NCAA Basketball Betting 3-Point Play: Three Interesting Opening Lines Thursday
by Alan Matthews - 1/28/2015
Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie was the toast of college basketball last season in leading the No. 7 seed Huskies to the National Championship the year after UConn wasn't even eligible for the Big Dance due to academic issues. Well, the bloom might be off the rose for Ollie, who was rumored for some NBA jobs, if his team doesn't start winning regularly because Connecticut is on the outside looking in for the field of 68 right now. It is a +10000 long shot to repeatat Sportsbook.ag. Here's a look at big game for the Huskies on Thursday and two other interesting matchups.
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DePaul at Providence (-11)
It's a rare treat here with a 2 p.m. ET weekday start and televised by Fox Sports 1. Why this unusual time? Because the teams were supposed to play Tuesday night but that was postponed due to the snowstorm that hit the East Coast. The Blue Demons (11-10, 5-3) are much improved this year after finishing 12-21 overall and 3-15 in the Big East last year. Maybe even a postseason berth could be in the cards, although not NCAA Tournament. DePaul had a two-game winning streak ended last time out, 89-76 at Xavier. The Blue Demons had 50 points in the first half behind 11 3-pointers and .633 shooting overall. In the second half, DePaul had just 26 points on .300 shooting and two 3-pointers. Tommy Hamilton IV led four players in double-figures with 15 points off the bench.
Providence (15-5, 5-2) made the NCAA Tournament last year for the first time since 2004 and looks as if it could get back. It brings a two-game winning streak into this one and its last game was also against Xavier, a 69-66 home overtime win. Senior forward LaDontae Henton had his third double-double on the season with 24 points and 10 rebounds, while Kris Dunn had his fifth with 20 points and 10 rebounds. It marked the first time this season that two Friars registered a double-double in the same game, and Henton was named Big East Player of the Week. He leads the Big East and is sixth nationally in scoring at 21.2 points per game. Xavier trailed by 12 points at halftime and scored the final nine points of regulation to force overtime.
Providence swept DePaul last year, 77-72 in Chicago and 84-61 at home. PC is 9-3 all-time against DePaul in Big East play.
Key trends: DePaul is 7-1 ATS in its past eight games. Providence is 4-0 ATS in its past four at home vs. teams with a losing road record. PC is 8-2 ATS in its past 10 vs. the Big East. The underdog is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings.
Why take the favorite: DePaul is pretty solid at home these days but still shaky on the road.
No. 16 Maryland at Ohio State (-7.5)
It's a 7 p.m. ESPN game in the Big Ten. Maryland (18-3, 6-2) is a game behind Wisconsin for the Big Ten lead, and those two have yet to play. The Terps bounced back from a 19-point loss at Indiana with a 68-67 home escape against Northwestern on Sunday. Maryland never led until the end. Star freshman Melo Trimble made two free throws with 21 seconds remaining to make it 66-65. After Tre Demps hit a jumper for the Wildcats, Trimble missed a 3-pointer and Dez Wells grabbed the rebound and put it in with 1.4 seconds left. Northwestern called a timeout but never got a shot off. Trimble had 27 points.
Ohio State (16-5, 5-3) beat No. 23 Indiana -- I recommended the Buckeyes in that one -- 82-70 on Sunday on Columbus. OSU's freshman star D'Angelo Russell scored 22 points and added 10 assists for his second double-double of the season. Fellow freshman Jae'Sean Tate scored a career-high 20 points as OSU shot .623 from the floor. The last time an unranked Ohio State team had beaten a ranked Indiana squad was Jan. 11, 2003. Russell remains second in the Big Ten in scoring (19.4 ppg, which is first nationally among freshmen) and was named Big Ten Player of the Week, while Trimble is No. 7 (16.3). Presumably these guys will guard each other.
Obviously Maryland is making its first trip to Columbus as a Big Ten member but OSU did host the Terps on Dec. 4, 2013, as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Buckeyes rolled 76-60.
Key trends: The Terps are 7-3 ATS in their past 10 following an ATS loss. OSU is 6-1 ATS in its past seven home games. But Ohio State is 0-9 ATS in its past nine on Thursday.
Why take the underdog: I think OSU wins but not by that much.
Connecticut at Cincinnati (-4.5)
This American Athletic Conference game tips off at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Connecticut (11-7, 4-2) has followed a two-game losing streak with two straight wins. The problem for UConn is that it didn't get any good non-conference wins -- usually beating Florida would be one but not this season. On Sunday, the Huskies beat a bad USF team 66-53. Ryan Boatright, the best player left from last season's team, scored a career-high 28 points, 19 in the second half. The Huskies outrebounded the Bulls 35-18 and shot 46 percent from the floor. UConn averages just 65.6 points per game.
Cincinnati (14-5, 5-2) has followed a two-game slide with three straight wins. The Bearcats also beat a Florida team last time out, taking a 56-46 victory at Central Florida on Saturday. Cincinnati, which ranks fifth nationally in scoring defense, held UCF scoreless over the final 4:38 to secure UC's first conference road win of the season. Cincinnati, which also isn't very good offensively, shot only 40.4 percent overall and 5-for-18 from long range. Kevin Johnson led the way with 13 points. UC has held its last 23 opponents to less than 70 points.
These schools met Jan. 10 in Hartford with UConn as a 5-point favorite. The Huskies won 62-56 behind 18 points and eight assists from Boatright. UC shot 39.6 percent overall and 8-for-26 in the second half. UConn leads the series 11-5 overall. Cincinnati has won the last two meetings in the Queen City. The last seven meetings overall have been decided by seven points or less.
Key trends: UConn is 11-5 ATS in its past 16 road games vs. teams with a winning record. The Huskies are 0-4 ATS in their past four overall. Cincinnati is 5-2 ATS in its past seven at home. The Huskies have covered the past six meetings.
Why take the favorite: Cincinnati is very good at home, with its only loss to VCU. Take the under, too, when that posts on Thursday morning even though it will be a very low total.
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