Betting News and Notes - Mar.14

Betting News and Notes - Mar.14

Friday's Tip Sheet
By Chris David

The West is definitely better in the East as a whole, but don’t tell that to Boston and Detroit. On Friday, the Celtics and Pistons have an opportunity to earn some respect for their conference when they welcome the Jazz and Spurs respectively.

Let’s take a closer look at these matchups, plus some other trends as well.

**Utah (43-23 SU, 34-30 ATS) at Boston (51-12 SU, 37-23 ATS)**


Utah continues its four-game East Coast trip tonight, which has watched the club go 1-1 straight up and 0-2 against the spread. The Jazz have been inconsistent on the road this year, going 15-20 SU and 14-21 ATS. The team’s defense has been torched for 105 points per game on the road, which has helped the ‘over’ produce a 20-14 (58%) record.

The Jazz better bring their “A” game to the table on Friday with a visit to Boston, who has dominated teams at home with a 29-4 SU and 19-13 ATS ledger.

The Celtics have ripped off 10 straight victories, eight of them by double digits. The team has gone 7-3 ATS during this run, including five straight covers. Defense has been key for Gang Green, only allowing two of the 10 losers to eclipse the century mark.

Boston stopped Utah 104-98 on Dec. 29 as a 5 ½-point road favorite. The Celtics outscored the Jazz by 13 points (55-42) in the final two quarters after being down seven at the break. Paul Pierce led all scorers with 24 points.

The combined 202 points easily eclipsed the closing number of 193. The ‘over’ has been common when these two teams meet, watching the total go 8-2 in the last 10.

Utah has gone 17-8 versus the East, while Boston owns a 20-3 mark against the West.

Boston embarks on a big road tip after this game, with battles looming against the Bucks and then the top four teams (Spurs, Rockets, Mavs, Hornets) in the Southwest Division.

**San Antonio (44-20 SU, 29-34 ATS) at Detroit (46-18 SU, 34-29 ATS)**

This matchup could have gamblers scratching their heads when it comes to picking a winner, considering both the Spurs and Pistons have been money burners lately.

San Antonio has gone 2-7-1 ATS in its last nine games, which includes a 100-75 embarrassment to New Orleans on Wednesday. The Spurs scored just eight points in the final quarter, notching their second lowest scoring total of the year.

Detroit has gone 4-3 SU in its last even games, but has posted a dreadful 1-6 ATS mark during this span.

The Pistons have struggled against the West, posting a 16-8 record. Meanwhile, San Antonio has cruised to a 21-4 ledger versus Eastern Conference foes.

The Spurs have been up and down on the road, going 17-15 SU and 12-20 ATS. The Pistons have produced a stellar 24-6 SU and 17-13 ATS mark at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Flip Saunders’ squad stopped San Antonio 90-80 on Jan. 8 as a three-point road underdog. The ‘under’ has gone 5-1 in the last six meetings between the two teams, including this matchup.

San Antonio has watched the ‘under’ go 19-12 on the road, plus the ‘under’ is 17-12 in the Pistons’ home tilts.

This will be the first of three straight games for the Pistons against Western Conference playoff contenders, with the Hornets and Nuggets visiting in the next few days.

NBATV offers national coverage of this battle at 8:05 p.m. EDT.

CD’s Bonus Hits:

-- Houston has posted an impressive 17-3 ATS mark during its 20-game winning streak.

-- New Orleans and the L.A. Lakers is another must-see matchup on Friday, with the winner gaining confidence for the upcoming playoffs.

-- The Sixers are 16-4-1 in their last 21 games against the spread.

-- Dallas has quietly ripped off three straight wins and covers, all by double digits too.

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Mar.14

SEC Tourney Quarterfinals
By Brian Edwards

**South Carolina vs. Tennessee**

--Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened Tennessee (28-3 straight up, 16-11 against the spread) as an 11½-point favorite with a total of 147. Most sports books chimed in with UT at 12 and the total adjusted to 145.

--Bruce Pearl’s team just played South Carolina in Knoxville this past Sunday. The Gamecocks hung in early, trailing by just one at intermission. However, the Volunteers got busy in the second half, cruising to an 89-56 win as 15-point home favorites. Fittingly, Chris Lofton scored a game-high 28 points on Senior Day.

--South Carolina (14-17 SU, 13-14 ATS) advanced past the first round by knocking off LSU by a 77-73 count, extending the career of the retiring Dave Odom for at least one more day. All five USC starters scored in double figures, but Devan Downey – one of the nation’s most underrated players – was the catalyst with 12 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds. Mike Holmes, a freshman who is going to be a big-time player for the next South Carolina coach, finished with 16 points.

--Raycom affiliates will provide television coverage from the Georgia Dome at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

**Arkansas vs. Vanderbilt**

--LVSC opened this game as a pick ‘em with a total of 146. Most spots moved the total into the 143-144 range as of Thursday night.

--This is a rematch of a game played in Fayetteville on March 1 when Arkansas (20-10 SU, 9-15 ATS) won a 78-73 decision. However, the Commodores covered the number as 6 ½-point underdogs. Shan Foster, who was named SEC Player of the Year after leading the league in scoring (20.5 points per game), drained a deep and difficult 3-ball from the left wing in the waning moments to allow Vandy backers to cash. Foster made 8-of-12 shots from the floor and 6-of-8 from beyond the arc in a 22-point effort. Sonny Weems paced the Razorbacks with 20 points.

--Vanderbilt (26-6 SU, 16-15 ATS) finished third in the SEC East, forcing it to play on Thursday. Kevin Stallings’ team took out Auburn 93-82, hooking up its backers as an eight-point ‘chalk.’ The 175 combined points obliterated the 147-point tally. A.J. Ogilvy scored a game-high 27 points, while Foster added 26 on 9-of-14 attempts from the field.

--Vandy has won nine of its last 11 games, compiling a 7-4 spread record.

--This game will tip around 3:15 p.m. Eastern. To be exact, they’ll start 30 minutes after the conclusion of USC-UT.

Editor’s Note: Previews of Friday’s night session will follow when the lines are released…

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--With Thursday’s loss to Alabama, Florida is destined for the NIT. Ouch!

--GatorSports.com recently polled a group of sports writers in the Southeast to rank their top 75 basketball players in SEC history. UT’s Lofton was the only active player to make the list at No. 45. Of course, with no questions asked, "Pistol" Pete Maravich was ranked first.

--Here’s my All-Time All-SEC Team:

Starting Point Guard: Chris Jackson (LSU)
Starting Shooting Guard: ‘Pistol’ Pete Maravich (LSU)
Starting Small Forward: Bernard King (Tennessee)
Starting Power Forward: Charles Barkley (Auburn)
Starting Center: Shaquille O’Neal (LSU)
Back-up “Big”: Dan Issel (Kentucky)
Back-up “Big”: Al Horford (Florida)
Back-up Forward: Dominique Wilkins (Georgia)
Back-up Guard/Forward: Dale Ellis (Tennessee)
Back-up Point Guard: Kyle Macy
Zone Buster: Chuck Person (Auburn)
Utility/Versatility: Antoine Walker (Kentucky)
Three Alternates: Joakim Noah (Florida), Robert Horry (Alabama) and Jamal Mashburn (Kentucky)

--If there was room for a buzzer-beating specialist, it would be Vandy’s Barry Goheen. Just ask Pitt’s trio of Charles Smith, Jerome Lane and Bobby Martin, whose careers ended in the second round of the 1988 NCAA Tournament when Goheen nailed back-to-back 3’s in the last six seconds of regulation to force overtime. The ‘Dores eventually won in the extra session, only to get beaten at the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit in the Sweet 16 by the eventual champs, Larry Brown’s Kansas Jayhawks, who were led by Danny Manning and beat Oklahoma in the finals. That Sooners squad was led by Mookie Blaylock and Stacey King. Anyway, back to Goheen….he hit several other buzzer beaters during his collegiate career.

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Mar.14

Big Ten - Quarterfinals
By Judd Hall

The field has dwindled from 11 clubs to eight for Friday’s second round action.

There are plenty of college hoops to cover, so let’s get to it.

No. 1 Wisconsin vs. No. 9 Michigan

Michigan (10-21 straight up, 11-18 against the spread) was able to prolong the magic for one more day by taking down the Hawkeyes as one-point underdogs, 55-47, on Thursday. The Wolverines’ reward is a showdown with the first place Badgers in the conference quarterfinals.

Wisconsin (26-4 SU, 15-12 ATS) is on a nice run heading into its first conference tourney game by going 7-0 SU and 6-1 ATS…winning four of the matches by double-digits. The Badgers also have three starters averaging at least 10 points per game: forwards Brian Butch (12.7) and Marcus Landry (11.2), along with guard Trevon Hughes (11.8).

Las Vegas Sports Consultants has installed the Badgers as 12-point favorites, with a total of 118. That number goes in line with Wisconsin winning both meetings this season, covering the line in one of them as the ‘under’ went 2-0.

