Betting news, trends, odds and predictions from various handicappers and websites for Thursday 3/14/19
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Big East tournament, NYC
Providence won three of its last four games, with all three wins over Butler; Friars lost twice to Villanova this season, by 6-18 points. Wildcats won 13 of last 15 series games- they beat Friars by 10 in OT in LY’s Big East final. Providence had stress-free win over Butler yesterday, only couple guys played 30:00+ in game where Friars made 11-23 on arc. Villanova is 3-5 in its last eight games, losing their last five games away from home. Wildcats won this tournament three of last four years,, winning their first game each year, by 35-18-41-24 points.
Creighton/Xavier are 7-7 in Big East meetings, splitting pair this year; Bluejays are 2-0 vs Xavier in this event. Creighton won its last five games, with wins at DePaul/Marquette; they’re 5-5 in Big East tourney games, 3-2 in their first tourney game each year. Creighton is experience team #284. Over last 16 years, Xavier is 14-2 in its first conference tourney game; Musketeers won six of their last seven games overall- they’re experience team #124. Creighton is making 54.3% of its 2-point shots in Big East games, best in the league.
Seton Hall won six of last eight games with Georgetown; teams split pair of meetings this year, with Pirates losing in double OT at Georgetown 12 days ago. Last five years, Hoyas are 2-5 in Big East tourney, 2-3 in first round, with losses by 4-1-11 points- they’re experience team #263. Seton Hall won this event in 2016; they’re 7-3 in last ten first round games. Pirates are 5-3 in their last eight games overall, upsetting Marquette/Villanova in last two. Hall is experience team #221; they’re turning ball over 19.9% of time, worst in league.
ACC tournament. Charlotte
NC State was down 18 to Clemson yesterday, 16 at the half but rallied and won 59-58; three guys played 32:00+. Wolfpack lost 66-65 in OT at home to Virginia Jan 29, after Virginia led by 14 in second half; Cavaliers won last seven series games, with five wins by 10+ points. Virginia won its last eight games; they’re playing for a #1 seed next week, while Wolfpack is on bubble. Cavaliers won their first ACC tourney game the last five years, by 13-14-20-12-17 points. Virginia is #201 experience team that held six of its last seven opponents under 60 points.
Florida State beat Virginia Tech 73-64 in OT at home nine days ago, after trailing by 14 early in 2nd half; Seminoles won last four series games, beating Hokies 74-68 in this event two years ago. FSU won their first ACC tourney game five of last six years; they won 12 of last 13 games overall, with only loss at UNC- they’re experience team #92. Tech had stress-free win vs Miami yesterday; three starters played 32:00+. Hokies are still without star PG Robinson; in their ACC history, Tech is 1-7 in 2nd game of an ACC tourney, with only win in 2011.
Louisville pounded North Carolina by 21 in Chapel Hill, then lost by 10 at home to the Tar Heels in this season’s matchups; UNC is 5-3 overall in ACC meetings. Cardinals are 4-7 in their last 11 games but had stress-free win yesterday- no Louisville guy played 30:00+; they’re experience team #100, but only #273 in MC. Since 2005, Carolina is 12-2 in its first ACC tourney game, with last six wins by 16+ points. Tar Heels won their last seven games and 14 of last 15; they’re shooting 37.9% on arc in ACC games, best in league.
Big 14 tournament, Chicago
Ohio State won 55-52 at Indiana Feb 10, in game with total of only 13 free throws. Buckeyes won last three series games, by 15-2-3 points. Indiana won its last four games after a 1-12 skid; lot of people think this game would get them off the bubble. Since 2005, Hoosiers are 5-14 in Big 14 tourney, 4-3 in first round games the last seven years. Indiana is experience team #286 that is shooting only 27.5% inn Big 14 games. Ohio State lost six of its last eight games after starting 6-6 in league; they lost first Big 14 tourney game the last two years, by 1-9 points.
Big X tournament, Kansas City
Baylor beat Iowa State twice this season, by 3-4 points; Bears won eight of last ten series games. Last four years, Baylor is 2-4 in Big X tourney, losing its first game last two years, by 6-13 points. Bears lost last three games overall, by 8-3-8 points; they’re experience team #259 that is making 37.3% of its 3’s in Big X games, best in league. Cyclones lost six of their last eight games, after a 7-3 start in Big X- they’re a thin team whose bench has played minutes #329 (out of 353). ISU won this event three of last five years, lost in first round other two years.
Texas is #281 experience team that lost five of last seven games overall; they’re expected to get PG Roach (suspension) back after he missed last five games. Longhorns split couple of games with Kansas this year- they’re 2-15 overall in last 17 series games. Since ’06, Texas is 12-1 in first round conference tourney games, with only loss in ’16. Kansas didn’t win regular season for first time in 14 years; they won six of last eight games, are 12-3 in Big X tourney the last six seasons- they won their first conference tournament game eight of the last nine years.
Pac-12 tournament, Las Vegas (T-Mobile Arena)
Oregon State won 76-74 at Colorado Jan 31, but Beavers lost four of last six games, with all four losses by 1 or 2 points or in OT. OSU is shooting 55.4% inside arc in conference games, best in league; they’re 2-4 in first round conference tourney games the last six years. Beavers are #167 experience team (#55 in MC). Colorado won its last four games and nine of its last 11; they lost their second game in Pac-12 tourney the last four years. Buffaloes beat Cal by 5 last night, but it was a struggle; they used only seven guys, four played 31:00+.
