College Basketball Picks - ATS Predictions
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If there were any venue to breed the unexpected, it would be a conference tournament on a neutral site with two teams that love to hate each other. As of late, the games have been extra competitive. The Miners will approach this contest with reckless abandon as they will be free-rolling as they enter. For all members of the Conference USA, a trip to March Madness on the line. While UTEP may not seem to be positioned to make a run, everything is one game at a time. Against a rival they are desperate to beat at a site where there is no clear-cut advantage, the Miners may be in a position here to orchestrate an upset given the low number next to UTSA as a favorite. We’ll play this one outright on the Money Line.
Unlike most conference tournaments, the North East Conference Tournament takes place at the respective venues of the members of the conference. For a team like Wagner who was yet to lose a game at home this season, this is hugely advantageous. Usually, we would expect to pay a premium here to back to the Seahawks in this spot, but the public has gone the other way and elected to swallow what seems to be a fantastic amount of points. As we have said previously, when this happens, this is excellent chance that this is a sharp line and one that sets up takers for a nasty loss.
Wagner has been determined to get to March Madness as they were ousted at home by Fairleigh Dickinson two years ago in the final on their home court. This narrative will serve as fuel to power the Seahawks to a decisive victory.
Kent State did lose decisively on the road in their earlier meeting, but Northern Illinois is an entirely different team on the road, losing all nine of their conference games and going 3-6 versus the betting line. I would have liked to have seen a four of five on this game, but the stats show that eight of the nine Huskies losses were by seven or higher points.
Sure the Golden Flashes have been a very successful 8-1 at home straight-up in MAC action and a bankroll padding 7-2 against the point spread.
Very simply, every time we see the public take to a dog we have to take a closer look at what is going on given the fact that is not a commonality. The rationale can vary from case to case, but there is no equity in doing such a thing. First off, Oral Roberts has not fared well against the Summit League overall this season. Denver finished with a more convincing 8-6 conference record compared to the Golden Eagles' mark. Secondly, Oral Roberts has won just three games on a neutral site or away from home. While Denver has experienced similar woes away from the Mile High City; the Pioneers own advantages in the defense department as well as field goal percentage. In fact, Denver hits 46.8% of their shots compared to Oral Roberts who hit 43.4%. This is a significant difference, and these small variables are essential in a game of this caliber. Swallow the points.
Pacific owns every advantage in this contest except for defense. With this being established, Pacific played a much harder schedule out of conference compared to San Francisco. According to KenPom, the Tigers rank 91st in Non-Conference Strength of Schedule compared to the Dons who sit at 166th. As a result, we will see a discrepancy in the numbers, but even then, Pacific still has many edges on San Francisco.
There is also one key advantage that the stats do not cover. Pacific has the previous track record of making it to March Madness and how to play in this tournament. While the Tigers may have had a disappointing campaign overall, the post-season is the second season, and thus teams like Pacific get another opportunity to right the wrongs. The low-hanging fruit would suggest that Pacific is in position to win this game outright and therefore we will play it as such on the Money Line.
Look, I thought that the Nittany Lions could put up some points against Northwestern, and while they did put up 65 their FG% was an underwhelming 36.1%. If Tony Carr didn’t step up for 25 points sinking six of ten from behind the arc this team wouldn’t have broken 60 points. In the previous meeting, the two teams combined for 136 points in a 79-56 beat down by Penn State and Carr once again was the key player with 30 points. The difference in this go around is the absence of Mike Watkins who while he only picked up 11 points, he was vital around the rim picking up four offensive boards and added three assists. Without Watkins, in the lineup, they just don't move the ball around with the same effectiveness. Getting back to Ohio State the Buckeyes struggled mightily against PSU in the previous meeting putting up 56 points, and they've been in a scoring slump over their last four scoring 63 or fewer in three of the four. I don't think they’ll correct that issue this time around and the week off may have them come up flat. Keep in mind that with the extended break Ohio State will have had a ton of time to scheme for Carr.
Given the lack of defensive acumen in this game, we will part ways with the Over/Under market out of the gate. The environment of both teams taking the floor is one that sets up both outfits to probably come in above the current number offered in the "Over/Under" line. However, given the fact both teams are away from home where they both played .500 basketball we cannot bank on such environs producing a good enough shooting performance for either side.
Here is what is significant. When these two teams played last week, Cleveland State was a 3.5-point choice on the road, and they managed to notch a win which was only their second on the road this season. Now this week, we have seen a five-point swing in the market as a response to this result. This is a clear-cut case for an overlay and sets up Youngstown State takers to snag some value here. Cleveland State likely had to throw the kitchen sink at the Penguins last week; thus it will be hard for the Vikings to replicate a winning performance once again just six days later. Youngstown State should get the win outright.
Northwestern has played well defensively for most of the season holding opponents to 66.5 points per game overall and 66.78 in Big 10 action, but they've shown cracks in recent games allowing three straight opponents to score 70 points. They meet a Penn State club which has struggled in past games offensively without getting quality minutes from Forward Mike Watkins who missed last game and is questionable today. The Nittany Lions scored 63 against Michigan and 64 against Nebraska, but in my opinion, the Wildcats defense is a step down from their last two opponents. Especially the play on the glass. On the other end of the court, Northwestern has some injury concerns, but all essential players should dress excluding forward Vic Law. Law was the leading scorer in their 70-61 victory home victory over PSU earlier this season, but the Wildcats have a deep bench and can make up for the loss. I believe that either team has a shot to score 70 here and if one does the total will be surpassed.