Statistically, there is no reason to think that Michigan will advance. The Wolverines are ninth in the league by scoring just 63.9 PPG. Couple that with Wisky owning the nation’s top defense, allowing just 54.3 PPG this year, and it doesn’t look like that will change right now.

Wisky has been one of the better road programs this season, going 10-2 SU and 9-3 ATS.

The winner here will get the victor of the Ohio State-Michigan State showdown.

Tip-off for this matchup is 12:00 EDT, with ESPN broadcasting nationally.

No. 4 Michigan State vs. No. 5 Ohio State

This contest is like déjà vu all over again.

The Buckeyes just beat Michigan State (24-7 SU, 12-13-3 ATS) last Sunday as one-point favorites, 63-54.

That result shouldn’t concern the Spartan faithful too much. They still have the No. 3 scoring team in the Big Ten, averaging 71.7 PPG this season. Michigan State also possesses a more than competent defense that allows just 62.0 PPG. The recent result of this pressure is the ‘under’ going on a 3-1 run to close out the regular season.

Ohio State (19-12 SU, 14-13 ATS) is projected to make the national tournament right now by some experts. However, the Bucks would rather to win at least two playoff matches to ensure they’ll be mentioned on Selection Sunday.

The Bucks are entering this game against their 12th nationally ranked opponent. Ohio State has gone 3-8 SU and 5-5-1 ATS this season versus programs that are in the Associated Press Top 25. Surprisingly, OSU saw the ‘under’ post a 9-2 record in those previous 11 meetings.

Michigan State hasn’t been all that great on the road this year, going 6-7 SU and 5-6-2 ATS away from East Lansing. They did see the ‘under’ go 8-5 in that stretch.

The Buckeyes have gone just 5-9 SU away from Value City Arena this season, but 8-6 ATS to make bettors moderately happy. And OSU is once again a solid ‘under’ play as evidenced by its 9-5 mark.

ESPN will be broadcasting this contest, starting at 2:30 pm EDT.

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Mar.14

BIG EAST TOURNAMENT
(at New York)

West Virginia (24-9, 14-12 ATS) vs. (9) Georgetown (26-4, 12-15 ATS)

Georgetown (15-3, 7-11 ATS in conference) won the Big East regular-season title, earning a first-round tournament bye as a result. Then the No. 1 seed came out on Thursday and put on a long-range shooting clinic against Villanova, knocking down a school-record 17 three-pointers en route to a 82-63 victory as 6½-point favorite. The Hoyas have won six in a row, but they’re still just 4-7 ATS in their last 11, including 3-6 ATS as a favorite.

Georgetown, which won the Big East tournament last year, is unbeaten all-time as a No. 1 seed in this event, going 13-0 SU.

Junior forward Joe Alexander had a career-high 34 points to lead West Virginia to a 78-72 win over UConn as 2½-point underdogs in a quarterfinal match on Thursday. The Mountaineers, who have now won six of their last seven and nine of 12 (7-4-1 ATS), beat Providence in Wednesday’s first-round game 58-53, but failed as 8 ½-point favorites.

Back on Jan. 26, Georgetown scored a 58-57 win at West Virginia, getting the cash as 3½-point underdogs. The Hoyas are 3-2 SU and ATS against the Mountaineers dating back to 2004. Also, the winner has cashed in each of the last six meetings.

All four of the Hoyas’ losses have come on the highway, where they are now 10-4 SU and 7-7 ATS after Thursday’s victory at Madison Square Garden. Also, the Hoyas are on a 6-2-1 ATS roll in the Big East tournament. Meanwhile, the Mountaineers are 21-9-1 in their last 31 neutral-site games, but they’re mired in pointspread funks of 2-4 in the Big East tournament and 5-10 following a SU victory.

Georgetown’s game against Villanova yesterday easily topped the posted total. Still, for the Hoyas, the under is on streaks of 52-24 overall (10-4 in the last 14), 43-18 when coming off a victory and 42-18 in conference play. However, the over is 5-1 in West Virginia’s last six overall and 10-5-1 in its last 16 at neutral sites. Also, all four games at the Garden on Thursday topped the total.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER


Pitt (24-9, 15-13 ATS) vs. (25) Marquette (24-8, 15-11 ATS)


Pittsburgh (12-8, 10-10 ATS in conference) worked overtime on Thursday night to knock off 13th-ranked Louisville 76-69 as a five-point underdog in tournament quarterfinal action. The Panthers, who also defeated Cincinnati 70-64 on Wednesday, have followed up a three-game losing skid by winning five of their last six. However, they’ve struggled against the number lately, going just 4-8 ATS in their last 12 starts, all in the Big East.

One day after eliminating Seton Hall in a first-round tournament game, Marquette (13-7, 11-9 ATS in conference) came back on Tuesday and dumped 14th-ranked Notre Dame 89-79 as a one-point favorite. In Big East play, the Golden Eagles are on streaks of 7-2 SU and 8-2 ATS.

Marquette hammered Pitt 72-54 as a five-point home favorite back on Feb. 15. The Golden Eagles also took both regular-season meetings last year (SU and ATS) by a combined seven points. However, in last year’s Big East tournament, the Panthers sent Marquette packing with an 89-79 triumph as a 5½-point chalk. It’s the only time in the last seven regular-season clashes that Pitt has covered the spread in this rivalry.

Pitt has alternated ATS wins and losses in its last six outings. Also, although the Panthers have won three of their last four on the highway, they’re still just 2-5 ATS in their last seven as a visitor. On the other hand, the Golden Eagles are now 7-2 ATS in their last nine neutral-site contests (4-0 ATS this year) and 7-1 ATS in their last eight on the highway. Finally, whomever ends up being the underdog in this contest could be in trouble, as Pitt is 1-4 ATS in its last five as a pup, while Marquette is 0-3 ATS in its last three when catching points.

The over is on streaks of 8-0 for Pittsburgh (5-0 “over” on the road), 4-1 for Marquette overall, 8-1 for Marquette on the road, 24-11 for Marquette in conference and 20-8 for the Eagles in neutral-site contests.

ATS ADVANTAGE: MARQUETTE and OVER


ACC TOURNAMENT
(at Charlotte, N.C.)

Florida State (19-13, 11-17-1 ATS) vs. (1) North Carolina (29-2, 20-8 ATS)

Florida State (8-9 in conference, 6-9-1 ATS) eliminated Wake Forest 70-60 in opening-round ACC tournament action on Thursday, cashing as a one-point underdog. The Seminoles have won five of their last six, with the only defeat coming at top-ranked North Carolina (90-77) 10 days ago. Also, the ‘Noles have followed up a 2-14 ATS slump by going 4-1-1 ATS in their last six.

North Carolina (14-2, 9-7 ATS) enters the tournament as the No. 1 seed after capturing the regular-season crown thanks to Saturday’s 76-68 upset victory at Duke as a 1½-point road underdog. The Tar Heels, who won last year’s ACC tournament title, are riding an eight-game winning streak (4-4 ATS), with six of the wins coming by double digits.

Not only did Florida State hang with the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill earlier this month, but they took UNC to overtime on Feb. 3 at home, but fell apart in the extra session in losing 84-73 as a 9½-point underdog. The Tar Heels have won eight straight in this rivalry, and they’re 4-1 ATS in the last five clashes, including a 73-58 win as an 11 ½-point favorite in the quarterfinals of last year’s ACC tourney.

The Seminoles are 4-1 ATS in their last five ACC contests on the highway, and they’re now 2-2 SU and ATS in neutral-site games this season. Also, the winner has covered the spread in each of Florida State’s 14 road contests. But they’re just 3-8 ATS in their last 11 following a SU win.

North Carolina is undefeated in 15 games on the highway, going 10-5 ATS. That includes a 3-0 neutral-site record (2-1 ATS). The Heels are on additional ATS streaks of 41-19 overall, 18-7 after a SU win and 12-4 as a double-digit favorite (but just 4-4 ATS as a double-digit chalk in ACC play.

Florida State had a 3-0 “over” streak ended when Thursday’s contest against Wake stayed low. The under is now 11-2-1 in the Seminoles’ last 14 neutral-site affairs and 3-1 in its last four meetings with the Tar Heels. Conversely, for Carolina, the over is on runs of 4-1 for overall, 8-3 on the road, 20-9 in ACC play.

ATS ADVANTAGE: NORTH CAROLINA


Miami, Fla. (22-9, 15-6-2 ATS) vs. Virginia Tech (18-12, 16-11 ATS)

Miami (9-8, 8-6-3 ATS in conference) continued its late-season surge with a 63-50 win over N.C. State in Thursday’s first-round ACC Tournament game. The Hurricanes shot just 37 percent from the floor and 1-for-9 from 3-point range against the Wolfpack on Thursday, but led wire-to-wire and by as many as 17 in the second half. The ‘Canes have now won seven of their last nine (6-2-1 ATS) to make their case for an NCAA Tournament berth.

Virginia Tech (9-7 in conference) went 4-1 (5-0 ATS) down the stretch to secure fourth place in the ACC and a first-round bye in this tournament. The Hokies’ only loss in their last five came at Clemson on Sunday, falling 70-69 but cashing as 9½-point underdogs.

