College Basketball Picks - ATS Predictions
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Sacramento State by all indications should control the ebbs and flow of this game which means this one will be low-scoring and that makes the Over a bit of a risky play. When we also get to take back the Under at a great price this further warrants the action here.
This is the type of situation where an upset can very well happen. Be that as it may, we have plenty of points to work with here as Grand Canyon will create more opportunities for an offense that proliferates 83.8 points per game (58th in America). The Lopes will be an even tougher test for Seton Hall compared to the Saint Louis team they last played and lost to. Grab the points.
These rivalry games have been hard-fought as of recent and settled by a mere bucket in the last two occasions. The market has shape-shifted to reflect that, but fortunately for us, we have a low ceiling to bust through for a cover. Even if this game boils down to one possession, we have to like Eastern Illinois' prospects as their supporters can assuredly inject themselves to in the game to get EIU the one bucket it needs to get a win and cover while doing so. However, it won't likely come to that. This team is hungry for a win, and there is no better way to get off the snide than taking out woes on a most hated rival. Eastern Illinois will do just that.
No bucket will be needed as we can confidently trade away the points here and take The Tribe on the Money Line to enhance our return. The Flames are simply outmatched as the combination of costly errors, and lack of a presence in the paint will result in UIC being bullied on their own court. This contest has a W&M-orchestrated rout written all over it.
The low-hanging fruit here would suggest that an upset is very much primed to occur. For Kent State, they may treat this as a scrimmage to improve their shooting. On the contrary, Cleveland State may treat this contest as an NIT bid and throw the kitchen sink at the Golden Flashes. That in itself reinforces the upset potential.
Furthermore, despite failing to cover a high point total in its home opener, we see the Vikes taking back a mere bucket here. That number resonates because it makes Kent State look like easy money. However, there is no such thing. We’ll go ahead and trade away that bucket to enhance our return.
Targeting overreactions is what we champion. Villanova's dominant performance against Kansas combined with their overall ranking in this tournament makes the Wildcats a popular choice in this scenario. Moreover, Villanova was here just two years ago when they ended a long championship drought. For these reasons, the Wildcats will garner a lot of public enthusiasm. However, Michigan's defense gives them a chance to compete in every game they enter.
With this said, many are booking the Under by the fact the expectation is that defenses will determine the finality of this championship game. However, Michigan knows what kind of firepower Villanova's offense features and they will need to score points to keep this game close. Michigan has the personnel to make it rain from three-point land. Expect the Wolverines to, and in doing so, we will go ahead and take the Over here with an excellent price tag.
Targeting overreactions is a big part of our practice. After Kansas defeated Duke in what is nothing short of an instant classic, the public is bound to get aboard the Rock Chalk express. However, hard-fought overtime wins often set up teams for considerable let-downs in their follow-up. In KU's case, this could not have come against a tougher opponent. The Wildcats own advantages in every statistical department, excluding the bench. The Jayhawks are set up to be dominated on both sides of the court and also be outmuscled on the glass by Nova's frontcourt. Villanova has won nine straight games and looked every bit of what we look for in a tournament champion. The price is right for Nova here to cover big.
Everyone loves a Cinderella team. So far, Loyola-Chicago has fit the bill. The Ramblers have an opportunity to flirt with history here as it is seldom that an eleven seed makes it this far. Given the empowering story of the Ramblers, the public is bound to bet with their heart here. As much as we appreciate the sentiment, it is a dangerous position to take. Michigan's defense has been the catalyst for the Wolverines to win at will. This team is hitting its peak at the right time, and we get an opportunity to take them back here at a short price. Swallow the points.
If there were ever a better predicament to book an Under, this would have to be it. A 9.5-point steam move is one that is rarely seen by most in virtually any hoops game. In a game such as this one with two marquee teams in a highly-publicized outing, these lines are bound to be even sharper. Thus, the steam move would suggest that there is a substantial public overlay on the Over given the fact this contest is likely to get a lot of action due to its popularity. Both Kansas and Duke are two teams that know how to navigate this tournament well; chances are this one will be a game of possessions like the point spread entails. Grab the Under.
The talk of the tournament has been Michigan's defense. Some analysts have been as bold as to predict Michigan marching all the way to the Championship Game. However, we would not be so quick to pull the trigger. The Seminoles' resume speaks for itself. In back-to-back games, Florida State has dispatched a number one seed and last year's runner-up in this very tournament. Moreover, Florida State did it with style. The problem is Michigan has looked so good dating back to the BIG 10 tournament, so their stock is through the ceiling with the betting public. The opening line for this market is quite enticing given the low-hanging fruit. However, had Michigan stumbled anywhere along their recent winning streak there would be an entirely different narrative for this match? Clear-cut overreaction, take the points.
The Red Raiders have gone 4-1 in their last five games, and the improvement can be attributed to improved defensive play and especially in their last four holding their opponents to fewer than 70 points in all four. The Boilermakers are no slouch on defense either allowing 65.4 points per game this season. They may be without 7'2" foot center Isaac Haas, but Texas Tech doesn’t have a big man to take advantage of his absence if he doesn’t go. I would have liked to see a low 140 total line here, but with two the better defensive efficiency teams in this game the line does still offer some value.
