College Basketball Betting: Hot or Not handicapping Report
by Dave Schwab - 1/18/2012
The NCAA men’s college basketball schedule enters the second half of January with the top teams in Division I starting to really jockey for position for a top spot in this March’s NCAA Tournament. There have been a few shocking upsets that have thrown a wrench into some of these teams’ plans, while allowing a few others to emerge as surprise gate-crashers for the Big Dance.
The real measure of success for this ‘Hot and Not’ list is not necessarily how well a team has performed on the court, but rather how it has done where it counts the most: against the spread. Here is a look at this week’s hot and not teams in men’s college basketball through this past Monday’s games.
Who is Hot
The No.1-ranked Syracuse Orange ran their unbeaten streak to 20 games with a 71-63 victory over Pittsburgh this past Monday, but they failed to cover as 13-point home favorites. Despite this minor setback, the Orange remain a very profitable 13-6 against the spread this season, which is even more impressive considering that they have been double-digit favorites in eight of their last nine games. Syracuse is 5-1 ATS in its last six games overall and a perfect 4-0 ATS on the road. It is averaging 80 points a game while shooting 48.6 percent from the field. The Orange have scored less than 70 points just three times this season and not since Dec.6 when they beat Marshall 62-56 as 15.5-point home favorites.
Another Big East team that has been a solid money maker this season and a steady climber on this list is the Seton Hall Pirates. Last Friday they were stunned by South Florida, 56-55, as two-point road favorites, but it was just their second SU loss in the last 14 games. The Pirates are 10-4 ATS this season overall and very profitable 6-1 ATS at home. Seton Hall has also covered in three of five games as an underdog while posting SU wins over Dayton and Connecticut. It is 15-3 SU overall and currently tied for third-place in the conference at 4-2 SU.
The top Division I program in the nation ATS this season is the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders out of the Sun Belt Conference. Their 67-54 romp over Florida Atlantic this past Saturday as 3.5-point road favorites raised their overall record to 17-2 SU and an extremely profitable 14-3 ATS. The Blue Raiders have now covered in their last five games overall and are 6-2 ATS at home and 7-1 ATS on the road this season. Middle Tennessee State is averaging 73.3 points a game, but its real claim to fame has been on defense where it is holding opponents to an average of just 60.6 points a game.
This week’s honorable mentions go out to another pair of schools from the mid-majors. The Atlantic 10’s Saint Joseph’s Hawks continue to be a solid bet with a 12-6 record SU and an 11-3 record ATS. The Nevada Wolf Pack, out of the Western Athletic Association is 14-3 SU and also very profitable at 11-3 ATS.
Who is Not
The Kentucky Wildcats are ranked No.2 in the country in most major polls after compiling a 17-1 SU record so far, but they have been a complete disaster to wager on this season with a costly 3-13-1 record ATS. The Wildcats have not covered a spread in their last 14 games overall and are 1-9-1 ATS at home this year. Kentucky has been a double-digit favorite in eight of its last nine games and a favorite of 17 points or more in 12 games this season, so it is easy to see why the Wildcats have struggled ATS.
Another of the nation’s top teams has been less than stellar ATS lately for much of the same reason. The No. 4-ranked Duke Blue Devils moved to 15-2 SU on the year with a 73-66 victory over Clemson this past Sunday as 6.5-point road favorites. It was the first time they covered in their last four games and the first time they covered on the road this season. Duke is not nearly as bad as Kentucky with a 7-10 record ATS overall, but it has failed to cover in three of its last five games as a double-digit favorite.
This week’s dishonorable mentions go out to Texas Longhorns, out of the Big 12 and the Big East’s Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Longhorns are 12-5 SU on the year but just 3-9 ATS, while the Irish are 11-8 SU and a costly 3-8-2 ATS.
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