley comes in at 12-5 SU and has covered five in a row, the last four coming in conference play. Oddsmakers have set a trap here and I’m not falling for it. Lay the short number with the home team.
Let’s look at the home court advantage for a bit, shall we? Before losing to Northern Iowa, who leads the MVC, Missouri State had been 6-1 SU on this floor. Even after giving up 80 pts to the Panthers on Saturday, they are still only allowing 60.7 PPG here for the season. Bradley has won just 4 of its last 22 trips to Springfield and was held to 37 points in an embarrassing loss here LY. The Braves had been 0-4 SU in “true” road games before beating Evansville last week (were favored to do so).
Bradley has gotten to take on some of the weaker teams in the Missouri Valley so far, which helps explain the ATS win streak. The one exception was when they had to face Northern Iowa on the road and sure enough they lost that game. Missouri State has lost only once as a favorite (in eight tries) all season. 10* Missouri State
|01-15-20||Kentucky v. South Carolina UNDER 136||Top||78-81||Loss||-109||10 h 32 m||Show|
10* Under Kentucky/South Carolina (6:30 ET): Kentucky, still my pick to win the SEC, seemed to have the faithful in Lexington in a bit worried when they lost back to back games to Utah and Ohio State right before the New Year. But John Calipari’s Wildcats have responded with four straight wins where their scoring has been remarkably consistent (between 71 and 78 points) and all four wins have been by at least eight points. They’ve moved up to #10 in the polls and tonight take on a South Carolina team trending in a very different direction.
The Gamecocks have lost three straight games coming into tonight. This streak started with a humiliating upset here in Columbia as they lost 63-56 as a 22.5-point favorite to Stetson. Since then, it’s an 0-2 start in the SEC with losses to Florida and at Tennessee. They covered Saturday in Knoxville, losing by only one point, but could only manage 55 points. There have been a number of games this season when South Carolina’s offense seemingly “failed to show up.” They’ve shot just 35.5% in SEC play.
It’s highly unlikely that the Gamecocks figure it out offensively in this game. Kentucky is strong defensively as they allow only 62.5 points/game. In the only meeting last year, they held South Carolina to 48 points. But the key here will be that UK’s own offense won’t be up to par. This is a rare “true” road game for the Wildcats, just their second all year. Four of South Carolina’s last five opponents have failed to exceed 63 points and for the year, opponents are shooting just 37.9%! Sounds like an Under to me! 10* Under Kentucky/South Carolina
|01-14-20||VCU +8 v. Dayton||Top||65-79||Loss||-105||12 h 2 m||Show|
10* VCU (8:00 ET): #13 Dayton is 14-2 SU with its two losses (Kansas, Colorado) both coming in overtime. Being unbeaten in regulation is quite the claim to be able to make at this point of the season. The Flyers are very much a legit threat on a national level as they are #6 in the KenPom rankings and I’ve got them #9 in my own power ratings. But if there is one concern I have, it’s that they are only 43rd in defensive efficiency. Tonight, they are playing the only A-10 team that’s higher in that important metric and that could mean upset. Take the points.
Certainly you’re familiar with the brand of basketball VCU likes to play. The full court pressure, termed “Havoc” by former HC Shaka Smart, is once again yielding solid results as the Rams are giving up only 60.9 PPG on the year. But it hasn’t translated at the betting window as VCU is an ugly 4-12 ATS on the year and just lost outright at home to Rhode Island Saturday, 65-56 as 8.5-pt chalk. But offense was the problem in that game as the Rams shot a woeful 31.3% overall. They'll absolutely shoot better tonight.
