College Basketball Picks - ATS Predictions
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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.
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.