Free College Basketball Picks: SMU at Rutgers Odds
by George Monroy - 2/12/2014
Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown has the Southern Methodist Mustangs ranked in the AP Top 25 poll for the first time in 29 years. Brown orchestrated the turnaround and potential NCAA Tournament berth even quicker than anyone ever expected. The squad is currently ranked No. 23 in the nation and is proudly sitting on an 8-3 conference record and 15-5 overall record. SMU has thrived in a tougher-than-expect ACC that has five ranked teams in the standings, and it could move even further up the AP Top 25 with a few key wins later in the month.
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights have limped through the season with a 10-14 record, and things are about to get even worse when the squad starts a particularly brutal portion of its schedule on Thursday night when its faces three straight Top-25 teams in a seven-day span. Rutgers will kick off that stretch with its matchup against a very good SMU squad. Let’s take a closer at the SMU versus Rutgers with picks and analysis.
SMU at Rutgers Betting Story Lines
SMU’s turnaround may be the surprise story of the college basketball season. The squad has won eight of its last nine matchups and is coming off what may be its biggest win of the season on Saturday, a 21-point blowout of the No.7 Cincinnati Bearcats. Guard Nick Russell scored 15 points for the Mustangs, who beat its third Top-25 team over the last seven days. This was probably the moment that officially signaled the arrival of SMU as a legitimate contender in the national basketball scene.
SMU stopped Cincinnati’s 15-game winning streak, and prior to this season it hadn’t beaten a ranked opponent since 2003. It’s tempting to give the lion’s share of the credit to the arrival of Brown, but let’s not forget that the team is full of talented players that simply needed a little direction and strong leadership from the bench. SMU only has two double-digit scorers, but the team has bought into Brown’s system and has put forth a more spirited effort on the defensive side of the ball than in year’s past.
Rutgers currently has a 4-7 conference record and is about to begin a brutal week that includes three straight games against No. 23 SMU, No. 13 Louisville and No. 20 Memphis. The Scarlet Knights have three double-digit scorers and are being led by the 15.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 4.4 assists of junior Myles Mack. The squad averages 74.9 points per game, which is ranked 87th in the nation, but fails to crack the Top 100 in any other major offensive category.
Rutgers is coming off a 10-point win over South Florida and played well on the road against the 12-12 team. Forward Kadeem Jack had a career night for Rutgers, scoring 31 points and six rebounds on 9-of-14 shooting. The squad also shot 80 percent from the free-throw line but managed to hit only four 3-point shots out of 14 attempts.
SMU at Rutgers NCAA Betting Odds and Key Trends
SMU opened as a seven-point favorite over the underdog Scarlet Knights at BetOnline. SMU is 10-1 ATS in its last 11 overall games and 9-1 ATS over its recent matchups against the AAC. The squad is also 8-1 ATS in its last nine games following an ATS win and 7-1 ATS over its last eight games following a SU win. SMU is 5-1 ATS over its last six games against teams with losing SU records but is only 2-5-1 ATS in its last eight Thursday games.
Rutgers is 5-1 ATS in its last six home games and 7-3 ATS in its last 10 home games against teams with a losing road record. The team, however, is 2-5 ATS in its last seven overall games and 1-4 ATS in its last five games versus teams with a winning record above .600. Rutgers is 2-5 ATS in its last seven Thursday games.
Free College Basketball Picks: SMU at Rutgers Predictions
SMU is an excellent ATS team this season and has earned a 14-6 mark through 20 posted spreads. The Mustangs are on a stellar ATS streak, having covered eight of their last nine spreads—eight of them as the favorite. Rutgers, on the other hand, has failed to cover seven of its last 10 spreads and continues to struggle against ranked teams this season. Rutgers has faced four ranked opponents within the last month and has not lost by fewer than 14 points in any matchup. Take SMU minus the points for Thursday’s game.
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