Dayton is undefeated at home (9-0), but this is going to be a test. The Flyers do rank #3 nationally in offensive efficiency, but they also haven’t faced a good team since the loss to Colorado. Compounding matters, leading scorer Obi Toppin sprained his ankle in Saturday’s win over UMass and likely will miss tonight’s game. Even if Toppin can go, the play stands. Against a team that plays defense like this, not having your leading scorer at 100 percent is hardly ideal. 10* VCU
|01-12-20||Arizona -4.5 v. Oregon State||Top||65-82||Loss||-108||23 h 32 m||Show|
10* Arizona (10:00 ET): Oregon State has definitely improved. But they are not yet deserving of this price range, even at home, against the class of the Pac 12. While these teams have matching 11-4 SU records, not all records are created equally. Three of Arizona’s losses have been to top 10 teams. All four have been by five points or less. While they are in danger of falling out of the polls, I very much consider the Wildcats to be a top 10 caliber team. I certainly don’t see them losing another game and will lay this short number tonight.
All four Arizona losses have come in their last six games. Similarly, three of Oregon State’s four losses this year have been in their last five games. The Beavers have lost to some quality teams, but none of them were the same caliber of the teams that have beaten Arizona. Something else worth noting is they lost here at home Thursday to an Arizona State team that Arizona beat by 28. So that’s another reason not to judge these identical records the same. OSU has lost 36 of the last 44 times they’ve faced Arizona.
Thursday in Eugene, Arizona led Oregon by six points with two minutes left in regulation. They failed to protect the lead and lost in overtime. So they should be in an ornery mood here. Two of their other losses were to Baylor and Gonzaga, both of whom will be in the top three of next week’s rankings. Arizona is better at both ends of the floor than Oregon State, especially defensively. The Beavers don’t even rank in the top 100 nationally in defensive efficiency. 10* Arizona
|01-11-20||UNLV v. Wyoming +7||Top||78-69||Loss||-109||11 h 55 m||Show|
10* Wyoming (7:00 ET): Second home game in four nights for the Cowboys, who just hosted undefeated San Diego State on Wednesday. Predictably, the Pokes came out on the short end of that one, although it ended up being slightly more lopsided than I had anticipated. I took Wyoming +17.5 and they lost by 20. Laramie remains a tough place to play though (because of the elevation) and you should look for the home team to play a lot better Saturday when they host UNLV. Take the points.
UNLV also comes in off a loss, theirs to Boise State by seven. They lost 73-66 as 5.5-point road underdogs. That loss snapped a four-game win streak, the entirety of which came in Vegas. The Rebels haven’t been too good away from home this year, losing five of six games and they’ve been outscored by double digits. Thus I wouldn’t be too confident laying points with this team here, especially with their starting point guard still injured.
Wyoming has lost three in a row to fall to 5-12 SU. It’s been nearly two months since they were favored to win a game. They've lost three straight overall and certainly don’t want to lose two in a row at home. This is a desperate team right now. There are issues offensively, but it’s not like UNLV can score all that much either. This Saturday night game in the Mountain West has all the makings of a low-scoring slugfest where you'll want to be getting points. 10* Wyoming
|01-11-20||Drexel +3.5 v. James Madison||Top||78-71||Win||100||8 h 55 m||Show|
8* Drexel (4:00 ET): While I don’t see either of these teams competing for a CAA Championship, I am seeing some value with the team getting points in this Saturday matchup. It’s actually a fade on the favorite, James Madison, a team I don’t approve of laying points in most circumstances. The Dukes, losers of four of five, won the last two times they’ve been chalk. But the last cover, at UNC Wilmington, was by a single point. Three of the last five meetings between these teams have been decided by two points.
Drexel did not have a good showing Thursday at Towson. They lost 89-73. Full disclosure - I was the Dragons that night. What I did not anticipate was them allowing Towson to shoot a blistering 56.9% from the floor. Drexel had won its two previous games, admittedly both at home, by allowing just 55 and 66 points. The good news is that they are a perfect 4-0 ATS this season after allowing 80+ pts in the last game.