These two squared off of Feb. 9 with Miami getting the 74-71 road win as a 4½-point underdog. Despite that result, Virginia Tech is still 4-3 SU and ATS in series clashes dating back to 2003.

The ‘Canes are now 3-0 SU and ATS on neutral courts this season and they’re 3-1-1 ATS in their last five as an underdog. Also, they’ve cashed in five consecutive ACC tournament games. Meanwhile, Va-Tech is 5-1 ATS in its last six as a favorite (all in league play) and 1-2 (2-1 ATS) on neutral courts, but the Hokies are 1-3 Su and ATS in their last four ACC tournament contests.

The over is 10-4-1 in the Hokies’ last 15 games, all coming against ACC rivals, and 11-7 for the Hurricanes against ACC foes this season. However, the under was 3-1 in Thursday’s four conference tourney games at Bobcats Arena.

ATS ADVANTAGE: OVER


Georgia Tech (15-16, 15-14 ATS) vs. (7) Duke (26-4, 15-12-2 ATS)

Georgia Tech (8-9, 10-7 ATS in conference), which saw its season fall apart with a five-game slide (1-4 ATS) at the end of February, continued its rebound Thursday by pounding Virginia 94-76 as a one-point dog in an ACC tourney opener. The Yellow Jackets have won and covered three in a row, they’re 4-1 SU in their last five and 5-1 ATS in their last six.

Duke (13-3, 8-6-2 ATS in conference), which earned a first-round bye as the ACC’s No. 2 seed, comes in off Saturday’s 76-68 home loss to archrival North Carolina as a 1½-point chalk, ending a four-game winning streak (2-2 ATS). The Blue Devils finished the regular season on a 2-6-1 ATS slide (6-3 SU).

These two teams met just once this season, with Duke winning 71-58 on Feb. 27, but Georgia Tech covered as a hefty 15½-point road pup. These two split last year’s meetings, with each winning and covering at home, but the Yellow Jackets are still 3-1 ATS in the last four clashes (all as a ‘dog) after going 2-12 ATS in the previous 14 battles with the Blue Devils.

Georgia Tech halted an 0-3 postseason ATS skid with Thursday’s win, but is still just 1-5 ATS in its last six neutral-site contests. The Blue Devils are 1-6 ATS in their last seven at neutral venues (1-4 ATS this season) and they are 1-6-1 ATS in their last seven ACC affairs. Duke also went 0-2 SU and ATS in postseason play last year, getting upset by North Carolina State 85-80 in overtime as a 10-point chalk in the ACC tourney, then falling to Virginia Commonwealth 79-77 laying six points in an NCAA Tournament opener.

The over is on a 3-0 run for Georgia Tech and is 13-5 in its last 18 overall, including 12-5 in ACC play. On the flip side, the under is 4-1 in Duke’s last five games. In this series, the under is on a 7-0 tear, with last month’s matchup falling way short of the 163½-point total.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER


BIG 12 TOURNAMENT

(at Kansas City, Mo.)

Oklahoma State (16-14, 11-11) vs. (6) Texas (26-5, 14-11 ATS)

Oklahoma State (8-9, 10-7 ATS in conference) made Texas Tech coach Pat Knight’s first postseason experience a short one, holding off the Red Raiders 76-72 and getting a push as a four-point chalk to open the Big 12 tournament. The Cowboys are on a 6-2 run (6-1-1 ATS) in the Big 12.

Texas (13-3, 8-7 ATS regular season in conference) is plenty familiar with Oklahoma State, having capped the regular season Sunday with a 62-57 home victory over the Cowboys, though the Longhorns failed to cash as 11-point favorites for their third straight ATS setback (2-1 SU). Texas was torrid coming down the stretch, winning 10 of its last 11 games and going 7-3 ATS, all within the conference.

Oklahoma State went 2-0 ATS this season against Texas, also losing at home 63-61 on Jan. 21 but covering as a three-point ‘dog. The two teams met three times last year, and Texas covered all three (2-1 SU), including a 69-64 victory laying 4½ points in the Big 12 Tournament semifinals.

The Cowboys are 12-4-1 ATS in their last 17 neutral-site starts (2-1-1 ATS this season), and they are 5-1 ATS in their last six Big 12 tourney outings. The Longhorns are 4-1 in their last five outside of Austin (3-1 ATS) after starting the season 3-4 ATS in road/neutral site contests. Also, in last year’s Big 12 final, Texas fell to Kansas 88-84 in overtime, cashing as a six-point pup, but despite that cover, the Longhorns are just 3-7 ATS in their last 10 conference tourney outings.

The under is 9-5 in Oklahoma State’s last 14 overall and is 4-2 in its last six in the Big 12 tourney, though Thursday’s contest cleared the 134½-point posted price. Meanwhile, the under is 4-1 in Texas’ last six starts, and both of this year’s meetings between these two fell short of the posted price, as the under is now 4-1 in the last five clashes in this rivalry.

ATS ADVANTAGE: TEXAS and UNDER


Nebraska (19-11, 10-12 ATS) vs. (5) Kansas (28-3, 17-12 ATS)

Nebraska (8-9 SU and ATS in conference) held off Missouri 61-56 Thursday to open the conference tourney with its third straight spread-cover. Going back further, the Huskers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven starts overall (5-2 SU), all against league foes.

Kansas (13-3, 8-8 ATS in conference), the conference’s No. 1 seed, capped the regular season with Saturday’s 72-55 whipping of Texas A&M, easily covering as a five-point road chalk. The Jayhawks have rebounded from an 0-5 ATS slump to cash in three straight games, all outright victories.

Kansas has consistently pounded Nebraska lately, and this season’s two meetings were no exception, as the Jayhawks rolled 79-58 as a 9½-point road chalk on Jan. 12 and 84-49 as a 20-point home favorite two weeks later. The Jayhawks are on an 8-0 ATS tear in this rivalry, winning by at least 13 points each time, including last year’s ridiculous 92-39 blitzing at home giving 16 points.

The Huskers are on ATS runs of 5-1 against winning teams and 5-1 at neutral sites, but they’re still just 4-7 ATS in their lat 11 on the highway this season, 4-8 ATS in their last 12 after a spread-cover and 5-11 ATS in their last 16 after a SU win. Meanwhile, the Jayhawks are 9-2 SU in their last 11 postseason outings but are a middling 5-6 ATS in those contests. They’ve also failed to cash in six of their last seven outside of Lawrence, Kan., all in Big 12 play.

The over is 3-1 in Kansas’ last four games, with Saturday’s win at A&M coming up short of the 135½-point total. The over is also on a 6-1-1 run in this rivalry (4-0-1 “over” in the last five).

ATS ADVANTAGE: KANSAS and OVER


Texas A&M (23-9, 13-13 ATS) vs. Kansas State (20-10, 11-13 ATS)


Kansas State (10-6, 8-8 ATS in conference) needed consecutive wins over Colorado (78-72 on March 4) and Iowa State (73-69 on Saturday) to claim third place in the Big 12 standings. Those two victories followed a four-game losing skid, but the Wildcats failed to cash in both wins, dropping to 0-6 ATS in their last six – all as a favorite – this after starting 8-2 ATS in Big 12 play.

Texas A&M (9-8, 8-9 ATS in conference) bounced back from Saturday’s ugly 72-55 home loss to Kansas by blasting Iowa State 60-47 in opening-round tournament action last night, cashing as a 10-point chalk. The Aggies have alternated SU and ATS wins and losses in their last six contests, and the straight-up winner has now cashed in each of A&M’s last 16 games.

These teams met just once this season in Manhattan, Kan., and the Wildcats hammered A&M 75-54 as a one-point home ‘dog. K-State is 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS in the last four series clashes.

The Wildcats have lost five of their last six Big 12 games away from home, going 0-6 ATS. They’re also 1-2 ATS in neutral-site contests this season. Conversely, the Aggies are on positive pointspread runs of 10-2 at neutral sites, 5-1 as a neutral-site favorite and 10-4 as a favorite of 12 points or less.

Kansas State has been an “over” machine lately, topping the total in 11 of its last 13 games, including the last three in a row. On the flip side, for Texas A&M, the under on streaks of 6-2 overall, 7-1 as a favorite and 6-1 at neutral sites. Also, the under is 5-1 in the last five head-to-head meetings in this rivalry.

ATS ADVANTAGE: TEXAS A&M


SEC TOURNAMENT
(at Atlanta)

Alabama (17-15, 11-15 ATS) vs. Mississippi State (21-9, 14-13 ATS)

Mississippi State (12-4, 9-7 ATS in conference), which won the SEC West title and claimed the No. 2 seed in this tournament, has been idle since Saturday’s 84-75 victory over LSU, falling just short as an 11-point home chalk. The Bulldogs are on a 7-2 run, but they’re just 5-4 ATS.

