|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|06-07-23||Nuggets -2.5 v. Heat||Top||109-94||Win||100||54 h 59 m||Show|
You know the setup. The Nuggets won Game 1 and the Heat came back to win Game 2. The Heat may have stolen homecourt advantage but the Nuggets are still heavily favored to win the series. Most shops have them in the -275 range to do so. That means that they're expected to win at least one game at Miami. No time like the present to make that happen either. The only other time that the Nuggets were tied in a series was Game 5 against the Suns. Denver won by 16 and only trailed for 14 seconds of that entire game. The Nuggets are 3-0 straight-up and ATS their last three when tied in a series and they're 12-7-2 ATS when coming off an upset loss as favorite. The Heat are only 7-13 ATS when playing with 2 day's rest. Lay the small number with the Nuggets in Game 3. *Playoff GOY
|05-27-23||Celtics -2.5 v. Heat||Top||104-103||Loss||-110||12 h 59 m||Show|
The Celtics have now done what only 14 teams previous to them have accomplished. That is to force a Game 6 after falling 0-3 in a playoff series. Now they seek to do what only three other teams have done after falling behind 0-3 - force a Game 7. (No team has ever come back to win the series after being down 0-3).
Boston’s confidence has to be booming after the 110-97 win in Game 5. Basically, they led for double digits the entire game. Meanwhile, Miami’s confidence has to be waning. This was a Heat team that was really overachieving; they finished the regular season with a negative point differential and negative net efficiency.
The Heat are 5-11 ATS this season following a double digit loss. Gabe Vincent (ankle) remains questionable for tonight and we know Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo are already out. This team is running out of bodies and is really reliant on Jimmy Butler carrying the scoring load.
Boston, on the other hand, had four 20+ point scorers in Game 5. They’ve shot 51% as a team the last two games including 40% from three. It’ll be difficult to maintain those percentages, but there is no denying which of these two teams has the deeper roster.
The thing about Miami is they actually shot well in Game 5 and still ended up with only 97 points. All the momentum in this series has shifted and I’m laying the short number with the better team. 10*
|05-20-23||Nuggets +6 v. Lakers||Top||119-108||Win||100||11 h 13 m||Show|
The Lakers (barely) covered the spread in both Games 1 and 2, but my view is that even at home in a desperate situation, they should not be laying this many points to the top-seeded Nuggets.
Yes, LA did have the lead for most of Game 2 before succumbing late (but, again, still covering). However, they were largely dominated for most of Game 1 and did not deserve to get the cash in that game.
I know Denver isn’t nearly the same team on the road as they are at home, but this is too many points considering their only three losses this postseason have been by a total of 18 points.
LeBron James has been miserable from three in the playoffs (23.3%) including 0 for 10 in this series alone. The Lakers are not a good three-point shooting team, making it difficult to build/maintain the kind of lead they need to cover this number.
Also, Reaves and Hachimura are due for some regression. Unless Anthony Davis steps up in a major way, I don’t see how the Lakers win this game, let alone cover. 10*
|05-19-23||Heat v. Celtics -8.5||Top||111-105||Loss||-115||13 h 23 m||Show|
Might as well start by pointing out that teams who lose Game 1 at home are 21-1 straight up and 20-2 ATS in Game 2 going back to 2019. Boston fits that profile tonight, so I’ll be laying the points.
The Celtics were in this exact same situation in the last round. They dropped Game 1 to Philadelphia, 119-115 as a 10.5-point favorite. They immediately bounced back, winning Game 2 121-87, laying a similar number.
The trend mentioned above is a perfect 7-0 SU this season, five of those wins coming by 14 points or greater.
I can’t see Miami shooting 51% from three again nor do I see them shooting 54% overall from the field.
The Heat have “stolen” Game 1 on the road in all three series this postseason. But they are 0-2 thus far in Game 2’s, losing at Milwaukee by 16 and New York by 6. The Celtics are 20-10 SU off a loss and should win big tonight. 10*
|05-18-23||Lakers v. Nuggets -5.5||Top||103-108||Loss||-110||22 h 54 m||Show|
For most of the 48 minutes in Game 1, Denver clearly looked like the better team. But the Nuggets did not cover the closing number, either pushing or failing to cover depending on your shop. I fully anticipate they will cover the spread here in Game 2.
Both teams shot nearly 55% from the floor in Game 1 and roughly 46% from three. Playing on the road, it is the Lakers that are more likely to experience offensive regression in Game 2. This is a team that shoots the three at only 34.5% for the year. Denver is shooting 51% for the year here at home.
The Nuggets are also typically much better at the defensive end at home. In Game 1, they gave up 72 points in the second half. This is a team that came into the WCF ranked #2 in the league, allowing just over 108 points/game on its home court.
Not only do I not see Anthony Davis scoring another 40 for LA, Austin Reaves (23 points) and Rui Hachimura (17) won’t match their Game 1 scoring either.
The Lakers are 2-9 against the spread this season following a game where they allowed 130 or more points. Denver is 41-7 SU at home, winning by an average of 10.3 points per game.
|05-14-23||76ers v. Celtics -6.5||Top||88-112||Win||100||29 h 23 m||Show|
Going back to last Saturday, NBA home teams are 12-2 straight up and 10-3-1 against the spread. The only two SU losses both came in this series, the last two games where Philadelphia won Game 5 in Boston and then the Celtics returned the favor at Philly in Game 6.
I look for “order” to be restored in Game 7, however. What a brutal loss for the 76ers Thursday as they shot 36.1% overall from the field including 8 of 34 (23.5%) from three. I had the Under, so I was happy with the final score being 95-86.
The Celtics being +21 from beyond the three-point line was huge in Game 6. Since Game 1, there hasn’t been a game in the series where they were outscored from three.
76ers’ head coach Doc Rivers has blown three 3-1 series leads in his career. This would be “just” 3-2, but I have little confidence in Doc. He has lost NINE Game 7’s, by far the most of any coach in history. Home teams also win Game 7 at a very high percentage.
The Celtics won Game 6 despite Jayson Tatum missing 14 of his first 15 shot attempts. You’ve got to figure he’ll shoot much better at home Sunday. Boston is the better team. 10*
|05-12-23||Knicks +5.5 v. Heat||Top||92-96||Win||100||11 h 31 m||Show|
The Knicks staved off elimination once, now let’s see if they can do it again Friday on the road. They obviously come into Miami as underdogs, but that’s okay considering the Heat’s somewhat lousy 22-37-2 ATS mark as favorites this season. I’m taking the points in Game 6 tonight.
It was just a three-point lead at halftime for the Knicks in Game 5 as they got off to a really slow start (just 14 pts in the 1Q). From there, they took control in the second half, going up by as many as 19 before Miami made a late push. The trio of Jalen Brunson, RJ Barrett and Julius Randle once again carried the scoring load (88 combined points) with Brunson’s 38 leading the way. The Knicks also shot much better than normal from three (38.2%), at least by this series’ standard.
I don’t necessarily expect NY to shoot as well from three tonight. But I also don’t expect them to fall into an early hole like they did in the last game. Playing for their season, you know you’re getting their best effort for 48 minutes. I also have my doubts about Miami, who isn’t capable of scoring a ton without Jimmy Butler going off.
The Heat are only shooting 43% from the field in this series and 31% from three. I’m not exactly sure why this spread is larger than both Games 3 and 4 at home.
Going back to the start of the series against Cleveland, the Knicks are allowing just 100.1 points/game. Given that points figure to be at a premium again tonight, I want to be on the dog. 8*
|05-11-23||Nuggets v. Suns -3||Top||125-100||Loss||-110||12 h 58 m||Show|
The Suns need to win Game 6 to stay alive and I think they will, with room to spare, so I’m laying the points.
Devin Booker and Kevin Durant have both been other-worldly in this series, combining to average 65 points/game. The thing is they need help. Last home game they got help from Landry Shamet, who scored 19 thanks to making five threes. Whether it’s Shamet or someone else on this Suns’ roster, expect someone to “lend a helping hand” at home tonight.
Denver is 40-7 SU at home, but they are sub-.500 on the road with the scoring differential going from +10.3 at home to -3.0 on the road. So that’s why there’s such a drastic change in the spread from the last game to this one.
In the two previous home games in this series, Phoenix averaged 125 points on 53% shooting. Denver is simply not the same team defensively on the road as they are at home.
At home and trailing in the series, the Suns are a perfect 3 for 3 ATS. 10*
|05-10-23||Lakers v. Warriors -7||Top||106-121||Win||100||13 h 8 m||Show|
Golden State’s season is on the line tonight after blowing a double digit lead on the road in Game 4. They led the Lakers by as many as 12 in the second half, but a second straight uncharacteristically poor performance at the offensive end doomed them.
In the two games down in LA, the Warriors shot below 30% from three. Steph Curry was only 3 of 14 on 3PA in Game 4. Now back home, you’ve got to expect a better showing at the offensive end from Curry and his teammates. After all, they are 36-10 straight up and 30-16 ATS at the Chase Center in 2022-23.
But much of the reason the Warriors are so much better at home than on the road is because of their defense. They are basically allowing 10 fewer points/game at home compared to the road.
The Lakers are not an efficient team offensively and have shot worse than 30% from three in all but three playoff games.
After back to back road losses in Sacramento in the first round, the Warriors responded with a 17-point win here at home. Up 3-1 in the first round vs. Memphis, the Lakers lost Game 5 (on the road) by 17. I expect a similar result tonight. 10*
|05-10-23||Heat v. Knicks -3.5||Top||103-112||Win||100||11 h 36 m||Show|
The Knicks got strong performances out of Julius Randle (20 points), Jalen Brunson (32) and R.J. Barrett (24) in Game 4, but the rest of the team combined to score only 25 points and as a result, they are down 3-1 in this best of seven series.
But the good news is that Game 5 is at Madison Square Garden. Last time here, the Knicks won 111-105 and shot 40% from three. The other three games have seen dreadful three-point shooting from NY. My hope here is that we’ll see a shooting effort along the lines of Game 2.
I also don’t think the Knicks will be outrebounded the way they were in the two games at Miami. In the regular season, New York was the #2 rebounding team in the entire NBA.
Defensively, the Knicks have little to worry about. They’ve given up an average of just 99.7 points/game this postseason, which is pretty remarkable in 2023. Miami hasn’t exactly shot the lights out in this series either, though Jimmy Butler has carried the load offensively.
I’m not really a believer in this Heat team, which is an 8-seed and was on the verge of losing to Chicago in the play-in tournament. They had a negative point differential and net efficiency in the regular season. Them making a Conference Final (would be first 8-seed to do so since 1999) would be rather shocking to me. 10*
|05-09-23||Suns v. Nuggets -5.5||Top||102-118||Win||100||14 h 17 m||Show|
Phoenix has come back to tie this series up 2-2, but they have needed herculean efforts from both Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, plus a breakout effort from Landry Shamet in Game 4.
Durant and Booker have combined for a ridiculous 273 points in this series with Booker shooting 66.7% from three and 34 of 43 overall the last two games. Shamet’s breakthrough in Game 4 came out of nowhere (he’d scored just 14 points total this postseason, previously!)
I just can’t see Durant and Booker continuing that pace, Booker specifically, and the Suns’ role players are unlikely to contribute much with the series moving back to Denver.
At home, the Nuggets are allowing just 108.5 points/game for the year, second best in the league. They are simply a much better team at home where they’ve gone 39-7 SU (+10.2 PPG) as opposed to 20-25 SU (-3.0 PPG) on the road.
Nikola Jokic (53 points in Game 4) won’t be suspended, so he’s a go. It’s also time for someone on the Nuggets other than Jokic or Jamal Murray to step up. Similar to Shamet for Phoenix in the last game, I expect someone will. Certainly, Denver will get more than 11 bench points tonight. Lay the points. 10*
|05-08-23||Warriors +3 v. Lakers||Top||101-104||Push||0||12 h 13 m||Show|
The last two games of this series have both been blowouts, each team winning at home. The Warriors now look to bounce back in Game 4 and even the series at two games apiece. I like the defending champs plus the points.
It was a horrible shooting night for Golden State in Game 3 as they made only 39.6% from the field and 29.5% from three. They were also -20 in FT attempts. Meanwhile, the Lakers shot 52.5% from three and were an uncharacteristic 48.4% from three.
I say “uncharacteristic” because six of the previous seven games saw LA shoot worse than 30% from three.
Anthony Davis had 25 points last game, 11 of those coming from the charity stripe. Davis has yet to have back to back games this postseason with 20+ points.
I know that Golden State has generally been terrible on the road this year, but they have won at least one road game in every series since Steve Kerr took over, including two in Sacramento last round. This is a team known for bouncing back from a bad loss. 10*
|05-06-23||Warriors +3.5 v. Lakers||Top||97-127||Loss||-115||10 h 59 m||Show|
Golden State tied this series up with a convincing 127-100 victory in Game 2, shooting 50% overall and from three. But now they’re on the road - where they simply have not been the same team in 2022-23.
The Warriors are 13-32 straight up and 14-30-1 ATS on the road this season. However, they have won their last two road games, both at Sacramento.
My big concern with the Lakers is that they simply do not shoot the three well enough to stay with Golden State. In six of their eight playoff games thus far, LA has shot worse than 30 percent from behind the arc.
Also, as I’m sure you’ve heard, the Warriors have won at least one road game in every playoff series under Steve Kerr.
The Dubs flat out looked like the better team in Game 2 and I see no reason why we shouldn't take them as underdogs here in Game 3. 10*
|05-06-23||Knicks +4 v. Heat||Top||86-105||Loss||-107||6 h 32 m||Show|
I just can’t trust the Heat as favorites, especially with all the injuries. Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo are of course out for the season while, more importantly, Jimmy Butler remains questionable due to an ankle.