James Madison is now 1-4 SU in conference play after an 80-76 loss to Delaware Thursday night. That was a home game and the Dukes did lead at halftime. They were still up in the final minute, which is when they allowed a GW three-pointer. The loss dropped JMU to 1-7 ATS this year vs. winning teams. Drexel has a 9-8 SU record. I have the Dragons rated as the slightly better team, so I’ll take the points. 8* Drexel
|01-10-20||Butler v. Providence +2.5||Top||70-58||Loss||-110||13 h 26 m||Show|
10* Providence (9:00 ET): It’s always tricky laying points on the road, even when you’re a top 10 team like Butler that’s 14-1 SU. But while the Bulldogs are my pick to win the Big East this year, I do feel they are currently a bit overrated at #6 in the polls. This is a tricky spot Friday night at Providence as the Friars have won four straight, all against good teams. Providence won all three games against Butler LY and is 11-3 ATS the L14 meetings (5-1 here at home). Take the points.
Those last four Providence victories have come against Texas, Georgetown, DePaul and Marquette. The last two were both by one point but also were both road games. Now they get to come back home where they’ve won seven of eight this season, the only loss coming against Penn during what was a late November swoon. Texas lost by 22 here while Georgetown lost by 16. With four wins by four points or less, it may “feel” like Providence is overachieving, but the reality is that this is just the fourth game they’ve been an underdog.
Butler’s only loss was by one point (53-52 at Baylor) and they are 4th nationally in points per game allowed. However, they’ve had a recent close call as well, winning by only two at St. John’s. Providence’s defense improves exponentially here at home as they give up just 59.6 PPG. Butler has gotten a bit lucky with their last two opponents (SJU, Creighton) both shooting very poorly from three-point range. Providence shoots 39.2% at home from behind the arc. 10* Providence
|01-09-20||BYU v. St. Mary's -3||Top||84-87||Push||0||12 h 6 m||Show|
8* St. Mary's (11:00 ET): As per usual, Gonzaga is the class of the West Coast Conference this year. And as per usual, these two schools are battling it out to determine who's second best. BYU comes in riding a six-game win streak and most of those wins have been VERY convincing. Saturday's 63-38 win over Loyola Marymount was the 4th time during the win streak that they prevailed by at least 25 points. Impressive as that streak is, none of the wins have come in "true" road games.
St. Mary's is off a very different result here. They were upset, on the road, by Pacific 107-99 as 8.5-pt chalk. As you might have guessed from that final score, it was not a 40 minute game. In fact, it went to FOUR overtimes. Tough loss for the Gaels, who not only had their own five-game win streak snapped, but also blew an eight-point lead with 4:28 to go in regulation. Prior to that, SMU's only two losses were to Dayton (top 15 team) and to Winthrop (by two). I have them bouncing back tonight.
These WCC rivals do seem fairly even on paper, but I have to go back to BYU's lack of "true" road games. They've played only three and lost two. The only win was by a single point. St. Mary's is 7-1 SU at home, outscoring their opponents by 14.1 PPG. Last year in this building, they destroyed BYU by 22 points. Neither team shot well their last game. Back in their own gym, St. Mary's is the more likely of the two to bounce back in that department. This is a team that's won 22 of its last 28 games overall. 8* St. Mary's
|01-09-20||Drexel +4.5 v. Towson||Top||73-89||Loss||-107||10 h 45 m||Show|
8* Drexel (6:00 ET): A bit of an early start time in the Colonial as two teams looking to build off wins meet. Drexel, who is the underdog, has actually won two straight and is 4-1 its last 5 games overall. Meanwhile, Towson snapped a three-game losing streak by beating UNC Wilmington on the road Saturday. A pretty compelling case could be made that UNC Wilmington is the weakest team in the CAA this year, so I'm not about to change my view here on the hosts, who are laying too many points.
Drexel won its last game as an underdog, beating Delaware 61-55. Now that was at home. But it was also last Friday, meaning they've had one additional day to prepare for this game, compared to Towson. The Dragons are 5-1 ATS the past three seasons when having five or six days to prepare. Admittedly, "true" road games have not gone all that well for them so far, but they were able to stick within five at both Temple & Rutgers. That's good enough for me.
