NCAAB: Money Makers
NCAAB: Money Makers
By B Edwards
With many gamblers still focused firmly on football, it’s easy to fall behind in college basketball with so many teams out there. With that in mind, let me point out a few under-the-radar teams that are quietly fattening the pockets of their backers.
Look at this Arkansas St. squad from out of the Sun Belt. The Red Wolves have won six of their first eight games with their losses coming at Missouri St. and at Ole Miss. Most importantly, John Brady’s team has covered the spread in all six of its lined games.
Brady, who took LSU to the Final Four three seasons ago, is in his first campaign in Jonesboro after the Tigers sent him packing when they started 1-6 in SEC play last year. Brady is obviously preaching defense, as evidenced by a 5-1 record for the ‘under.’ The Red Wolves are 20th in the nation in scoring defense, giving up just 56.9 points per game.
Niagara has the most spread covers in the nation, posting an 8-1 against-the-spread mark to date. The Purple Eagles won 70-55 Sunday at South Florida as five-point underdogs. They hooked up money-line backers with a plus-175 payout (risk $100 to win $175).
Tyrone Lewis paced Niagara with 23 points and six rebounds. The junior guard is averaging 17.3 PPG for the Purple Eagles, who are back in action Thursday at Drexel.
In a crucial season for Jeff Lebo, Auburn is off to a disappointing 4-4 start that includes a home loss to Mercer. Nevertheless, the Tigers are 5-1 ATS and are 2-0 versus the number in a pair of games as underdogs. Their next lined affair will be Saturday at Virginia.
Buffalo turned a few heads by nearly shocking UConn in a 68-64 loss on Dec. 4. The Bulls, who have cashed tickets in three consecutive games, could be a factor in the MAC just one year removed from a disastrous 10-20 campaign.
Check out this Illinois-Chicago team, which stunned Ga. Tech 66-60 Sunday as an eight-point underdog. The Flames cashed plus-300 money-line tickets (risk $100 to win $300) thanks to 17 points, seven assists and six rebounds from Josh Mayo, who might be the best guard in the Horizon League.
Illinois-Chicago has now won five in a row, including a 74-55 win at Vanderbilt as a 10 ½-point underdog. The Flames have covered the spread in three straight lined outings.
FSU disappointed its backers Saturday by blowing a 19-point second-half lead in a 72-67 win at Ga. St. as a five-point road favorite. But a push is better than a loss. The 'Noles are 9-1 SU and 5-1 ATS. They have quality wins over Cincinnati, California and Florida.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
--Mississippi St. junior center Jarvis Varnardo leads the country in blocked shots with 6.0 per game.
--Arizona picked up a huge win Sunday when it handed the ‘Zags their first loss of the season. The Wildcats won 69-64 as six-point underdogs in a game played in Phoenix. Gamblers backing ‘Zona on the money line collected a plus-220 payout.
--Wake Forest stayed unbeaten Sunday by capturing a 66-53 home win over Wright St. However, the Demon Deacons failed to cover the spread as 22-point home ‘chalk.’
--No wonder LSU is the only remaining SEC team that’s undefeated. The Tigers are tops in the nation in rebounding margin (16.7) and defensive field-goal percentage (32.5%). Trent Johnson’s team is 7-0 SU and 2-0 ATS, but it has been “Cupcake City” so far. LSU does step up in class when it travels to Texas A&M on Saturday.