College Basketball Betting: Weekly Atlantic 10 Report
by Christopher G. Shepard - 01/20/2009
Thanks to a 4-0 straight up and against the spread record in conference play the Xavier Musketeers have muscled their way up to No. 13 in the AP Poll while the St. Joseph's Hawks improved to 3-0 SU and ATS in the Atlantic 10.
Bucking the trend from the previous week, favorites in conference play went 8-5 straight up and 7-6 against the spread. The top betting trends in the Atlantic 10 right now include five straight covers against the number by Xavier, four straight losses against the spread for Charlotte, five straight 'unders' in Richmond's last five games, and four straight 'overs' in Fordham's last four games.
St. Bonaventure's win at Richmond on Jan. 17 gave the Bonnies their seventh consecutive road victory. The Bonnies are 5-0 against the spread over that same time period. Meanwhile, if you are looking for a good money line play Dayton improved to 29-4 straight up when sophomore forward Chris Wright is in the line-up.
Undervalued ATS Teams
The St. Louis Billikens (11-6, 3-8 ATS, 2-1 A-10), under the guidance of Rick Majerus, are difficult team to beat at home this year as they are 10-1 SU but they have been awful on the road, notching a 1-5 SU record. However, this kind of consistency can work to a gambler's favor, especially in the Atlantic 10. Since losing, 70-44, to Xavier on Jan. 8, St. Louis has gone 2-0 in conference play and 1-1 ATS over that same time span. The Billikens can thank their improved shooting from the field for their A-10 conference success. In their last two games the Billikens have shot 44.6 percent against UMASS and 51 percent against George Washington. In their two previous games St. Louis managed only 30 percent against UMBC and Xavier. With seven more games against conference opponents St. Louis has a realistic chance of going 4-3 or even 5-2 ATS.
Overvalued ATS Teams
The Richmond Spiders (9-8 SU, 6-4 ATS, 1-1 A-10) were 6-2 against the spread and 9-6 SU before this week began. The Spiders beat George Washington on the road for their conference opener but have not won since losing at Virginia Tech, 62-48, as eight-point road dogs and then getting surprised at home, 67-71, as 10.5-point favorites against St. Bonaventure. On Jan. 21 the Spiders will host Rhode Island and then go on the road to play St. Louis on the 25th. To put it simply, the Spiders shooting has been atrocious. It was never more evident than against St. Bonaventure as they led, 67-60, with 2:54 to play in the game. The Bonnies went on a 11-0 scoring explosion and ended up winning, 71-67. Against the Hokies the Spiders shot an awful 31 percent from the field and only made 3-of-22 shots from the perimeter. Until their shooting percentages improve and the Spiders can prove they can hold a lead at home they'll continue burning backer's cash.
While I'm at it I am also keeping the Charlotte 49ers (5-11 SU, 5-9-1 ATS, 0-2 A-10) in this spot as well. Despite the improved play of junior DiJuan Harris and his 5.53 assists per game and 23 steals this year, the 49ers have been awful in conference play. Last week they went 0-2 SU and ATS and with their next three conference games hosting UMASS, and then playing Temple and Xavier on the road, Charlotte's A-10 woes will continue straight up and against the spread.
ATS Surprise of the Week
UMASS (7-9 SU, 4-8-1 ATS, 2-1 A-10), fresh off a home SU and ATS win against the Temple Owls, will host the LaSalle Explorers (9-7 SU, 5-5-1 ATS, 1-1 A-10) on Jan. 24. Against Xavier last weekend the Explorers could not get the ball inside and fell back by 17 points in the first half. The closest they got was 65-53 with three minutes left in the game, but Xavier's defense and punishing shots beyond the arc destroyed any hope of an Explorer's comeback.
This week LaSalle may be able to catch UMASS reading their own press while enjoying their impressive home victory against the Owls. What I like about LaSalle in their matchup against the Minutemen is their big 6'5" guards getting the ball inside against UMASS and hitting high percentage shots, their free throw ability (against Charlotte last week the Explorers dropped 10 of 12 from the charity stripe), and the way the Explorer's crash the boards. For total players the over has cashed in UMASS' last three games while the under has cashed in LaSalle's last two games.