Towson isn't Temple or Rutgers. They, like Drexel, are just a middle of the road CAA team. The Tigers are just 1-5 ATS vs. teams with winning records and Drexel does come in at 9-7 SU overall. Towson is just 7-9 SU including only 3-3 here at home. It was actually just a one-point game in the final minute against UNC Wilmington on Saturday. The Tigers have not won a game by more than seven points since December 4th. They are hardly an ideal candidate to take as a favorite. 8* Drexel
|01-08-20||San Diego State v. Wyoming +17||Top||72-52||Loss||-109||13 h 10 m||Show|
8* Wyoming (9:00 ET): There are just two teams left without a loss and both are in action Wednesday night. But while #5 Auburn (13-0) gets to play at home, #7 San Diego State (15-0) has to travel to Laramie to face Wyoming and lay a big number to boot. I won't sit here and tell you Wyoming is a great team because they certainly aren't. But Laramie is a tough place to play and you can obviously expect the home team to play inspired basketball tonight. Take the points.
Another reason to fade SDSU here is that they are off one of their biggest wins of the season, 77-68 at Utah State, who figures to be the Aztecs' closest competition this year in the Mountain West. That was Saturday and now the Aztecs are hitting the road again. This is the first time all year that they will play B2B "true" road games. They've covered the previous four road games and are also 2-0 SU at neutral sites, but I have to say that - overall - the schedule has not been that challenging for SDSU.
Wyoming's 2020 has started with consecutive losses, but both came on the road. This is a team that may only be 2-8 SU its last 10 games, with one of those wins coming in OT and the other against a non-DI team. But I don't see them being blown out on their home floor this evening. This a really tough set of B2B road games for SDSU with both played at high elevation. Nathan Mensah (respiratory issue) may again have to sit for them. 8* Wyoming
|01-07-20||Virginia Tech v. Syracuse -4.5||Top||67-63||Loss||-107||10 h 12 m||Show|
8* Syracuse (9:00 ET): Both teams are off pretty crushing defeats, but they were also very different kinds of losses. Virginia Tech was actually thinking upset when they traveled to face rival Virginia on Saturday. Instead, they got absolutely blasted by the Hoos, losing 65-39! Meanwhile, Syracuse lost by 1 (88-87) to Notre Dame here in the Carrier Dome as they allowed 15 made three-pointers. When comparing losses, I think Va Tech is going to struggle more to get over theirs. Lay the points.
Thinking you are going to pull a big upset and then losing by 26 is a cold dose of reality for the Hokies. Having to play a second road game in four nights probably isn't the way to get over it either. Since starting 6-0 with a shocking upset of Michigan State, the Hokies are just 4-4 SU the L8 games. Saturday was the first "true" road game since the season opener. Maybe we're starting to see why this team was picked low in the ACC preseason rankings.
Syracuse couldn't get a rebound to save its life in the 2H vs. Notre Dame. Good for them then that Va Tech isn't a great rebounding team either. I don't see the Orange dropping B2B home games to a team they've never lost to here at the Carrier Dome. While Va Tech has covered in five of its six visits, they're usually getting a lot more points than this. The Cuse still is allowing just 61.3 PPG at home, so look for a bounce back effort defensively after getting torched by ND's shooters on Saturday. 8* Syracuse
|01-07-20||Toledo +4.5 v. Kent State||Top||77-84||Loss||-109||9 h 52 m||Show|
8* Toledo (7:00 ET): I talked a little bit about the MAC over the weekend when I cashed an outright win w/ Northern Illinois at Buffalo. This is very much a wide open conference and the two teams here both think they can win it. But for Toledo, they've had a big time problem covering spreads as its a six-game ATS losing skid coming into Tuesday, not to mention four consecutive SU losses as well. Tonight they face a Kent State team that couldn't have played better in its last game. I'm taking the points with the desperate road underdog.
