College Basketball Picks - ATS Predictions
Whether you're looking for free NCAA basketball picks to bet or want to see which side other bettors are on, SBS should be one of your daily destinations. Our team of analysts offer up previews on some of the top games on the college basketball board. If you prefer a condensed version of key betting trends, ratings and historical spread numbers with the analysis to help you improve your bankroll we have you covered. If you're looking for experienced prognosticators who have a proven history of profitable selections you'll feel confident knowing that our lead handicapper Rich Crew is one of the best in the industry. Crew brings with him a decade of winning in college basketball and football so if you're looking to tail a handicapper's picks free or paid you can't go wrong with this expert capper. It doesn't end with Rich. We also have David Schwab offering up his analysis and predictions on a handful of college hoops games each week during the season. Schwab has started to make a name for himself in the betting world stringing together a few in the black seasons and we believe he will continue to improve over time. If you're looking for 80% handicappers you won't find that here or on any legitimate site. Most pros hit in the mid 50% range and we hope to do that or better. If you're looking for the "lock of the day", "game of the year" or "guaranteed to win" you won't find that here either. Anything can happen in a betting event so to make such a statement is ludicrous. What we can guarantee is that all the betting previews and game picks that appear here are free to our visitors and it's a "lock" that our team will do their best to make your college basketball season a winning one!
Everybody likes a Cinderella story, and nothing typifies this more than Texas Southern’s run which has stolen the nation's heart. Such feel-good stories often encourage action from the general public. However, betting with one's heart is always ill-advised. From the numbers, Xavier owns every advantage imaginable to blow this outfit out of the water. Typically, in a No.1 versus No.16 match-up, we would expect to see an inflated point spread on behalf of the lower seed. However, in this scenario, we have a chance to take back a short-priced favorite. Typically, we wouldn't champion spotting this kind of lumber, but the swim is not as long back as it appears. Xavier has the firepower and skill to beat this team by double the price offered.
Upsets are staged when these scenarios unfold. Nothing resembles this more than when Kansas came into March Madness years ago as one of the highly-touted #3 seeds while unsuspecting Bucknell came in as a #14. Everyone remembers what happens next. Bucknell would knock off the Jayhawks in a memorable upset. The ingredients in this game are premium for Montana to cover let alone potentially upset the Wolverines. Montana is the more physical team on the boards, they make smarter shots and take advantage more from the free throw line. These narratives make Montana a tough test for Michigan and curate the potential for the Grizzlies to make the most of second chances. Nevertheless, the public holds a bias toward Power Conference Champions, and that is what we see here. The number here is prone to be inflated but either way, there is plenty of backdoor potential even if this contest were to get out of control. There're plenty of points on the table.
Davidson plays sound defense ranking 53rd in the nation in scoring defense allowing 67.6 points per game and limiting the opponent's second chances with just 29.1 boards given up per game. Kentucky doesn't have the defensive stats to match-up with Davidson, but played a more difficult schedule and play methodically limiting the scoring opportunities for both sides.
The Orange have played decent defense all season long holding the majority of their opponents to fewer than 75 points in regulation and opponents to less than 65 in 17 games this season. The Sun Devils don't have a problem scoring with the 14th ranked scoring offense averaging 83.5 points per game. Syracuse will try to slow this game down, but Arizona State can score from anywhere, so that strategy is unlikely to work. At the other end of the floor, the Sun Devils play loose allowing eight of their last nine opponents to score 75 or higher points per game.
Of the two teams, Texas Southern is a more popular choice albeit they qualified for March Madness just last year. The fact remains North Carolina Central is the team with the winning record and inherently less to lose. The lack of respect shown by the market towards the Eagles will only empower this unit to play with a chip on their shoulder. North Carolina Central owns the better defense, they are more physical in the rebounding department, and they have the bench to back up their operation. As a result of these ingredients, the Eagles make a great play with points. We will target the overlay and public overreaction and back North Carolina Central. Do not be surprised here if the Eagles orchestrate an outright upset of the Tigers and punch their ticket to meet the Musketeers.