Even at full strength, Miami is terrible as a home favorite. They are 13-23-2 ATS this season as chalk in South Beach, not to mention 20-37-2 ATS as favorites of any kind.
If Butler can’t go, that’s two of the Heat’s three 20+ point scorers out of the lineup. I just don’t know where else the production would come from. They only scored 105 without Butler in Game 2.
The Knicks lost Game 1, but they didn’t have Julius Randle, their top scorer. He, Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett combine to average 68.7 points per game and they are all now healthy.
Big edge in rebounding for the Knicks as well in the first two games (+25). This team is 26-18 SU/28-15-1 ATS on the road. 10*
|05-02-23||Lakers v. Warriors -4.5||Top||117-112||Loss||-109||13 h 52 m||Show|
Golden State is only 48 hours removed from winning a Game 7 on the road while the Lakers have had two more days rest after finishing off Memphis with an emphatic 40-point win.
But the Warriors are 21-4 straight up in Game 1’s under Steve Kerr including 19-2 at home (did lose Gm 1 at Sacramento in Rd 1) while LeBron James is just 4-14 SU in his career in road Game 1’s.
So I’m going to go ahead and lay the points in this one. Golden State is simply a different team at home - where they are 35-9 SU and 29-15 ATS this year. Defensively is where we see the most improvement home vs. road with the Warriors. They allow just 111.8 points per game at home compared to 121.8 pn the road.
In two of the three games at Memphis in the first round, the Lakers failed to score 100 points. This is a problem facing a Warriors team that scores an average of 119.2 points at home.
Since the start of the 2020-21 season, the Warriors are 66-37 ATS at home when the total is 220 or higher. 8*
|05-02-23||Heat v. Knicks -6.5||Top||105-111||Loss||-110||10 h 28 m||Show|
The Knicks really “gave” Game 1 away in my view. They were leading by double digits after the first quarter and then up 55-50 going into halftime. But ice cold shooting from three-point land doomed them. They finished the game a woeful 7 of 34 (20.6%) from long range. Let’s also not forget they missed 8 of 20 free throw attempts.
So I’ll lay the points again in Game 2 … Miami was already without Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo. Now Jimmy Butler is dealing with an ankle injury and that is obviously a major problem. Butler is clearly the Heat’s best player and carried them again with 25 points and 11 rebounds in Game 1.
If Butler were to miss this game, I’d say the Heat have zero chance of winning.
Plus, NY could get Julius Randle back. Even if Randle doesn’t return, I expect Jalen Brunson to have a bounce back effort after he went 0 for 7 from three in Game 1.
Miami is the ONLY playoff team that ended the regular season with a negative net efficiency rating. They also have a losing road record. After overperforming tremendously in the first round, at least at the offensive end, this is a team due for some serious regression - whether Butler can go or not. (Reports are that Butler’s ankle has swollen to the size of a baseball). 10*
|05-01-23||Suns +4.5 v. Nuggets||Top||87-97||Loss||-108||12 h 58 m||Show|
Phoenix fell victim to some hot shooting from Denver, specifically from Jamal Murray, in Game 1 and that is why they came up short, 125-107.
The good news for the Suns is that their two superstars - Kevin Durant and Devin Booker - both played well in Game 1. That duo combined for 56 points. Now they just need their teammates to “step it up.”
The Nuggets were 16 of 37 from three and had 17 more FG attempts than the Suns in Game 1. Murray was 6 of 10 himself from three on his way to 34 points. I don’t see him matching that production in Game 2.
Despite being the 4-seed, Phoenix is the betting favorite in this series and to win the Western Conference. I think they’re a great value as an underdog tonight.
The Suns only attempted five threes in the 1H Saturday night, but then started launching in the 2H. They only made seven threes for the game, a number they should easily exceed tonight and thus I like them to cover the spread. 10*
|04-30-23||Heat v. Knicks -4.5||Top||108-101||Loss||-110||5 h 30 m||Show|
I like the Knicks here in Game 1 of their second round series against the Heat.
Miami clearly overachieved in Round 1 vs. Milwaukee. Giannis Antetokounmpo missed a couple games vs. the Bucks, but more notably the Heat averaged 124 points/game in the series, a double digit increase over what they averaged in the regular season. I expect some offensive regression from the visitors on Sunday.
New York just held Cleveland to an average of 94.2 points/game in the first round series. That’s a tremendous defensive effort.
The Knicks have covered 24 of their last 35 games overall. The Heat are still only 19-25 SU and 18-26 ATS on the road this season.
Just don’t think this spread is large enough. Miami comes in short-handed as both Herro and Oladipo have been lost for the season. The Knicks are at full strength. 10*
|04-27-23||Celtics -6.5 v. Hawks||Top||128-120||Win||100||11 h 2 m||Show|
Atlanta shocked us all by winning Game 5 in Boston, 119-117 as 13-point underdogs. Over the final nine minutes, the Hawks outscored the Celtics 30-15 with Trae Young putting the exclamation point on things with a three-point bomb to win it with just two seconds remaining.
Atlanta made 19 threes in the game, none bigger than Young’s obviously, and making the result all the more shocking is that the Hawks were without Dejounte Murray (suspended).
Murray returns tonight as the series returns to Atlanta. But it’s difficult to ignore the fact the Celtics dominated Game 5 for three quarters, outscoring the Hawks 60-38 in the paint and 24-8 in transition.
I see Boston ending the series tonight and will lay the points. The Celtics are clearly the better team and have been ahead most of the series.
The Hawks are awful defensively (119.3 points/game allowed in this series) and won’t shoot 46% again from three. 10*
|04-23-23||Nuggets v. Wolves +4||Top||108-114||Win||100||13 h 55 m||Show|
It’s do or die in Game 4 for the Timberwolves, who are facing elimination at home. Denver has taken the first three games of this best of seven series, 109-80, 122-113 and 120-111. The Nuggets are shooting 52.1% for the series after going 57.1% in Game 3, which included 13 of 32 from three.
Minnesota has outscored Denver in just one of the 12 quarters in this series.
But I expect a fired up effort by the home team in Game 4 with the season on the line. Denver isn’t likely to shoot as well as it did in the last game. It’s absolutely worth noting that the Nuggets have only prevailed by single digits each of the last two games despite shooting over 55% from the field.
Denver isn’t a great road team either. For the season, they have a losing record away from home, getting outscored by almost three points per game.
Minnesota is 9-2 ATS this season following three straight losses. They are 8-3 straight up in those games as well. 10*
|04-22-23||Grizzlies v. Lakers -4||Top||101-111||Win||100||12 h 41 m||Show|
Ja Morant remains questionable for Game 3, but regardless if the Memphis’ star plays or not, I’m rolling with the Lakers.
LA took Game 1 128-112, thanks to four different players scoring 20 or more points. Predictably, Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura cooled off in Game 2 and the Grizzlies, at home, were able to win without Ja, 103-93 as slight underdogs.
But now the Grizz are on the road where they’ve gone just 14-26-2 ATS this season and they may be without their best player yet again.
Outside of LeBron James and Hachimura, the rest of the Lakers shot just 24.2% in Game 2. That number will go up by a lot here in Game 3.
Memphis is 0-5 ATS the last five games off a SU win and 1-7-1 ATS their last 9 games after an ATS win. 10*
|04-21-23||Cavs v. Knicks -1||Top||79-99||Win||100||11 h 27 m||Show|
Not like this is some big revelation, but the Cavaliers have a very young roster with little playoff experience. This will be the first road playoff game for most and I see the team struggling tonight at Madison Square Garden in Game 3 against the Knicks.
Cleveland simply isn’t the same team away that they were at home. On the road this season, they are 17-21 straight up. Also, they are just 4-14 SU and 6-11 ATS in games where they are priced as an underdog.
Give the Cavs credit for a good season, but they benefited from a fortunate 7-0 SU record in overtime games and really dominated the lesser teams on the schedule (30-5 SU vs. sub-.500 teams). Against teams that have a winning record, the Cavs are just 22-27 SU this year.
The fact that the Knicks were able to escape Cleveland with a 1-1 split is actually encouraging when you consider they shot below 40% in the two games combined, including 15 of 58 from three. Back home, I expect far better offensive numbers tonight. They are a perfect 5-0 ATS this season following a game in which they scored 100 points or less. They scored 90 in Game 2.
The Knicks are still 4-2 SU vs. Cleveland this year and I think they are really being undervalued in this spot. Look for a strong start by the home team tonight as they average more than 60 points per game in the 1H at home. That strong start should carry them to a Game 3 victory. 10*
|04-20-23||Kings v. Warriors -5.5||Top||97-114||Win||100||13 h 2 m||Show|
The Warriors are down 0-2 in a series for the first time under Steve Kerr and won’t have Draymond Green (suspended) for Game 3.
But the good news for Warriors’ fans is that home teams down 0-2 in a series are 50-26 SU in Game 3. I wouldn’t be concerned about laying the points as the SU winner has also covered the spread in every playoff game this season and 44 straight times going back to last season.
Plus Golden State is a much different team at home than on the road (where they are a woeful 12-30 ATS). They are 33-8 SU and 28-13 ATS at the Chase Center.
Over the course of the first two games, the Warriors outshot the Kings - both overall and from three-point land.
I worry about this young Kings’ team in its first playoff road game. Also, even after dropping Game 2, the Warriors are still 22-14 ATS off a playoff loss. 10*
|04-16-23||Clippers v. Suns -7.5||Top||115-110||Loss||-110||10 h 50 m||Show|
I will role with Phoenix in Game 1 as this is a completely different team when Kevin Durant plays (8-0 SU, outscoring opponents by 11.6 per 100 possessions)
When Durant plays with Devin Booker, the Suns have a +18.4 net rating and average 124.7 points per 100 possessions. They are a deserved favorite to come out of the Western Conference.
Meanwhile, the Clippers don’t have Paul George for this series. They do have Kawhi Leonard, but I don’t think that’s enough to stay with the high-powered Suns, at least here in Game 1.
In the regular season finale, when the Clippers needed a win to clinch the 5-seed, they could only beat Phoenix by five. And that was with the Suns sitting seven players, four of them being Durant, Booker, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton.
The Clippers have underachieved all year and I don’t see that changing now. 10*
|04-16-23||Lakers v. Grizzlies -3.5||Top||128-112||Loss||-110||5 h 49 m||Show|
The Lakers earned the 7-seed by beating Minnesota in the Play-in Round back on Tuesday. But I felt LeBron and company were a little lucky to escape with a victory in that one. Not only did they need overtime to get the ‘W’ but they trailed by as many as 15 points in that game. The T’wolves scored just 16 points from the start of the fourth quarter through OT.
Memphis, at home, is not going to wither like that. The Grizzlies finished the regular season with the best point differential in the Western Conference and are a much better team at home - where they’ve gone 35-6 SU on the year. They have the best point differential at home in the league, outscoring visiting teams by 10.6 per game.
The Grizz also have the league’s second best defensive rating.
LeBron is a somewhat shocking 3-14 SU on the road in Game 1’s in his career.
Jaren Jackson Jr will need to stay out of foul trouble and Ja Morant will need to hit his threes, but I believe the Lakers are overvalued coming into this best of seven series. Lay the points. 10*
|04-15-23||Knicks +5.5 v. Cavs||Top||101-97||Win||100||10 h 51 m||Show|
Cleveland is roughly a 2/1 favorite to advance to the second round, but I think the Cavaliers may have more trouble with the Knicks than anticipated.
The Cavs’ 51-31 SU record was the franchise’s best in a non-LeBron James season in 30 years. But they really benefited from a 7-0 record in overtime games and their net efficiency is a little misleading due to the fact they typically blew out the bad teams. Against opponents with a .500 or better record, the Cavs have been a losing straight up proposition this season.
The Knicks also had a breakout campaign in 2022-23, which includes a 3-1 SU/ATS record vs. Cleveland.
Julius Randle is a question mark for Game 1 but so is Cleveland’s Isaac Okoro. Monitor their statuses, but regardless I’m taking NY plus the points for Game 1.
While starters are called upon more come playoff time, it should be pointed out the Knicks’ bench really dominated their Cavaliers’ counterparts in the four regular season meetings. The Knicks also enjoyed a big edge in offensive rebounding in those games. 10*
|04-11-23||Hawks v. Heat -4.5||Top||116-105||Loss||-110||10 h 6 m||Show|
The Heat didn’t have a great regular season by any means, but I trust them far more than the defensively inept Hawks this time of year. Miami closed on a 4-1 SU/ATS run to earn home court advantage for this play-in matchup, which will determine the 7-seed in the Eastern Conference.
I have to acknowledge the fact the Heat were not a good team to bet on in the regular season, especially when favored. But neither was Atlanta, who comes in at 35-45 ATS overall and 17-24 ATS on the road.
The Hawks allow 118.1 points per game, tied for fifth most in the league. Only Detroit, Indiana, Houston and San Antonio allowed more. This is going to be a problem tonight.
In three games vs the Heat this year, Atlanta allowed 130, 117 and 113 points. They’ve lost 8 of 9 here in Miami and are only 3-6 ATAS in those games.
Expect Jimmy Butler to be the “X-factor” here. He averaged 26.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists in March, plus he always seems to step his game up in the playoffs. As a team, the Heat saw their offensive efficiency jump tremendously down the stretch and they’ve averaged 121.4 points/game since April 1. Lay it here. 10*
|04-09-23||Pelicans v. Wolves -3.5||Top||108-113||Win||100||7 h 36 m||Show|
This is one of the more meaningful games on the NBA slate Sunday. We know both New Orleans and Minnesota will be in the postseason, but it’s just a matter of seeding at this point. New Orleans can finish anywhere between 5th and 9th, which is a huge range of outcomes, while Minnesota will be either 8th or 9th.
