College Basketball Picks - ATS Predictions
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After starting 13-1 in conference action, the Buckeyes have lost two of their last three, and a win over Rutgers isn't a signal to me that they've turned the corner. The Hoosiers may have gone into their latest a 66-57 against Nebraska a little too full of themselves after putting together a nice four-game winning streak and were careless turning the ball over 19 times! I look for them to rebound with a superior effort in this game with the return to Branch McCracken Court. Indiana has played well at home in Big Ten matches going 6-2 with losses to Purdue and Michigan State and is a perfect 8-0 against the spread. The host has been shooting the ball exceptionally well with a 51.9 FG% over the last five games which could be an issue for an Ohio State team that has seen a drop off in their defensive play in recent games.
Anytime the public takes to a dog; we have to take a closer look be that the propensity is to back the favorite. This is especially the case when you have a team of East Tennessee State's quality with a remarkable home record on the year. Nevertheless, the loss to The Citadel is one that is bound to create a massive overreaction from the general public. However, it is very likely that the Buccaneers were caught taking their opponent lightly. However, they won't be so inclined to do so again.
Chances are it will be a long day at the office for the Terriers. The Buccaneers own edges in virtually all major statistical categories. ETSU makes smarter shots, scores more points per game, plays better defense and is more physical on the boards than Wofford. We usually don't play chalk, but in this rare case, this will not be a long swim back be that the Buccaneers should rout the Terriers in a true bounce-back opportunity. We will step in and take advantage of an overvalued underdog positioned to be outclassed.
We’ve seen Belmont in this position before. The Bruins are virtually a household name at this point when it comes to mid-major programs appearing in the Final Four on basically an annual basis. The exceptional play of the Bruins only enhances this narrative. By virtue of these narratives, the Bruins are often overvalued. However, we must remind all takers that it is Jacksonville State who is the defending Ohio Valley Conference champion. All of this sentiment will be garnered in support of the Gamecocks, and you can expect this game to have a March Madness feel to it given all the intangibles the winner will be provided heading into the post-season.
Despite Belmont being in better form as of late, Jacksonville State remains the more defensive-oriented team that is more physical on the boards. When you couple this with the fact that J-State owns a deeper bench, Belmont might find itself gasping for air in a dogfight. Given the low hanging fruit presented in the initial open of this market, it is possible that Jacksonville State can win this one outright. That’s how we will play it this one as the scenario sets up Belmont takers for a let-down and overlay.
The Badgers appear to have turned the corner with three wins in their last four games. Their defense has stepped up allowing fewer than 70 points in all three wins. Wisconsin will take on a Northwestern team that has scored a game-high of 64 points in their last seven games and maybe shorthanded for tonight's game with starting G Bryant McIntosh questionable to take the court.
Previously we have been involved in situations with Over/Under markets when we targeted steam moves on the Over with a fade on the Under when the contest featured teams with Evansville's profile. The track record of the Purple Aces on the road is abysmal. Evansville has lost four of their last five away from home and what jumps out at us most is the terrible shooting percentages curated by this club while doing so.
Thus, we see a team with a losing record in Indiana State favored at home. Even if early indications suggest that the Sycamores are getting the action that is bound to change given the win-loss records of both teams compared to the price asked. Evansville's poor shooting on the road will lead to Indiana State covering this number with ease. Swallow the points.
Both squads are playing well right now with the Wolverines on a five of six run and the Nittany Lions on a four of five streak, but one team stands out. Michigan did beat an excellent Ohio State by 12, but Penn State beat the same team by 23 in the Buckeyes previous game. The Wolverines also haven't fared well on the road in conference games losing four of seven and only one of their last four, and that was against lowly Wisconsin. The Nittany Lions are 6-2 as a host in Big Ten games winning four straight all by four or more points and there two home losses? They came in overtime in mid-January and by one back in December.
There is no way that I can back a team with a 16-point handicap even with a 13-point road win under their belt from an earlier meeting this season. The total does look hold some value. Illini put up 74 points on the board in their first game in Illinois back in late January, but they haven't had that success recently failing to reach 70 points in four of their last five. On the road, the numbers are even less impressive failing to surpass 70 points in seven Big Ten games averaging 63.85 points per game. Michigan State got lit up for 49 points in the first half against Northwestern and needed their defense to hold the Wildcats to an insane 11 points in the second half to get the "W'. There is no doubting that the Spartans have an elite defense and after their last games' first-half performance I look for them to put in a 100% effort for a full 40 minutes. I'm calling for a 75-60 type game.
Games featuring this kind of opening line would indicate the fact that a blowout is expected across the board regardless of whether East Tennessee State covers or not. The question here is the not the lumber that the Bucs are asked to spot in this situation but more so the offering on the table in Totals markets. Generally speaking, blowout games are harder to cover an over be that there is an excellent chance that the superior outfit calls off the dogs once it sustains a significant enough lead. The strategy turns to keep away which once against limits possessions. What this essentially creates is a scenario where a large number like the one we are seeing presented seems like that much longer of a swim. We will ride the steam here and play on the Under.
Neither one of these clubs has been lighting the scoreboard up with each team scoring 80 or higher points in one of their last five. What they also haven’t been doing is playing good defense allowing the opposition over the same period with the Sooners allowing teams a 47.1 FG% and the Jayhawks a 48.3 FG%. So, it wouldn’t be a reach to think that scoring could be sharply up in this match. These two combined for 165 in their previous meeting this season in Oklahoma and I forecast this game to go even higher.
The Hurricanes haven’t had the easiest schedule as of late, which is a factor in their three-game losing streak. However, two of the three games were at home, and now they hit the road to take on the Irish. Notre Dame is only 4-3 at home in ACC games but in the trio of losses the first was to UNC a game they lost by one point followed by an overtime loss to Louisville by three and to Virginia Tech without their high flying guard G Matt Farrell (37 points last game). Miami hasn't looked the same since losing G Bruce Brown, so I look for the home squad to get the victory, and the point spread cover.