The last time these two teams met the asking price on Northern Iowa’s floor was 122. The Under was once again a successful venture. In fact, it has covered in the last three meetings between both parties. In the most recent excursion between both these outfits, the two teams failed to crack 100 points let alone come within a mile of fostering a cover.
The contest on February 13th was a sloppy one from a shooting perspective. While neither team is exposed to the rigors of an opponent with a clear-cut home edge, neither side can hone this to their advantage as well. In conference tournament games on stages such as these, nerves can be at a high. This has a direct adverse effect on shooting which limits scoring. Therefore, we will back the Under in this spot once again.
When these two teams play against each other in football, they play for the largest and most expensive trophy in all of college football, the Fremont Cannon. This Mountain West Conference clash features two teams that just love to hate one another. This rivalry is nothing short of a long history of anger and hatred. This year the Nevada Wolf Pack will travel to the Nevada-Las Vegas Rebels in Las Vegas for the next chapter of this storied feud. The contest will commence at 10:00 PM ET on February 28th, 2018. The fixture can be viewed locally on AT&T SPORTSNET. The Rebels had the most recent win in this rivalry in February when they defeated Nevada 86-78 on their court.
As we have stressed before, home court advantage is a commodity in college basketball. Home court is even more so when the stakes are raised in a conference playoff or tournament. Conference tournament time is when anything can happen as every member of Division 1 is alive until they eliminated from their respective conference tournament. What is at stake here is a potential bid to March Madness as the Patriot League winner is guaranteed a berth. We are not going to imply that the winner of this contest will go on to qualify, but stranger things have happened.
Loyola-Maryland has a clear-cut edge in this contest by virtue of the fact Army has not fared well away from West Point this season. When you factor in that the home team has enjoyed the spoils of late, Loyola-Maryland with a point bodes tremendous value in this situation. The Greyhounds are in prime position to pull an upset and ride that momentum into the next round. We'll take the point.
The Blue Devils may be in a “Look Ahead” spot with UNC on deck, so I’m not going to lay the points on them in this situation. That said, even if they come out flat tonight I think that they still play strong defensively. Duke has been outstanding in recent games holding four consecutive opponents to 57 or fewer points per game. The Hokies play OK defense themselves and come into this game allowing just 64.6 PPG over their last five and have held their opponents to fewer than 70 points PPG overall at home this campaign. Scoring hasn't been a robust metric over those same five games with Virginia Tech failing to surpass 68 points in four of the five games.
Buying low and selling high is a practice we champion. For Wright State, the Raiders stock has plummeted after failing to cover in their last two fixtures. Now, we can take advantage of this scenario by taking back a likely inflated number.
The Raiders own strengths in the defense, turnovers, and bench category. All three of these ingredients are essential for Wright State to be competitive in this contest. The low-hanging fruit here would suggest that the market is adapting to these circumstances and puts the Raiders in a position here to potentially pull off an upset. There is no reason to suggest that this cannot happen. Wright State owns the better conference record and has also navigated a far more difficult schedule overall compared to Illinois-Chicago. As a result, we will trade in the points and take The Raiders outright on the Money Line.
Nebraska hasn’t had the toughest schedule as of late, but they did win seven of their last eight games. The Cornhuskers have yet to lose at home in conference games this season and have only one on the season as the host. The -1 line is a non-factor in this contest but take note that Nebraska is 7-1 at home against the spread. Penn State has lost two straight against tough teams, but not having F Mike Watkins putting in quality minutes is the main reason for the losses and he's expected to sit out this match today.
Both these outfits are known as tempo teams. According to KenPom, Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne ranks 17th in the country in tempo while the Jackrabbits are ranked 80th by the same analytics. As a result, the expectation is that this one will be a high-scoring affair and as a result, we have the high Over/Under here.
However, tempo teams such as these are a cold night away from reduced production. Thus, banking on a prolific offensive performance from both sides to generate a cover in the Over/Under is a high-risk proposition in this scenario. Given the fact Fort Wayne enjoys a prominent home court advantage it is very likely that the Jackrabbits will struggle more in the shooting department despite the docket of wins they have rattled off recently. If that is the case, the Mastodons can also be a good play as an outright choice in this market. However, we will play against the high number on the table in Over/Under betting markets and take the Under.
These two clubs met earlier this season back in January where the Sun Devils came away with a tight 77-75 home win. The 152 points scored in the game just snuck by the total of 151 for an OVER, but I don't think that's going to be the result of the rematch. Neither team would be considered proficient at 3-point shooting, but they were in the first meeting with the Beavers picking up 33 points from 3-point land on 42.3% shooting and the Sun Devils 21 points on 43.8%. A return to their seasonal averages (ASU 36.5% and ORST 33%) will have this game in the low 140's.
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.