NCAA Basketball Betting 3-Point Play: Three Interesting Opening Lines Sunday
by Alan Matthews - 2/7/2015
If you are like me, this Sunday is the most painful Sunday as a sports bettor and fan since early August. Why? No NFL football, not even an exhibition game or the stinking Pro Bowl! (Seriously, I'm going to start wagering on Madden simulations.). I guess I may have to do whatever my significant other wants to (no, dear, I didn't know Pottery Barn was having a sale. Yay). Ugh. How many days until MLB teams report to training camp? So basketball takes the Sunday focus at least until baseball gets going. Not a great NCAA schedule this Sunday but here are three games that caught my eye.
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No. 20 Ohio State at Rutgers (+9)
It's a 5:30 p..m. tip as Ohio State makes its first-ever visit to Rutgers in Big Ten action. The Buckeyes (17-6, 6-4) are going to fall out of the Top 25 if they lose here because they come off a 60-58 defeat at Purdue on Wednesday. You could almost see that defeat coming as a letdown game because OSU was coming off back-to-back blowouts of ranked teams Indiana and Maryland. And you really could see it coming if you waited until right before the tipoff to bet on it as earlier Wednesday the team announced that sophomore Marc Loving was suspended indefinitely for reasons not given. Just a statement that said: "He has temporarily lost his privilege to wear the Scarlet and Gray." That's a big loss because Loving is the team's second-leading scorer at 11.7 points per game. Presumably he won't play here either, and that just puts more pressure on freshman star D'Angelo Russell. He played well against Purdue with 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists but didn't get much help. Russell missed a 40-foot desperation heave at the buzzer.
Rutgers (10-14, 2-9) has lost seven straight and only Northwestern is keeping the Scarlet Knights out of the Big Ten basement. If you think the Big Ten lured the school because of basketball, then I have some beachfront property in Kansas to sell you. Rutgers comes off a 66-54 loss at Illinois on Tuesday. Kadeem Jack had 17 points and Myles Mack 16 in the loss. Mack now has 1,577 points for his career, passing Ricky Shields for ninth place on Rutgers' all-time scoring list. He will make his 100th career start Sunday.
Ohio State and Rutgers haven't played since 1978. The Scarlet Knights are 1-3 vs. ranked teams this year, upsetting Wisconsin in Piscataway.
Key trends: OSU has covered one of its past 11 road games. It is 5-11 ATS in its past 16 Big Ten games. Rutgers is 8-3 ATS in its past 11 following at ATS loss.
Why take the underdog: Did you not see that OSU road trend?
San Diego State at Boise State (pick'em)
This important Mountain West Conference game tips at 6 p.m. ET on the CBS Sports Network. San Diego State hasn't missed the NCAA Tournament since 2009, and the Aztecs would be in the Big Dance right now -- currently projected as a No. 8 seed -- but they don't have a ton of wiggle room after starting the season in the Top 25.
SDSU (18-5, 8-2) has won three straight games but had to fight for it on Wednesday in a 65-63 win at Nevada. JJ O'Brien's 3-point play with 51 seconds left was the difference. He had a season-high 18 points. San Diego State has won its last 137 games when leading with five minutes to play; SDSU led Nevada 59-53 with five minutes to go. Also, the Aztecs have won their last 16 games when leading at halftime, which they did 30-28 in that game. Boise State (16-6, 6-3) has won six straight after a four-game losing streak. Even if the Broncos win out in the regular season they probably don't get a bid because they don't really have a quality victory. They come off a 68-63 win at Utah State on Tuesday, ending Boise's 18-game losing streak there (it had never won in Logan). Senior guard Derrick Marks led Boise with 23 points, including 17 in the second half. Marks had the go-ahead 3-poitner with 2:56 left. During the winning streak, Marks is scoring 26.2 points per game. Boise State's record for a single-season conference winning streak is seven games.
San Diego State was 2-0 vs. Boise State last year but won by only three and two points. The Aztecs won in Boise by rallying from 14 down and on a 3-pointer by Dwayne Polee II with four seconds left.
Key trends: SDSU is 2-5 ATS in its past seven on the road. Boise State has covered four straight against teams with a winning record. The road team has covered six of the past eight meetings.
Why take the Broncos: Love those pick'ems and I'll almost always lean the home team in those situations.
Clemson at Miami Fla. (-7)
ESPNU shows this ACC game at 6:30 pm. This is potentially a huge bubble game for the NCAA Tournament. In ESPN's most recent projection, Miami is among the "last four in" and facing Temple in a play-in game, while Clemson is in the "first four out."
Clemson (14-8, 6-4) is going in the right direction as it won at Florida State 62-56 on Wednesday for its fourth straight victory; the Noles had won in Clemson about two weeks prior. This time the Tigers scored 16 points off FSU turnovers while the Seminoles had only two off Clemson giveaways. Jaron Blossomgame (great name!) led Clemson scoring with 14 points, while Donte Grantham and Jordan Roper both had in 13. It was the fourth straight opponent that Clemson held a foe under 40 percent shooting, and this is Clemson's longest conference winning streak since the 1996-97 team coached by Rick Barnes won the first five games. Miami (14-8, 4-5) is going the wrong way, losing its third straight Tuesday, 63-55 at home to No. 9 Louisville. The Hurricane bench outscored the Cardinals' 30-0, but Miami shot only 34 percent overall. Sheldon McClellan and Angel Rodriguez, the Hurricanes' leading scorers, combined for just 12 points on 4-for-14 shooting.
This is the only meeting of the season. The teams met once last year and Clemson won 58-54 at home.
Key trends: Clemson is 4-1 ATS in its past five on the road. The Canes have failed to cover their past five at home. Clemson is 5-0-1 ATS in the past six meetings.
Why take the underdog: Canes are the better team but not that much better.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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