College Basketball Betting: Weekday Primer
by Matt Severance - 1/11/2010
Here is our look at the best games to watch each night this week (Friday, as usual, is a weak night, so go see a movie that night), and I’ll have a weekend Game of the Day story coming Friday – hopefully you took my betting advice on last weekend’s spotlight game: Wisconsin upsetting Purdue.
Villanova at Louisville (7 p.m., ESPN): These are two of the three teams remaining in the ultra-deep Big East still without a conference loss and the other team, Pittsburgh, seems likely to drop at least one game this week. However, it’s still hard to know what to make of Louisville (12-4, 5-6 ATS), as its three conference wins are against South Florida, Providence and St. John’s. Still, the Cards are three-point favorites on BetUS. Nova, in a major quirk of schedule, has played conference foe Marquette twice already, beating the Warriors both times by two points, including one win on Saturday. Villanova’s other win is over the worst team in the Big East, DePaul. But at least the Wildcats (14-1, 10-4 ATS) have some quality non-conference wins over Maryland, Ole Miss and Dayton. Their lone loss was at Temple when they still were without the suspended guard Reggie Redding. He has scored in double figures each game back (five) so far. The star of the team is, no doubt, Scottie Reynolds, who is averaging 21.0 ppg in the past eight and shooting 58.9 percent from the field. These teams last met in the 2009 Big East Tournament, a 14-point Louisville win – the Cards have now won three in a row in the series and Nova is 0-5 ATS in its past five against Louisville.
Kentucky at Florida (9 p.m., ESPN): UK and Texas are the final two unbeaten teams left in the country, and the Wildcats certainly could fall from those ranks after visiting Gainesville on Tuesday night. The Gators (11-4, 5-5 ATS) had climbed as high as No. 11 in the country but lost three in a row in mid-December, starting with a neutral-site setback to Top 10 team Syracuse in Tampa. UF seemed to have turned things around with a three-game win streak, but then lost its SEC opener at Vandy on Saturday. It was UF’s first loss in its SEC opener since 2001. UK improved to 16-0 (7-7 ATS) with a tough win over Georgia on Saturday – Kentucky won despite hitting just 2-for-14 from three-point range for the second game in a row. For what it’s worth, these two split two regular-season meetings last year, with the Gators winning at home. But both teams are very different than last season. This will be just Kentucky’s second true road game of the season.
Texas at Iowa State (8 p.m., ESPN360.com): We certainly could have no unbeatens left in the country following this game, which is ISU’s Big 12 opener (Texas is 1-0 in conference). Iowa State (11-4, 6-6 ATS) could use a big win to help their NCAA Tournament resume, although its four losses all came to good teams: Northwestern, Northern Iowa, Cal and Duke (only one of those at home). All-American candidate Craig Brackins will need to have a monster night for the Cyclones to pull the upset. They have scored 80 points or more eight times this season after doing that once all of last season. It’s likely that starting ISU center Justin Hamilton misses this game after sitting out Saturday’s win over North Dakota State with a concussion. The Horns are one of the nation’s top rebounding teams, so ISU will need all the size it can get. All but one of UT’s wins are by double digits. These two teams met just once in the regular season last year, an eight-point Texas win at home. This season, the Horns (15-0, 7-4 ATS) are 0-2 ATS in true road games.
Gonzaga at Saint Mary’s (11 p.m., ESPN2): Can you even call Gonzaga a mid-major anymore? If you can, these are annually two of the better mid-major teams out there, and this is basically the Carolina-Duke matchup of the West Coast Conference. It was expected that Saint Mary’s (15-2, an excellent 12-2 ATS) would fall back this year with the loss of Patrick Mills to the NBA, but center Omar Samhan has emerged as one of the nation’s top players, averaging 20.8 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. And junior Mickey McConnell has stepped into Mills’ spot and ranks among the nation’s leaders in assists while shooting a whopping 56.1 percent from three-point range. The Zags (12-3, 7-4-1 ATS) beat Saint Mary’s all three times last year, although it was a nail-biter in the one game at Saint Mary’s. Gonzaga, which has won four in a row since being pummeled by Duke, is still just 2-3 in the past five at the Gaels’ house.
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