Two Wildcats cover- NCAAB Picks ATS Jan. 4

Missouri Tigers at Kentucky Wildcats -8

The Missouri Tigers are coming off of a route of Chicago State.  Not exactly a good warmup for the #17 team in the country coming off of their biggest win of the season over rival Louisville.  The Wildcats come into this with a clear size advantage, Missouri’s leading rebounder is guard Mark Smith averaging just 4.9 per game. They are going to be at a serious disadvantage on the boards.  Kentucky can bring multiple bigs at the Missouri defense including Nick Richards and EJ Montegomery. Missouri will not get many, if any second chance opportunities while the Wildcats should be wild on the offensive boards.  

This game will feature the 25th (Missouri) and 26th (Kentucky) adjusted defenses according to Kenpom.  While they are both great on defense Mizzou ranks 117th in adjusted offense. Even if Mizzou is able to slow the game down, they are at such a huge disadvantage in size that is should be an easy win and cover for Kentucky.

Pick: Kentucky -8

Villanova Wildcats at Marquette Golden Eagles +1

I want to start by saying I love Markus Howard. One of my favorite players in the nation to watch.  Problem is that his team doesn’t always show up the way he does. They have to face off against a Villanova team that is as hot as they come currently in college basketball.  Winners of six straight including two wins over Xavier and Kansas. Villanova’s two loses came on the road against top ten teams Baylor and Ohio State. This game will be on the road but against a very different kind of opponent.  Both of the aforementioned losses were against much stiffer defensive competition ranking 4th (Ohio State) and 12th (Baylor) in Kenpom’s defensive rankings.  

Marquette is coming off of a loss to Creighton where they surrendered 92 points.  They have to bring more intensity on the defensive end to stand a chance. Marquette will keep this one close but they have not shown the ability to finish higher level competition with their best wins coming against Kansas State, Purdue and USC, none bring the potential firepower Villanova does.  

I like Villanova to establish themselves as the class of the tough Big East.  Should be fun but this is a day for Wildcats. 

Picks: Villanova -1

NCAAB Picks 2.15.19

Clemson Tigers at Louisville Cardinals -4.5, Under 131.5

Louisville enter this game on the wrong side of one of the biggest and most televised come backs of the season. The Cardinals came out on fire against the highly rated Blue Devils but were unable to handle the late pressure and dynamic offensive weapons.  They face a different challenge on Saturday with the Clemson Tigers in need of a marquee victory to put themselves back in contention for the NCAA tournament.

Like Louisville, Clemson is coming off a weekday loss to the Miami Hurricanes.  The loss brought an end to the Tigers four game win streak which saw them reemerge as a potential contender in the top heavy ACC. 

Chris Mack has proven his toughness as a coach and his team will back him up on Saturday. Clemson, despite being 21st in scoring defense, has their struggles with perimeter teams as they rank a dismal 279th in three-point field goal percentage defense (35.9 percent) this season. This will be a slow-paced game that will be controlled by the superior strength of Louisville’s Dwayne Sutton and Jordan Nwora.  I like the Cardinals to cover and the under

Maryland Terrapins at Michigan Wolverines -6

First instinct says that the Michigan Wolverines are getting to many points against a Maryland team that has taken two straight from Nebraska and the red-hot Purdue Boilermakers.  The difference for Maryland will be the defensive juggernaut Michigan.  John Teske and company will look to force the ball out of the hands of Bruno Fernando and Jalen Smith, packing the defense on the interior and force the guards to make plays.

Michigan is 15-0 at home, Maryland has while Maryland is 0-18 on the road against top 25 teams.  Michigan is 9-1 ATS after a straight up loss. I see Maryland struggling on the road against causing a double-digit loss.

Tennessee Volunteers +3 at Kentucky Wildcats

Despite Tennessee’s record their still seems to be some debate about whether they are at the top of the SEC pecking order.  Entering this game as a 3-point dog seems like a bit of a surprise. The Volunteers will bring their veterans into a hostile environment that they have seen before.

On the season, the Volunteers are fifth in the nation with 85.4 point per game, while also just allowing 68.5 points per contest. They are also efficient with their shots, making them even more dangerous.  Tennessee is seventh nationally with a high 57.0 effective field goal percentage.

The Wildcats have made big improvements since their beatdown on opening night. They will be a force to reckon with in March but for now this Tennessee team is on a mission to dominate the SEC.  Grant Williams will be the player to watch, Kentucky will have no answer for him on Saturday.  Bet the Volunteers, consider the moneyline.

