Each Conferences Sleeper Team

Big Ten- Maryland Terrapins

I may be more of a believer in Maryland then most, but this team seems to have something.  Bruno Fernando is an elite big that could develop into an NBA superstar if put in the right situation. Fernando is an elite player that will be drawing double teams in big games. 

Guards Anthony Cowan, Aaron Wiggins and Eric Ayala will have open opportunities to get wide open shots from deep.  Ayala in particular will be huge shooting 47% from three on the season.  Wiggins and Cowan bring an 80% free throw shooting rate which can be a huge asset down the stretch in a close game.  Look at the UConn team that featured Shabazz Napier a few years ago, when they had a lead in the fourth quarter the game was essentially over.

The battle tested Terrapins currently hold an RPI of 27 and SOS of 27.  Two big matchups with Michigan will show the world what the potential of this team really is.

Big 12- Baylor Bears

If you have bet against the Baylor Bears this year you have probably found yourself cursing at the TV as they pull of another underdog upset. A team left for dead after their embarrassing opening night loss to Texas Southern has emerged as a potential contender in the Big 12.  It’s all pretty much pointless as we know Kansas is going to win the conference, but the Bears can be a problem for teams come March.

The Bears have quality wins over Iowa State, Oklahoma, TCU and Alabama have put Baylor back on the map after their brutal start.  Senior leadership of Makai Mason and King McClure will be huge in during March Madness.  Baylor shoots at a staggering 45% from the field while also being road warriors. Baylor is 4-1 straight up over its last five road games. This team is experienced and efficient.  A long run could be in store for the Bears.

ACC – Syracuse Orange

The perennial bubble team Syracuse should find themselves comfortably in the dance come tournament time, despite their poor showing at home against Florida State last night. The Orange are never a team to bet against, just ask the Duke Blue Devils.  This team has a SOS of 25 with quality non-conference wins over Ohio State and an emerging Georgetown team.

Frank Howard is the difference maker for Syracuse.  Howard is currently shooting above 40% on the season while be the floor general for a team that has to keep the ball moving for a chance to score.  3-point shooting with obviously be a factor as the Orange are about as bad as they come in that attribute shooting just 32% on the season.

Despite their shooting struggle Syracuse brings an elite defense and great experience on the floor.  They will be a team that no one wants to face in March.

SEC- Auburn Tigers

Most have forgotten that the Auburn Tigers were a top ten team at the start of 2019. Losses to NC State, Duke, Kentucky, at South Carolina and at Mississippi State took them out of the rankings but outside of the loss at South Carolina none of those horrible defeats.  Currently projected as a potential seven seed would put them in a great place come tournament time.

Bryce Brown and Jared Harper are as good as it gets backcourt tandom.  They should be getting back Center Austin Wiley for the stretch run as well.  Wiley a player that can anchor the defense averaging nearly two blocks per game in just sixteen minutes played per game. 

This team is too reliant on the 3-point shooting, if they are dropping they could be impossible to beat.  Their depth and running style will be a matchup that can where down opponents that have to play multiple games over a short time period.

Pac 12- Washington Huskies

There was really no other option.  They are ok in a PAC12 that is brutal.  They could win a game or lose in the first round.  Only other option was maybe UCLA. 

NCAAF- Picks ATS

Switching to primarily NCAAF picks worked pretty well last week going 4-2.  This week has some good lines, so let’s make some picks.

Oklahoma -7 vs. Texas

The game of the weekend no matter what their records, is the Red River Showdown. Oklahoma is coming off a dominant victory over lesser competition in the Baylor Bears.  Now they look to establish themselves as a true contender against the most improved team since week 1 the Texas Longhorns.

I am immediately drawn to the QB matchup.  Kyler Murray vs Sam Ehlinger. Sam Ehlinger has a passer rating of just 139.7 entering Week 6 – seventh in the Big 12 and nearly 100 points lower than Murray’s 231.6. Despite his issue the Oklahoma secondary has not been a steal trap, allowing 252 yards per game.  This looks like strong matchup for Ehlinger. But I have watched Ehlinger and don’t believe he will be able to match with Murray and what this Oklahoma offense brings to the table.

Texas is a popular pick to cover here coming off three straight impressive victories against USC, TCU and K-State. They will most likely have the homefield advantage despite this being a “neutral site” game.  But I am not buying Ehlinger in this situation.

PicksOklahoma -7

Iowa State at Oklahoma State -9

The Cowboys pulled of the cover late last week against the pesky Kansas Jayhawks so let’s ride the cover train. This is going to be a simple breakdown.  I love going with a team that has a high level offense against a team that can have serious problems scoring. The Cyclones are averaging just 17 points per game.  The offense will need more then that on Saturday.

Justice Hill will close it out by dominating the second half.

PicksOK State -9

Notre Dame -6.5 at Virginia Tech

Notre Dame has looked like a different team since Ian Book took over in week 4.  Book has completed an astounding 74% of his passes since entering as the Irish QB. Virginia Tech has been a dumpster fire versus that pass this season ranking 123rd in the nation.

Blacksburg will be a tough atmosphere to play but the Irish are accustomed to tough environments.  The Irish also have a defense that will reek havoc for the Hokies.  Virginia tech will give them a scare but I think in the end Book will lead Notre Dame to a comfortable victory on the road.

PicksNotre Dame -6.5

Syracuse at Pittsburgh -3.5

The Orange could be physically battered after a tough matchup with Clemson last week. While they may be physically tired the Panthers pride may have taken the beating of a lifetime getting steamrolled by the “Defending National Champs” UCF.

Syracuse still has their sights set on an ACC title.  They showed the nation that their defense can play at a high level to go along with a offense that has put up over 30 in 4 of 5 games and 23 against a stout Clemson defense.  Dino Babers is my hero, he loves to cover.  Being at home will help Pittsburgh but they are at the bottom of the ACC in both defense and offense for a reason.

PicksSyracuse -3.5

Utah at Stanford -5

The Cardinal were blown out last week versus Notre Dame.  But let’s remember that was their second straight tough road game.  They return home to play a team that has seemed to find a way to lose in conference the last two weeks. The potential that Heisman Runner Up Bryce Love doesn’t play is not as scary as it would have been a year ago. Being less reliant on the run game may be a good thing for the Stanford offense.

This comes down to defense, ability and homefield advantage.  The Cardinal may not impress on Saturday but they should do enough to cover.

Picks Stanford -5

 

No time to write up the rest.  Not official picks yet, just leans that may change on Saturday morning.

Mizzou +1

Memphis

Boston College +6

Navy -3

Memphis -35.5

Auburn -4

Wake Forest +20