Toledo opened conference play with a four-point loss to Ball State on Friday. That was a road game and the Rockets just couldn't get over the hump on a poor shooting night. It's actually been a series of poor shooting efforts as they've connected on only 38.0% of their FG attempts the L5 games. That's pretty shocking for a team that averages 76.9 PPG. My guess is we're going to see them get back on track offensively tonight.
Meanwhile, Kent State responded nicely from a blowout loss to Mississippi State, beating Bowling Green on Friday by a score of 79-61. They were 2.5-pt road underdogs, but shot 50% and led by as many as 22 points. Like I said earlier, they probably could not have played any better. But now they've got to follow that performance against a stronger opponent. The Golden Flashes are a perfect 7-0 SU at home, but they're a little lucky to be 11-3 SU overall as they've won twice in overtime and also have a one-point win at Wright State. This one reeks of an "upset" in the making. 8* Toledo
|01-07-20||Eastern Michigan v. Ohio -5||Top||68-74||Win||100||9 h 39 m||Show|
8* Ohio (7:00 ET): Another MAC game. Ohio U has fallen to 8-6 SU after dropping three of its last four games. One was to Purdue, which is excusable even at home, but the last two losses both came as favorites. The last one, which took place Saturday, saw the Bobcats lose as 1-pt favorites at Western Michigan, 77-65. That was preceded by a poor effort here in Athens, a 63-55 loss to Campbell as eight-point chalk. I don't see this team losing a third in a row. Lay the short price.
Eastern Michigan is one of the worst offensive teams in the entire country. They currently rank 330th in efficiency out of 353 D-I schools. Three times in the last four games the Eagles have been held below 50 points! Two of those were on the road, right before the New Year, at Michigan State and at UNLV. Not like they were gonna win either of those games, but poor efforts nonetheless. So was Saturday's 24-point home loss to Akron. EMU shot just 27.1% in that one.
You just can't trust a team that's this bad offensively on the road. Ohio is averaging a healthy 76.9 PPG at home, so they should win this one going away. They too are off a couple of bad shooting games, but unlike with Eastern Michigan, there really hasn't been a consistent pattern of that happening. The road team has won the L4 meetings. Time for that to change. Eastern Michigan has not covered any of its last four chances as an underdog. 8* Ohio
|01-06-20||West Virginia v. Oklahoma State +1.5||Top||55-41||Loss||-108||11 h 23 m||Show|
8* Oklahoma State (9:00 ET): West Virginia had been doing quite well for itself recently, but figures to drop slightly when the new rankings come out later today as they lost at Kansas Saturday. While there's no shame in that, especially by only a seven-point margin, the Mountaineers nevertheless find themselves in a tough spot Monday as they again have to hit the road, this time heading to Stillwater. They've lost three in a row to the Cowboys, including twice last year. Classic home dog spot. Take the points.
Oklahoma State is also off a loss here, although theirs was far more embarrassing as they went down to Lubbock and got crushed by Texas Tech, 85-50 (only trailed by 6 at halftime). As you can tell from that final score, it was a rough shooting night for the Pokes as they made only 28.8% of their field goal attempts including an abhorrent 6 of 25 from two-point range! Needless to say, a return home will provide automatic improvement in the shooting department. OSU is also 15-9 ATS off a conference loss the previous two years.
WVU didn't shoot well in its last game either, getting held to 32.2% by Kansas. The Mountaineers haven't been a good road team in recent years, dropping 17 of 24 outright and that even includes neutral site games. Their only "true" road win this year came at Youngstown State, who is terrible, and they failed to cover that game as 12.5-pt chalk. It's been an impressive 11-2 SU start out of Morgantown, but the team has also been beating up on some weak competition. Playing a second straight road game after facing Ohio State and Kansas is rough. 8* Oklahoma State