NCAA Hoops Betting: Under the Radar
by Christopher G. Shepard - 3/3/2010
A glance at the calendar tells me that it’s already March. However, there is still a significant amount of NCAA hoops to help the sports investor to build his or her bankroll in this final week of the regular season before the uber-lucrative conference tournaments begin. In this edition of the equally uber-lucrative Under-the-Radar column at Doc’s Sports I have three teams that have been doing their best to avoid the highlight reels, yet they keep on cashing at the betting window. Come witness the insanity.
Indiana State (17-13, 16-11, +390) A few weeks ago I got waylaid by the Sycamores and have been following this team ever since. Coach Kevin McKenna’s squad has one game remaining on the season before the MVC Tournament. One reason for the Sycamore’s recent success (4-1 ATS in last five games) is the quick return to the line-up of senior guard Harry Marshall from a stress fracture suffered on Feb 3. Of course, Indiana State could just as easily be 7-10 rather than the 8-9 they stand now. Thanks to a running 33-foot shot at the buzzer by Marshall, the Sycamores beat Missouri State on Feb. 27, 75-72, and covered as one-point home dogs. Now Indiana State has earned the sixth seed in the MVC Tournament and a bye into the quarter-finals despite the outcome of Friday’s game.
The Sycamores will host an Illinois State team on Friday that apparently have little to play for in their final game of the season. Win or lose Illinois State is the third seed in the MWC tourney. Indiana State will try to avenge the recent pounding at Illinois State on Feb. 24. Gamblers should note that the only game that the Sycamores have not covered in their last five games was against Illinois State in February.
CAL Davis (12-16 SU, 14-9 ATS, +410) You might not be all that familiar with Coach Gary Stewart’s Aggies (and at 12-16 in the Big West why would you?). However, they have weathered an incredible amount of injuries to remain fourth in the big West and if they can win out their final two games the Aggies will secure a first-round bye in the Big West Tournament. A bye game would be critical for Stewart’s ailing team that has had six players miss a combined total of 64 games this season.
The Aggies will have to play their final two games on the road at Northridge on Thursday and then at Fullerton (who are only a game ahead of the Aggies for third in the standings) on Saturday. For this to happen they’ll need the hot shooting junior forward Joe Harden to continue his double-digit scoring ways and for the team as a whole to continue to build on the 65-percent shooting from the field and 34 rebounds against UC Riverside. Keep in mind the Aggies buried 55 percent of their shots from behind the three-point arc. If the hot shooting keeps up this week I see the Aggies as a live investment in their next two games, and perhaps better than a fourth seed in the Big West Tournament.
Utah State (24-6 SU, 16-9-1 ATS, +610) The Aggies dismantling of Fresno State on Mar. 1, 76-39 (SU and ATS win), should put the WAC on notice that Utah State is one of the teams to beat in the WAC tourney. More importantly for the Aggies is the fact that how they are playing looks favorably upon Utah State securing a precious at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament. This weekend the Aggies will host a very hot New Mexico State team and most likely win their 15th consecutive game of the season, but covering the spread might be dicey. After cashing eight straight games between Jan. 11 and Feb. 6, the Aggies have alternated ATS wins and losses.
One reason for the Aggies ATS success, though, has been that in conference play they have led the WAC in scoring defense at 60.1 points per game. Moreover, against Fresno State the Aggies buried 50 percent of their shots from behind the arc. Their defense was stifling against the Bulldogs as they held Fresno State to 12-of-54 from the floor! The question is can they do it against New Mexico State? If you want to do some easy research on the WAC tourney watch this game as it will likely be a preview of the WAC title game in Reno.
Last week I looked at Western Illinois, DePaul, and Southern Mississippi as my Under-the-Radar teams. After 28 games played this season Southern Miss moved into second overall in the nation ATS earning backers +1040 after covering their last two games. As I thought would be the case, Southern Miss had a tough game at Memphis. Southern Miss had their chances to win outright but eventually lost on Feb. 27, 69-76, but easily covered the 11.5-point spread. Western Illinois had to win their final two games and the Leathernecks looked like a solid play against South Dakota State but ended up getting routed, 53-66. DePaul played like, well, eh, DePaul at Rutgers losing on Feb 27., 62-71, as 5.5-point road pups.
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