Alabama (6-11, 8-9 ATS) eliminated Florida, the two-time defending national and SEC Tournament champs, on Thursday, rolling to an 80-69 victory as 3½-point underdog. The Crimson Tide, who closed the regular season with Saturday’s 78-73 upset victory of then-No. 16 Vanderbilt as a two-point home chalk, have won consecutive SEC games for the first time all season. They’re also now on a 4-1 ATS run.

Mississippi State beat Alabama twice in the regular season, winning 66-56 as a one-point road underdog on Jan. 19 and 73-66 on Feb. 6, failing to cash as an 8½-point home chalk. The Bulldogs are 4-1 SU in the last five against ‘Bama and 5-1 ATS in the last six.

The Bulldogs are 7-3 SU in their last 10 on the highway, going 7-2 ATS in lined contests. However, they’re 1-2 SU and ATS in neutral-site games this year.

Alabama went winless in SEC road games in the regular season (3-5 ATS), but the Tide are now 3-0 SU and ATS on a neutral court this year. However, they’re still just 4-8 ATS in their last 12 as a ‘dog and 3-5 ATS in their last eight when catching points at a neutral venue.

The over is 5-0 in Alabama’s last five neutral-site contests and 8-3 in its last 11 after a SU win. Also, Mississippi State closed the regular season on a 3-1 “over” streak, and all four SEC tourney games topped the total on Thursday. However, the under is 5-2 in the last seven series meetings (2-0 “under” this season).

ATS ADVANTAGE: MISSISSIPPI STATE


(18) Vanderbilt (25-6, 16-15 ATS) vs. Arkansas (20-10, 9-15-1 ATS)


Vanderbilt (12-5, 9-6-2 ATS in conference) opened the SEC tourney with Thursdya’s 93-82 win over Auburn, covering as an eight-point favorite to end a two-game ATS skid. The Commodores are on a 9-2 run against the SEC, going 7-4 ATS during that stretch.

Arkansas (9-7, 5-10-1 ATS in conference) is also coming off a win over Auburn, 77-64 last Saturday, but the Razorbacks settled for a push as a 13-point home chalk. Arkansas is on an 0-4-1 ATS slide (2-3 SU), all in conference.

These two teams met once this season – just 12 days ago -- with Arkansas winning 78-73 at home, but Vandy got the cash as a 6½-point underdog. Arkansas has won four straight in this series and seven of the last eight (5-3 ATS), including a 72-71 win over Vandy in last year’s SEC tourney, but the Commodores covered as two-point ‘dogs in that one.

The Commodores are on a 7-0 ATS spree on neutral courts, including 5-0 ATS in postseason play, and they are 6-3 ATS in their last nine starts overall, all in SEC action. The Razorbacks are mired in a 1-6-1 ATS funk – all in conference – and are 0-5 SU and ATS in their last five games outside Fayetteville. The Hogs are also a middling 3-3-1 ATS in their last seven at neutral venues.

The under was 10-6 in Vanderbilt’s 16 regular-season SEC games, but Thursday’s outing against Auburn flew way over the 147½-point posted price. For Arkansas, the over is on a 6-2 run in postseason play, including 4-1 in the last five. Additionally, the over is on a 5-0 run in this series, with the March 1 contest just clearing the 145-point total.

ATS ADVANTAGE: VANDERBILT and OVER

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ATLANTIC 10 TOURNAMENT
(at Atlantic City, N.J.)

St. Joe’s (20-11, 18-11 ATS) vs. (10) Xavier (27-5, 13-15 ATS)

Xavier (15-2 in conference, 6-11 ATS) had to battle hard to get past Dayton in Thursday’s quarterfinal contest, winning 74-65, but coming up short as a 9½-point chalk. The Musketeers, who were the regular-season A-10 champs, are on a 19-2 SU run, but they’re just 9-11 ATS in their last 20 lined contests, including 1-3 ATS in the last four.

St. Joe’s (11-7, 9-9 ATS in conference) takes the floor for at the Boardwalk Hall for the third time in as many days after a pair of impressive double digit wins over Fordham on Wednesday (80-62) and Richmond on Thursday (61-47), easily covering the number in both contests. Prior to the start of this tournament, the Hawks were in a 2-4 ATS slump.

These rivals played a couple of nail-biters this year, with the home team coming out on top in both contests while St. Joe’s cashed in each. Xavier prevailed 76-72 as a 9 ½-point home chalk on Feb. 10, then lost 71-66 eight days ago at St. Joe’s, failing as a 1½-point road favorite. The Hawks are 7-1 ATS in the last eight meetings, including 4-0 ATS over the past two seasons.

The Musketeers are 7-2 in A-10 road/neutral games this season, but just 3-6 ATS. However, despite the non-cover against Dayton yesterday, they’re still 23-6 ATS in their last 29 neutral-site contests, including 13-4 ATS in their last 17 as a favorite. They’re also 10-3 ATS in their last 13 Atlantic 10 tournament games.

St. Joe’s came into this event just 2-5 ATS in its previous seven neutral-site contests and 2-5 ATS in A-10 road games. The Hawks are now 8-3 ATS in their last 11 conference tourney outings, and they’re 6-2 ATS as an underdog this season, including the two covers versus Xavier.

The over is 5-1 in Xavier’s last six neutral-site games, and the Musketeers have followed a 5-0 overall “under” streak by topping the total in their last two. However, the under is 12-6 in the Hawks’ last 18 overall and 5-2 in its last seven on neutral courts

ATS ADVANTAGE: ST. JOE’S


BIG TEN TOURNAMENT
(at Indianapolis)

Michigan (10-21, 11-18 ATS) vs. (8) Wisconsin (26-4, 15-12 ATS)

Wisconsin (16-2 in conference, 10-8 ATS) tied with Purdue for the regular-season Big Ten crown, but won the tiebreaker to grab the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye in the league tournament. The Badgers enter this contest on a seven-game winning streak, going 5-0 ATS in the last five. Their last three victories have come by double digits, including Saturday’s 65-52 win at Northwestern, barely cashing as 12½-point road chalk.

Michigan (6-13, 10-9 ATS in conference) ended a three-game SU and ATS losing skid with Thursday’s 55-47 opening-round victory over Iowa as a one-point underdog. The straight-up winner is 9-0 ATS in the Wolverines’ last nine contests.

These schools opened the Big Ten season against each other on Jan. 2 in Ann Arbor, Mich., with Wisconsin cruising to a 70-54 victory as an 8½-point road favorite. The Badgers also won the rematch at home 20 days later 64-61, but never threatened to cover as a 17½-point chalk.

Despite yesterday’s win over Iowa, Michigan is still just 12-23-1 ATS in its last 35 as an underdog and 1-4 ATS in its last four at neutral sites (all as an underdog). Meanwhile, Wisconsin is on a 6-0 roll (5-1 ATS) as a visitor (all in conference) and 11-1 in its last 12 on the highway (9-2 ATS).

The under is 9-1 in Michigan’s last 10 games, with the last six in a row staying low. Also, Wisconsin, which led the nation in scoring defense, has stayed under the total in 16 of its last 22 contests, including the last four in a row. Finally, each of the two head-to-head meetings this year stayed low.

ATS ADVANTAGE: WISCONSIN and UNDER


Ohio State (19-12, 14-13 ATS) vs. (19) Michigan State (24-7, 11-14-2 ATS)

Michigan State (12-6, 6-12 ATS in conference) will be looking to avenge Sunday’s 63-54 loss at Ohio State when it makes its Big Ten tournament debut. The Spartans were very mediocre down the stretch, splitting their final 10 games (all in league play), while going just 3-7 ATS, including failing as a 2½-point favorite in Sunday’s contest against the Buckeyes.

Prior to the win over Michigan State, Ohio State (10-8 in conference) beat Purdue 80-77 as a 2½-point home chalk. The consecutive wins came after a four-game losing skid, and the back-to-back spread-covers followed a 2-6 ATS slump.

These teams also met on Jan. 15 on Michigan State’s home floor, and the Spartans prevailed 66-60 but came up short as an 8 ½-point chalk. The Buckeyes are 4-1 SU and ATS in the last four battles with MSU, including three straight spread-covers. Also, the ‘dog has cashed in five of the last six series clashes.

Michigan State is mired in ATS slumps of 1-5 on the highway (1-5 SU) and 6-14 in Big Ten play, but the Spartans did go 2-1 in neutral-site contests (2-0-1 ATS). Meanwhile, Ohio State is 2-7 SU in its last nine on the highway, but 5-4 ATS. Finally, the Spartans are 5-0 ATS as a favorite of seven points or fewer, while Ohio State is 2-4 ATS as a ‘dog of seven or fewer.

The Spartans enter this tournament on a 2-0 “under” run after topping the total in four of their previous five contests. Meanwhile, for Ohio State, the under is on streaks of 11-4 overall, 8-3 in Big Ten play and 10-3 on Fridays. Finally, the under is on a 3-0 run in this rivalry.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER


Illinois (14-18, 12-19-1 ATS) vs. (17) Purdue (24-7, 17-10-1 ATS)

Purdue (16-2, 14-3-1 ATS in conference) enters this tournament as the No. 2 seed after tying with Wisconsin for the regular-season title. At one point during the conference campaign, the Boilermakers had an 11-game winning streak, and they’re 3-2 since, including Sunday’s 72-58 win at Michigan as a 5½-point favorite. Purdue closed the Big Ten season on a 14-2-1 ATS romp.