Other games:

Auburn -9.5

Drake -5         

Virginia Tech/ Pittsburgh over 133

UCF/ Memphis under 150     

Weekend Picks: Jan. 27 2018: Big Matchup and Big12/SEC Challenge

Football betting season will take a break this week as the masses will turn their attention to college basketball.  This weekend is full of great matchups highlighted by the Big12/Sec Challenge and a showdown of top 4 ACC teams.  We have picked out a few games that should be special this weekend. Enjoy!

Fighting Trae Young’s @ Alabama

In a battle of freshman studs.  Trae Young will lead the 12th ranked Sooners into Tuscaloosa on Saturday for a matchup with the Alabama Crimson Tide. Oklahoma’s super rookie is averaging mind-numbing figures of 30.5 points and 9.7 assists per game –both best in the nation. After showing signs of mortality, Young had an lead and efficient offensive effort Tuesday against the Kansas Jayhawks scoring 26point on 7/9  shooting. That said, the Sooners can’t just ride too hard on the shoulders of Young, who needs the likes of Christian James (11.9 points) and Brady Manek (11.1 points) to play a bigger role.

The Sooners are not up against Alabama football team’s stop unit, but the Crimson Tide basketball team’s defense is not something Trae Young and company should underestimate.  Alabama has the length and athleticisim to disrupt Young and force him to be perimeter oriented. The Crimson Tide are protected by a fantastic interior defense, as evidenced by their 6.3 blocks per game — good for fifth nationally. Like most SEC teams the Crimson Tide have been hard to figure out gaining wins over Texas A&M, Auburn and South Carolina but losing to bottom dwelling Ole Miss by double digits.

While the teams are both intriguing the best reason to watch will be the matchup of potential lottery picks Trae Young  and Colin Sexton.  Sexton quietly has been making his own mark on the college basketball scene.

I think Alabama come shuts down Young and pulls off the upset victory.  But I have been wrong about Oklahoma before.

 James Caldwell: Alabama      Matt Boeding: Oklahoma

Kentucky at West Virginia

The battle of the struggling hall of fame coaches takes place Saturday when John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats travel to  Morgantown to face off with Bob Huggins #7West Virginia Moutaineers .Unless you have been under a rock you may have heard that the Kentucky Wildcats have fallen out of the top 25 rankings for the first time since 2014.   What has flown under the radar is that West Virginia has now lost 3 of 4 in the ultra competitive Big12, showing little to no effort Tuesday night against TCU.

Kentucky ranks 55th nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency and 27th in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to KenPom.com. They’re a team that is no longer considered part of the national title conversation, which is troubling (and an outlier) when it comes to UK basketball. Calipari put together a team of positionless players that are having trouble figuring out their roles.  They will have to figure out who they are in a game that can factor into positioning in March.  Kentucky will have to find a toughness physically and mentally to pull off this upset.  Kentucky has more talent, West Virgnia has more experience.

James Caldwell: Kentucky   Matt Boeding: West Virginia

Virginia vs Duke

The matchup of the weekend takes place at Cameron Indoor on Saturday when the #2 Virginia Cavaliers meet #4 Duke Blue Devils.  Two top ranked teams battle for ACC supremecy, the immovable object meets the unstoppable force.

The Cavaliers have the best defense in the nation with opposing teams bleeding for just 52.4 points per game. Teams seem to shoot at a moving basket when they are up against Virginia, which limits opponents to only 36.6 field goal shooting percentage. Duke is going to be a tough assignment for the Cavs, but its not like Virginia has not dealt with a top-tier offensive team and came out successful. Virginia has already taken down North Carolina and NC State, both rank in the top four in ACC offensively.

As much we like to talk about how scary good the Cavaliers’ defense is, the truth is, it has not prevented Duke from beating the Cavaliers over the past few seasons. In fact, Duke has won eight of its last 10 dates with Virginia and it’s vaunted pack line defense, though they covered the spread in only three of those meetings. Duke Blue Devils come in riding a three game win streak in which they have woken up for long range.  Gary Trent Jr, Grayson Allen and Trevon Duval have seemed to find their stroke from deep, Trent most notably hitting an astounding 19 threes over the last four games.  Virginia is going to be forced to deal with the NBA froncourt of Marvin Bagley and Wendell Carter.  If Virginia can limit the offensive rebounding of the Blue Devils they can effectively control the tempo.

Duke’s home court advantage will play a role in this one as the young Devils seemed to feed off the energy.  It would take a gargantuan effort for Virginia to limit Bagley, let alone Grayson Allen and the other Blue Devils’ gifted scorers.

James Caldwell: Duke   Matt Boeding: Duke