Top College Hoops Best Bets
Top College Hoops Best Bets
Top College Hoops Best Bets
By Doug Upstone
College basketball has evolved into conference play and a number of teams have gaudy records, some are of value and others not. In the sports wagering game of cat and mouse, spread wins and losses supersede conventional win/loss numbers, as teams heavy one way or the other draw the scrutiny of those setting the lines. Lets face it, understanding information is the key to winning consistently, along with an instinct to spot a winner based on various factors. Here we will look at a number of the top winning college basketball teams covering the spread and if they are a good or bad bet going deeper into the season.
St. Marys (14-2, 13-2 ATS)
The Gaels lost a ton of talent from last years squad, including the brilliant Paddy Mills and figured to finish no better than third place in what could a down year for the West Coast Conference. It was fairly easy to make the argument that St. Marys was burned by the NCAA after being snubbed with 28-7 record, primarily because Mills suffered hand injury and the team faltered because of that down the stretch. Players like center Omar Samhan vowed to make sure that wouldnt happen again and has kept his word thus far. It would be incorrect to call the Gaels schedule imposing; nevertheless, theyve faced teams that at least deserved to have a spread in virtually every contest. St. Marys is a patient offensive team, shooting almost 50 percent and works the ball around for good shoots in coach Randy Bennetts offense. Defensively, the Gaels are adequate in holding opponents to around 42 percent shooting and as usual are lights out at tiny McKeon Pavilion (3,500 capacity) with 8-1 and 7-1 ATS record. St. Marys notoriety mostly comes from playing Gonzaga; oddsmakers wont pay a great deal of attention to them as long as they dont enter the Top 25 or make a lot of headlines. Should be able to secure a fair price on the Gaels in the coming weeks.
Texas (15-0, 8-3 ATS)
Coach Rick Barnes Longhorns are very deserving of high ranking and for a club this high on the charts, have covered an abnormal amount of games. In trying to understand why, Texas has faced an exceptional non-conference slate, which has presented less inflated numbers that would correlate with top-notch status. The Longhorns have proven they have the skill and depth to override opposing teams. This has been particularly true against teams that compete with Texas for 25-30 minutes, then players that could start for most of the Horns opponents, overwhelm them down the stretch as these bench players and fresher starters are able to play their game against worn out foe. Texas is 8-3 ATS as favorite, but is not lock they appear. Coach Barnes has to get after his guys from time to time, since they are so skilled on offense; they kept caught up in making buckets instead of defending the basket. Most of the time they will be able to overcome this and cover inflated numbers, but as was the case in the Arkansas road conflict, they surrendered 48 first half points and never was close to covering the 14-point spread due to lack of defensive intensity.
Kansas State (13-2, 7-3 ATS)
The Manhattan Cats were supposed to be good, but not this good! Though Bob Huggins stay was just one season, he made an indelible mark on the program and coach Frank Martin continued right where Huggins left off. Kansas States depth allows Martin to sit any player who is not going all out on the floor. Martin wants his players like a Motorhead CD, aggressive on offense, defense and crashing the boards. The Wildcats are blessed with an exceptional backcourt. Shooting guard Jacob Pullen can scorch the nylon and really heat up beyond the arc. Denis Clemente pushes the ball with his blazing speed for easy layups or passes for spot up threes by teammates. K-State lacks that one consistent scorer in the paint, nonetheless junior Curtis Kelly and Luis Colon have played better this season. Kansas State will see inflated numbers at Bramlage Coliseum, however are still worth consideration if opponent is weak defensively (44 percent shooting percentage or higher). On the road, taking the purple clad Cats as underdogs is good wager, as long as the opposing team has an average or less backcourt, which Clemente and Pullen could run roughshod on. This team feeds on emotion and is 11-2 and 6-2 ATS after a victory.
Oregon State (7-8, 8-2 ATS)
At the beginning of 2010, the general appearance is coach Craig Robinson, might be having a better first quarter than is brother in law (The President) in the court of public opinion. The Oregon State head man might be carrying a small container of Tums in sport jacket, as his Beavers have played nine of 15 games decided by eight or fewer points. Robinson, in his second year, is working on upgrading the talent in Corvallis, but until then has decided that playing defense is the best way for his team to have a chance to win. Its nothing fancy for Orange and Black, focusing on playing positional defense, not getting beat off the bounce and helping out when necessary. Despite a 2-4 SU record as an underdog, Oregon State has hung tough, losing by just 1.2 points per game in that role and sporting a busy 6-0 ATS record. With the Pac-10 languishing this season, the Beavers catching points looks like an opportune wager.
Villanova (14-1, 10-4 ATS)
College basketball is a guard-oriented sport, since it is much easier to find players that can be dynamic at 6'3 or less than it is to find a 6'10 big man. Coach Jay Wright has always understood this and recruited accordingly. That doesnt mean Wright wants a one-trick pony in backcourt, his players have to be versatile performers offensively and defensively and willing to track down rebounds. Villanovas quick getaway has been fueled by persistent defensive pressure, keeping foes right around 40 percent shooting and Scottie Reynolds directs an offense NASCAR champion Jimmy Johnson would be proud, having many gears, including sticking it on the floor. Studying the patterns of the Wildcats against the spread the last several years, oddsmakers have had a real beat on Nova. They seldom cover by more than four or five points, which is coach Wrights style of play. The Wildcats are 12-1 and 9-4 ATS as chalk and have been superb when playing with three or more days off with 8-1 and 7-1 ATS mark. Big East play tends to grind up most teams, keeping them around .500 against the number. For the short term, as long as Villanova continues to play great defense, they have to be considered a play on team as a favorite or dog.
Northern Iowa (14-1, 11-3 ATS)
Subtract the head-scratching loss to DePaul in the second game of the season; the Panthers are on track for a truly special campaign. Northern Iowa returned nine players that accounted for 91.7 percent of its scoring from team that tied for first in the Missouri Valley and won the conference tournament to earn NCAA berth. The Panthers arent going to mesmerize opponents with blazing speed; however they will carve them up a like turkey with the conferences best inside duo, accurate outside shooters and a team that doesnt make mistakes. 7'1, 290 pound Jordan Eglseder is turning into dominant beast, as he and Adam Koch control the paint. The perimeter players feature a cast of sharp shooters, with the Panthers hovering around 40 percent all season from three-point range. With all the veterans on this team, they are unaffected by outside surroundings and just goes about their business of winning basketball games. This team started the year with three goals, win the Valley regular reason and postseason tournament to earn higher seed and get to at least the Sweet 16. Would not recommend betting against them.