Finishing 8th instead of 9th has its advantages as that would be the T’wolves would need to win just once, rather than twice, in the play-in tournament.
New Orleans will also be motivated, especially by the prospect of avoiding the play-in altogether. But the Pelicans are just 15-25 SU on the road and I just don’t trust them as a small underdog in this spot. Earlier this season, these teams split a pair of games in New Orleans. Minnesota won the more recent game 111-102 after losing the first meeting by just a single point.
Yes, the Timberwolves played yesterday. But no starter exceeded 30 minutes and they put up a season-high 151 points on lowly San Antonio.
New Orleans has also been pretty bad against teams with winning records. They are just 15-28 SU and 15-27-1 ATS. Expect Minnesota, at home, to step up in the biggest game of the year. 10*
|04-08-23||Blazers v. Clippers -16.5||Top||125-136||Loss||-110||8 h 23 m||Show|
I cashed with the Clippers earlier in the week as they beat the Lakers 125-118, a game which the Clips actually closed as a 1-point underdog (after opening -3.5) due to LeBron James and Anthony Davis both deciding to suit up for the other side.
The Clippers still need wins, however. We now know that they’ll be in the playoffs, but it remains unclear if they’ll be a top six seed or forced to be in the play-in tournament. By winning these last two games (they close Sunday @ Phoenix), they’d guarantee themselves a top six spot (can finish as high as fifth).
Clearly, the Clippers should have no problem winning at home Saturday against an unmotivated Portland team that has lost 14 of its last 16 games. The Blazers have been surprisingly competitive on their current road trip, but four of their last seven losses overall have been by 24 or more points.
The Clips won 117-102 at Portland last month when the Blazers were far healthier. As of press time, the injury list for Portland contains 14 names, Damian Lillard and Anfernee Simons among them.
John Butler, Jeenathan Williams, Drew Eubanks, Skylar Mays and Trendon Watford was Portland’s starting five on Thursday. "These guys don't even know each other, to be honest with you," said coach Chauncey Billups. Sounds bad. 10*
|04-07-23||Grizzlies -7 v. Bucks||Top||137-114||Win||100||11 h 8 m||Show|
Milwaukee has already clinched the 1-seed in the Eastern Conference, so their work is done for the regular season. Memphis still needs one more win to clinch the 2-seed in the Western Conference, so I’ll bet accordingly here as the Bucks figure to rest most, if not all, of their key players.
Despite resting some key players, including Ja Morant, the Grizzlies took New Orleans to overtime the other night, eventually losing 138-131. Jaren Jackson had 40 points. Morant, Luke Kennard and Xavier Tillman are NOT on the injury list for tonight, so expect the Grizz to be at closer to full strength.
Back in December, Memphis destroyed Milwaukee 142-101.
When they are an underdog, the Bucks are 4-11 SU, 4-10-1 ATS this season. They’ve lost those games by an average of more than 10 points.
This boils down to simple motivation. Memphis wants to win. Milwaukee doesn’t care. Yes, the line is inflated, but that shouldn’t matter with the lineup the Bucks are likely to trot out tonight. 8*
|04-06-23||Blazers v. Spurs -3.5||Top||127-129||Loss||-110||11 h 27 m||Show|
Portland comes in at 33-46 on the year while San Antonio (20-59) is already guaranteed a bottom three record in the league. So the teams are just playing for pride in what is seemingly an “unattractive” matchup on Thursday’s NBA slate. Note this game is not being played in San Antonio, but rather in Austin at the Moody Center, which is the home of the Texas Longhorns.
However, despite the lack of stakes and true home court advantage, the Spurs are the play here. Portland comes into this game with one of the more absurd injury reports you’ll ever see. Damian Lillard has already been shut down for the season. Three other starters (Grant, Nurkic, Simons) all missed Tuesday’s loss to the Grizzlies. Shaedon Sharpe, who has scored 20 or more points in seven of the last eight games, is listed as questionable for tonight.
San Antonio also has a lengthy injury list. But I still see them winning this game with room to spare. Going back to March 10th, they actually have double the number of wins (4) compared to the Blazers (2).
The Spurs just played three of the top four teams in the West, all on the road, so those results really have no bearing on my read here. (It should be noted they did win at Sacramento as 16-point underdogs though).
This will be just the third time all year that the Spurs come in as the favorite. They are 2-0 SU/ATS the previous two instances, winning those games by an average of 15 points/game. 10*
|04-05-23||Lakers v. Clippers -4.5||Top||118-125||Win||100||13 h 39 m||Show|
This would appear to be a tremendous spot to hammer the Clippers, who have been off for three days while the Lakers are coming off an overtime win last night. While not a true road game for the Lakers, they did just play four road games in the last six days and may have little in the tank here.
With a 1:43 left to go in regulation last night, the Lakers appeared poised to be well on their way to a fourth straight win. They were up 10, but shockingly fell apart down the stretch against a Jazz team that was without three starters. Eventually, the Lakers got it done, winning 135-133 thanks to LeBron James. But those extra five minutes of action were totally needless and could end up costing them big time tonight.
Furthermore, you’ve got to consider that the Clippers are 10-0 SU and 9-1 against the spread in the previous 10 meetings with the Lakers.
Off the three-day break, the Clippers should come out angry as they’ve lost two straight games. They are now tied with the Lakers for the coveted sixth seed in the Western Conference. Obviously, both teams want to finish in the top six so that they don’t have to do the play-in tournament.
The Clippers are 4-1 SU/ATS playing with three or more days rest this season. I can’t believe this spread is so low, considering how advantageous the situation seems to be for the “home team.” Lay it. 10*
|04-03-23||San Diego State +7.5 v. Connecticut||Top||59-76||Loss||-105||14 h 41 m||Show|
UConn is a heavy favorite to cut down the nets Monday. They may very well end up winning, but this is too many points to lay to a very good San Diego State. It’s a bigger number than the UConn-Miami game and I have San Diego State rated higher than Miami.
NCAA Title Game favorites of eight points or higher are just 2-5 ATS since 1970. We’re not quite there yet, but it’s something that I wanted to note.
Now I’m fully aware that UConn has won its five previous Tournament games by an average 20.6 points/game while beating the spread by more than 15 points per game. But we also need to salute what San Diego State has done. The Aztecs are 4-1 ATS in the Tournament and have won nine games in a row overall.
Both teams play outstanding defense and neither plays particularly fast. While the respective Final Four opponents looked to speed them up, no one is looking to play fast here. UConn is 214th in adjusted tempo while San Diego State is 270th.
Don’t consider this an endorsement of the Under, but I certainly don’t expect this to be a high-scoring game. Points will be at a premium, thus taking the underdog is the way to go here. San Diego State has only ONE double digit loss all year and it was to Arizona back in November. 10*
|04-02-23||Suns v. Thunder +5||Top||128-118||Loss||-105||11 h 56 m||Show|
On a four-game win streak, Phoenix seems to have solidified itself as a top four team in the Western Conference. They are fully healthy now with Kevin Durant and Deandre Ayton back in the lineup. Sunday they head to Oklahoma City to face a Thunder team in desperate need of a win.
OKC is still holding onto that last spot for the play-in tournament, but it’s been a poor stretch with the team just 2-4 SU/0-5-1 ATS over its last six games. Even with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander returning Friday, they suffered a head-scratching 121-117 defeat at Indiana as 5.5-point favorites.
Going just 1-2 SU against the three worst teams in the Eastern Conference (Charlotte, Detroit, Indiana) isn’t a great sign, but I like the Thunder to bounce back here. They’ve got more to play for and are now back in their more comfortable role of underdog (31-19 ATS when taking points this season).
Phoenix is just 16-23 SU on the road. They lost their only previous visit of the season to OKC, just last month, although it should be pointed out they were playing shorthanded at the time.
Keep in mind that the Thunder didn’t have SGA in the two games prior to losing to Indiana. Take the points here. 10*
|04-01-23||Miami-FL +5.5 v. Connecticut||Top||59-72||Loss||-110||127 h 0 m||Show|
Bet against this Miami team at your own peril. The Hurricanes are 9-2 ATS as underdogs this season, winning five of those games outright. They come into the Final Four fresh off upsets of Indiana, Houston and Texas.
It’s not just this season either. Under Larranaga, Miami is 33-12 ATS as a dog the last three seasons and 20-5 ATS since the start of last season
UConn seems to be the popular choice to cut down the nets Monday night, but can they sustain their recent level of play? Probably not! The Huskies have made it look easy so far, winning their first four tournament games by a combined 90 points.
But Miami has put up 85, 89 and 88 points the last three games, two of those against top 10 defenses in the country. They are doing so without a high volume of threes, which makes the scoring even more impressive.
With its incredible stable of guards, Miami can beat anyone on any given night. I’ll gladly take the points with the best underdog team in the country the L3 seasons. They’ve faced the tougher competition in this Tournament and since January 11th, they’ve lost only ONE game by more than three points. That was in the ACC Tournament against Duke, a game where they lost their big man Norchad Omier in a matter of seconds. Take the points. 10*
|03-31-23||Knicks v. Cavs -4.5||Top||130-116||Loss||-110||10 h 20 m||Show|
This is a likely first round playoff series as the 4th place Cavs (48-29) take on the 5th place Knicks (44-33). New York has won two of the three prior meetings, but all of those were at least two months ago.
Cleveland has been an excellent home team all season (30-8 SU) not to mention they own the league’s second best overall point differential this season (trailing only Boston). They are #1 in defensive efficiency as well. It would be hard to argue the Cavs aren’t the favorite to win a first round series, against the Knicks or anyone outside the current top three in the East.
The Knicks are just 5-6 SU/ATS over their previous 11 games, though they have won the last two, beating Houston and Miami. But both of those victories came at home. They’ve lost two in a row on the road, falling at Miami and Orlando.
The Cavs have already clinched a playoff berth and would lock up a top four seed with a win tonight. The Knicks would clinch a playoff spot with a win here, but unfortunately for them, they’ll be without Julius Randle. That is a significant loss as Randle is averaging 25.1 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game
Cleveland may be without some key pieces as well (Allen, Okoro), but being at home and wanting to wash away the bad taste of Wednesday’s loss in Atlanta should have them properly motivated in this one. The Cavs are 10-4-1 ATS L15 off a SU loss. 10*
|03-30-23||UAB -1.5 v. North Texas||Top||61-68||Loss||-115||12 h 19 m||Show|
I like UAB to win the NIT. The Blazers’ only loss in their last 13 games came to FAU in the C-USA Tourney Final and they (UAB) were actually favored over a team that’s now in the Final 4 of the “Big Dance.”
With North Texas also involved here, it’s an all Conference USA Final. In addition to FAU’s run, Charlotte has already won the CBI, so what an impressive run by this league in March. This is the fourth meeting between North Texas & UAB this season. North Texas won both in the regular season, but UAB got revenge in the conference tournament with a 76-69 win as 1-point favorites.
North Texas needed a bit of a miracle to get by Wisconsin in its last game. The Badgers didn’t score over the game’s final nine minutes. Tip your cap to the Mean Green defense, but this is a team that needed OT to get by Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals as well.
I’m just not sure North Texas can generate enough offense here. They’ve barely won the last two games, despite giving up an average of 54.5 points/game in regulation. Wisconsin did score 41 against them in the first half Tuesday. UAB averages 81.3 points/game, which is top 10 in the country.
Plus the potential absence of big man Abou Ousmane (team leader in rebounds and blocks) looms large for North Texas. Lay the points. 10*
|03-29-23||Wolves v. Suns -6||Top||100-107||Win||100||23 h 16 m||Show|
Barring an unforeseen setback, Kevin Durant is set to make his return to the Suns lineup on Wednesday. The team has gone 4-6 SU with Durant out of the lineup, but things have been trending up with two straight wins. I was on the Suns (-6.5) Monday as they beat the Jazz 117-103 on the road. Deandre Ayton returned to the lineup for that game and scored 14 points. So this team is finally at full strength.
Phoenix is 4th in the West right now with a 40-35 record. Lurking not far behind in 6th is Minnesota. The Timberwolves are 39-37 following four straight wins, all of those coming by six points or less.
Karl-Anthony Towns sat out the T’wolves’ 119-115 win at Sacramento Monday due to injury management. But even with his impending return for this game, I don’t like the spot for the visitors. It will be their third road game in four nights and some of these recent victories, such as the one at Golden State Sunday were a little fortunate.
Minnesota still has a negative scoring differential this year. That’s a sign that they are unlikely to hold onto a top six spot. Four teams below them in the standings have better YTD point differentials.
Having Durant, Ayton, Devin Booker and Chris Paul all in the starting lineup makes Phoenix one of the top teams in the league. Though this number has already been steamed up, I like the Suns minus the points. They’ve averaged 120 points over the last five games and should have their way with a Minnesota defense that is allowing 121.7 points over its last six games. 10*
|03-28-23||Utah Valley v. UAB -2.5||Top||86-88||Loss||-115||31 h 18 m||Show|
Utah Valley has been the most profitable College Basketball team to bet on this season. The Wolverines enter the NIT semifinals with a 24-9 ATS record. Since the start of February, they are 11-2 straight up and ATS in all games. They’ve beaten New Mexico, Colorado and Cincinnati to get here.
But UAB, while not quite as profitable at the betting window, is the deserved favorite in this one. The Blazers have won 15 out of 17 games, going back to late January. The only two losses were to another NIT Final Four team (North Texas) and to Florida Atlantic in the Final of the C-USA Tournament. I probably don’t need to remind you as to what FAU has accomplished this March.
Led by Jordan “Jelly” Walker, UAB has beaten Southern Miss by 28, Morehead State by 18 and Vanderbilt (on the road) by 8 in their previous three NIT games. They average 81.1 points while giving up only 69.9 per game. Eight of their last 15 wins have come by double digits.