Illinois (6-13, 8-11 ATS in conference) converted a layup with less than four seconds to play to get past Penn State 64-63 in opening-round Big Ten tournament action on Thursday. However, the Illini failed to cash as an eight-point favorite, dropping to 3-8 ATS in their last 10 outings (4-7 SU). Thursday’s result ended a stretch in which the straight-up had covered the spread in 10 consecutive Illinois contests.

Purdue swept the season series this year, wining 75-67 as a three-point road underdog and 83-75 as a 4½-point home chalk. The Boilermakers are on runs of 3-0 SU and 7-1-1 ATS versus Illinois.

The Boilermakers are on ATS runs of 6-1-1 ATS in Big Ten road games, 9-1 as a favorite (6-0 last six) and 4-0 as a road chalk. Conversely, the Illini are on ATS slides of 5-12 at neutral venues, 7-24 after a SU win and 1-4 as an underdog.

The under is on streaks of 9-4 for Purdue overall, 4-1 for Illinois overall and 42-21-2 for Illinois after a victory. However, the over is 4-2 in the Boilers’ last six on the road, and both of this year’s Illinois-Purdue contests hurdled the posted price.

ATS ADVANTAGE: PURDUE


PAC-10 TOURNAMENT
(at Los Angeles)

USC (21-10, 17-12 ATS) vs. (3) UCLA (29-3, 19-10-2 ATS)

UCLA (17-2, 13-6 ATS in conference), which is gunning for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, ripped California 88-66 as a 13-point chalk to open Pac-10 tourney play, just five days after a controversial 81-80 home win over the Golden Bears laying 15½ points. The Pac-10 regular-season champion Bruins have won eight straight (5-3 ATS), but they’ve alternated spread-covers in their last seven games.

Southern Cal (12-7, 11-8 ATS in conference) edged Arizona State 59-55 but couldn’t grab the cash as a 4½-point favorite, falling to 1-3 ATS in its last four. The Trojans are 6-1 in their last seven outings (4-3 ATS), all within the conference.

These archrivals split their contests this season, with both teams losing at home. Southern Cal won 72-63 as a 12-point ‘dog on Jan. 19 at Pauley Pavilion, and UCLA returned the favor with a 56-46 road win Feb. 17 laying 6½ points. The Trojans are 4-1 ATS in the last five clashes (2-3 SU), all as an underdog.

Southern Cal is 1-3 ATS in its last four games, but is 34-17 ATS in its last 51 against teams with a winning record and 8-5 ATS this season as an underdog. UCLA is 4-0 this year in neutral-site games (2-1-1 ATS) and is 10-6 ATS in its last 16 postseason starts, which included two runs to the Final Four. Finally, the Bruins got out to an 8-2 ATS start in Pac-10 play this season, but have gone just 5-4 ATS since then.

For the Trojans, the over is on runs of 5-2 overall and 22-8 in Pac-10 play, although yesterday’s win over ASU fell short of the 126 posted price. For UCLA, the under is 4-1 in its last five away from Pauley Pavilion, with Thursday’s game against Cal being the one “over,” as it hurdled the 143-point total. Also, the over is 11-5 in the Bruins’ last 16 overall, and the over is 5-1 through the first two days of the Pac-10 tournament.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UCLA


MOUNTAIN WEST TOURNAMENT
(at Las Vegas)

San Diego State (20-11, 15-13 ATS) vs. (24) BYU (26-6, 15-10-3 ATS)

Top-seeded Brigham Young (15-2, 10-4-3 ATS in conference), up by only six at halftime of yesterday’s game against Colorado State, pounded the Rams in the second half for an 89-62 win. The Cougars easily covered as an 18-point chalk and have just one pointspread setback in their last nine games, going 6-1-2 ATS, all in conference.

San Diego State (10-7, 9-8 ATS in conference), which lost at Air Force 46-43 as a one-point pup on Saturday to cap the regular season, avenged that setback with yesterday’s 53-49 win over the Falcons. However, the Aztecs failed to cash as a five-point favorite for their third ATS setback in the last four games (2-2 SU).

The teams split their season series, but San Diego State went 2-0 ATS, losing 59-56 in Provo but cashing as an 8½-point pup on Jan. 23, then winning 69-65 at home getting 2½ points a month later. These two split their contests last season, too, with the home team winning and cashing, and the Aztecs are 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings in this rivalry.

The Cougars are on a 14-1 SU overall (10-3-2 ATS), all in the Mountain West, and they are 6-2 ATS in their last eight at neutral sites and 4-1 ATS in their last five in the postseason. Meanwhile, the Aztecs are 4-2 SU in their last six overall (3-3 ATS), but they are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 at neutral venues and 2-6 ATS in their past eight in postseason play.

The under had come in for BYU in five of its last seven regular-season games, but yesterday’s win against CSU sailed over the posted price of 134. In fact, the over is on a 5-0 tear for the Cougars in the postseason the past two years and is 9-1-1 in their last 11 postseason matchups. For San Diego State, the under is on streaks of 16-7 overall (4-1 last five) and 8-2 in neutral-site contests. Finally, the under is 3-1 in the last four series meetings, including 2-0 “under” this year.

ATS ADVANTAGE: BYU and UNDER

NBA

L.A. Lakers (45-19, 39-23-1 ATS) at New Orleans (43-20, 38-24-1 ATS)

Two of the top three teams in the Western Conference meet tonight inside the New Orleans Arena as the Lakers take on the Hornets in the first of a grueling four-game road trip.

Los Angeles sits atop the conference standings with a one-game lead over Houston and San Antonio and a 1½-game lead over the Hornets. Phil Jackson’s Lakers have won 17 of their last 20 overall (14-6 ATS) and 10 of their last 12 on the road (10-2 ATS), and they come into this contest off Tuesday’s 117-108 home win over Toronto, coming up short as 13-point favorites. Los Angeles is 3-5 ATS in its last eight, but 22-10-1 ATS on the highway this season.

New Orleans has won four of five and six of eight both SU and ATS, and the Hornets are coming off one of their most impressive wins of the season as they crushed the Spurs 100-75 on Wednesday, winning outright as one-point home ‘dogs.

These teams have split two games this season with the road team getting the win and cash each time. New Orleans went to Los Angeles on Nov. 6 and prevailed 118-104 as 2½-point ‘dogs, while the Lakers returned the favor on Jan. 9 with a 109-80 victory in New Orleans as two-point pups. The road team has won three straight and five of eight in this series; the underdog is 5-0 SU and ATS in the last five; and the SU winner has cashed in each of the last nine head-to-head battles.

The Hornets are on ATS streaks of 18-5 against the Pacific Division, 7-2 on Fridays, 19-7 as an underdog and 17-8 versus the Western Conference. Meanwhile, the Lakers are on positive pointspread upticks of 16-6 overall, 10-3 after a SU win, 7-1 on Fridays, 6-1 as a road chalk and 6-1 when playing on two days’ rest.

The over is on runs of 12-2 in this rivalry (6-1 “over” at New Orleans), 5-1 for the Lakers overall, 7-1 for the Lakers on Fridays, 12-5 for New Orleans at home, 5-0 for New Orleans against the Pacific Division, 6-1 for New Orleans on Fridays.

ATS ADVANTAGE:OVER

Gametimepicks.com

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Pac-10 tournament semifinals

UCLA (29-3) vs. USC (21-10), 6 -- This will be the first meeting between the cross-town rivals in the 11-year history of the Pac-10 tournament. The teams split their regular-season meetings, each winning on the opponent's home court after words spoken in the days leading up to the game provoked strong reactions. USC won, 72-63, on Jan. 19 at Pauley Pavilion after Trojans players were angered by UCLA junior Josh Shipp's contention that the Bruins embodied the team concept and that the Trojans were more likely to chase scoring titles. UCLA pulled out a 56-46 victory on Feb. 17 at the Galen Center after USC freshman Davon Jefferson popped off about the Bruins' lack of physicality in the first game.


Washington State (24-7) vs. Stanford (25-6), 8:30 -- Both teams are a given for the NCAA tournament, so this is about seeding and site for them. The Cougars are probably in the fifth seeding range now, and a victory in the conference tournament could put them as high as No. 3. Stanford is probably a third seed now, and a conference tournament championship could lift it to No. 2. The Cardinal swept the season series from the Cougars.

latimes.com

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BEHIND THE LINES

Spurs go from hot to vulnerable

Defending NBA champions have lost three of their last four after an 11-game winning streak and are even worse when it comes to bettors.

After a recent 11-game win streak, San Antonio is in something of a free fall.

The NBA's defending champions have lost three of their last four, including an embarrassing 100-75 loss at New Orleans on Wednesday.

