College Basketball Betting: Weekly Atlantic 10 Report
by Christopher G. Shepard - 02/18/2009
A huge win against Atlantic 10 rival Xavier moved Dayton to No. 25 in the AP Top-25 Poll for the first time this season while Xavier has continued its tumble two spots from No. 14 to No. 16. This is the first time this season that two A-10 teams have occupied spots in the Top 25.
Meanwhile, favorites in conference play went 9-6 against the spread with the Richmond Spiders, St. Louis Billikens and LaSalle Explorers as the top money earners last week, all going 2-0 against the spread. Here are a few other trends in the A-10 to consider; the under is 3-0 in Xavier's last three games, Fordham is 0-4 SU and ATS in its last four games, St. Bonaventure is on a 4-0 ATS run while St. Louis currently leads the conference with six straight cashes in their last six games.
According to collegerpi.com the A-10 is the eight ranked conference in the NCAA through Feb. 13. Dayton is unbeatable at home this year but plays two games on the road this week. The Flyers will put their 18-game home win streak on the line against Temple on Feb. 28. For in-game bettors, you should note that the Flyers are 16-0 SU when they have the lead with five minutes remaining in the game.
Undervalued ATS Team
St. Louis (15-10 SU, 9-10 ATS, 6-5 -10) was my undervalued team ATS two weeks ago and they have not lost against the spread since. The Billikens have posted a 4-2 SU and 6-0 ATS mark since the end of January. Indeed, it appears the Billikens are beginning to buy into Head Coach Rick Majerus' system. Freshman guard Kwamain Mitchell earned top honors as the A-10 Rookie of the Week last week. Mitchell averaged 18 points, 6.3 rebounds and shot 50 percent from the field -- a major reason St. Louis has been a covering machine. Certainly the Billikens have their work cut out for them this week as they'll host St. Joe's on Wednesday and Dayton on Saturday.
Gamblers should be aware that in St. Louis's eight home games the over is 7-1 while the Billikens have won their home contests with a winning margin of 8.3 points. While I don't expect Majerus' team to win these contests this week, I do see them playing competitively and covering the spread against mercurial St. Josephs team coming off two straight losses and Dayton, who has gone a pedestrian 2-2 ATS on the road in their last four.
Overvalued ATS Teams
Since their upset of then-No. 9 Xavier on Feb. 7, 72-68, the Duquesne Dukes (15-8 SU, 9-9 ATS, 6-5 A-10) have lost three of four games SU and ATS. The Dukes are currently mired in an 0-2 SU and ATS streak, losing at Richmond and then at home against Temple. Duquesne has five games remaining on their schedule, but they'll have a week to prepare for two games in three days against LaSalle and UMASS. The Dukes only have to win one of the last five to give HC Everhart his second consecutive winning season. Duquesne has five losses in the A-10 this year with all five as single digit losses of which two were overtime games played away from home. The Dukes did their best to blow the game against Xavier (they went almost the entire final eight minutes without a bucket) and then what has been a pattern for the Dukes as of late is their inability to put away their opponents.
The rub with Duquesne is they are still a very young team that features eight scholarship freshmen and one scholarship upperclassmen. While this makes the Dukes a dangerous team perhaps next year, right now it is hurting their chances SU and ATS. The Dukes also lack depth in their frontcourt. One standout for Duquesne has been senior guard Aaron Jackson who dropped 21 points on Temple in the Dukes losing effort. Aside from their huge conference win against Xavier, Duquesne has beaten the worst teams in the conference and has lost to the conference's better teams. Until the Dukes can maintain leads and put away teams I believe Duquesne is currently not worth your sports investment V-chips. I also think it goes without saying that you should 'play against' Fordham for the remainder of the season.
ATS Surprise of the Week
The UMASS Minutemen (9-14 SU, 8-11-1 ATS, 4-6 A-10) will host the Rhode Island Rams (18-8, 10-9-2, 7-4, A-10) tonight at 7 p.m. as two-point home 'dogs. The total is set at 154 points. In the Minutemen's last four games UMASS has alternated SU and ATS wins; covering against Richmond and Fordham while losing contests to St. Josephs and St. Bonaventure. Last time on the hard court UMASS lost to St. Bonaventure Feb. 14, 83-75, as a two-point home favorite after leading by seven points at the half. One main reason for the loss was a 44-25 rebounding advantage for the Bonnies. This led to an 18-6 scoring differential on second chance points in favor of the Bonnies.
Rhode Island is stuck in a three-game ATS losing streak. The Rams beat St. Louis on Feb. 14, 69-61, but failed to cover as 10.5-point road favorites. The combined 130 points snuck under the 136 points total, bringing the under to 3-1 in the Rams' last four games against conference opponents. As an away favorite the Rams are 5-1 SU but only 3-2-1 ATS.
A look back on the Minutemen's season is one of ups and downs. It is apparent with wins against Kansas, Dayton and almost beating Xavier, UMASS plays to the level of its opposition. So against Rhode Island, one of the conference's better teams, this meeting could bode well for UMASS. As a home underdog the Minuteman have notched a 3-0 record ATS and in conference play are 7-4 as an underdog. The Minutemen should be able to cover this game if UMASS can overcome a thin bench and crash the boards. Everything in this game for me points to an easy Rhode Island cover, which is why it will be a surprise when UMASS covers the short number at home.