College Basketball Betting: Weekly Atlantic 10 Report
by Christopher G. Shepard - 02/04/2009
Xavier has moved to No. 9 in the AP Poll after the Musketeers went 2-0 last week and held on against UMASS, 82-80, for their 10th straight win Saturday. They remain undefeated in the Atlantic 10 but killed a lucrative eight-game win streak against the spread. Meanwhile the Dayton Flyers are in first place in the Atlantic 10 and the first team in the conference to win 20 games.
Sports investors looking to take a position in the A-10 should note that the 'under' is 6-1 for the last seven games with listed totals for the Charlotte 49ers. While Xavier had dominated their in-conference battles before UMASS, the Musketeers are 0-2 in their last two games they were listed as 16-point-or-more favorites. Furthermore, the Rhode Island Rams are 6-0 straight up and 3-0-1 ATS this year when they score 90 points or more.
Undervalued ATS Team
I am not that dazzled by the resurgence of the St. Louis Billikens (12-9 SU, 5-10 ATS, 3-4 A-10) who last week went 1-1 SU and 2-0 ATS in their last two road conference games. The Billikens were impressive in their 46-47 loss as 12-point underdogs to conference leader Dayton and handily beat Fordham, 88-58, as 4.5-point favorites in the Bronx on Saturday. The lopsided win may have been due in part to a hangover on Fordham's part after their unexpected road win at St. Bonaventure on the 28th. But St. Louis' schedule only gets tougher as they host Duquesne on Wednesday night and travel to Richmond on Feb. 8. St. Louis has recorded a 3-1 record ATS in their last three home games and might be able to catch Duquesne looking ahead to Xavier. If senior Barry Eberhardt can build on his 26-point scoring effort at Fordham Coach Majerus' team will give more than a few A-10 teams fits in these last weeks of conference play.
Overvalued ATS Teams
Despite leading the A-10 in wins and being in second place in the A-10 conference behind Xavier, the Dayton Flyers (20-2, 7-11, 5-1, A-10) should be seen as a two-faced team. Their home win against Saint Joseph's as a modest five-point favorite stemmed the tide of three straight ATS losses. In fact, before that game the Flyers had another three-game ATS losing streak in the beginning of January against Miami of Ohio, UMASS, and Fordham. The point is that the Flyers have a hard time covering double-digit spreads. Last week Dayton was a 12-point favorite against St. Louis and a 13-point favorite against St. Bonaventure and while Dayton won both games, both games were ATS duds. With seven conference games remaining on their schedule keep an eye out for double-digit numbers and play against Dayton when you find them.
ATS Surprise of the Week
On Feb. 5 the Charlotte 49ers (7-13 SU, 5-12-1 ATS, 1-5 A-10) resume conference play by hosting offensive-minded Rhode Island (15-7 SU, 9-6-2 ATS, 4-3 A-10). The 49ers are coming off their best shooting effort in their last 10 games, making 49 percent of their shots in a 70-53 home win against Winthrop. The Rhode Island Rams have put two shaky road games at Richmond and George Washington behind them and won and covered their last two home games against Temple and LaSalle.
The Rams, who started their A-10 campaign 0-2, have rebounded nicely, and beat the Owls on defense last Wednesday, causing 15 turnovers and limiting the Owls to one field goal in the last minute of play. The Rams also won behind the scoring explosion of Rams' senior forward Kahiem Seawright, who had 17 points on the evening and helped the Rams shoot a blistering 51 percent from the field. Against LaSalle Seawright dropped 25 points on the Explorers as the Rams shot almost 56 percent from the field and created 25 turnovers.
Despite the Rams improved play lately and the awful play of the 49ers for most of the year, this will be a dangerous game for Rhode Island, who has seen overtime in two of their last three conference battles. Chances are the Rams will play this game without the services of starting guard Keith Cothran, the team leader in steals, due to a knee injury. The 6'4" junior averages 29 minutes and 14.3 points per game while shooting just under 50 percent from the field.
The 49ers are ranked No. 13 in the A-10 in field goal percentage hitting only 40.2 percent of their shots but against Winthrop Charlotte hit an astounding 11 field goals from beyond the arc. The 49ers have been implementing a new offense and against Winthrop it looked like the players were finally "getting" Lutz's new scheme. Everything about this game points to an easy Rhode Island cover, but these two teams actually match-up well and play similar 'run-n-gun' offenses, the main difference being that the Rams make their shots more often than the 49ers. If the 49ers can shoot like they did against Winthrop they could pull off an ATS surprise. However, if this game is a shootout and goes over the posted total that won't be a surprise at all.