Things do not figure to get easier for the Spurs tonight when they visit Detroit.

The Pistons, who lost to the Spurs, 4-3, in the NBA Finals to culminate the 2004-05 season, have defeated San Antonio in six of their last 10 meetings. Included in those victories was a 90-80 decision Jan. 10 in Texas.

Detroit, which has won 24 of 30 in Auburn Hills, Mich., is coming off a loss to visiting Philadelphia on Wednesday, meaning both the Pistons and Spurs have not been kind to bettors.

San Antonio has lost its last six games against the spread and Detroit has dropped five in a row.

latimes.com

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NBA Today

Charlotte at Houston (8:30 p.m. EDT). The Rockets are the third team in NBA history to win 20 consecutive games.

STAR

-Amare Stoudemire, Suns, had 36 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots to lead Phoenix to a 123-115 victory over the Golden State Warriors.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Caron Butler came back from a 16-game injury absence and scored 19 points Thursday night in Washington's 101-99 victory over Cleveland on his 28th birthday. Butler scored the game's opening basket, survived some rough contact and made six of his first eight shots before fatigue set in.

STRONG IN DEFEAT

Baron Davis scored 38 points - two shy of his career high - for the Warriors in a 123-115 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night.

SPEAKING

``Swag at an all-time high. Feeling good. Good win. Birthday. Going to go out with the team into the city and celebrate right now.'' - Washington's Caron Butler, who came back from a 16-game injury absence to score 19 points Thursday night in the Wizards' 101-99 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on his 28th birthday.

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Los Angeles Clippers vs. Atlanta Hawks

- The Los Angeles Clippers and the Atlanta Hawks will both be trying to pick up a win on Friday when they battle at Philips Arena.

Odds aren't yet posted for this game, so check back later for the opening line and total.

The Clippers were defeated 110-88 by the Magic last time out, as 14.5-point underdogs on the road. The combined score fell UNDER the posted total of 205.

Corey Maggette led the Clippers with 22 points and nine rebounds.

The Hawks were outdone 83-75 by the high-flying Rockets on Wednesday, as 4.5-point underdogs at home. The 158 points were well UNDER the posted total of 194.

Josh Smith scored 16 points and grabbed 22 rebounds in a losing effort.

Current streak:
Atlanta has lost 2 straight games.

Team records:
Los Angeles: 21-42 SU, 27-36 ATS
Atlanta: 26-38 SU, 29-35 ATS

Los Angeles most recently:
When playing on Friday are 5-5
Before playing Washington are 5-5
After playing Orlando are 5-5
After a loss are 4-6

Atlanta most recently:
When playing on Friday are 2-8
Before playing New York are 1-9
After playing Houston are 3-7
After a loss are 3-7

A few trends to consider:
LA Clippers are 7-2 SU in their last 9 games when playing Atlanta
The total has gone UNDER in 11 of the LA Clippers last 16 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of the LA Clippers last 6 games on the road
LA Clippers are 4-2 ATS in their last 6 games when playing Atlanta
Atlanta is 9-3 SU in their last 12 games when playing at home against LA Clippers
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Atlanta's last 9 games when playing LA Clippers
Atlanta is 15-8 SU in its last 23 games at home
Atlanta is 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games when playing LA Clippers

Next up:
LA Clippers at Washington, Saturday, March 15
Atlanta at New York, Sunday, March 16

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Utah Jazz vs. Boston Celtics

- The Utah Jazz and the Boston Celtics will both be gunning for a victory on Friday when they meet at TD Banknorth Garden.

Oddsmakers currently have the Celtics listed as 8-point favorites versus the Jazz, while the game's total has not yet been posted.

The Jazz were in tough Wednesday, but managed to pull out a 114-110 victory over the Bucks. The Jazz failed to cover the 8-point spread, while the combined score sailed OVER the posted total of 211.5.

Deron Williams led the way with 26 points and 13 rebounds, while Ronnie Brewer added 21 points in the win.

The Celtics spread the ball around in dominating the SuperSonics 111-82 on Wednesday. The Celtics covered the 18-point spread but the combined score fell UNDER the posted total of 203.

Paul Pierce had 14 points, five rebounds and 11 assists for the Celtics, while Kevin Garnett had 18 points and six rebounds.

Current streak:
Boston has won 10 straight games.

Team records:
Utah: 43-23 SU, 35-31 ATS
Boston: 51-12 SU, 38-23-2 ATS

Utah most recently:
When playing on Friday are 5-5
Before playing New Jersey are 3-7
After playing Milwaukee are 5-5
After a win are 6-4

Boston most recently:
When playing on Friday are 7-3
Before playing Milwaukee are 7-3
After playing Seattle are 6-4
After a win are 9-1

A few trends to consider:
Utah is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Utah's last 7 games when playing Boston
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Utah's last 7 games when playing on the road against Boston
Utah is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games
Boston is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
Boston is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games
Boston is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Boston's last 7 games when playing Utah

Next up:
Utah at New Jersey, Saturday, March 15
Boston at Milwaukee, Saturday, March 15

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Orlando Magic vs. Miami Heat

- The Orlando Magic and the Miami Heat will both be trying to pick up a win on Friday when they battle at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Oddsmakers currently have the Magic listed as 12-point favorites versus the Heat, while the game's total has not yet been posted.

The Magic jumped out to an early lead and went on to crush the Clippers 110-88 last time out. The Magic covered the 14.5-point spread, but the combined score fell UNDER the posted total of 205.

Dwight Howard scored 22 points and hauled down 13 rebounds for a double-double, while Rashard Lewis tossed in 19 points in the win.

The Heat were snuffed out 91-88 by the Knicks on Wednesday, as 3-point underdogs at home. The combined 179 points fell UNDER the posted total of 194.5.

Ricky Davis tossed in a game-high 27 points for the Heat, and Shawn Marion added 15 in the loss.

Current streak:
Orlando has won 2 straight games.
Miami has lost 6 straight games.

Team records:
Orlando: 42-24 SU, 42-23-1 ATS
Miami: 11-52 SU, 22-40-1 ATS

Orlando most recently:
When playing on Friday are 6-4
Before playing Indiana are 6-4
After playing LA Clippers are 2-8
After a win are 6-4

Miami most recently:
When playing on Friday are 7-3
Before playing Dallas are 5-5
After playing New York are 4-6
After a loss are 2-8

A few trends to consider:
Orlando is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing Miami
Orlando is 7-0-1 ATS in its last 8 games when playing Miami
Orlando is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
Orlando is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Miami's last 6 games when playing Orlando
Miami is 15-8 SU in its last 23 games when playing at home against Orlando
Miami is 6-13-1 ATS in its last 20 games
Miami is 6-19 ATS in its last 25 games at home

Next up:
Orlando home to Indiana, Saturday, March 15
Miami home to Dallas, Sunday, March 16

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San Antonio Spurs vs. Detroit Pistons

- The San Antonio Spurs and the Detroit Pistons will both be trying to pick up a win on Friday when they battle at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Oddsmakers currently have the Pistons listed as 3½-point favorites versus the Spurs, while the game's total has not yet been posted.

The Spurs were trounced 100-75 by the Hornets on Wednesday. Oddsmakes listed the game as a pik'em, and the 175 points were UNDER the posted total of 185.

Tim Duncan had a double-double with 24 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.

The Pistons were upset 83-82 by the 76ers last time out, as 7.5-point favorites at home. The 165 points were UNDER the posted total of 191.

Antonio McDyess had 14 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double in the loss.

Team records:
San Antonio: 44-20 SU, 29-35 ATS
Detroit: 46-18 SU, 34-29-1 ATS

San Antonio most recently:
When playing on Friday are 8-2
Before playing Philadelphia are 8-2
After playing New Orleans are 8-2
After a loss are 5-5

Detroit most recently:
When playing on Friday are 8-2
Before playing New Orleans are 5-5
After playing Philadelphia are 6-4
After a loss are 6-4

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of San Antonio's last 6 games when playing Detroit
San Antonio is 12-3 SU in its last 15 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of San Antonio's last 5 games on the road
San Antonio is 9-4 SU in its last 13 games on the road
Detroit is 10-2 SU in its last 12 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Detroit's last 6 games when playing San Antonio
Detroit is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing San Antonio
Detroit is 17-5 SU in its last 22 games

Next up:
San Antonio at Philadelphia, Saturday, March 15
Detroit home to New Orleans, Sunday, March 16

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Los Angeles Lakers vs. New Orleans Hornets

- The fans at New Orleans Arena will be treated to a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Orleans Hornets when they take their seats on Friday.

Oddsmakers currently have the Lakers listed as 2-point favorites versus the Hornets, while the game's total has not yet been posted.

The Lakers dominated the second quarter with the rest of the game remaining close in a 117-108 win over the Raptors on Tuesday, as 13-point favorites. The combined score made it OVER the posted toal of 214.

Kobe Bryant led the way with a game-high 34 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for the Lakers.

The Hornets took down the Spurs with a convincing 100-75 victory last time out, as a pik'em. The 175 points were UNDER the posted total of 185.

