College Basketball Betting: Weekday Primer
by Matt Severance - 2/22/2010
Hard as it is to believe this is the final week of February, which means that some of the small conference tournaments already will be tipping off next week. With that said, it means some bubble teams are running out of time to add to their resume. Here’s the most intriguing matchup each night this week (nothing worth watching on Friday). I’ll be back with a Game of the Day preview on Saturday.
West Virginia at Connecticut (7 p.m., ESPN): Speaking of bubble teams, that’s certainly what UConn is at 16-11 and 6-8 in the Big East. But after losing in Coach Jim Calhoun’s first game back, the Huskies have looked good in winning at Villanova and Rutgers. Certainly another win over a Top 10 team (having already beaten Nova and Texas) would look good on UConn’s resume. And WVU is the last team currently ranked on the Connecticut schedule, so it could conceivably win out. However, the Mountaineers already have five conference road wins and the motivation of a top four conference finish to earn a double-bye in the Big East Tournament. UConn is the only original Big East conference member that WVU has yet to beat on the road. The Mountaineers are 0-5 in Storrs and 0-2 in Hartford, with Connecticut's average margin of victory in those seven games at 15.6 points. Yet WVU has opened as a 2.5-point betting favorite. The Mountaineers are just 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games as a road favorite of 0.5-6.5.
Georgetown at Louisville (7 p.m., ESPN2): Louisville was a bubble team not too long ago but is pretty much off it now thanks to a three-game winning streak to move to 9-5 in the Big East and 18-9 overall. Still, it’s not clear how much to read into that winning streak. The victory at Syracuse was terrific, but the Cards then beat a Notre Dame team without All-American Luke Harangody (in double overtime no less) and also wretched DePaul. The Hoyas have dropped two straight (for the first time this season) and four of seven. Georgetown has an excellent starting five but perhaps one of the worst benches in the nation – that group had two points in Thursday’s loss to Syracuse. A few trends benefit the Hoyas in this matchup, as UL is just 1-5 ATS in its past six home games and the road team is 4-1-1 ATS in the past six in this series. These teams met once last season, an 18-point Louisville road win.
San Diego State at BYU (9 p.m., CBS College Sports): Let’s give a little love to the Mountain West Conference as this game features two likely NCAA Tournament teams. The Cougars are a lock to get in at 25-3, while San Diego State still has a bit of work to do at 20-7 and third in the MWC. The Aztecs have won four in a row and six of seven with the one loss being in overtime at MWC-leading New Mexico on the road. BYU beat SDSU, 71-69, back on Jan. 23 behind 33 points from Jimmer Fredette, who leads the conference in scoring. The Aztecs had won 14 in a row at home prior to that – that streak began after a loss to BYU last February. BYU always finishes the year strongly, having gone 9-1 in the final 10 regular-season games the past four years. This year, the Cougars, who are unbeaten at home, are 5-1 (4-2 ATS) with four to go.
Tulsa at Duke (7 p.m., ESPN2): In sticking with our bubble teams theme, I give you Tulsa, which is 19-8 overall and fifth in Conference USA. Certainly the Golden Hurricane would be out of the Big Dance right now, making Thursday’s game at Duke potentially vital for them. Tulsa probably has to win the C-USA Tournament even with a win here to get in the NCAA Tournament as it has dropped three games in a row. In fact, there might not be a worse bet in college basketball right now than on Tulsa, which has failed to cover in nine games in a row. The Golden Hurricane struggle to score on the road, having failed to reach 60 points in their past six away. Duke, meanwhile, is unbeaten at home and a great play at Cameron Indoor Stadium (10-3-1 ATS). The Dukies are currently on a six-game winning streak.
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