Early money sided with the Blazers and so do I. They are the better team at both ends of the floor and played in the tougher conference.
Walker hasn’t even been shooting all that well recently (below 40% L4 games) and it hasn’t mattered. UAB went just 2 of 15 from three at Vandy and still won going away. They are simply the better team here and I will lay the points. 10*
|03-27-23||Suns -6.5 v. Jazz||Top||117-103||Win||100||13 h 1 m||Show|
The Suns snapped a seven-game ATS losing streak their last time out, beating the Philadelphia 76ers 125-105 as a 2.5-point favorite. It was also just the second SU win for Phoenix over an eight-game stretch. Having been playing without both DeAndre Ayton and Kevin Durant, the team is currently 4th in the West. But they’ve got six teams behind them within 2.5 games.
The good news is Ayton is expected to take the floor tonight for the Suns as they visit a Jazz team that is even less healthy. Utah’s three leading scorers - Markkanen, Clarkson and Sexton - all missed Saturday when the team lost for the third straight time, 121-113 to Sacramento as 9.5-point underdogs.
The Jazz have fallen back into 12th place in the conference, meaning they’d be out of the playoffs. You have to remember that back at the start of the season, very little was expected from this team. They had one of the lowest season win totals coming into 2022-23.
Utah has definitely overachieved, but shorthanded, they can’t match up with Phoenix here. Devin Booker went for 29 against Philly while Bismack Biyombo had 17 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks.
Before losing at Sacramento, the Jazz lost back to back home games - one to Portland (Blazers’ only win in forever) and one to Milwaukee (gave up 144 points). 8*
|03-26-23||Creighton v. San Diego State +2.5||Top||56-57||Win||100||7 h 30 m||Show|
After opening the Tournament with a couple wins over double digit seeds (Charleston, Furman), San Diego State served notice with a 71-64 victory over top-seed Alabama in the Sweet 16. They pulled the upset despite leading scorer Matt Bradley going just 2 for 9 from the field and finishing with only 6 pts.
The key was holding Alabama to 3 of 23 from behind the arc. The Aztecs can’t count on Creighton being that cold Sunday in the Elite 8, but they (SDSU) have held opponents to 28.2% for the year from three.
Creighton is likely due for some shooting regression after making 58% of their FG attempts Friday. Getting a 15-seed (Princeton) in the Sweet 16 is as favorable as it gets for the Bluejays, who I also think weren’t as dominant as the final score (85-76) showed against Baylor in Round 2. They were 11 of 24 from three in that game.
End of the day, Creighton is in store for some serious shooting regression against what is a top four defense in the country per KenPom.
Also, lower seeded teams are just 2-5 SU/ATS in this year’s Tournament when favored. Creighton is a 6-seed. San Diego State is a 5-seed. The Aztecs also have revenge from last year’s Tournament when they were up nine with less than four minutes in regulation, only to lose in OT. 10*
|03-25-23||Bucks v. Nuggets -2.5||Top||106-129||Win||100||11 h 11 m||Show|
Denver returns home for a huge showdown with Milwaukee Saturday night. These are the top teams in each conference, Milwaukee is 52-30 and has a 2.5-game edge in the East while Denver 49-24 with a three-game edge in the West.
The Nuggets have had two days off. They finished their road trip 3-2 SU/ATS after winning at Brooklyn and Washington. Meanwhile, Milwaukee is in the second night of a back to back after destroying Utah last night on the road.
You can throw out the 107-99 win Milwaukee had against Denver back in January. The Nuggets rested most of their key guys in that game.
Denver is 30-6 SU at home and outscoring teams here by about 10.5 PPG.
I know it’s scary to fade a Bucks team that is 24-3 SU its last 27 games and 9-1 SU/9-0-1 ATS in the second night of a back to back. But playing at altitude without rest is a tough proposition, even if starters were able to rest in the 4Q last night. 10*
|03-25-23||Florida Atlantic +2 v. Kansas State||Top||79-76||Win||100||10 h 38 m||Show|
Kansas State is coming off back to back wins (75-69 over Kentucky and 98-93 over Michigan State) where they were underdogs, despite being the higher seed. In each instance, ShotQuality data indicates that the Wildcats “should have” lost, the Kentucky game due to being a little fortunate defensively and the Michigan State game due to being a little fortunate on both ends of the court.
So far in this Tournament, KSU is shooting 65% from two-point range, so they are definitely due for a little regression here. KenPom has FAU rated as the better team here, and I won’t disagree, so let’s take the points in this first Elite 8 matchup.
After squeaking by Memphis in Round 1, Florida Atlantic has beaten 16-seed FDU and then 4-seed Tennessee. That second round matchup was a bit of a gift and the Owls underperformed (perhaps feeling the pressure as big favorites?) but I didn’t think there was anything phony about the Sweet 16 win over Tennessee.
The Owls held the Vols to 33.3% shooting in the 62-55 win. This is a team that’s now won 10 in a row - with six different leading scorers - and is 34-3 SU on the year.
I don’t think Kansas State will shoot 55% in this game as they have in two of the previous three rounds. Remember they’ve needed Kentucky to 4 of 20 from three and then shoot the lights out themselves to get by Michigan State. 8*
|03-24-23||Suns v. Kings -3.5||Top||127-135||Win||100||12 h 7 m||Show|
Phoenix is struggling mightily right now as over the last six games they are just 1-5 SU and 0-6 ATS. They are without both DeAndre Ayton and Kevin Durant heading into Sacramento Friday night.
A big problem for the Suns right now is free throw disparity. They simply are not getting to the line. The last time they attempted more FTs than their opponent was 2/26.
This six-game ATS slide began with a 128-119 home loss to Sacramento (as four-point favorites). Ayton had 22 points and 12 rebounds in that game.
The Kings are looking to bounce back from back to back losses to Utah and Boston. Prior to those losses, the team had won seven of eight. They gave up 132 to the Celtics, but are 5-1 ATS this season after allowing 130+ in the previous game.
This is a key game in the Western Conference playoff picture. I just think it sets up well for the Kings, who are at home and clearly healthier than the Suns right now. 10*
|03-24-23||Miami-FL v. Houston -7.5||Top||89-75||Loss||-110||10 h 11 m||Show|
Miami is the 5-seed here in the Midwest Region and just beat Indiana 85-69 as a 1.5-point underdog in the second round. But that came on the heels of a close call vs. Drake in the first round where the Hurricanes needed to rally late for a 63-56 win and cover as 2.5-point favorites.
Top seed Houston failed to cover its first round game as the Cougars could only defeat 16-seed Northern Kentucky (a tricky team that plays zone defense) 63-52 as lofty 19-point favorites. But after falling behind early, Kelvin Sampson’s team roared back in the second round, eventually blowing out Auburn 81-64 as 5.5-point chalk.
Looking at this matchup, the one thing that sticks out is Miami ranks just 109th in defensive efficiency. That’s the worst defensive rating among all Sweet 16 teams (even worse than Princeton) and I think they’ll struggle to contain Marcus Sasser (22 points vs. Auburn) and company. Miami is allowing almost 54% of its opponents’ points to be scored inside the three-point line.
Miami supporters will point to the guard play, which was tremendous again vs. Indiana. But this is a far worse matchup for the Hurricanes as Houston allows the lowest midrange shooting percentage in the country and also have the highest block rate in all of College Basketball.
Furthemore, Houston has a big edge in rebounding in this matchup and is well-suited to slowing down Miami, thus limiting the ‘Canes’ transition opportunities. 10*
|03-22-23||Blazers +4.5 v. Jazz||Top||127-115||Win||100||10 h 29 m||Show|
Both Anfernee Simons and Jerami Grant have been ruled out here for Portland, but Utah may be without some key pieces as well with Lori Markkanen having missed the last game and Jordan Clarkson still banged up. So I’m willing to take the Blazers plus the points in what is essentially a must win for them.
Portland comes into tonight trailing Utah by four games in the race for the last play-in spot. The Blazers have lost six in a row, failing to cover the last four, to fall back in the playoff chase. Meanwhile, the Jazz are trending in the other direction with six straight covers and winning four of their last five straight up.
But I still don’t see that much of a difference between these two Northwest Division clubs. Utah has been great as a dog this season, but they are only 12-19 ATS when favored. Having the seventh worst defensive rating in the league is also not ideal when the Jazz are laying points.
The Blazers have won the previous two meetings and have shot 47% or better against the Jazz all three times they’ve faced them in 2022-23. The one loss came by only five points. Damian Lillard scored 60 the last time they played.
With Milwaukee coming to town Friday, Utah may be looking past Portland. I just think the Jazz are due to “lay an egg” this evening. The only two times since the All Star Break where Utah has been asked to lay more than a point both came against San Antonio and they lost one of those games. Take the points. 10*
|03-21-23||Spurs v. Pelicans -11.5||Top||84-119||Win||100||10 h 26 m||Show|
This is a spot where the Pelicans should absolutely roll. San Antonio is the worst team in the league and winning is not in their best interest at this point. The Spurs did win Sunday, 126-118 at home against Atlanta. However, I thought that was a phony result as they not only erased a 24-point deficit, but also were fortunate to go 14 of 28 from three while the Hawks were just 5 of 22.
The Spurs main focus at this point should be to lose as many games as possible and thus better their chances in the Draft Lottery. They have the worst point differential in the league and are being outscored by 13 points/game on the road.
New Orleans needs this game after only managing a split with another lowly team, Houston. The Pelicans are currently 12th in the Western Conference, but just one game back of the final play-in spot. Having a positive YTD point differential tells me this team is better than its 34-37 SU record.
The Pelicans have already beaten the Spurs three times this season, putting up 129, 117 and 126 points. They are 22-13 SU at home.
The Spurs have covered only 5 of 23 road games with a total of 230 or higher. 10*
|03-21-23||Eastern Kentucky v. Southern Utah -3||Top||108-106||Loss||-110||10 h 34 m||Show|
This is a great spot to fire on Southern Utah, in my opinion, as Eastern Kentucky is not only playing its third game in three days but the previous two both went to overtime!
On Sunday, EKU rallied back from a 13-point second half deficit to stun Cleveland State 91-75 as a one-point favorite. That was one of the most misleading finals you’ll ever see as the Colonels outscored the Vikings 17-1 in OT. Then yesterday, they were ahead most of the way against Indiana State, only to again go to OT - where they prevailed 89-88 as a seven-point dog.
Southern Utah had a close call yesterday as well, beating Rice 91-89 but failing to cover the 4.5-point spread. But that too was a misleading result as the Thunderbirds led the entire way and were up by as much as 17.
This is SUU’s third game in four days, but they had Sunday off and have not logged the extra minutes EKU has. Furthermore, Southern Utah easily won its first CBI game, 72-50 over North Alabama, an ASun rival of EKU.
Southern Utah (16th in adjusted tempo) plays even faster than Eastern Kentucky (44th). A fast paced game is not ideal for the Colonels right now, given they’ve played 90 minutes of hard fought basketball the last two days. Lay the short number. 10*
|03-20-23||Kings v. Jazz +5||Top||120-128||Win||100||13 h 51 m||Show|
Utah has now covered five in a row, though they had to come back from down 19 on Saturday to stun Boston 118-117 (as 4.5 point pups) here at home. Nevertheless, oddsmakers continue to not give this Jazz team the respect it deserves considering a phenomenal 26-10 ATS mark as an underdog, which is best in the league.
Speaking of a team that doesn’t get enough respect, Sacramento is tied for 2nd in the West (with Memphis) at 43-27 SU. The Kings are well-positioned to snap the longest active playoff drought in the four major North American sports. They last made the playoffs in the 2005-2006 season.
But while the Kings come into Monday on a hot 6-1 SU/ATS run, this is not a great spot for them as it will be their fourth road game in the last six days. They’ve won each of the previous three, but two of those were by five points or less.
Speaking of close games, these teams have already met twice this year and while the Kings are 2-0 straight up against the Jazz, those two wins were by a total of three points. Both were decided in the closing seconds.
Sacramento shot almost 56% from the floor against Washington on Saturday, which included 22 of 37 from three. Don’t expect them to repeat those numbers here. This is too many points to lay to a competent team at the end of a road trip. 10*
|03-20-23||Wisc-Milwaukee +6 v. Charlotte||Top||65-76||Loss||-110||11 h 31 m||Show|
Milwaukee was a surprise team in the Horizon League this season, finishing second behind Youngstown State. But the Panthers’ run towards the NCAA Tournament ended with a semifinal loss in the conference tournament, 93-80 to Cleveland State. They got the invite to the CBI, however, and made the most of it by defeating Stetson in OT yesterday, 87-83 as a 1.5-point dog.
You may think Charlotte has a bit of an edge because their first round CBI game was on Saturday. The 49ers did defeat Western Carolina 65-56 as six-point favorites. But they had to come back from a 31-20 halftime deficit to do so. WCU shot 3 of 20 from three-point range and was just 3 of 7 from the free throw line.
I don’t think we’ll see those kinds of numbers tonight from Milwaukee, who averages eight made threes per game and shoots nearly 74% from the FT line.
Important to note that Charlotte came into the CBI on a three-game losing streak. They are just 2-5 ATS their last seven games following an ATS win.
Even with the rest advantage, I don’t see how the 49ers are this big of a favorite. It will be interesting to see what pace this game is played at because Milwaukee is 12th in the country in adjusted tempo while Charlotts is 362nd (second slowest). The Panthers are 7-2 ATS following a game where they allowed 80 or more points. 10*
|03-19-23||Miami-FL v. Indiana -1.5||Top||85-69||Loss||-115||12 h 41 m||Show|
Miami was only a 2.5-point favorite against Drake in the first round. Like all of the other 5-seeds, the Hurricanes were able to avoid the upset, but in their case it was not easy. The ‘Canes trailed Drake by eight points with under five minutes to go, only to close with a 16-1 run.
