College Basketball Betting: Hot or Not handicapping Report
by Dave Schwab - 1/3/2012
The New Year marks the start of conference play for all the teams in both the major and mid-majors as they continue their push towards this March’s NCAA Tournament. Over the first two months of the season we have seen a few teams already emerge as legitimate contenders for this year’s national title, and we have witnessed a few other high-profile programs struggle to find their way.
Here is a look at this week’s hot and not teams in college basketball not in terms of their overall record straight up, but primarily in their performance where it counts the most; against the spread.
Who is Hot
The Indiana Hoosiers have been at the top of our list for the past few weeks, and for good cause. They have risen up the ranks to occupy the No.12 spot in the nation in the latest AP poll with a 13-1 record straight up. The main reason they occupy the top spot on our list is an extremely profitable 8-1 record against the spread that includes straight-up victories over then-No.1 Kentucky on Dec. 10 and then-No. 2 Ohio State just this past Saturday night as underdogs at home. Indiana raced out to a 12-0 SU (7-0 ATS) start in the nonconference portion of its schedule before stumbling in last Thursday’s Big Ten opener against Michigan State with a 80-65 loss in which it failed to cover as a six-point road underdog.
Another team that has been working its way up the rankings after starting the season completely out of the Top 25 is the No.9 Georgetown Hoyas. They made an immediate statement in the Big East with a 71-68 victory over then-No.4 Louisville last Thursday as 6.5-point road underdogs in their conference opener. The Hoyas did fail to cover as 13.5-point home favorites in a 49-40 win over Providence on New Year’s Eve, but they remain a solid 12-1 SU and 7-1 ATS. Much of Georgetown’s early success this season can be attributed to the play of Jason Clark and Hollis Thompson. These two are both shooting close to 50 percent from the floor while combining for 28.9 points a game.
The Atlantic 10’s Saint Joseph Hawks are starting to open some eyes as being one of the better teams in the conference this season with a 10-4 SU start. They rank high on this list for being an early-season ATM machine with a 9-1 record ATS. This past Saturday, the Hawks came very close to knocking-off No.22 Harvard in a 74-69 loss as 6.5-point road underdogs. The only game St. Joe’s failed to cover in was a late-November 78-70 loss to Seton Hall as a 1.5-point underdog. As a team, it is shooting 48.8 percent from the field and averaging 73.8 points a game. Look for the Hawks to be a thorn in the side of the other top teams in the A-10 all season long.
The honorable mentions this week go out to a couple of teams in the Summit League. The North Dakota State Bison are currently 10-3 SU and 8-1 ATS and the South Dakota State Jackrabbits are 12-4 SU and 6-1-1 ATS.
Who is Not
It is hard to envision the No.2 team in the country being at the top of a ‘who’s not’ list, but the SEC’s Kentucky Wildcats have earned their way into this dubious position for being one of the biggest drains on the bankroll this season. Forget the fact that they are 13-1 SU and coming off a 69-62 victory over in-state rival Louisville on New Year’s Eve, these Cats have not covered a spread since beating Penn State, 85-47, as 18.5-point favorites on Nov.19. Granted, Kentucky has been a prohibitive double-digit favorite in just about every game it has played, but that is still no excuse for an extremely costly 3-9-1 record ATS.
Another team that has been lighting it up on the court while cleaning-out people’s wallets is the No.20 Marquette Golden Eagles, out of the Big East. They opened-up conference play with an 81-77 win over Villanova on New Year’s Day, but could not cover as 10-point home favorites. This was the sixth time in their last seven games that they failed to cover despite going 5-2 SU over the same span. Overall the Golden Eagles are 12-2 SU, but just 3-7-1 ATS. Next up for Marquette is a tilt with No.9 Georgetown in what could be the biggest gift on Wednesday night’s college basketball schedule.
The dishonorable mentions for this week’s list go to another Big East school, the Pittsburgh Panthers and the ACC’s Maryland Terrapins. The Panthers are 11-4 SU, but just 3-7 ATS, while the Terrapins are 9-3 SU and 2-6 ATS.
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