Recency bias is the narrative that is fueling this market. Gonzaga, after all, is the more accomplished team in this tournament, albeit they played for a national championship here just last year. This alone enchants many takers to back the Bulldogs be that Florida State is not really a basketball school. However, the Seminoles have proven otherwise. As a whole, Florida State plays in a tougher conference and is more battle-tested than Gonzaga who simply has its way in the lowly West Coast Conference. Florida State also knocked off a team that was expected to make a deep run into this competition. Gonzaga is also likely to do the same here. The Noles, on the other hand, has already exceeded expectation. This is a quintessential scenario where the hunter becomes "the hunted," and we will take advantage of the points.
Both these teams like to play a physical and in-your-face style of defense. It is this approach that afforded both these teams to get past Power Conference opposition in the build-up to this pivotal March Madness collision. The storyline surrounding this game is which of these mid-major squads will make it to the Elite Eight. However, the focus should be on the Over/Under market. Whichever team plays better defense will win this contest, and strategically the methodologies of either side will not be conducive to a high-scoring affair. This game will be one of possessions, and thus we will forego the against the spread market. We will fade the steam in this contest and take the Under.
Very simply, when you back Kentucky, you can expect to pay a premium to support them. This is especially true when Big Blue gets on a roll and cover while they do so. UK is always a popular choice for many bracket pools as well as bettors in future markets to win March Madness. Chances are in other circumstances, Kentucky may actually be a dog if they weren't such a recognized name. What this tells us is that this game will be closer than the line forecasts and perhaps an upset may be in the works. This is conceivable given the fact Kansas State owns the stronger defense and commits fewer turnovers than their counterparts. Kansas State also is nearly identical to Kentucky from a field goal percentage perspective as the two sides are separated in efficiency by just .4%. These metrics in itself make K-State a value play when you toss in likely inflated points.
A result like Maryland-Baltimore's is bound to foster an overreaction. So far, we haven't seen it as it seems the public is keener on the Wildcats. In this instance, we would have to agree. Despite UMBC pulling off a historic upset, the market is reluctant to believe that the Retrievers will have any more tricks up their sleeve for the Wabash Cannonballs. The bottom line is UMBC was taken lightly by Virginia. The Cavaliers had penciled in a win against the Retrievers and were busy looking forward to the Final Four. UMBC treated Virginia as if it were it the championship. The rest is history. However, Kansas State will be prepared for UMBC. And as we have seen with many of these giant-killers in the past, they are often dismissed in the next round by a more adept opponent. Look for the Cats to cover here.
Zaga utterly destroyed Ohio State back in November, and I see no reason why they can't get the victory again today. The Bulldogs have a considerable height advantage, and that was on full display in the win with a 58.5 FG% and five blocks. I expect the Buckeyes to do a better job on defense this go around and may use a similar game plan to what they used against Michigan State when they held them to 64 points.
Typically, the Houston Cougars are not a team known for their basketball acumen. Nevertheless, the Cougars mean business. However, this has been forgotten because the stock on Michigan is through the ceiling. The Wolverines came in off a quite impressive showing in as B1G Conference Champion and then they took care of business in their first-round match-up. However, Houston is a big step up from Montana.
Houston has the blueprint to go deep in this tournament. The Cougars were a point away from winning the American Athletic Conference against Cincinnati, the name brand team of that conference. Houston also has certain advantages that can make them an excellent prospect for upset orchestrator. The Cougars are more physical on the boards, and they have a deeper bench, take advantage of free throws, and generate more offense per game. What strikes out at us is the discrepancy in free throw shooting between both sides. Given the low-hanging fruit here, every point is going to count. Houston shoots 71.8% from the charity stripe while Michigan shoots just 65.6%. It is for this reason above all others that Houston outright gets the call.
The Seminoles have had their issues putting points on the board tallying 75 or fewer in regulation six of their last eight games and face a decent defensive club in the Tigers. Mizzou has done a brilliant job slowing down the game keeping their opponents shooting opportunities to 57 or fewer in five of their last six. That said, the Tigers will be without Forward Jordan Barnett who is serving a suspension, and that is a big blow to the offense and defense. Barnett is one of the top scorers and one of the better defenders on this team, and while the UNDER does hold some value, his absence is a big break for the Seminoles.
I can see Kansas State taking this game as a small dog, but I prefer the total. The KSU scored just 67 against Kansas in their latest and needed overtime to reach 66 two back against TCU. They do have an excuse for their game against the Jayhawks with their top guard Barry Brown playing just one minute and their top scorer forward Dean Wade sitting out. Brown is expected back, and Wade is a maybe and if at least one goes for the Wildcats I see them scoring in the mid to high 70's. Creighton's scoring defense hasn't been a strength this season allowing 75.1 points per game, but their offense has been with 84.0 PPG.