Expecting the unexpected is a popular narrative for the tournament affectionately known as March Madness. The upsets are most prevalent in the first and second round, so this game could serve as a suitable venue for such an event to occur. The Nightingales are riding a tremendous high after defeating one of the big dogs in the NEC. The popular choices to represent the conference were the Wagner mentioned above, Mount St. Mary's, and Robert Morris. Long Island-Brooklyn will enter this game as they did against the Seahawks with a big chip on their shoulder. While there may, in fact, be plenty of points on the table here to generate a cover, we will play this one as an outright given the fact upsets are a commonality in play-in games given the fact every team involved treats this as a championship match-up. LIU-Brooklyn gets the call outright.
Very simply, when you back Cincinnati you can expect to pay a premium to do so. The Bearcats are a regular in March Madness and one of the most consistently touted teams in the American. As a result of this narrative, inflated point spreads usually accompany their name. This is especially the case when we find this team in a conference championship game. Nevertheless, the Cougars own some enormous advantages that can lead them to a victory. The Cougars are the more physical team on the boards, own a deeper bench, make smarter shots as they have an edge in field goal percentage, score more points per game, and capitalize more from behind the charity stripe. The calling card of the Bearcats is their physical defense. However, given the nature of this game and given the fact the team with more intangibles has the better price…taking the points is the way to approach.
The Trojans are playing well at both ends of the court holding their opponents to 61.4 points defensively and offensively putting up 71.2 points per game. The Wildcats are also performing well with an overtime loss as their only blemish on their record over the last eight games. They won the only meeting this season, beating USC by 14 points in an 81-67 home win. This game is on a neutral court where the Trojans have had a lot of success going 5-1 this campaign versus Wildcats 3-3. However, those numbers are misleading with the Trojans record padded by victories over Akron and New Mexico State and Arizona's losses came back in November with two of them against top-level competition (NC State and Purdue). Tough call due to the Trojan's current form, but I'm going to go with the Wildcats here. They dominated on the glass in their only meeting this season, and I don't think that will change this time around with Arizona holding one of the best rebound margins in college basketball.
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. It certainly seems like they are in a position to do just that. The Ragin Cajun's own the inside track to the Sun Belt crown and eventual bid. Against Sun Belt competition has a whole, UL-Lafayette has been on the positive end of a lot of lop-sided victories. At home, in particular, the Ragin’ Cajuns seem to be unbeatable. Unfortunately for them, this contest is on a neutral site. Which gives the Bobcats a wrinkle to work with as they head into this affair.
The Bobcats do have a couple of advantages here to make this game more competitive than the line forecasts. Texas State owns the better scoring defense and commits fewer turnovers compared to the Ragin' Cajuns. In a game where the stakes are as high as they are this will be paramount. Let us also forget that to back ULL you can expect to pay a premium given the fact they are "supposed" to win. Take advantage of the inflated points.
I was wrong last night with my forecast on the OVER for the Cal/Stanford game, but the pace was there, but the shot-making was atrocious. Tonight, they'll play a UCLA team that has a rest advantage and whose offensive ability is a huge step up from the Bears. The Bruins averaged 82.2 points per game overall this season, and that scoring number drops only slight down to 81.8 in conference games. Stanford's offense is in top form right now scoring 81.4 PPG over their last five and shouldn't have a problem of attaining that number this afternoon.
What resonates with us here is the market reluctance to change their number in Over/Under markets despite 176 points being scored in the last contest between the two. In spite of this, we see a number that is still 12 points less than the previous tally and as mentioned only a point higher than the last number closing in Over/Under markets. This line suggests that perhaps Nevada will not give it to UNLV as bad this time in the event there is a route, to prepare for their next opponent. Contrarily, this is a rivalry game, and perhaps UNLV will play inspired and curtail Nevada's offensive operations to hang around. Either way, this is a great time to take the Under.
Stanford has elevated their play, winning four of their last five with the lone loss coming on the road against Arizona. But that doesn’t mean that I’m going to lay nearly double digits on a team that has lost all three of their neutral site games this season. The total though does hold some value. Cal has had its struggles scoring this season, but this all about pace. The Golden Bears had 70 FG attempts in their last meeting and 66 in the previous racking up 73 and 77 points in the two games. The Cardinal had no problem scoring in the two matches with a 75.5 point per game average and come into this game scoring 77 or higher point totals in four of their last five while allowing 73 plus in all five.
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.