NCAA Basketball Betting Advice: Against the Spread Studs and Duds
We have made it through much of the nonconference season in college basketball, and some conference games have even been played. Before we get into the heart of conference play after Christmas, though, this is a good time to step back and take a look at the teams that are really treating bettors well and those that are burning cash in bulk. These are not the absolute best and worst betting teams in the country - just the ones that are high profile enough to get the attention of semi-casual sports bettors. Here, then, are the ATS studs and duds in college basketball to this point in the season:
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Xavier (9-1 ATS): Xavier is one of those programs that has been so consistently good that we always have to respect them - and expect a lot from them. They are like Wichita State or Butler and could one day become as established as Gonzaga is. This year they are as good as ever, going 9-1 both straight up and ATS so far. They have a potent, sharp-shooting offense led by Trevon Bluiett, who seems like he is in his ninth year in school, and their only loss came against another potent offense in Arizona State in a game that was truly insane. No shame in that loss. The Big East is going to be a lot of fun this year, and Xavier certainly has the firepower to be a factor to the end.
Florida State (7-0 ATS): The Seminoles are playing some nice basketball, and no one notices because of all the coaching drama on the football side in Tallahassee. They are tough to defend inside and even tougher to score on from close to the basket. The ACC is the ACC, so things sure don't get easier for the team from here forward, but there is a lot to like so far - especially for bettors.
Arizona State (8-1 ATS): The Sun Devils have scored the fourth most points per game in the country and are a Top 10 shooting team both inside and beyond the arc. They can't play a lick of defense, but they haven't needed to so far to blow by teams. They haven't lost this year, and the one game they didn't cover barely counts - they beat Idaho State by 20 as 20.5-point favorites and had emptied the bench for the closing minutes. The Pac-12 isn't the scariest it has ever been, so this team has a chance to keep pleasing bettors for a long time.
Virginia Tech (7-1 ATS): The Hokies are often a bit of a forgotten team in the ACC, but they have won nine of 10 this year, and every one of their covered spreads has been as favorites, so they are doing some things right. They are going to struggle a bit more in conference play than they have so far, but if you jumped on their bandwagon early you have to be happy so far.
Vanderbilt (0-8 ATS): There are 318 teams in Division 1 basketball this year. None has been more disrespectful to bettors than the Commodores. They have won just three times in nine games, and none of their three wins have been even close to impressive. Their offense is just plain incompetent, and their defense isn't nearly enough to make up for it. The SEC isn't the toughest conference in the world, but it is tougher than they are used to, and this team is going to get just crushed in conference play.
Ole Miss (1-7 ATS): Here's another ugly SEC team that the top of that conference is going to feast on. Their offense is a little better than Vandy's, but it's not great, and the defense is really lousy. They covered their opener against Louisiana-Lafayette and haven't done it against since.
Stanford (2-8 ATS): Stanford is a perennial contender on the football field these days, but on the hardcourt they are a mess. Reid Travis is a very nice offensive player, but he can't do it all himself, and he doesn't have nearly enough help.
Providence (2-7 ATS): The Friars are in rough shape from a betting perspective - though better than the state of the career of former coach Rick Pitino. They shoot well beyond the arc but are clear proof that threes alone aren't enough to carry a team. They have won seven of 10 games, so they are doing some things well, but just not nearly enough to meet the expectations of bettors.
UConn (1-6 ATS): The Huskies are a great program - an all-timer - but this is not their best team. Two games in two days tell us what we need to know about the team - they lost to Michigan State by 20 and then just quit on themselves the next day and fell to Arkansas by 35. This team has neither the talent nor the fight to go deep.
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