Chris Paul had 26 points and 17 assists for the Hornets, and David West scored a game-high 29 points in the win.

Team records:
Los Angeles: 45-19 SU, 39-24-1 ATS
New Orleans: 43-20 SU, 38-24-1 ATS

Los Angeles most recently:
When playing on Friday are 5-5
Before playing Houston are 3-7
After playing Toronto are 6-4
After a win are 8-2

New Orleans most recently:
When playing on Friday are 5-5
Before playing Detroit are 5-5
After playing San Antonio are 5-5
After a win are 7-3

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 9 of the LA Lakers last 10 games when playing New Orleans
LA Lakers are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games on the road
LA Lakers are 8-1 SU in their last 9 games on the road
LA Lakers are 14-2 SU in their last 16 games
New Orleans is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
New Orleans is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 9 of New Orleans's last 10 games when playing LA Lakers
The total has gone OVER in 6 of New Orleans's last 7 games when playing at home against LA Lakers

Next up:
LA Lakers at Houston, Sunday, March 16
New Orleans at Detroit, Sunday, March 16

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Mar.14

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Chicago Bulls

- The fans at United Center will be treated to a game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Chicago Bulls when they take their seats on Friday.

Oddsmakers currently have the Bulls listed as 3½-point favorites versus the 76ers, while the game's total has not yet been posted.

The 76ers played giant killer on Wednesday, as they upset the Central division-leading Pistons 83-82. The 76ers won the game as a 7.5-point underdog, while the 165 points were UNDER the posted total of 191.

Andre Iguodala led the 76ers with 22 points, and Rodney Carney added 16 off the bench.

Drew Gooden tossed in 24 points, and the Bulls defeated the Jazz 108-96 last time out. The Bulls won the game as 4-point road underdogs, while the combined score fell UNDER the posted total of 214.5.

Gooden shot 11-for-18 from the field with 10 rebounds and five assists for the Bulls. Ben Gordon added 19 points in the win.

Team records:
Philadelphia: 31-34 SU, 35-29-1 ATS
Chicago: 26-38 SU, 29-35 ATS

Philadelphia most recently:
When playing on Friday are 2-8
Before playing San Antonio are 3-7
After playing Detroit are 3-7
After a win are 6-4

Chicago most recently:
When playing on Friday are 6-4
Before playing New Orleans are 3-7
After playing Utah are 2-8
After a win are 1-9

A few trends to consider:
Philadelphia is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
Philadelphia is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games
Philadelphia is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games on the road
Philadelphia is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games on the road
Chicago is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games at home
Chicago is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Chicago's last 5 games
Chicago is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games

Next up:
Philadelphia home to San Antonio, Saturday, March 15
Chicago at New Orleans, Monday, March 17

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Mar.14

Charlotte Bobcats vs. Houston Rockets

- The Charlotte Bobcats and the Houston Rockets will both be trying to pick up a win on Friday when they battle at Toyota Center.

Oddsmakers currently have the Rockets listed as 12-point favorites versus the Bobcats, while the game's total has not yet been posted.

The Bobcats lost 118-93 to the Mavericks last time out, as 10.5-point road underdogs. The combined score made it OVER the posted total of 201.

Raymond Felton shot 8-for-14 from the field with 21 points and six assists in the loss.

The Rockets won their 20th straight with a 83-75 win over the Hawks on Wednesday. The Rockets managed to cover the 4.5-point spread, but the 158 points were well UNDER the posted total of 194.

Tracy McGrady led the way for the Rockets with 28 points and nine rebounds, while Shane Battier added 15 in the win.

Current streak:
Houston has won 20 straight games.

Team records:
Charlotte: 24-40 SU, 27-35-2 ATS
Houston: 44-20 SU, 38-24-2 ATS

Charlotte most recently:
When playing on Friday are 6-4
Before playing Cleveland are 3-7
After playing Dallas are 3-4
After a loss are 2-8

Houston most recently:
When playing on Friday are 5-5
Before playing LA Lakers are 6-4
After playing Atlanta are 5-5
After a win are 10-0

A few trends to consider:
Charlotte is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 games
Charlotte is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Charlotte's last 6 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 8 of Charlotte's last 10 games
Houston is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
Houston is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games at home
Houston is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
Houston is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games

Next up:
Charlotte at Cleveland, Sunday, March 16
Houston home to LA Lakers, Sunday, March 16

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Mar.14

Indiana Pacers vs. Dallas Mavericks

- The fans at American Airlines Center will be treated to a game between the Indiana Pacers and the Dallas Mavericks when they take their seats on Friday.

Oddsmakers currently have the Mavericks listed as 12½-point favorites versus the Pacers, while the game's total has not yet been posted.

Mike Dunleavy tossed in a game-high 32 points, as the Pacers defeated the SuperSonics 114-107 last time out. The Pacers failed to cover the 9-point spread, but the 221 points made it OVER the posted total of 219.

Dunleavy finished 10-for-16 from the field with six rebounds, and Danny Granger chipped in with 23 points in the win.

Dirk Nowitzki scored a game-high 26 points and hauled down nine boards on Wednesday, as the Mavericks over the Bobcats 118-93. The Mavericks covered the 10.5-point spread, and the combined score made it OVER the posted total of 201.

Josh Howard had 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists in the win.

Current streak:
Dallas has won 3 straight games.

Team records:
Indiana: 25-39 SU, 29-34-1 ATS
Dallas: 42-23 SU, 28-33-4 ATS

Indiana most recently:
When playing on Friday are 6-4
Before playing Orlando are 3-7
After playing Seattle are 3-7
After a win are 2-8

Dallas most recently:
When playing on Friday are 7-3
Before playing Miami are 7-3
After playing Charlotte are 6-1
After a win are 6-4

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Indiana's last 7 games
The total has gone OVER in 10 of Indiana's last 14 games when playing Dallas
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Indiana's last 9 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Indiana's last 6 games when playing on the road against Dallas
Dallas is 15-1 SU in its last 16 games at home
The total has gone OVER in 7 of Dallas's last 8 games
Dallas is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games when playing at home against Indiana
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Dallas's last 5 games at home

Next up:
Indiana at Orlando, Saturday, March 15
Dallas at Miami, Sunday, March 16

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Mar.14

Toronto Raptors vs. Denver Nuggets

- The Toronto Raptors and the Denver Nuggets will both be gunning for a victory on Friday when they meet at Pepsi Center.

Oddsmakers currently have the Nuggets listed as 10-point favorites versus the Raptors, while the game's total has not yet been posted.

The Raptors were defeated 117-106 by Golden State last time out, as 10-point underdogs. The 223 points were a PUSH against the posted total of 223.

Anthony Parker scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Raptors.

The Nuggets had no trouble in disposing the Grizzlies 108-86 last time out. The Nuggets covered the 16.5-point spread, but the 194 points were UNDER the posted total of 226.5.

Kenyon Martin scored 23 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Nuggets, and Carmelo Anthony added 14 in the win.

Current streak:
Toronto has lost 2 straight games.

Team records:
Toronto: 34-30 SU, 35-29 ATS
Denver: 38-26 SU, 33-31 ATS

Toronto most recently:
When playing on Friday are 5-5
Before playing Sacramento are 3-7
After playing Golden State are 4-6
After a loss are 7-3

Denver most recently:
When playing on Friday are 4-6
Before playing Seattle are 5-5
After playing Memphis are 9-1
After a win are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 14 of Toronto's last 21 games
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Toronto's last 9 games when playing on the road against Denver
Toronto is 2-6 SU in its last 8 games
Toronto is 2-6 ATS in its last 8 games
Denver is 14-2 SU in its last 16 games at home
Denver is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing Toronto
Denver is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against Toronto
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Denver's last 5 games

Next up:
Toronto at Sacramento, Sunday, March 16
Denver home to Seattle, Sunday, March 16

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Mar.14

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Seattle SuperSonics

- The Minnesota Timberwolves and the Seattle SuperSonics will both be trying to pick up a win on Friday when they battle at KeyArena.

Oddsmakers currently have the SuperSonics listed as 1½-point favorites versus the Timberwolves, while the game's total has not yet been posted.

The Timberwolves lost 103-96 to the Trail Blazers as 2-point underdogs on Tuesday. The 199 points made it OVER the posted total of 185.

Al Jefferson led the Timberwolves with 20 points, and Rashad McCants added 18 in the loss.

The SuperSonics were crushed 111-82 by the Celtics on Wednesday, as 18-point road underdogs. The combined score fell UNDER the posted total of 203.

Kevin Durant led the SuperSonics with 16 points and three rebounds.

Current streak:
Seattle has lost 6 straight games.

