College Basketball Betting: Weekly Atlantic 10 Report
by Christopher G. Shepard - 12/24/2008
Led by Dayton, UMASS, Richmond and Rhode Island, Atlantic 10 teams went 8-8-1 against the spread and 14-9 straight up this week. St. Bonaventure managed to win their fourth game in a row, covering at Eastern Michigan, and that was good enough for their first four-game winning streak since the 2000-01 season.
Entering play on Dec. 23, the Atlantic 10 now has 14 wins against BCS teams, good for the most of any non-BCS league. Nine teams in the A-10 have at least one victory over BCS opponents but nobody in the A-10 has been better against BCS teams than Xavier. The Musketeers have five wins against BCS foes this season.
Total players looking for an edge should look no farther than Xavier (9-2 SU, 4-6 ATS). Despite their woeful play as of late (I discussed why in my column two weeks ago) the over has cashed in Xavier's last five games with the totals ranging from 128-142 points. This has followed a string of four straight unders.
Overvalued ATS Team
Head Coach Rick Majerus's St. Louis Billikens (7-5 SU, 2-6 ATS) lead off the week as an overvalued team. Despite the fact that Majerus is getting the most of his players, their last cover was on Dec. 13 against a bad Samford team. And while the Billikens are 5-2 at brand new Chaifetz Arena they've only played three road games all season of which they lost all ATS and SU. The fact is that St. Louis is not getting it done on the road (or even at home if you look at if from an ATS perspective). With only two more games until conference play begins any bet backing the Billikens has to be considered as an over-valued play (even against their next opponent, MD Baltimore County, if there is a line).
I am also going to stick in Rhode Island (8-4 SU, 5-2-1 ATS) here. The Rams are not going to sneak up on anyone anymore and you are not likely to get any really good lines on this team as witnessed by their four-point underdog line against Oklahoma State in which I felt a value line would have been 6-8 points. However, the four points was the oddsmen begging you to take a weak Oklahoma State team. This is likely the way it will be the rest of the season as the Rams are not going to surprise anyone for the remainder of the season.
Undervalued ATS Teams
Last week I had both Charlotte (4-6 SU, 5-5 ATS) and Richmond (6-4 SU, 4-1 ATS) as my undervalued teams and they did not disappoint their backers. This week I still think they are undervalued.
On Dec. 19 the Spiders, behind the awesome play of senior Jarhon Giddings (forced 21 turnovers and registered 12 steals and eight boards), gave Wake Forest all they could handle and covered as eight-point underdogs, 86-79. Meanwhile, Charlotte hosted Youngstown State as a 14.5-point 'chalk' winning and covering, 100-80. In fact, the 49ers, since their shaky start, have been covering monsters going 3-0 SU and ATS in their last three starts. Speaking of covers there is no better team in the A-10 than Richmond who has covered every game this season in which they were the listed underdog.
ATS Surprise of the Week
Since their home upset of Tennessee the Temple Owls (5-5 SU, 5-4 ATS) have lost their last two games on the road to Kansas and Long Beach State SU and ATS. But here is the rub on those losses. The Owls did not leave until the night before their game at Kansas and arrived at their hotel, exhausted from the trip, about 1:30 a.m. This cost them dearly as the Owls looked sluggish getting back in transition. Their play lacked energy and it was obvious that the hard road had taken a bite out of the Owls as they dropped the contest, 59-71, as 10.5-point underdogs. Then a day later Temple traveled to Long Beach State, a team that is mired in the middle of the Big West Conference standings. The 49ers, who are 4-1 at home this year, won outright as six-point underdogs and sent the Owls back east with an 0-2 record, now soundly behind St. Bonaventure in the A-10 standings.
The Villanova Wildcats (11-1 SU, 4-4 ATS) will host the Owls for the Temple's third consecutive road game. Villanova is 2-1 ATS against the A-10 this year. Villanova's last A10 team they played was St. Joseph's in which they won, 59-56, but failed to cover as 12-point home favorites. However, the Wildcats have also managed to win and cover against LaSalle and Rhode Island. Philly's Big-Five games are always hotly contested and none are more exciting than Villanova-Temple. You can throw stats out the window and hunker down to some exciting college hoops action. But Temple's Dionte Christmas, who dropped 35 points on Tennessee, will need to have another spectacular day against the Wildcats. Given they way Temple has played in their last two games you should be able to get good line value on the Owls as they are my ATS surprise of the week.