It was a real shock that Miami could win a game where it shot 11 of 38 on two-point attempts. I say that because this is a team that typically relies on its offense. The Hurricanes are just 114th in the country in defensive efficiency, the lowest ranking among remaining tourney teams save for Fairleigh Dickinson.
Indiana will not let “The U” off the hook the same way Drake did. The Hoosiers had far less problems in Round 1 as they beat a very good Kent State team 71-60 as 4.5-point favorites. IU held Kent to just 32% from the field.
Jackson-Davis should have a big game here for the Hoosiers against a Miami team that I already mentioned is suspect defensively. The ‘Canes don’t really have the size to match up.
IU can also shoot the three. Defensively, they are built to stop Miami’s backcourt. 10*
|03-18-23||Heat v. Bulls +3||Top||99-113||Win||100||10 h 40 m||Show|
The Bulls have righted the ship a bit with three wins in the last four games. They are 3-1 ATS in that same stretch. Previously, they’d really struggled ATS, covering just 2 of 12 games.
Chicago comes into Saturday in 10th place in the Eastern Conference. That’s obviously the last play-in spot. But it’s a tight lead with Indiana only one-half game back. The Bulls really need this one.
Miami is 7th in the East and barring some late collapse will make the playoffs, or at least the play-in round. But what I find interesting is that Chicago has the better YTD point differential of these two teams.
The Heat have been real money-burners when favored this season, going 15-32 ATS. They are just 4-15 ATS their last 19 games overall.
Bottom line is I don’t think the Heat should be favored here. Take the points. 10*
|03-18-23||Duke v. Tennessee +3.5||Top||52-65||Win||100||5 h 52 m||Show|
This number seems crazy to me. I’ve got Tennessee rated as the better team, so there’s no way they should be getting three (or more) points here even though Duke looked awfully impressive in its first round blowout over Oral Roberts.
Believe it or not, Shot Quality numbers suggest Duke was not nearly as dominant as the final score showed against Oral Roberts. That surprised me a bit as the Blue Devils were never threatened in the 74-51 win. But Oral Roberts missed a TON of open shots in that game.
Tennessee only won by three against Louisiana in their first round game. But they led by as many as 18 points and only shot 25% from three. I think the Vols are better than how they looked Thursday.
No Zeigler remains a big deal for UT but this team can play defense. They are #2 in the country in defensive efficiency (per KenPom), holding teams to 37.0% overall shooting and 26% from three.
The ACC was really down this year and I think we’re at the peak of the market right now with Duke, who won their conference tournament and is drastically overvalued as a result. I think the wrong team is favored in this 4 vs. 5 matchup. Take the points. 10*
|03-17-23||Kent State +4.5 v. Indiana||Top||60-71||Loss||-110||14 h 23 m||Show|
I think this is a very tough matchup for 4-seed Indiana drawing Kent State as a 13-seed. Champions of the Mid-American Conference, Kent State won’t be the least bit intimidated here
The Golden Flashes have a slightly higher defensive efficiency rating than Indiana. That’s notable as, rarely, do you see the mid-major underdog with a higher defensive efficiency rating than the favored school from a power conference.
Sincere Carry is the player to watch for Kent State. Defensively, I think they can do a good job at limiting Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis.
The Golden Flashes are 4-0 ATS as underdogs this season, 4-0 ATS on a neutral court and 10-1 ATS in the non-conference. They very nearly beat Houston and stayed within seven of Gonzaga.
Indiana is just 7-9 SU away from Assembly Hall and MAC teams have done quite well recently in this Tournament as underdogs. Take the points. 10*
|03-17-23||Montana State +8 v. Kansas State||Top||65-77||Loss||-110||14 h 58 m||Show|
Kansas State seems like a vulnerable high seed to me. The Wildcats were picked to finish last in the Big 12 in the preseason, so it’s a bit of a shock to even see them here in the Big Dance, let alone as a 3-seed.
The Wildcats were not particularly strong away from home either, going just 8-8 SU overall. They come into the Tournament having lost two in a row, the regular season finale (89-81 at West Virginia and then they were one and done in the Big XII Tournament, losing 80-67 to TCU).
A bit of ominous history for K State - the last four #3 seeds to lose in the Round of 64 all hailed from the Big 12.
Montana State won the Big Sky Tournament to get here. They were not regular season champions, although I think most who followed the league knew the Bobcats were better than Eastern Washington. Montana State comes in with a 5-1 ATS record as an underdog this season. They were in the Tournament last year.
Montana State gets to the free throw line a lot and I think can find success attacking the rim in this matchup. Defensively, they should be able to exploit Kansas State’s turnover issues. Take the points. 10*
|03-16-23||Penn State +2.5 v. Texas A&M||Top||76-59||Win||100||15 h 0 m||Show|
I like the underdog here. When the higher seed (in this case, Texas A&M) is favored by three points or less, they are on a money-burning 38-62-4 ATS in the NCAA Tournament. Furthermore, the Big 10 is on a 12-1-1 ATS run vs. SEC teams in the Big Dance!
Both teams lost in the Final of their respective Conference Tournaments. But I’ve felt Texas A&M comes in a bit overvalued. They were down 13 at halftime to Arkansas in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament. It was certainly a surprise to see the Aggies finish second in the SEC this year.
Penn State underachieved much of this year, but they’d won five straight before falling to Purdue by two on Sunday and they are 5-1 ATS L6 games. Also, the Nittany Lions are 13-2 ATS L15 neutral site games and 11-5 ATS as underdogs this season.
A&M is very reliant on getting to the free throw line to generate points, but Penn State is one of the best teams in the country at not fouling. The Nittany Lions also don’t give up a lot of second chance points, something else A&M thrives on.
But the big red flag for Texas A&M is that they allow a high three-point rate. Penn State is one of the Top 10 three-point shooting teams in the country. Penn State doesn’t turn the ball over much either. 10*
|03-16-23||Illinois +2 v. Arkansas||Top||63-73||Loss||-110||9 h 15 m||Show|
Arkansas is the favorite here and is getting the majority of bets. But we’ve actually seen the line go down, which is a signal that Illinois is the sharper side in this 8 vs. 9 matchup.
When the higher seed (in this case, Arkansas) is favored by three points or less, they are on a money-burning 38-62-4 ATS in the NCAA Tournament. Specifically, 8-seeds are on a terrible 4-16-1 ATS run when favored by three or less over 9-seeds (with 14 outright losses).
Also boding well for Illinois is the fact that Big 10 teams are on a 12-1-1 ATS against the SEC in NCAA Tournament games! Overall, Arkansas has never beaten Illinois, losing all five head to head meetings.
Zeroing in on the specific matchup, neither team enters the Tournament in good form. But Illinois is 5-1 ATS as a dog this season and I think they can do a good job at limiting transition, which is what Arkansas wants to do here.
Arkansas is a bit of a mess right now as well. There was an issue with the coaching staff and reporters following the loss in the SEC Tournament where the Razorbacks blew a 13-point halftime lead. I know the Hogs have been to back to back Elite Eights, but this is not a team I want to back right now. 8*
|03-15-23||Arizona State -2 v. Nevada||Top||98-73||Win||100||12 h 35 m||Show|
Arizona State is no stranger to these “First Four” games as this will be the third time in the last six years they’ve had to come to Dayton to “play their way in” to the NCAA Tournament. Previously, they’ve gone 1-1 SU in this scenario under Bobby Hurley.
I like the Sun Devils’ chances of making it 2-1 tonight as they face a Nevada team that’s probably lucky just to be here. The Wolf Pack were not included in the final 68 of most bracketologists’ projections. It was a surprise to see them get the nod over Rutgers after losing three straight - all as favorites.
Considering they were favored all three times, you may not be shocked to learn that all of those Nevada losses came to non-tournament teams (Wyoming, UNLV and San Jose State). To be fair, the last two were both overtime games. But still, the Torvik rankings have them 97th in the country over the last month. That’s not good.
I don’t think ASU will be bothered too much by the size of Nevada. The Sun Devils, who have two former Wolf Pack players on their current roster (transfers), are 28th in the country in defensive efficiency. Nevada’s shot selection is not particularly good according to the ShotQuality numbers.
Arizona State can be inconsistent, but holds wins over the likes of Arizona and Creighton. Nevada is pretty good about not turning the ball over, but there aren’t many teams in the Mountain West with the length of ASU. Also, can’t forget that the MWC is on a horrendous NCAA Tournament run (14-35-1 ATS L50 games, 20 straight losses for teams seeded 10th or lower and 0-7 SU overall the L3 tournaments). Lay the points. 10*
|03-15-23||Youngstown State +6 v. Oklahoma State||Top||64-69||Win||100||9 h 25 m||Show|
This is an NIT game where Youngstown State will look to get over the disappointment of being bounced from the Horizon League Tourney (where they were the top seed). The Penguins had a great year overall, finishing 24-9 straight up and they have not lost back to back games all season.
Oklahoma State is the NIT’s #1 overall seed, but has caught an unlucky break in that a scheduling conflict with their home arena (wrestling tournament) has resulted in this game being played at the Beeghly Center, the home of Youngstown State.
So while the Cowboys are the higher seed and from the much stronger conference, it’s a major disadvantage having to go to a place where YSU is 14-2 SU this season.
Taking the points here seems like a “no brainer” to me and the early money agreed. This will be only the fourth time all season that Youngstown State is catching points.
No Avery Anderson III for the Pokes either and that’s a significant absence. This team is just 2-6 SU/ATS over its last eight games and despite the words of head coach Mike Boynton Jr, I’ve got to imagine there’s some real disappointment on the OSU side over not getting into the Big Dance as an at-large team. Now having to go on the road in the NIT as a higher seed may lead to an unmotivated effort. Take the points. 8*
|03-14-23||Bucks v. Suns +2||Top||116-104||Loss||-110||13 h 57 m||Show|
I went against the Suns last night and that was a wise decision as they got blown out of the water in Golden State, losing 123-112. Phoenix found itself down 43-21 at the end of the first quarter, so it was pretty much over early. But credit them for keeping things respectable over the final three quarters.
Tonight it’s back home for the Suns against the hottest team in the league, that being the Bucks. Since everyone just saw the Suns get blown out on national TV, my assumption is that the Bucks will take money in this matchup.
It’s also the second night of a back to back, the third game in four nights and Kevin Durant is still injured. But be aware that this Phoenix team is much better at home (22-11) than they are on the road (15-20).
But Milwaukee is also in the second night of a back to back and may also be shorthanded. Khris Middleton is likely to be rested and Brook Lopez could be suspended after a late ejection in last night’s 133-124 win at Sacramento.
The Bucks shot 58% from the floor last night and got 46 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo. Don’t look for those kind of numbers here. This is a great value on Phoenix getting points at home. 10*
|03-14-23||Texas A&M Corpus Christi -3.5 v. SE Missouri State||Top||75-71||Win||100||34 h 36 m||Show|
This is a “First Four” matchup in the South region of the NCAA Tournament with a couple of 16 seeds - Texas A&M Corpus Christi taking on Southeast Missouri State - playing for the “right” to likely get beat down by Alabama in the Round of 64.
Texas A&M CC were the regular season champs of the Southland and obviously also won the Conference Tournament to earn the automatic bid. The Islanders enter the Big Dance with a 23-10 overall SU record and have won 12 of their previous 13 games. They are led by Trevian Tennyson.
SEMO were not the regular season champs in the Ohio Valley, in fact they finished fourth in that league. So it's certainly a surprise to see the Redhawks here. They had to win four games in four days to win the OVC Tournament. This is the first time the program has been in the NCAA Tournament since 2000.
Before they went on their run in the OVC Tourney, SEMO had lost five of seven games. They are deserved underdogs for this “First Four” matchup.
SEMO likes to play fast (7th nationally in adjusted tempo), but that is likely to work against them here as Texas A&M-CC averages over 80 points/game. I have the favorite rated ahead of a 16-seed (Howard) that’s already in the Round of 64. So I’m not sure the Islanders should even have to be in this game. Look for them to pick up a big win. 10*
|03-13-23||Suns v. Warriors -4||Top||112-123||Win||100||13 h 19 m||Show|
I really like the Warriors here. They are 0-3 vs. the Suns so far in 2022-23, but a big reason for that - Mikal Bridges - is now gone, off to the Nets. The kicker is that Kevin Durant, for whom Bridges was part of the package to obtain, is sidelined by injury.
This will be the third game in a row Golden State faces a team minus its superstar. It didn’t matter when they lost by 21 at Memphis (no Ja Morant) last week, but then the Warriors came back and beat Milwaukee (no Giannis) 125-116 in overtime Saturday night.
As was reinforced the last two games, the Warriors are a totally different team at home than they are away. The win over Milwaukee improved their home record to 28-7 straight up. They are just 7-26 SU on the road (9-24 ATS).
The Suns had a 4-0 SU/ATS win streak snapped last time out, falling 128-119 to Sacramento.
Golden State is 24-11 ATS at home with an average margin of victory of nearly eight points per game. Steph Curry, who went for 36 pts Sat night, had a 50-point game earlier in the year against Phoenix and that was while being guarded by Bridges. Lay the points. 10*
|03-12-23||Texas A&M v. Alabama -4.5||Top||63-82||Win||100||4 h 58 m||Show|
Normally, I might be a bit leery of laying points with Alabama in this spot as they have a 1-seed all but sewn up for the NCAA Tournament. But the Crimson Tide are playing with revenge Sunday and I look for them to blow out Texas A&M.
In the final regular season game, the Crimson Tide went down to College Station and lost 67-61 as a 1-point underdog. They shot just 33% from the field, including 4 of 16 from three. I expect a much better effort at the offensive end today.
