NCAA Basketball Betting 3-Point Play: Three Interesting Feb. 17 Opening Lines
by Alan Matthews - 2/16/2016
Sure, Duke-North Carolina will get all the publicity on Wednesday night. But the Blue Devils aren't winning the ACC regular-season title and that game likely won’t be the most consequential one on the board. That title should be reserved for game that will decide the top spot in the Atlantic 10 Conference, as Dayton visits Saint Joseph's for a big-time matchup. Have both teams done enough to earn at-large NCAA Tournament bids if they don't win the conference tournament? Regardless, someone is going to walk away with a major victory Wednesday night.
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No. 15 Dayton at Saint Joseph's (-4)
This matchup is an A-10 game at 6 p.m. ET on the CBS Sports Network. Dayton (21-3, 11-1) is going to be in the Big Dance no matter what. The Flyers have won nine straight since one of the most puzzling losses this season anywhere: a loss to sorry La Salle. Dayton's other two losses are to a very good Chattanooga team and ranked Xavier. UD is 11-0 this year when both Kendall Pollard and Dyshawn Pierre play. The Flyers have been playing with fire in their past two games, winning by just two at home vs. Duquesne and by two at Rhode Island last Friday. They are No. 13 in the USA Today Poll, their highest mark since 1967. In both polls, Dayton is the only Top 25 team from outside the Power 5 conferences and the Big East.
Saint Joseph's (21-4, 10-2) is on a three-game winning streak, all by at least 18 points. It pummeled La Salle by 26 on Saturday. Hawks senior Isaiah Miles had a big last week, averaging 20.0 pts and 8.5 rebounds. He shot 58.3 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range. Miles leads the team in scoring and rebounding. Saint Joseph's has faced one ranked team this season, losing by 14 at home to Villanova back on November. The Hawks haven't lost at home to Dayton since Jan. 29, 2000, a streak of seven straight wins.
Key trends: The Flyers are 4-0-1 against the spread in their past five road games vs. teams with a winning home record. The Hawks are 9-2 ATS in their past 11 Wednesday games. Dayton is 0-4 ATS in the past four meetings.
I'm leaning: Dayton.
No. 1 Villanova at Temple (+7)
Here is a nonconference matchup at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2. This concludes the Philly Big 5 schedule for Villanova (22-3), which is No. 1 in the polls for a second straight week. Nova has already routed Saint Joseph's, Penn and La Salle this season. The Cats might have been caught looking ahead to this tough test a bit last Saturday as they were 27-point home favorites over a wretched St. John's team and won by just 10. That game was only a one-point lead at the half. Daniel Ochefu had a career-high 25 points to go with nine rebounds in the win. He is 15-of-20 from the field in two games since returning to the lineup after missing three games with a concussion. Villanova is 8-1 on the road this season and has won seven straight since a loss to Virginia on Dec. 19.
Temple (16-8) is atop the American Athletic Conference but probably not an NCAA Tournament lock yet. A win here would essentially punch the Owls' ticket for at worst an at-large bid. Temple also perhaps was looking ahead to this one in its last game, a 77-65 home win over a really bad South Florida team. Jaylen Bond had 18 points and 14 rebounds and Obi Enechionyia added 18 points for the Owls, who had five players score in double figures for the first time since a loss at Houston on Feb. 9, 2014. This is Temple's second game this season against the No. 1 team. The Owls opened their season with a 91-67 loss to North Carolina.
Key trends: Villanova is 1-4 ATS in its past five following an ATS loss. Temple is 7-1 ATS in its past eight vs. teams with a winning record.
I'm leaning: Temple, which has won his past three this season vs. ranked teams (all in AAC play). Villanova is 3-4 all-time at Temple's Liacouras Center.
No. 20 Duke at No. 5 North Carolina (-5)
This game is an ACC showdown at 9 p.m. on ESPN. Just nine miles separate these two spectacular campuses, which is quite amazing when you think about it. It's the 156th consecutive meeting in the series when at least one of the two schools was ranked in a national poll. I don't see that ending as long as Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams are on the two benches. Duke and UNC also will close the regular season against one another as usual.
Duke (19-6, 8-4) was given a bit of a gift in Saturday's 63-62 home win over No. 7 Virginia as Grayson Allen hit a leaning bank shot at the buzzer even though he clearly traveled on the play. It was Duke's first win at the buzzer since a game I remember very well: Austin Rivers hit a 3-pointer with no time on the clock against North Carolina on Feb. 8, 2012. The best player on the floor in this one, at least from an NBA potential perspective, is Duke freshman Brandon Ingram. He had 25 points and seven rebounds vs. UVA and could be the one matchup problem for UNC. Justin Jackson likely gets the call most possessions on guarding him. North Carolina (21-4, 10-2) leads the ACC by a game over Miami. The Heels played their best game in weeks on Sunday, an 85-64 thumping of Pitt. UNC shot 59.3 percent overall and had 26 assists and 10 steals.
Key trends: The Blue Devils are 1-4 ATS in their past five after a win. The Heels are 4-1 ATS in their past five home games vs. teams with a winning road record. The underdog is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings.
I'm leaning: Duke has won 10 of the past 13 in the series and both last year. But this Blue Devils team isn't as good and UNC is much better. Take the Heels in what should be a shootout.
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