College Basketball Betting: Hot or Not Handicapping Report
by Dave Schwab - 3/19/2012
This year’s NCAA Tournament’s field of 68 teams has been whittled-down to just 16 after three rounds of action. While all 16 teams head into the regional semifinals in solid form on the court, we are more concerned with their form where it counts the most; against the spread.
The following is a brief look at a few of the teams in this year’s Sweet 16 that have been hot ATS as of late as well as a few that have not.
Who is Hot
The Michigan State Spartans missed out on winning the Big Ten regular season title outright with a couple of bad losses down the stretch, but they earned the No.1 seed in the West Region as result of winning the Big Ten Conference Tournament. While they failed to cover the spread as 7.5-point favorites in a 65-61 third-round victory over No.9-seed St. Louis, the Spartans are 5-1 ATS in their last six neutral-site games and 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall. Of particular interest for Thursday’s Sweet 16 matchup against No.4-seed Louisville: Michigan State is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games following an ATS loss.
The Big East’s Cincinnati Bearcats worked their way to the No.6 seed in the East Region with a strong showing in the conference tournament, including a 71-68 victory over Syracuse as eight-point underdogs. The Bearcats have made the most of the opportunity with a 65-59 win over No.11-seed Texas as three-point favorites in the second round, followed by a third-round 62-56 upset over No.3-seed Florida State as two-point underdogs. They head into Thursday’s showdown with No.2-seed Ohio State with an 8-1 record ATS in their last nine games. Cincinnati is now 6-1 ATS in its last seven games following both a SU and ATS win.
The final team on our Sweet 16 hot list is the Midwest Region’s No.11-seed, the North Carolina State Wolfpack. They came very close to knocking-off North Carolina in the ACC Tournament in a 69-67 loss as 9.5-point underdogs to head into this tournament with a 5-0-1 ATS record in their last six games. NC State has beaten No.6 seed San Diego State 79-65 as a 2.5-point favorite and No.3-seed Georgetown 66-63 as a four-point underdog to earn a spot in the region semifinals against No.2-seed Kansas. The Wolfpack are now 5-2 ATS in their last seven NCAA Tournament games and 20-8 ATS in their last 28 neutral-site games.
Who is Not
When the Syracuse Orange bowed out of the Big East Tournament’s semifinals with the loss to Cincinnati, it was just their second SU loss in 33 games on the year, but their sixth loss ATS in their last seven games. The No.1 seed in the East Region failed to cover as a 15.5-point favorite in last Thursday’s very sloppy 72-65 second-round win over No.16-seed UNC-Asheville, but did cover as a 5.5-favorite in a 75-59 romp over No.8-seed Kansas State this past Saturday. Heading into Thursday’s game against No.4-seed Wisconsin, Syracuse is 2-6 ATS in its last eight games following a SU win and 0-5 ATS in its last five games following an ATS win.
The Xavier Musketeers were stunned by St. Bonaventure, 67-56, in the Atlantic 10 Tournament finals as 3.5-point favorites to drop to the No.10 seed in the South Region of this tournament. They covered as two-point underdogs in a 67-63 second-round win over No.7-seed Notre Dame and came from behind to cover as four-point favorites in a 70-58 victory over No.15-seed Lehigh in the third round. Prior to those two games, Xavier was a costly 1-7-1 ATS in its previous nine games overall. The Musketeers are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 neutral-site games and 2-5 ATS in their last seven games following a SU win heading into Friday’s matchup against No.3-seed Baylor.
The Kentucky Wildcats came in as the odds-on-favorite to win this tournament and nothing in the first two rounds would do anything to lessen those odds. However, when it comes to covering spreads the Wildcats are a whole other story. They failed to cover in six of their last eight games heading into the NCAA Tournament and failed to cover as 26.5-point favorites in an 81-66 romp over No.16-seed Western Kentucky in Thursday’s second round. The Wildcats did cover as 12-point favorites in Saturday’s 87-71 victory over No.8-seed Iowa State. The No.1 seed in the South now takes-on the No.4-seed Indiana Hoosiers in Friday’s Sweet 16 as a nine point favorite, but Kentucky is 1-5 ATS in its last six games as a neutral-site favorite and 1-11-1 ATS in its last 13 nonconference games.
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