A&M won handily yesterday against Vanderbilt, making it 10 wins in the last 11 games (also 10-1 ATS). But the Aggies were very lucky to beat Arkansas Friday in the quarterfinals. They were down 13 at the half in that one.
Alabama has posted two double digit victories so far here in Nashville. They’ve allowed an average of 55 points/game.
The Crimson Tide have won each of the last five times they’ve sought revenge from a prior loss on the road. They are 4-1 ATS in those games. 10*
|03-12-23||Princeton +3.5 v. Yale||Top||74-65||Win||100||3 h 58 m||Show|
This is the Ivy League Tournament Final. Yale and Princeton tied for first place in the regular season (both 10-4). Yale had the better overall record (21-7 vs. 20-8) and got the regular season crown based on sweeping the two regular season meetings with Princeton. So they are the top seed in this tournament and Princeton is the #2 seed.
With the Ivy League Tournament involving just four teams, Yale and Princeton only had to win once to get here. Yale had little problem with Cornell, winning 80-60, while Princeton had to battle back to outlast Penn 77-70.
But Princeton has a MAJOR edge in this Tournament. The games, including this Final, are being played in their home gym. So much for the “benefit” of being the #1 seed, Yale!
I also don’t expect to see Yale shoot the way it did yesterday vs. Cornell. The Bulldogs went 10 of 16 from three (62.5%) while Cornell was just 8 of 30. Three-point variance is a big part of College Basketball handicapping. Playing at home, I cannot see Princeton falling victim the way Cornell did on Saturday.
About those two regular season losses to Yale - Princeton led both games at halftime. In the second meeting, which was here at Jadwin Gymnasium, the Tigers were up 19 in the second half before blowing it and losing in overtime. Princeton was a 2.5-point favorite for that game. Getting points with them at home in this situation is too good to pass up. 10*
|03-11-23||CS-Fullerton v. UC-Santa Barbara -3||Top||62-72||Win||100||12 h 32 m||Show|
Cal Santa Barbara got a big break yesterday when the top seed in the Big West Tournament, Cal Irvine, lost. Now the Gauchos are the favorites to win the Tourney and get the automatic berth into the Big Dance.
Of course, UCSB will now have to defeat the team that upset UC Irvine, that being Cal State Fullerton.
Both teams come into this Final pretty hot. UCSB has won six in a row while going 5-1 ATS. The lone non-cover was by half a point. CS Fullerton has won eight in a row, but five of the wins have come by four points or less.
These teams split the two regular season meetings. The favorite has covered 13 of the last 19 times they’ve met. So history is on UCSB’s side in that regard.
I just think the Gauchos are the better team and we’re getting some really nice value here. 10*
|03-11-23||St. Louis v. VCU -4||Top||78-90||Win||100||3 h 27 m||Show|
VCU looks to beat St. Louis for a third time this season, only this time there’s a lot more on the line. The Atlantic 10 figures to be a one-bid league this year, so only the winner of the Conference Tournament is getting in.
The teams got a day off between their quarterfinal victories and this semifinal. Both teams romped to victory in the quarterfinals, St. Louis beat George Mason 82-54 and VCU beat Davidson 71-53.
The favored Rams are now on a seven-game win streak. They won the first meeting 73-65 as a three-point dog at St. Louis, then came from behind to win going away, 79-67 (as a 7 point favorite) at home in the second meeting.
VCU has covered the number in five of its previous six victories. The only one they didn’t, they won by 6 laying 6.5.
St. Louis is just 2-10-1 ATS off an ATS win, so it’s hard to trust them here after the performance they had against George Mason. 8*
|03-10-23||Raptors -1.5 v. Lakers||Top||112-122||Loss||-110||12 h 56 m||Show|
Toronto lost in this building Wednesday night, 108-100 to the Clippers. I think they’ll have better success tonight against the LeBron-less Lakers.
Without LeBron, the Lakers have been better than expected as they’ve now won two in a row and six of eight overall. Most of the credit goes to Anthony Davis, who had 30 points and 22 rebounds against Memphis the other night. But the Grizzlies were without several key players as well, Ja Morant among them.
When these teams met early in the season, LA didn’t have James or Davis. The Raptors destroyed them 126-113 and were up 70-47 at the half.
This game is undoubtedly important to both sides as they try and make a playoff push. But I have the Raptors rated as the better team, even if James was in there for the Lakers.
Should be a bounce back night at the offensive end for Toronto after shooting 38.5% vs. the Clippers. 10*
|03-10-23||Vanderbilt v. Kentucky -8.5||Top||80-73||Loss||-110||11 h 21 m||Show|
I like Kentucky in the fourth and final quarterfinal matchup of the day in the SEC Tournament. The Wildcats will face Vanderbilt and are decided favorites here to advance. They are seeking to avenge their only defeat over the last six games, a two-point defeat at Vandy on March 1st.
UK was a nine-point favorite in Lexington in that loss. They fell behind early and could never quite fully recover in what turned into a dismal shooting night, 32.2% overall and 15.8% from three.
But the Wildcats are rested Friday and Vandy is not. The latter had to beat LSU 77-68 yesterday to get here. That was the Commodores’ fourth straight win and 9th in the last 10 games. But I’m still not a believer.
In this season’s first meeting, Kentucky rolled to a 16-point victory. They’ve won six of seven over Vandy.
Liam Robbins is hurt for the Commodores and he’s a big loss. I don’t see the team continuing its recent offensive surge (77.4 points L5 games) as Kentucky has held opponents to score less than 30% of their points from three. Lay it. 10*
|03-10-23||Ohio State v. Michigan State -4.5||Top||68-58||Loss||-110||5 h 50 m||Show|
Michigan State is rested. Ohio State is playing for the third time in as many days. I see no reason why not to lay what I consider a very short number in this Big 10 quarterfinal matchup.
These teams just met in the final regular season game. Michigan State won 84-78. The Spartans also won the first meeting, far more convincingly, 62-41.
Ohio State has covered five in a row, but this is a team that dropped 14 of 15 Big 10 games at one point. They haven’t been that convincing so far in this tournament, beating Wisconsin and Iowa by only eight and four points respectively. (They did lead Wisconsin big in the first half).
But tired legs are likely to be an issue here for the Buckeyes, who at one point failed to cover nine straight games in the regular season.
Michigan State should be coming into the Big 10 Tournament on a four-game win streak. But they let one slip away in OT against Iowa. The three wins have all been by six points or greater. Sparty is rested here and has really had Ohio State’s number. 8*
|03-09-23||Utah Tech v. Southern Utah -4.5||Top||75-76||Loss||-110||12 h 6 m||Show|
Southern Utah is going to be my 10* WAC Tourney Game of the Year as the Thunderbirds play Utah Tech in a quarterfinal matchup late Thursday.
Southern Utah is the #3 seed in this tourney and they got a bye into the quarterfinals by virtue of finishing the regular season with a 12-6 conference record. Only Utah Valley and Sam Houston State were better.
Utah Tech is the 11-seed in this tournament and had to win yesterday just to get here. The only team that finished below Utah Tech in the WAC standings was New Mexico State, a program that had to forfeit its last seven games.
Utah Tech stunned Stephen F Austin in overtime last night with an 80-76 upset. It was just their fourth win over the last 12 games. I cannot see them winning two nights in a row. The last time the Trailblazers won back to back games was right after Christmas.
Utah Tech is just 1-3-1 ATS its last five times off an ATS win. 10*
|03-09-23||Penn State v. Illinois -2.5||Top||79-76||Loss||-110||7 h 23 m||Show|
Illinois draws Penn State in the second round of the Big 10 Tournament on Thursday. The winner here will move on to face Northwestern, who looks to be a pretty “weak” two-seed, so the winner here could very well find themselves in the semifinals. I think the team that advances here is going to be Illinois, who I’ll lay the points with.
Penn State did close the regular season pretty strong by winning five of its last six games. The only one they lost, the Nittany Lions blew a 19-point lead at home to Rutgers. But PSU has certainly ended up on the right side of some close calls as well down the stretch. The last three wins have all come by four points or less and they needed a buzzer-beater to beat Maryland Sunday. The Nittany Lions were down as many as 16 in that one.
This is a double revenge spot for Illinois, who lost twice to Penn State in the regular season. The first time was back in December, 74-59 as a 10.5-point home favorite. Then they lost by 12 in State College (93-81) as a 3.5-point road favorite.
Looking at this number, we’re getting a great price on the Fighting Illini, who were favored by more on the road than they are now at a neutral setting.
Now oddsmakers had to adjust based on the two regular season results. But Illinois is the better team here. Penn State went 24 of 52 from three in the two regular season meetings. They won’t shoot that well again tonight. Remember this tournament is played in Chicago, so it’s basically like a home game for Illinois. 10*
|03-09-23||Miami-OH v. Toledo -13.5||Top||75-91||Win||100||3 h 25 m||Show|
Toledo is the top seed in the MAC Tournament and begins its quest to capture the conference’s automatic NCAA Tournament berth with a quarterfinal matchup against 8-seed Miami Ohio.
Only the top eight seeds qualify for the MAC Tourney, so the RedHawks are the worst of the lot here in Cleveland. They went just 6-12 SU in conference play, a far cry from Toledo’s 16-2 SU mark.
The top seeded Rockets won both regular season meetings, by three on the road and by 18 at home. In each case, they closed as a double digit favorite as they are here. I’m not at all scared of this number.
Toledo is top 10 in the country in offensive efficiency and averages 85.7 points/game. Just way too much firepower for Miami to keep up. Over their last five games, the Rockets have averaged 92.4 points/game.
Miami recently closed as a 1-point dog at Western Michigan and was barely favored at home over Bowling Green. Those are two teams that didn’t even qualify to be in Cleveland. This is a huge mismatch. 8*
|03-08-23||Texas Southern +2 v. Alcorn State||Top||66-62||Win||100||13 h 51 m||Show|
This is the quarterfinals of the SWAC Tournament with 1-seed Alcorn State taking on 8-seed Texas Southern. Right away, the fact the 1-seed is only a slight favorite should jump out to you.
I’m all about fading Alcorn State in this tournament as the Braves have been one of the luckier teams in the entire country this season. They’re 15-2 SU L17 games, but that includes two overtime wins and five others by five points or less.
One of the OT wins came against Texas Southern on January 14th. Alcorn State then captured the rematch 89-81 just a couple of weeks ago. Texas Southern went just 8 of 33 from three in those two games.
While Texas Southern is on an 0-3 SU/ATS run entering the tournament, two of the losses were by four points or less.
Bottom line: this is a matchup of two teams with misleading records. Alcorn State is NOT as good as its record while Texas Southern is certainly better than theirs. Alcorn State is only 5-8 ATS as a favorite. 10*
|03-08-23||Wyoming +7.5 v. New Mexico||Top||76-87||Loss||-110||11 h 52 m||Show|
New Mexico, who was actually the last unbeaten team in the country at one point (14-0), is overvalued coming into the Mountain West Tournament because of their “must win” status. The Lobos faded badly down the stretch, losing 8 of their last 11 games. I don’t think there’s any reason to expect a massive turnaround this week.
Now Wyoming, New Mexico’s 1st round opponent here in the MWC Tourney, had a terrible regular season. Plagued by injuries, the Cowboys finished last in the Mt West with a 4-14 SU conference record. But I believe they’re being undervalued in this spot.
The Pokes played New Mexico tough in both regular season matchups. After losing to them by just a single point at home back in December, 76-75, they went to Albuquerque and pulled off a 70-56 upset as 10-point underdogs. Those who follow this conference know that winning at “The Pit” is no easy chore.
Wyoming also recently beat a decent Nevada team in what was their final home game of the regular season.
New Mexico’s defense has been really bad down the stretch and thus they are not a team you want to lay points with right now. If they do advance here, there may be some value on them as a dog. But not here. 10*
|03-08-23||Fresno State +2.5 v. Colorado State||Top||65-67||Win||100||5 h 21 m||Show|
Fresno State has won just one of its last six Mountain West games, a 74-69 triumph at Air Force on 2/21 where they were 2.5 point dogs. But I like FSU here as their slow pace and solid guard play should work to their advantage against a Colorado State team that offers little in the way of rim protection.
This is also a big revenge game for Fresno State, who has lost the last nine matchups with Colorado State and failed to cover any of the last 10. Looking at the matchup, there’s really no reason for the one-sided domination, which seems rather random. The last meeting ended up being a three-point game, 60-57.
I expect this to be another low-scoring slog. It should be noted that Colorado State hasn’t topped 60 points in any of its last three games away from Fort Collins.
Fresno State has been pretty unlucky all season when it comes to opponents shooting the three. Teams have hit 37.5% against them from behind the arc, but fortunately CSU shoots just 29.7% from distance away from home.
I just don’t think you can trust Colorado State laying points, even a small number like this. Fresno State has averaged 94 points over its last two games, and while that’s skewed by facing Chicago State in the last game, I like the Bulldogs plus the points in this one. 8*
|03-07-23||Grizzlies +2.5 v. Lakers||Top||103-112||Loss||-115||15 h 48 m||Show|
No Ja Morant for Memphis and no LeBron James for the Lakers. Who’s more likely to step up without their best player on Tuesday? The Lakers still have Anthony Davis, but I believe the Grizzlies remain the better team and thus am taking the points in this one.
Memphis comes in having lost its last two games, both of which came on the road. They were blown out in Denver with Morant (113-97) then remained competitive against the Clippers without him (135-129).
The Grizzlies are still second in the West, seven games behind the Nuggets but only one-half game ahead of Sacramento. So they can’t afford to drop another one. Keep in mind they dropped 51 points in the 3Q vs. the Clippers on Sunday and were up by as many as 16 points in that game.
