Doc's Sports is bringing back the Weekly Schedule Spot Fade Picks article for this season once again. Last season was the first for this article. In the small sample size, last season's results weren't very good. Still, there is no doubt that looking closely at the schedule and looking for teams to fade is a very good strategy in college basketball.
Week one of this year's picks was really bad. Michigan State narrowly missed covering in a game where they started very slowly. Valparaiso won a defensive battle but didn't cover the number. UCSB took an early lead before being blown out by USC. UTEP couldn't make a shot from long range, and was beaten soundly by UT Arlington. Things can only improve after that ugly start!
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For this article throughout the year, I'll be looking at schedule spots that could be bad ones for teams throughout the course of the season and then recommending plays based on those spots. We'll track the results throughout the course of the season. For games that don't have a line at the time each article is written, the Bookmaker opening line will be used for grading purposes. All plays will be one-unit plays.
Play #1- Play on Colorado (Fade BYU) on Saturday, December 12
This is an awful spot for BYU. The Cougars will have played three straight in-state rivalry games before this contest. BYU first played at Utah and lost. They then beat Weber State in a hotly-contested game last weekend. They were set to play Utah State in another big rivalry game on Wednesday night.
Colorado is a difficult place to play. The Buffaloes have one of the more underrated home-court advantages in the country. Colorado hasn't come close to a losing a game at home so far this year, and I think laying the points with them will be the good play here. BYU has played two road games this season. They lost to a mediocre Long Beach State team away from home. They were blown away (the final score is misleading) in their game at Utah.
BYU should be out of gas after three emotional rivalry games. Take the home favorite in this one.
Play #2- Play on California (Fade St. Mary's) on Saturday, December 12
St. Mary's has played far better than anyone could have ever expected before the season. In fact, Coach Randy Bennett said before the year he wasn't sure what to expect from his team. The Gaels come into this game at 6-0, but they haven't played a game on the road all year. St. Mary's is shooting 47.2 percent from long range and an astounding 61.5 percent on two-point shots so far this season. Overall, they are knocking down 54.5 percent of their field goal attempts. Needless to say, those are numbers that aren't sustainable for the entire season.
California has been up and down in the early going this year, but the Golden Bears have a big talent advantage in this game. Cal will likely be a smaller favorite than they should be in this one. The Golden Bears have lost their biggest games early in the year, so people are lower on them now. Additionally, St. Mary's has been a covering machine in the early going, so the oddsmakers have adjusted them higher. I think Cal wins and covers here.
Play #3- Play on IUPUI (Fade Creighton) on Saturday, December 12
Creighton plays an in-state rivalry game on Wednesday night against Nebraska, and the Blue Jays then host IUPUI on Saturday. Why would Creighton be motivated for this one? While IUPUI certainly isn't a good team, they have been competitive on the road against some bigger-name schools already this year. IUPUI took Marquette to overtime. They also beat Indiana State on the road. They lost a close game against Georgia State as well.
We'll be getting a big number here with IUPUI. And while I don't expect Creighton to lose this game by any means, I do believe the Blue Jays will be more sluggish than normal in this spot.
Play #4- Play on UC Irvine (Fade Utah State) on Saturday, December 12
UC Irvine has one of the nation's best big men in 7'6 Mamadou N'Diaye. N'Diaye is improving on the offensive end, and he is obviously a tremendous shot blocker with his 8'1 wingspan (wow!). Utah State was set to be a solid team this year, but David Collette quit the team a couple days before the season. Collette was definitely one of the team's best players, and that was a major hit to the Aggies team.
Utah State is in a difficult scheduling spot here. The Aggies had three road games in a row before this home contest. Utah State played rival BYU on Wednesday night. UC Irvine last played on Sunday night, and the Anteaters should be well-rested for this one. UC Irvine will be the underdog here, and this should be a close game throughout.
Play #5- Play on Syracuse (Fade St. John's) on Sunday, December 13
The St. John's Red Storm have a long year ahead of them. Chris Mullin should do a good job with this program in the long run, but there isn't enough talent here to compete with the top teams yet. St. John's lost by 37 points against Vanderbilt on a neutral floor in Hawaii. They also lost by 16 at Fordham last week.
St. John's has been winning a lot of close games against very poor competition. They struggled to close wins against Wagner and St. Francis (NY). While St. John's has primarily played weak teams, Syracuse has played a difficult schedule thus far. The Orange beat UConn and Texas A&M, and suffered close losses against Wisconsin and Georgetown.
Syracuse will be favored here, but I expect them to win by a wide margin.
Last Week's Results- 0 Wins 4 Losses (Michigan State -5.5, Valparaiso -8, UCSB +1.5, and UTEP -1.5)
Schedule Spot Fade Plays Season Record- 0 Wins 4 Losses (-$440)
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