College Basketball Betting: Weekly Atlantic 10 Report
by Christopher G. Shepard - 01/28/2009
The Xavier Musketeers went 2-0 straight up and against the spread last week and jumped from No. 13 to No. 10 in this week's AP Top 25 Poll while St. Bonaventure covered their eighth straight road game but saw their seven-game straight up road winning streak come to an end in Dayton last night.
Trend spotters looking for a financial angle should be aware that Xavier (17-2 SU, 11-6 ATS, 5-0 A-10) is 8-0 straight up and 7-0 against the spread in their last seven games. The Musketeers have not lost since Dec. 23 when they hosted Butler. Since then Xavier has been unstoppable in and out of conference play. Thanks to the super play of BJ Raymond and Derrick Brown Xavier could finish the season undefeated straight up and against the spread in the A-10.
Undervalued ATS Teams
The Duquesne Dukes (13-6 SU, 8-5 ATS, 4-2 A10) find themselves in fourth place in the A-10 standings thanks to wining their first three conference games and their first seven-game winning streak since 1980-81 season. The following three games Duquesne went 1-2 SU and 2-1 ATS, with their only loss coming at home to Dayton on Jan. 17 as a 1.5-pt 'chalk.' Since then the Dukes lost an overtime heartbreaker, 99-98, at St. Joes, but covered the 6.5 points and destroyed Fordham at Rose Hill Gym, 89-68, easily covering nine points.
Part of the reason for the Dukes success is senior guard Allen Jackson; who has already been selected twice as A-10 Player of the Week this season. What makes Jackson special is his ability to make other players better. In the Dayton game Jackson surpassed the 100-assist mark, his third in four seasons. He is only the sixth player in team history to do this. This week the Dukes host St. Bonaventure and then travel to St. Louis for two winnable games SU and ATS before coming back down to earth and hosting white-hot Xavier. Sure, there are chances the Dukes will be looking ahead to Xavier before the St. Louis game. However, the Dukes have not lost a road game against the spread since Dec. 3 at Pittsburgh, and St. Louis will have a hard time stopping the Dukes.
Since entering conference play St. Joseph's Hawks (11-7, 9-7 ATS, 4-0 A-10) have covered five out of their last six games but have gone 6-0 straight up. Senior forward Ahmad Nivins has averaged 16.3 points and 14.3 rebounds. Moreover, he has registered five consecutive double-doubles. Nivins has been a huge asset to the Hawks recently and certainly helped the over cash in three straight contests.
Overvalued ATS Teams
It doesn't matter if HC Bobby Lutz wears shoes or not -- the Charlotte 49ers (6-12 SU, 4-11 ATS, 1-4 A-10) have not played well. From a gambler's perspective Charlotte is on a 0-6-1 ATS streak and they have gone 1-7 straight up in their last eight games. The 49ers almost ended their ATS drought against UMASS in their 69-64 OT victory on Jan. 21, but lost by the hook as the 49ers were 5.5-point favorites in that game. The Niners hit their season nadir, shooting a paltry 28.8 percent from the field against Temple on Jan. 24. Things won't get any easier this week as Charlotte has the onerous task of playing at Xavier tonight and then an out of conference game with Winthrop (no gimme' there either) and then host Rhode Island on Feb. 4. Given their schedule it is not likely that Charlotte will get backers off the schneid anytime soon.
ATS Surprise of the Week
On Jan. 31, A-10 whipping boy, the Fordham Rams (2-15 SU, 3-12 ATS, 0-5 A-10) will host the St. Louis Billikens (11-8 SU, 3-8 ATS, 2-3 A-10). While the Rams have been the A-10 doormat St. Louis has been only slightly better. Don't let the two conference wins fool you; they happened at home against a mercurial UMASS team and against an awful road team, George Washington. But here is the rub; St. Louis is 0-5 SU and ATS on the road this year. The Billikens will also be coming off a road game at Dayton on the 29th. Fordham has had better success at home, but not in conference play where they have lost all three A-10 tilts at Rose Hill Gym.
Fordham has yet to be favored at home, and for good reason, and I can see them as a small dog or minor home favorite in this tilt. What I like about this matchup is that the Fordham trio of Trey Blue, Alberto Estwick and Jio Fontan have all earned A-10 Rookie of the Week awards this season. What has been really hurting the Rams is their half-court offense and consistently playing from behind and then hurling prayer three-pointers to close the gap. This hasn't worked. Against St. Louis I see a Rams team showing up that lost a one-point road contest to Dayton rather than the 21-point home loss to Duquesne their last time on the hard court. And these days when Fordham wins, let alone covers, that is a surprise.