The Lakers just beat Golden State, as a 5-point dog Saturday, to make it five wins in the last seven games. But I’d still rate them as the third worst team in the West, especially without James in the lineup.
I just think this is a great value on the better team Tuesday night. 10*
|03-07-23||North Dakota State v. Oral Roberts -10.5||Top||58-92||Win||100||14 h 53 m||Show|
Oral Roberts is the only team in the country that did not lose a conference game during the regular season. So it would be quite the shame if the Eagles failed to win the Summit League Tournament. Their resume probably isn’t good enough for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tourney, so expect no letdown in tonight’s Conference Tournament final against North Dakota State.
North Dakota State upset South Dakota State, the 2-seed in this tournament, last night. The Bison are the 3-seed, but came into yesterday’s semifinal as a 5-point underdog with seemingly all the money on the other side. NDSU shot the lights out (56.1% for the game) and led by as many as 21 points!
I don’t see the Bison playing nearly as well tonight against what is, by far, the best team in the Summit League. It was an uncharacteristically narrow win for ORU yesterday, 70-65 as 13-point favorites (against St. Thomas). For the season, the Eagles have outscored conference foes by 16.3 points/game.
Oral Roberts won the two regular season meetings with North Dakota State, 92-69 and 74-66. We’re getting a “discount” on the spread here because a) it’s a tournament final and b) ORU has now failed to cover eight straight games.
The Eagles are coming off an uncharacteristically poor shooting night from three (just 24%). Combine that with the likely shooting regression we’ll see from North Dakota State and it all adds up to a big win for the favorite tonight. 10*
|03-06-23||CS Sacramento v. Weber State -2||Top||64-70||Win||100||13 h 25 m||Show|
There’s already been a big shakeup in the Big Sky Conference Tournament with top seed Eastern Washington losing its first game. Northern Arizona and Montana State are already on to the semifinals and two more teams, including the winner of this game, will join them there tomorrow.
The winner here meets 2-seed Montana State in the semis. Weber State is the 3-seed while Sacramento State is the 6-seed. This is the first tournament game for both teams.
Weber State won the two regular season meetings, although both were close and very low scoring (50-48 and 52-49). It should be noted that Sacramento State is one of the 10 “slowest” paced teams in the country per adjusted tempo.
It also should be noted Sacramento State has just two wins in its last 10 games. One of those came in the last regular season game, 76-74 at Portland State, a game the Hornets won despite making just one three pointer. The difference was a couple of free throws with three seconds to go in regulation.
This line just looks short to me, given that Weber State is obviously the better team. The Wildcats never lost back to back games all season in conference play. If this turns into a FT shooting contest, bid edge to Weber State, who makes 76% of their attempts from the charity stripe while Sacramento State hits only 69%. Lay the points. 10*
|03-06-23||Raptors +6.5 v. Nuggets||Top||113-118||Win||100||12 h 16 m||Show|
Denver has won seven of eight (also 7-1 ATS) and just avenged the one SU loss during that stretch by routing Memphis (113-97) on Friday. But now is probably a good time to fade them as they’re laying a pretty big number to a Toronto team that has won six of eight games.
The Raptors were also able to avenge a recent loss their last time out. In their case, they were playing with immediate revenge after losing to Washington 119-108 just two days prior. The second time around, also in DC, it was 116-109 with the game going to OT.
What was most impressive was that Washington shot 58% from three and the Raptors still won.
The Raptors’ road record (12-20 SU) isn’t great, but overall this is a team that is better than its record, having outscored opponents over the course of the season.
The Nuggets are just 7-11 ATS this season when coming off three consecutive wins. 10*
|03-06-23||Towson +6 v. College of Charleston||Top||72-77||Win||100||12 h 22 m||Show|
Let’s start today in the Colonial where Charleston takes on Towson in the second of two semifinals. Charleston is surprisingly NOT the top seed in the CAA Tourney, despite being considered the #1 team in the league all year long and winning its final seven regular season games. That honor went to Hofstra, who is playing in the other semi and is currently on a 12-game win streak.
Charleston did make it eight straight wins with a blowout of Stony Brook in the quarterfinals yesterday. That game was never competitive as the Cougars raced out to a 19-2 lead and never looked back. They actually only ended up shooting 38.2% overall and 27% from three.
Towson, Charleston’s opponent tonight, also had an easy time in the quarters with an 86-60 rout over Delaware. The Tigers shot nearly 60% from the field and were up 46-20 at halftime.
Towson played Charleston tough twice during the regular season, losing by only two and eight points. One of those went to OT and the other saw the Tigers up at the half. Towson went 2-0 ATS in the two meetings.
Towson is a Top 50 team nationally in three-point percentage and still managed to score 86 points yesterday despite finishing the game just 29% from beyond the arc. They hold teams to 42.3% shooting, second best in the CAA, and are also the league’s second best rebounding team. I’m taking the points in this one. 10*
|03-05-23||Grizzlies v. Clippers -6.5||Top||129-135||Loss||-110||12 h 16 m||Show|
There’s a lot of hand wringing over the Clippers right now, deservedly so, as a team this talented should never really lose five in a row. But here we are and the Clips are just 33-33 on the year, leaving them 8th in the Western Conference standings. This is a team that came into the season as the odds on favorite to win the NBA Title.
Bookending the five-game losing streak are a pair of one-point losses to the Kings. One of them was the stunning 176-175 final that went to double OT. Two nights ago, they lost 128-127 in Sacramento.
There was another OT loss in the mix (at Denver on 2/26). So it’s not like LA is getting beaten badly. They probably should have won most of these games.
Memphis certainly didn’t deserve to win Friday when it visited Denver. The Grizzlies lost 113-97 as a 5.5-point dog. That was with Ja Morant, who is now suspended for two games.
In addition to no Morant, the Grizzlies are also without Brandon Clarke (out for season with Achilles injury) and Dillon Brooks (also suspended). This is a get right game for the Clippers. 10*
|03-05-23||Texas State v. UL - Lafayette -6.5||Top||58-64||Loss||-110||11 h 24 m||Show|
We’re down to the semifinals in the Sun Belt Tournament (taking place in Pensacola, FL) and there’s certainly been some upheaval along the way with two of the top three seeds losing yesterday (Southern Miss and Marshall).
This chaos creates a bit of a clear path for Louisiana to nab to the SBC’s automatic NCAA Tournament bid. The Ragin’ Cajuns are the lone top three seed left here in Pensacola and will be facing 11-seed Texas State here in the semis.
Texas State has now won three times in the last four days to get here. They upset 3-seed Marshall 71-68 (as an eight-point dog) yesterday. That was after outlasting Georgia State 81-76 in the first round and a very easy 65-36 win over Old Dominion in the second round.
But the tank could very well be “running on empty” here. Louisiana, who beat Texas State twice during the regular season, has only had to win once yesterday. The Ragin Cajuns had no problems with Ga Southern on Saturday, winning 67-49 and covered the nine-point spread.
After all upheaval this weekend in Pensacola, Texas State clearly stands out as the weakest of the four teams remaining. I’ve got the other three semifinalists (Louisiana, South Alabama, James Madison) all rated fairly evenly. Texas State is well below that trio. Tip your cap for what the Bobcats have done so far, but their run ends here in what should be a blowout defeat. They lost by a combined 28 points in the two regular season meetings with Louisiana, who has a top 55 offense. Lay the points. 10*
|03-05-23||Suns v. Mavs -1||Top||130-126||Loss||-110||4 h 31 m||Show|
The NBA starts to get even more national TV time this time of year and we’ve got what looks to be a great matchup in the Western Conference early Sunday afternoon as Dallas hosts Phoenix.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Suns recently went out and got Kevin Durant. The Mavs got Durant’s former Brooklyn teammate Kyrie Irving.
The Suns have won in blowout fashion each of the two games since Durant joined the lineup. But those wins were against Charlotte and Chicago. This will be a much tougher matchup and not only is it the Suns’ fourth straight road game, it’s their third in the last five days.
While this may seem like a difficult matchup to handicap because of the recent drastic changes in makeup of the two teams, my view is that Dallas is a steal at this price at home. 8*
|03-05-23||San Francisco +3.5 v. Santa Clara||Top||93-87||Win||100||13 h 36 m||Show|
We’ve reached the quarterfinals of the WCC Tournament where San Francisco will take on Santa Clara in the late game to determine who goes on to battle Gonzaga in one of Monday’s semifinals.
San Francisco had to win a game to get this far and had no problem doing it as the Dons easily downed Pacific last night 80-63 as a 9-point favorite. USF pulled away in the second half, thanks in large part to putting the “clamps down” defensively. They held Pacific to just 4 of 21 shooting from three.
Doing that against Santa Clara is a much tougher task, but fortunately the Dons are getting points here and the number looks to be inflated, probably because the underdogs are playing without rest. But, as we saw yesterday in the two OVC Conference Semis, rest can sometimes be overrated in these situations.
In fact, early money has come in on the dog, a move I agree with.
This is a double revenge game for San Francisco, who lost both regular season meetings. So the Dons will be highly motivated to get the outright win. Despite those regular season results, I have these teams rated pretty evenly. Oddsmakers did as well installing each as a three-point favorite at home in the two regular season meetings. I actually think the time off works AGAINST Santa Clara here as they could very well come out rusty. 10*
|03-04-23||LSU v. Florida -7||Top||67-79||Win||100||8 h 57 m||Show|
LSU has been abysmal in conference play, going just 2-15 with one of the wins coming all the way back on December 28th. Both wins are at home. So you can't like the Tigers’ chances Saturday in Gainesville.
Florida has won just three times over its last 10 games, but is still a rightful favorite in this matchup. They beat LSU by 11 in Baton Rouge on January 10th. The Gators were two-point favorites for that contest.
LSU hasn’t won a true road game all season (0-8) so this boils down to whether or not we want to lay the points with Florida. I do. LSU is 5-15-1 ATS its last 21 games overall and 4-17 ATS its last 21 Saturday games.
Florida has covered five straight games against teams with losing records. They also just won by 10 at Georgia earlier this week.
I like to back home teams in the final game of the regular season and with LSU mired in a complete tailspin, Florida should roll.10*
|03-04-23||George Mason v. Richmond -2||Top||62-60||Loss||-110||3 h 41 m||Show|
It’s been a disappointing season overall for Richmond, who comes into the final game of the regular season sporting a 14-16 overall SU record including 7-10 SU in conference play. Both the vast majority of those losses have occurred on the road. At home, the Spiders are 12-3 SU.
So I like them laying a short number to George Mason Saturday. GMU is probably a touch overvalued right now as they’re on a five-game win streak. The last three wins have all been by six points or less.
This is also a revenge spot for Richmond as they lost by 4 points at GMU back on New Year’s Eve.
The Spiders have won each of their last three home games, beating Fordham, Loyola and St. Louis. Fordham and St. Louis are two of the top four teams in the A-10.
George Mason is coming off an OT win where their opponents (Fordham) shot just 3 of 25 from three-point range. The Patriots have just three true road wins all season and average only 64.1 points/game away from home. 8*
|03-03-23||Pelicans +4.5 v. Warriors||Top||99-108||Loss||-115||13 h 52 m||Show|
Even though they’ve won and covered four straight, I don’t like this spot at all for Golden State. The Warriors played last night and were 115-91 winners over the Clippers. While they ended up winning comfortably, this is still the second night of a back to back and there’s still no Steph Curry.
With a final score of 115-91, you would think that the Warriors coasted Thursday. But they were actually down by 11 at the half! The Dubs were very fortunate that the Clippers finished 9 of 43 from three-point range, including missing 18 of 19 to start the second half.
New Orleans is shorthanded at the moment as well, but rested and coming off a 121-110 win over Portland. The Pelicans are 2-0 vs. the Warriors in this 2022-23 season, both teams beating Golden State when they were in the second night of a back to back, which is again the case here.
While it was back in November and the Warriors rested multiple starters, the last time these teams played, New Orleans won by 45.
This has all the makings of a spot where Golden State “phones it in.” New Orleans, currently 10th in the West, can’t afford to do that and will be the more motivated side tonight. Take the points. 8*
|03-03-23||California Baptist +6.5 v. Southern Utah||Top||71-81||Loss||-110||13 h 49 m||Show|
Cal Baptist and Southern Utah wrap up their regular seasons Friday before heading to the WAC Tournament next week. Seeding for the WAC Tournament is unusual in that it is not based on conference record, but rather an advanced analytic metric that incorporates conference and non-conference performance.
One of many reasons I wouldn’t want to lay points with Southern Utah here is that the Thunderbirds have lost two straight; 64-57 at Sam Houston State and 83-78 at home to Grand Canyon. Overall, SUU is just 3-4 SU its last seven games.
Cal Baptist also has revenge. They lost as 2.5-point home favorites to Southern Utah back on Feb 1. The final score of that game was 72-71. That game was decided on an “old-fashioned” three-point play with one minute left. Neither team scored after that with Cal Baptist missed the potential GW jumper as time expired.
Given that Cal Baptist was favored in that first meeting, I do not understand why they’d be getting so many points in this rematch.
There’s a big difference in the tempo these teams like to play at as Southern Utah plays fast while Cal Baptist plays slow. Look for the underdog to limit possessions in this game, helping them to (at the very least) stay within the number. 8*
|03-03-23||Winthrop v. Radford -1.5||Top||69-78||Win||100||13 h 40 m||Show|
This is quarterfinal action in the Big South Tournament, the last of four games to be played in Charlotte today. Radford is the tournament’s 2-seed while Winthrop is the 7-seed.
Radford comes into the Conference Tournament on an 0-4 ATS slide, but did win their last regular season game, 67-65 over Campbell. Earlier in the year, the Highlanders rattled off nine straight wins, a streak which included two wins over Winthrop - by 14 on the road and by 3 at home.