Team records:
Minnesota: 14-49 SU, 30-32-1 ATS
Seattle: 16-49 SU, 32-32-1 ATS

Minnesota most recently:
When playing on Friday are 7-3
Before playing Portland are 4-6
After playing Portland are 1-9
After a loss are 3-7

Seattle most recently:
When playing on Friday are 4-6
Before playing Denver are 6-4
After playing Boston are 5-5
After a loss are 2-8

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Minnesota's last 8 games on the road
Minnesota is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Minnesota's last 6 games
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Minnesota's last 9 games when playing Seattle
Seattle is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Minnesota
Seattle is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing Minnesota
Seattle is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Minnesota
Seattle is 5-0-1 ATS in its last 6 games when playing at home against Minnesota

Next up:
Minnesota at Portland, Saturday, March 15
Seattle at Denver, Sunday, March 16

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Mar.14

Pac-10 Semifinals
By Brad Young

The Pac-10 Tournament has followed serve so far, with the top four seeds still remaining. In fact, the only higher seed to win a game at Staples Center was an opening-round contest when ninth-seed California slipped past eighth-seed Washington.

The four seeds remaining are all comfortably in the NCAA Tournament, while three schools suffered notable losses from Thursday’s quarterfinal action to remain ‘bubble’ teams. Arizona should advance to its 24th consecutive NCAA Tournament with a solid Ratings Percentage Index of 34, while Oregon (54) and especially Arizona State (74) will have to sweat out Selection Sunday.

Now let’s break down the Pac 10’s version of the Final Four.

**Southern Cal (4) versus UCLA (1)**

-Caesars Palace installed UCLA as a 9½-point ‘chalk’ over Southern Cal, with the total set at 127. This Pac-10 semifinal contest is slated to start at 9:00 p.m. ET, with FOX Sports Net providing coverage.

-Southern Cal (21-10 straight up, 17-10 against the spread) toppled Arizona State Thursday as a four-point favorite, 59-54. The combined 113 points went ‘under’ the 125-point closing total.

-The Sun Devils appeared to tie the score late in the contest, but a basket was called off when a foul was called. The Trojans hit a pair of free throws to seal the contest and punch their ticket to the semifinals.

-Guard O.J. Mayo led all scorers with 23 points on 8-of-17 shooting while dishing out six assists. USC shot 43 percent (21-of-49) from the field, while outrebounding Arizona State, 32-19.

-The Trojans are 10-5 SU and 10-4 ATS away from home, winning those affairs by an average score of 69-63.

-UCLA (29-3 SU, 19-10 ATS) routed California Thursday as a 13-point ‘chalk,’ 88-66, while the combined 154 points went ‘over’ the 143-point closing total. The Bruins have alternated ATS wins and losses their last seven games.

-UCLA jumped out to a 14-point halftime advantage, and finished the contest by shooting 53 percent (32-of-60) from the field. Four of the five starters reached double digits in scoring, led by guard Darren Collison’s game-high 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting.

-The Bruins maintain a 13-1 SU and 10-3 ATS road record, winning those matchups by an average score of 70-61.

-USC and UCLA split their season series, with the road team prevailing each time. The Trojans triumphed Jan. 19 as a 12-point road underdog, 72-63, while the Bruins prevailed Feb. 17 as a seven-point road ‘chalk,’ 56-46.

**Washington State (3) versus Stanford (2)**

-There is no overnight line or total on this contest due to the late ending of the Arizona-Stanford game. This Pac-10 semifinal contest is scheduled to start at 11:30 p.m. ET.

-Washington State (24-7 SU, 14-14 ATS) held off Oregon Thursday as a 4 ½-point favorite, 75-70. The Cougars had failed to cover their previous two outings before upending the Ducks.

-Wazzu jumped out to a 42-27 halftime advantage, and prevailed by shooting 52 percent (25-of-48) from the field. Guard Derrick Low paced the offense with 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting.

-The Cougars own a 14-3 SU and 9-6 ATS road record, winning those affairs by an average score of 67-57.

-Stanford (25-6 SU, 15-15 ATS) wore down Arizona and triumphed as a three-point ‘chalk,’ 75-64. The Cardinal were just 1-4 ATS the past five games heading into their matchup with the Wildcats.

-Stanford dominated Arizona on the boards, 50-27, and shot 43 percent (30-of-70) from the field. Brook Lopez stepped up with 20 points and 15 rebounds, while his brother Robin Lopez added 14 and three.

-The Cardinal are 9-5 SU and 8-6 ATS away from home, winning those games by an average score of 68-65.

-Stanford swept Washington State this season SU and ATS, prevailing Feb. 2 as a 5½-point road underdog, 67-65, and March 1 as a 4 ½-point home favorite, 60-53.

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Re: Betting News and Notes - Mar.14

SEC Tourney Quarterfinals
By Brian Edwards

**South Carolina vs. Tennessee**

--Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened Tennessee (28-3 straight up, 16-11 against the spread) as an 11½-point favorite with a total of 147. Most sports books chimed in with UT at 12 and the total adjusted to 145.

--Bruce Pearl’s team just played South Carolina in Knoxville this past Sunday. The Gamecocks hung in early, trailing by just one at intermission. However, the Volunteers got busy in the second half, cruising to an 89-56 win as 15-point home favorites. Fittingly, Chris Lofton scored a game-high 28 points on Senior Day.

--South Carolina (14-17 SU, 13-14 ATS) advanced past the first round by knocking off LSU by a 77-73 count, extending the career of the retiring Dave Odom for at least one more day. All five USC starters scored in double figures, but Devan Downey – one of the nation’s most underrated players – was the catalyst with 12 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds. Mike Holmes, a freshman who is going to be a big-time player for the next South Carolina coach, finished with 16 points.

--The 'Cocks are 2-1 ATS in three games this season as double-digit underdogs. As for the Vols, they are 7-4 ATS as double-digit favorites.

--Raycom affiliates will provide television coverage from the Georgia Dome at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

**Arkansas vs. Vanderbilt**

--LVSC opened this game as a pick ‘em with a total of 146. Most spots moved the total into the 143-144 range as of Thursday night.

--This is a rematch of a game played in Fayetteville on March 1 when Arkansas (20-10 SU, 9-15 ATS) won a 78-73 decision. However, the Commodores covered the number as 6½-point underdogs. Shan Foster, who was named SEC Player of the Year after leading the league in scoring (20.5 points per game), drained a deep and difficult 3-ball from the left wing in the waning moments to allow Vandy backers to cash. Foster made 8-of-12 shots from the floor and 6-of-8 from beyond the arc in a 22-point effort. Sonny Weems paced the Razorbacks with 20 points.

--Vanderbilt (26-6 SU, 16-15 ATS) finished third in the SEC East, forcing it to play on Thursday. Kevin Stallings’ team took out Auburn 93-82, hooking up its backers as an eight-point ‘chalk.’ The 175 combined points obliterated the 147-point tally. A.J. Ogilvy scored a game-high 27 points, while Foster added 26 on 9-of-14 attempts from the field.

--Vandy has won nine of its last 11 games, compiling a 7-4 spread record.

--This game will tip around 3:15 p.m. Eastern. To be exact, they’ll start 30 minutes after the conclusion of USC-UT.

Editor’s Note: Previews of Friday’s night session ('Bama-Miss. St. and UGA-UK) will follow when the lines are released…

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--With Thursday’s loss to Alabama, Florida is destined for the NIT. Ouch! Likewise, with Ole Miss's lost to Georgia, the Rebels are NIT bound.

--I hope that Dennis Felton saved his job at UGA with last night's win. I really think he deserves one more season.

--GatorSports.com recently polled a group of sports writers in the Southeast to rank their top 75 basketball players in SEC history. UT’s Lofton was the only active player to make the list at No. 45. Of course, with no questions asked, "Pistol" Pete Maravich was ranked first.

--Here’s my All-Time All-SEC Team:

Starting Point Guard: Chris Jackson (LSU)
Starting Shooting Guard: ‘Pistol’ Pete Maravich (LSU)
Starting Small Forward: Bernard King (Tennessee)
Starting Power Forward: Charles Barkley (Auburn)
Starting Center: Shaquille O’Neal (LSU)
Back-up “Big”: Dan Issel (Kentucky)
Back-up “Big”: Al Horford (Florida)
Back-up Forward: Dominique Wilkins (Georgia)
Back-up Guard/Forward: Dale Ellis (Tennessee)
Back-up Point Guard: Kyle Macy
Zone Buster: Chuck Person (Auburn)
Utility/Versatility: Antoine Walker (Kentucky)
Three Alternates: Joakim Noah (Florida), Robert Horry (Alabama) and Jamal Mashburn (Kentucky)

--If there was room for a buzzer-beating specialist, it would be Vandy’s Barry Goheen. Just ask Pitt’s trio of Charles Smith, Jerome Lane and Bobby Martin, whose careers ended in the second round of the 1988 NCAA Tournament when Goheen nailed back-to-back 3’s in the last six seconds of regulation to force overtime. The ‘Dores eventually won in the extra session, only to get beaten at the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit in the Sweet 16 by the eventual champs, Larry Brown’s Kansas Jayhawks, who were led by Danny Manning and beat Oklahoma in the finals. That Sooners squad was led by Mookie Blaylock and Stacey King. Anyway, back to Goheen….he hit several other buzzer beaters during his collegiate career.

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