Playing well at both ends of the court has led the Nittany Lions to a four-game winning streak, but it’s their defense that has really stepped up. Penn State has held three of their last four opponents to fewer than 60 points. Tonight they take on a Purdue team who has lost three straight not because of their defensive play 63 points per game allowed in their losing streak. It's their offense that has struggled, failing to score higher than 65 points. Five of the last six Boilermakers games have gone UNDER, and that's where my money is landing in this game.
UCLA lost a close one on the road against Oregon back in January falling by three. The Bruins got off to a slow start and had trouble with turnovers in the game turning the ball over 13 times while the Ducks had only 8. They return home where they're 13-2 overall and 7-1 in conference games straight up and are an excellent 5-2-1 versus the spread. Oregon plays tough for the most and does have a positive ATS road record, but I don't think that they get off to a fast start in the rematch and UCLA's depth is the difference here helping them pull away late.
Anytime we see the public take a dog; we have to take a closer look be that the behavior in itself is rare. The Panthers have been very profitable against the spread and own the most recent in this rivalry that in itself entices plenty of action when points accompany FIU. However, the Panthers have are more prone to being undervalued because of this. The fact remains that Florida International when they are away from home, has played terribly. When you toss in that they are facing an arch nemesis in what will undoubtedly be a hostile environment, this is the perfect to time to sell on FIU. Swallow the points.
Sure Princeton has had their way against the host winning nine of the last ten played overall and got the money in seven of those games, but this is a different team this season. They've lost all three of their road conference games and meet a team that has only a three-point loss to Harvard from having an undefeated home record. I believe that the Big Red can pull off the mild upset here making taking the 3.5 points a highly likely winning proposition.
There are many moving parts to this play that make us side with Green Bay. First, Green Bay has won every game they have played this year at home. This kind of home court advantage makes the Phoenix a good play, as a whole. When you toss in points, Green Bay looks like a must-play. Moreover, the stock Green Bay, in particular, is at a low end. This is contrarian to the rising stock of the Flames who have been faring well on the road as of recent. What this allows is us to take advantage of an inflated number. When you combine the ingredients with the low-hanging fruit offered on the road favorite, there is an excellent chance here that Green Bay can get out of their funk and pull an upset. As a result, we will trade in the points and take The Phoenix outright on the Money Line.
Two of the hottest teams in the conference take to the floor at
University Park tonight. The Buckeyes have lost only one Big Ten game this season, and that came at home against the Nittany Lions. Ohio State lost that contest by three points which were due to their lack of production from the charity stripe in the game where they were a dismal 7 of 15. Penn State has been playing exceptionally well, winning five of their last six, but four of those wins were against fading rivals. Look for the Buckeyes to get some vengeance for their home loss tonight.
There has been a ton of optimism as to whether or not this Ragin’ Cajuns team can win the Sun Belt Conference outright and punch their ticket to March Madness. When you take into account their play overall this season, there is plenty of reason to believe they can. The Ragin' Cajuns have merely steamrolled their way through the conference and have outclassed pretty much every opponent they have come across. As a result of this, UL-Lafayette has been on the positive end of a lot of lop-sided victories. At home, in particular, ULL has clipped the offensive operations of opponents which have resulted in many Under plays being a profitable option.
The Bobcats do have a few aces in the hole here to make this game more competitive than the line forecasts. Texas State owns the better scoring defense and commits fewer turnovers than the Ragin' Cajuns. If the game has a flow like anything we saw in January, then the current Total number is too steep to climb as a result of a steam move. Chances are even if UL-Lafayette wins big again here it will be hard for them to help the number eclipse this figure unless Texas State's defense indeed lays an egg. The chances are that will not be the case as Texas State will respond to the last meeting between the two sides. Play the Under.
Iowa can light it up, and they certainly don't play much defense allowing 84.36 points in Big Ten games. They are however coming off one of their worst offensive performances in conference matches scoring 64 points. Incidentally, that's the exact number that they've scored in two other Big 10 games this season. Michigan can play good defense, especially at home, holding their opponents to 63, 47, 47, 67, 70, 69 and 55 points per game. The Wolverines offense though hasn't always shone averaging 69.64 PPG in conference games. It has been a losing proposition overall taking the UNDER in a Hawkeyes game (7-3 O/U L10), but in two of the last three overall they've been held to 64 or fewer points, and they do appear to be trending in that direction.
There are many components here to make the Highlanders a good bet in this market. First off, there is a recency bias being cast on the Matadors thanks to their recent successes against the Highlanders as of late. When you combine this with the tough-to-stomach road record of UCRV, the Highlanders are a tough sell to takers in this market. However, there are many reasons to feel the opposite. The Highlanders own edges in the rebounding and defense department. This statistical advantage in itself can help UCRV neutralize the effects of playing this contest on the road in a less than accommodating environment. When a deeper bench and an edge in points per game are factored in, there is an excellent chance we can take advantage of a better price with the better team. This one has upset written all over it and could offer up a tremendous outright play on the Highlanders. Don’t be afraid to play UCRV on the Money Line in this one either.
I’m going to chalk up Northwestern’s inept previous game to ‘head swell" from their victory over Michigan in their previous game. Heading into that game, they had won four of five with quality defensive play holding the opposition to 61 points or fewer in all four victories. I look for them to get back on track defensively against the Scarlet Knights who have averaged a weak 57.86 points in Big Ten matches this season. Eight of the last nine games played by the Wildcats have resulted in UNDERS, and I think that will be nine of ten after tonight.