NCAA Hoops Betting: Under the Radar
by Christopher G. Shepard - 2/18/2010
There is nothing better in college hoops than investing in an under-the-radar team that you have been locked onto when that team upsets a national power; this week Mizzou beat No. 12 Texas, 82-77, and Rutgers upset No. 8 Georgetown, 71-68. First you have to find theses teams that are flying under the radar. This week here are three teams that I think will bring positive income for NCAA hoops bettors.
UNLV (19-6 SU, 15-8 ATS, +620) The Runnin’ Rebels have been a tale of two seasons. They had a fabulous December when they went 6-2 and a stellar January when the Rebels went 5-2. However, a woeful February campaign so far where they have notched a 2-3 ATS and SU record has stalled their NCAA Tournament hopes. All the hard work from earlier this season could come undone if they don’t finish February strong.
Thanks to three straight conference losses Coach Lon Kruger’s team has fallen to 7-5 and fourth place in the Mountain West behind New Mexico, BYU and San Diego State. The good news for UNLV is that they have a chance to run the table and go 4-0 in their final four games. Three of their last four games will be at Thomas & Mack Center while their lone road contest will be at Air Force. The Falcons are 1-10 in conference play and should help the Running Rebels rise in the conference standings.
The problem with the Rebels current losing streak is that is has taken them from punching their tickets to the Big Dance in March to putting them squarely on the bubble. This is exactly why I like backing UNLV for the rest of the season. Three straight ATS and SU losses should produce a good number for Saturday’s home game as well as their remaining three games. If the Rebels run the table (not a huge IF) and go deep into the MWC tournament they can still make the NCAA’s. I think that will be enough motivation for UNLV to win and cover their remaining games.
College of Charleston (17-9 SU, 13-7-1 ATS, +530) The Cougars are the Southern Conference’s South Division leader but they are another team I have picked this week that is mired in a three-game ATS losing streak. If you backed the Cougars in their last three games you’d be disappointed, but if you are looking to hop on the Cougars now might be a good time. The last game the Cougars covered was at home on Feb. 6 against Samford as 8.5-point favorites. The Cougars close out their season with three straight road games in seven days against George Mason, Wofford and Furman. While they beat both Wofford and Furman at home earlier this year, this is the only game against George Mason.
In their last two games Bobby Cremins’ team play could be characterized as sloppy. The Cougars were off a devastating home loss to cross-town rival Citadel 65-72 as seven-point ‘Chalk.’ This marked the first home loss of the year; the Cougars were 10-0 until that game. So it was sort of expected that the Cougars would make Southern whipping boy Elon pay for the loss. The Cougars won, 80-77, and Donavan Moore dropped 29 points on Elon, but the three-point margin of victory was not enough to cover the 11.5 points. Simply put, the Cougars need to sharpen up their play if they want to contend come conference tournament time. Last night the Cougars beat Appalachian State by a point, 73-72, but again failed to cover as 3.5-point home favorites.
The problem with CoC is -- and you want to keep an eye on this -- that the Cougars live and die on their three-point shooting. This week the big game for CoC is not George Mason but Wofford. The Cougars need to beat Wofford to win the South Division. Something tells me the Cougars will rise to the occasion in their next three games.
Princeton (15-6 SU, 11-4 ATS, +660) With the Tigers’ most recent win at Pennsylvania Coach Sydney Johnson has Princeton on a roll. The Tigers have covered the spread in nine of their last 10 listed games. Furthermore, trend-followers should not ignore the fact that the ‘under’ has cashed in Princeton’s last seven games with a listed total. This has catapulted Princeton up to second place in the Ivy League standings at 6-1. The Tigers are one game in the win column behind Ivy League super-power Cornell. Princeton will try to avenge last week’s loss to Cornell on Feb. 26 at Ithaca, but before that Princeton will host Yale and Brown this weekend.
The big difference in Princeton this year over the sub-par performances of recent years is that the Tigers finally found a player who has some offensive flash. Sophomore guard Douglas Davis had a break-out performance last week against Cornell. Davis scored 18 of Princeton’s final 22 points and finished the game with 20 points. Through 21 games Davis is now averaging 13.9 points per game and when the Tigers started going to him Cornell didn’t have an answer for him. This weekend Yale (also +530 on the season) looks like they are going to give the Tigers all they can handle. Yale boasts one of the best guards in the country in Alex Zampier. The Tigers beat Yale earlier this year so Yale will look for revenge. I expect the Tigers to go at the very least 1-1 SU and ATS this weekend, but circle that Cornell game next weekend.
Last week I looked at Drake, Valparaiso, and South Florida as my under-the-radar teams of the week. South Florida has earned +820 units on the season, which is good enough for the No.3 ATS in the nation. The Bulls split their two contests last week, going 1-1 SU and ATS. South Florida lost at Marquette, 63-52, missing covering as nine-point road dogs. The Bulls rebounded at home beating Cincinnati 65-57; covering the three-point line and bringing their season total to +620. The Crusaders won and covered their lone meeting at Youngstown State, 77-75. Meanwhile, my game of the year crashed and burned as Drake got down early and never made up the deficit at Indiana State and pushed their losing streak to four games until the Bulldogs beat Southern Illinois at home, 72-79, as a ‘pick‘em’. This kept the Crusaders in positive territory at +520 on the season.
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