NCAA Basketball Betting 3-Point Play: Three Interesting Opening Lines Tuesday
by Alan Matthews - 1/26/2015
Will we have a mid-major program reach the Final Four this season? Certainly the top candidate is No. 3 Gonzaga, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see Coach Shaka Smart's VCU Rams reach the national semifinals for the second time this decade. Smart hasn't gotten past the second round since VCU lost to Butler in the 2011 Final Four. VCU is a +10000 long shot at Sportsbook.ag to win the national title. Here's a look at the Rams' game on Tuesday and two others that caught my eye.
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George Washington at No. 14 VCU (-8)
It's a 7 p.m. tip for this Atlantic-10 game on the CBS Sports Network. Virginia Commonwealth (16-3, 6-0) has won 11 straight games. The Rams won 63-61 at St. Louis on Friday night on Treveon Graham's layup with 0.9 seconds left, as he drove the length of the court. Graham finished with a game-high 21 points on 6-for-13 from the field, while also grabbing six rebounds. The Rams are 6-0 in conference play for the first time since 2006-07, when the school was in the Colonial Athletic Association. The 11 straight wins are tied for the second-longest winning streak under Smart. The longest was in 2012-13 with 13 consecutive victories. VCU is now 13-0 when holding its opposition under 70 points.
George Washington (16-4, 6-1) has won four straight. It beat Duquesne 74-59 on Saturday behind Patricio Garino's 20 points. GW was 12-for-24 from 3-point range, the school's most 3-points since hitting a dozen at Auburn on Nov. 22, 2008. It's the first time GW is 6-1 in the A-10 since 2006-07. The victory improved GW to 15-0 this season when scoring 60-or-more points and 10-0 when shooting better than 45 percent (48.1 percent). The Colonials were picked in the preseason to finish second behind VCU in the A-10. GW enters Tuesday's game 30th nationally and third in the A-10 in scoring defense (59.3 ppg), second in the league in field goal defense (.396), and first in the conference in rebound margin (+5.5).
VCU leads the all-time series 6-1. The Colonials did win the home matchup last year, 76-66. VCU won the other two games (one in conference tournament) handily.
Key trends: George Washington is 7-16 ATS in its past 23 road games vs. teams with a winning home record. It is 0-4 ATS in its past four vs. teams with a winning record. VCU is 1-4 ATS in its past five games. The home team has covered the past four meetings.
Why take the favorite: GW is just 3-4 on the road.
Florida at Alabama (-1)
Two NCAA Tournament bubble teams from the SEC tip at 9 p.m. on ESPN. The Gators haven't missed the NCAA Tournament since 2009 but it sure looks like they will this year barring an unlikely run to the SEC Tournament title. Florida (10-9, 3-3) enters on a three-game losing streak, all to unranked teams -- I wonder if this might be Billy Donovan's final year in Gainesville as he's always rumored for NBA jobs. UF fell 72-71 at Ole Miss on Saturday, with the Rebels trailing much of the game and still down 69-65 with around two minutes left. Florida's Kasey Hill failed to get a contested layup off as time expired. Michael Frazier led UF with a season-high 27 points. The three-game skid is the longest by a Florida team since the 2011-12 squad dropped the final three regular-season games. UF has lost four games (Miami, Kansas, Connecticut and Ole Miss) it led by double digits and is winless in four games that have gone to the final possession.
Alabama (13-6, 3-3) beat rival Auburn 57-55 on Saturday to end a three-game losing streak. The Crimson Tide trailed by as many as nine points with under 10 minutes to play. Levi Randolph scored nine of the Tide's final 12 points to lead the comeback. He was the only Alabama player in double figures with 18 points. Senior guard Rodney Cooper's won it on a putback of a Randolph missed jumper with six seconds remaining. Of course Alabama is coached by former Donovan assistant Anthony Grant.
Florida is 21-5 vs. Alabama under Donovan and has won nine straight.
Key trends: Florida has covered only four of its past 15 vs. teams with a winning record. UF is 1-4 ATS in its past five after a loss. Alabama is 8-1 ATS in its past nine after an ATS loss. The Gators have covered four straight at Alabama.
Why take the favorite: Gators are 1-4 in true road games.
Colorado State at Boise State (-2)
This would be a fantastic football game but it's also two pretty good basketball teams from the Mountain West and it's the latest-starting game on Tuesday at 11 p.m. ET on ESPNU. Colorado State (18-2, 5-2) won its fourth straight game Saturday and it was the school's best win of the year, 79-73 against visiting San Diego State. Senior forward J.J. Avila led the way for the Rams with a season-high 29 points on 12-of-16 shooting from the floor. The Rams' 79 points marked a season-high in a regulation game allowed by San Diego State, which entered as the No. 3 scoring defense in the nation. Avila was named the MWC Player of the Week on Monday.
Boise State (14-6, 4-3) beat Air Force 77-68 on Saturday. Derrick Marks scored 28 points and Nick Duncan added a career-high 20. Boise State shot nearly 58 percent from the floor, and 14 of 22 on 3-pointers. Marks has scored at least 28 points in six games this season, including three times during Boise State's current four-game winning streak. Boise State's four-game win streak comes immediately after losing four in a row. It's only the fifth time in school history the Broncos have won at least four in a row after losing at least four consecutive games.
On New Year's Eve at Fort Collins, Colorado State was ranked 24th in the nation and unbeaten when it beat Boise State 71-65. John Gillion led the Rams with a career-high 25 points. CSU rallied from a 10-point second-half deficit. That dropped Boise State to 6-43 all-time against ranked teams.
Key trends: CSU is 2-8 ATS in its past 10 road games vs. teams with a winning home record. Boise is 4-0 ATS in its past four.
Why take the favorite: Boise has just one home loss and that on a buzzer-beater.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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