Winthrop comes in on a four-game SU win streak (3-1 ATS), but their last three games were all against teams that finished bottom four in the conference and had to play in the first round of the tournament. The Eagles definitely can score (averaging 82.0 points L5 games) but they are also very poor defensively (349th in efficiency) and turn the ball over quite a bit.
Radford likes to play slow and held Winthrop to an average of 59 points in the two regular season matchups. Winthrop’s recent scoring surge was already likely to have a downturn, considering they averaged 73.9 points/game for the season. Facing a team like Radford only expedites that expected downturn.
Getting Villanova transfer Bryan Antoine back should be big for Radford. Antonie missed the final three regular season games. He and DaQuan Smith form one of the better 1-2 combos in this league. Winthrop’s turnover issues will come back to bite them tonight as Radford forces teams to turn it over on 21% of all possessions. Number is way too short here. 10*
|03-02-23||Oakland v. Northern Kentucky -6.5||Top||74-81||Win||100||10 h 1 m||Show|
This is a quarterfinal matchup in the Horizon League Tournament. You may be surprised, given that this is the #4 vs. #5 seed, one team is favored by this many points. But not only is Northern Kentucky substantially better than Oakland, they are at home (only the Semis and Final are played at a neutral site - Indianapolis - for this particular Tourney).
These teams just played in the regular season finale. NKU won 78-69 as a 2-point road favorite. Based on that result, this line actually looks a little short. Now, Oakland did win here in Highland Heights - 64-63 as a 6.5-point dog - back in January. But that was a bit of a “head-scratching” result considering NKU led by five at halftime and Oakland shot below 40% for the game. The Norse led by seven with just over three minutes to go.
In the rematch last Saturday, NKU won handily despite Oakland making 15 more free throws on 16 more attempts.
Northern Kentucky is 13-3 SU at home this season and has lost just one time in their last five games overall. That one loss was by a single point.
Even more impressive about NKU’s recent form is their last four games all came on the road. Oakland got to play its last four all at home and still went just 2-2 SU. There’s a gulf between these two Horizon League sides, much larger than what you’d think based on the seeding. Lay it! 10*
|03-02-23||Illinois State +4 v. Northern Iowa||Top||62-75||Loss||-110||4 h 21 m||Show|
This is the first of four first round matchups in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament (aka “Arch Madness”) in St. Louis on Thursday. Note the early tip time of 1 PM ET.
I like Illinois State here in a battle of struggling teams. The Redbirds just snapped an 0-6 SU/ATS losing streak by routing Evansville 72-53 in the regular season finale. Northern Iowa has just one SU win over its last nine games, so they are hardly an ideal favorite.
That one win for UNI came at Missouri State on 2/18 and was by just three points. Going back to mid-January, the Panthers have just two wins by more than three points.
This is a double revenge spot for Illinois State, who lost both regular season matchups to UNI. But both games were close and decided by a total of just eight points.
Actually, the revenge angle runs even deeper as ISU has lost NINE straight times to UNI, including two MVC Tourney exits. So you can bet the underdogs will be motivated coming into this one. Northern Iowa is 4-12 ATS if they allowed 80 or more points in their previous game. They lost 83-75 to Belmont on Sunday. Take the points. 8*
|03-01-23||Southern Indiana +2.5 v. SIU-Edwardsville||Top||54-68||Loss||-110||12 h 23 m||Show|
This is the first round of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament. The OVC is down this year after losing the likes of Belmont, Murray State and Austin Peay to the Missouri Valley and ASUN. Regular season champ Morehead State was incredibly lucky this season (#1 luck rating at KenPom), so I think this Tourney is pretty wide open.
The second of two first round games Wednesday (the whole tournament is played in Evansville) pits Southern Indiana against SIU Edwardsville. These teams split their regular season series, each winning on the other’s floor. Neither has fared well at the betting window recently. Southern Indiana is 2-10 ATS L12 games. SIUE is 2-11 ATS L13.
Southern Indiana transitioned into Division I this season and proved a lot of doubters wrong by posting a winning overall record (16-15 SU). The Screaming Eagles are the OVC’s third highest scoring team and second best three-point shooting team. They have four double digit scorers plus the conference’s leading rebounder (Polakovich).
Plus there’s a bit of a edge to Southern Indiana, whose campus is just 13 miles from where this tournament is being played.
SIU Edwardsville stumbled down the stretch, losing four straight before a 93-78 win over SEMO on Saturday. The line has already moved against the Cougars and I agree with that. Take the points. 8*
|03-01-23||76ers -1.5 v. Heat||Top||119-96||Win||100||10 h 11 m||Show|
The 76ers look to avenge a 101-99 loss to the Heat tonight. That two-point setback took place on Monday and was the Sixers second straight defeat. But prior to that, they’d won and covered five in a row. On the flip side, Miami was 0-4 SU/ATS its previous four games before beating Philly. The Heat are 4-12 ATS L16 games and haven’t covered two in a row since early January.
So I like the road team, playing with revenge, laying a short number. Miami has been terrible ATS at home this year, going 8-19-2.
It was a tough spot for Philadelphia on Monday, coming off another close loss at home (to Boston) on Saturday. The Sixers ended up turning the ball over 18 times and ended up trailing the Heat by as many as 11 points. But despite all that - and missing several layups in the second half - the Sixers still had a chance to win at the end of regulation when James Harden’s three-point try bounced off the back of the rim.
Neither Bam Adebayo nor Tyler Herro played particularly well for the Heat Monday, but they still had five players finish in double figures. Adebayo figures to struggle again here as he’s got the tough assignment of dealing with Joel Embiid. The Heat normally don’t shoot well from three (just 33.3% for the season) but were 15 of 37 on Monday. I don’t see a repeat of that shooting tonight.
Philadelphia hasn’t dropped three in a row since early December. With so many road games looming and seeding on the line, I can’t see them losing this game. They are 18-7 ATS in revenge spots this season. 10*
|03-01-23||Pittsburgh v. Notre Dame +5||Top||81-88||Win||100||9 h 23 m||Show|
As I wrote about yesterday, the ACC is way down this season. This has resulted in a team like Pittsburgh, picked to finish 14th in the preseason poll, currently topping the conference standings. The Panthers come into Tuesday ranked #25 in the country but I could probably name 50 teams that would be favored over them on a neutral court.
Notre Dame isn’t one of them, but it does “speak volumes” that this line is so low (even in South Bend) considering the Fighting Irish are just 10-19 SU on the year and have lost seven in a row (and 11 of 12).
For many years, Notre Dame had a tremendous home court edge at the Purcell Pavilion (Joyce Center). All 10 of their wins this season have come here and tonight marks HC Mike Brey’s final home game. Brey is stepping down after 23 years at the helm. It figures to be an emotional environment tonight.
The Fighting Irish are hoping to get back a couple of key players (Starling and Hammond) for tonight as they were really short handed against Wake Forest on Saturday. Still, I like them getting points in this situation. Each of the L6 games have seen the Irish lose by eight points or less, four of those by four points or less.
Plus, I think Pitt is completely overrated at the moment. 10*
|02-28-23||Bulls v. Raptors -4.5||Top||98-104||Win||100||10 h 1 m||Show|
Chicago went into the All Star Break as losers of six in a row and they failed to cover the number in all six defeats. But it’s been a much different team coming out of the Break as the Bulls have soundly beaten both the Nets (131-87) and Wizards (102-82).
Tonight, they go North of the Border to face Toronto, who is coming off a 25-point loss in Cleveland. I think this is a good time to sell high on the Bulls while simultaneously buying low on the Raptors (who are 4-1 ATS coming off a double digit loss).
Toronto is 19-13 SU at home this season. Chicago is just 10-20 SU on the road. The last time the Bulls won a road game was January 28th in Orlando. Excluding a win over in Europe, that is the Bulls’ only road win since January 6th!
The Raptors went 4-1 SU/ATS on a recent homestand, before going 0-2 ATS at Detroit and Cleveland (did win the Detroit game, straight up). Overall, this team has won seven of nine. They are 8-3 ATS L11 at home.
After shooting over 50% at home each of the last two games, the Bulls are likely due for some shooting regression tonight. Washington also shot horribly against them on Sunday. Coming off back to back sub-100 point games, you’ve got to think Toronto is due for some positive regression at the offensive end. 10*
|02-28-23||NC State v. Duke -6.5||Top||67-71||Loss||-110||10 h 3 m||Show|
The ACC is way down this year. Not a single team from the conference is currently in the KenPom Top 25. That speaks volumes.
Who is the best team in the ACC right now? Most would say Virginia, but they’ve lost two in a row and before that only beat Notre Dame by two and Louisville by three. The answer to the question may be … Duke.
The Blue Devils have won four straight and seven of nine. One of those two losses, at Virginia in overtime, they definitely should have won.
One game that Jon Scheyer’s team certainly did NOT deserve to win was January 4th at NC State when they were soundly beaten 84-60 as 4.5-point road favorites. But you’d have to go back almost 30 seasons (to 1994-95) to find the last time NC State swept Duke in a season series.
Look for Duke to avenge that loss from January tonight in the final home game of the season. The Blue Devils have been bet up to 7-point favorites as of this writing, but I still like them to cover. NC State just lost by 25 at home to Clemson on Saturday, which says a lot about their squad. Duke turned it over a lot (21 times) in the first meeting, which won’t happen again tonight. They are undefeated at home (15-0) this season, winning by an average of 16.7 points/game. NC State has lost 20 straight times here in Durham and is just 6-14 SU overall vs. Duke the L20 meetings. Lay the points. 10*
|02-28-23||Green Bay +21.5 v. Wright State||Top||57-77||Win||100||10 h 42 m||Show|
This is an ugly matchup for my first conference tourney play, but I’m showing solid value on Green Bay tonight at Wright State in the first round of the Horizon League Tournament.
This game is being played at Wright State, but it’s just way too many points to lay in this situation, even if Green Bay is 3-28 this year. Wright State is coming off a tough four-game road trip where they won only once, that being Saturday at Detroit - by 11 points.
Now the Raiders did destroy Green Bay in both regular season meetings, winning by 32 and 31 points. But that can lead to a sense of overconfidence. They (Wright State) may already be thinking about Milwaukee, who would be their quarterfinal opponent (assuming they win here).
Conference tournaments give new life to teams, even those who had poor regular seasons like Green Bay. The Phoenix are basically playing with “house money” tonight. They have lost by more than 17 only once since the second meeting with Wright State. That was at Horizon League regular season champ Youngstown State.
Wright State is 3-13 ATS the L16 home games following three or more consecutive road games. This is the most points the Raiders have been asked to lay in any game this season. 10*
|02-27-23||Morgan State +8.5 v. Maryland-Eastern Shore||Top||68-61||Win||100||10 h 19 m||Show|
For a second time in three days, I’m looking to fade Maryland Eastern Shore. It didn’t work out Saturday as the Hawks ended up bludgeoning Coppin State 78-57 on the road. But this is a much tougher opponent that UMES is facing Monday.
After winning seven in a row from January 9th to February 2nd, UMES has dropped three of five overall. This includes a pair of losses here at home, to Norfolk State and NC Central, who are probably the best two teams in the MEAC this year.
UMES was an underdog in both of those losses. That’s obviously NOT the case here. While the Hawks have been profitable as chalk in 2022-23, it’s not often you see them laying this many points. Tonight will mark just the fourth time all season that they’ve been favored by six or more. Only once were they favored by eight or more and they did not cover the spread that time (beat Delaware State 68-66 as an 11.5-point favorite).
Morgan State is coming off back to back wins, both at home, over Howard and Delaware State. Howard is the co-leader in the MEAC right now. Both games saw the Bears score more than 80 points. They shot the lights out Saturday vs. Delaware State, making 58.9% of their FG attempts including 9 of 15 from three.
This is a revenge game for Morgan State, who lost at home to UMES by 14 back in January. It was a one-point game at half, but the Bears ended up going just 4 of 18 from three in that one. I expect better shooting tonight (maybe not as good as Sunday) and them to stay inside a generous number. Take the points. 10*
|02-26-23||Providence v. Georgetown +7||Top||88-68||Loss||-110||5 h 39 m||Show|
I like Georgetown today as a good old fashioned contrarian home dog. This line has moved in the Hoyas’ direction despite Providence taking the majority of the bets, likely a sign of “sharp money” taking the points. I’m also not a huge believer in this Providence team.
The Friars just lost on Wednesday, 87-69 at UConn. All eight of their losses this second have come on the road. There’s obviously a big difference between UConn and Georgetown, but there’s also a difference between getting and laying 7.5 points.
Unranked home dogs of +8.5 or less vs. ranked opponents are 58-37 ATS (61%) this season.
Despite their paltry SU record, G’town has covered the spread in 9 of their last 11 games.
Providence has lost three straight and five of six on the road. 10*
|02-25-23||Norfolk State v. South Carolina State +8.5||Top||88-76||Loss||-115||6 h 25 m||Show|
South Carolina State may have only five wins this season, but I think they are a live dog in this spot, hosting Norfolk State.
Norfolk State, who just had a six-game win streak ended Monday, has two big upcoming games after this. Both are on the road, against Howard and NC Central. Those will determine who finishes first in the MEAC.
The Spartans may have already been looking ahead when they lost outright at Coppin State Monday. They were 16-point home favorites for that game.
While 15-3 SU as a favorite this season, Norfolk State is just 8-8 against the spread.
South Carolina State has won its last two home games and they are off a one-point loss at Delaware State. When they lost by 15 at Norfolk State earlier this year, the Bulldogs shot just 40.7% overall. Norfolk State was 53% overall and 53% from three! They won’t shoot as well this time. Take the points. 8*