Arizona State shot 57% inside arc in its 84-73 win at UCLA Jan 24; Sun Devils won last couple series games, after losing 11 of previous 13 meetings. Last four years, UCLA is 4-4 in this event, losing their second tourney game last three times. Bruins beat Stanford by 7 last night- they led by 26 with 12:39 left. Four UCLA guys played 33:00+. Arizona State won five of its last six games, is on NCAA bubble; Sun Devils are experience team #282- they won three of last four road games. Since 2010, ASU is 2-9 in Pac-12 tourney, with both their wins in OT.
Conference USA tournament, Frisco, TX
Southern Mississippi hammered Marshall 101-51 at home Jan 26, just their second series win in last six meetings; USM shot 76% inside arc, 13-27 on arc in game that was only 48-31 at the half. Marshall won its last six games, crushing Rice last nite; Thundering Herd made 13-27 on arc. Marshall is 7-1 in this event the last three years, winning it LY. Southern Miss is experience team #20 that won eight of its last team games overall; since ’06, Golden Eagles are 10-1 in their first C-USA tourney game. USM allowed 52-48 points in its last two games.
SEC tournament, Nashville
Alabama whipped Ole Miss 74-53 at home Jan 22, its third win in last four games against the Rebels. Crimson Tide won their first SEC tourney game the last three years, winning by 8-1-20 points. Bama lost six of its last eight games overall, losing last three games by 5-6-12 points; they’re experience team #211. Ole Miss lost four of its last six games after starting season 8-4 in SEC- their last five years were all decided by 5 or fewer points. Last four years, Rebels are 1-4 in this event; they’re experience team #183 that starts two seniors and a junior.
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In preparing for the chaos that is first round on Thursday/Friday of the NCAA tournament, the back end of conference tournament week is always a good appetizer. Games are going on all day, every day for Thursday and Friday in these conference tournaments and there is plenty of action to be had.
There is no bigger day in terms of overall action than what Thursday's conference tournaments bring, and because of that it's never to early to break down games, especially those that tip off before the dinner rush.
So here are two plays I've already invested in for Thursday's afternoon action as it's a pair of very small underdogs who I believe should be the ones laying chalk.
Best Bet #1: USF +1/ML
It's been a trying first season at Connecticut for head coach Dan Hurley, as the program went through it's third consecutive losing season. Hurley knew his expected transformation wouldn't happen overnight, but he couldn't have expected it to be this rough. The Huskies dropped seven of their final 10 games overall, and as of now, the only win the Huskies had this year over a projected NCAA tournament team came back in the third game of the year when they knocked off Syracuse.
The Huskies did manage to win their second meeting with USF this year though, as a 60-58 win at the beginning of March helped Connecticut close the year having won two of three. But that was also a home game (Huskies were 13-5 SU at home) and even though it's just a neutral court, anywhere but home as been bad for Connecticut all year long. The Huskies were 2-11 SU not on their own floor this year and against a more talented USF team, I don't believe the Huskies should be the ones laying point(s).
USF limped to the regular season finish line as well with a 2-6 SU record in their last eight games, but this team has shown much more promise all year long. That two-point loss to Connecticut came because USF couldn't knock down a shot (32.8% from floor) and they were only in the game because the Huskies weren't much better shooting the ball. But USF did put up 51 points on this Huskies team in the 2nd half of the first meeting – a 76-68 USF win – on shooting just 44% from the floor but being ultra-aggressive and getting to the free throw line 46 times. That's an absurd number as the AAC officials have come under some scrutiny at times this year, but an aggressive, attack the rim mindset should come from USF from the outset here and it should end up being enough for them to win this game.
USF is going to need a tremendous showing in the AAC Tournament to even have a shot at the NCAA tournament field, and they'll have their opportunity vs Houston up next should they get past this game. That's where the Bulls will end up determining the fate of their season, as they'll find a way to get by this talent-starved Connecticut program.
Odds per - BetDSI.eu
Best Bet #2: San Diego State +1/ML
Over in the Mountain West, there's work to be done for basically everyone that's not named Nevada (and probably Utah State) in this conference, and both San Diego State and UNLV know that a loss here and all hope is lost.
Which is why it was surprising to me to see the Runnin' Rebels open as the favorite here considering they were 0-2 SU against the Aztecs this year. Yes, every game in this tournament is a home game for UNLV, but I'm not sure that means as much in conference tournament play as some would lead you to believe. Fans from the entire conference have much easier access to tickets for tournament games then they do for regular “road” games and that does mitigate any home court advantage hosts may have.
Furthermore, San Diego State dominated UNLV in the first meeting – winning by 17 points – and while the visit to Las Vegas only resulted in a one-point Aztecs win, they've already proven that if they are near their best, they should be able to roll the Rebels. The game @ UNLV late last month closed as a pick'em, so remind me again why UNLV is favored here.
And similar to USF's potential of playing their way into the NCAA tournament with a strong tournament showing, it's likely Nevada on deck for the winner of this game, and a win over the Wolf Pack may be just what the Aztecs need to strengthen their case enough to earn a third tournament bid for the conference.
But with the more efficient offense in terms of shooting percentage, the ability to protect the ball and force turnovers, and the better defense overall, this Aztecs team deserves to be the ones laying a point or two (at least) in this matchup. The 28-point loss to end the year against Nevada is too heavily weighed in this line, and with San Diego State on a 5-1-1 ATS run after losing by 20+, they are no strangers to bounce back efforts.
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