The Wednesday college basketball schedule has four teams from the top-10 and all will try to avoid getting tripped up on the road.
Road teams have actually covered at a higher rate (51.4 percent) than home teams (48.6 percent) this season. However, road favorites come in lower at 49.8 percent and all four ranked teams should be in that category on Wednesday. These are also all conference games where anything can happen, even an outright upset.
No. 1 Syracuse Orange at Villanova Wildcats - 7:00 p.m. (ET)
Syracuse (17-0 straight up, 11-5 against the spread) has owned the top ranking for almost a month after the December 10 ‘black Saturday’ that saw Ohio State lose at Kansas and Kentucky fall at Indiana. The Orange are deep and 3-0 SU and ATS in true road games this year (the ‘over’ 3-0). Two of those were in the Big East where they went 6-3 SU and 5-4 ATS away last year.
The Wildcats (8-8 SU, 3-10 ATS) were considered a top-35 team in preseason rankings, but haven’t come close to that billing. They did get a big home win (87-71) and cover over DePaul on Sunday and are 2-2 ATS in the Big East after going 1-8 ATS outside. The ‘over’ is 4-0 in their last four games, with their overall scoring defense (68.8 PPG) second-worst in the conference.
The away team won and covered both Syracuse and Nova meetings last year and the underdog is 7-2 ATS in the last nine. The ‘over’ is 4-1 in the last five.
No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats at Auburn Tigers - 8:00 p.m. (ET)
Kentucky (15-1 SU, 3-11-1 ATS) is probably the most talented team in the nation, but is an incredible 0-11-1 ATS in its last 12 games with a number after starting 3-0 ATS. Large spreads have played a big part with only one less than 21 points the last seven games. This is the first SEC road game for the Wildcats after going just 2-6 SU and ATS last year.
The Tigers (10-5 SU, 2-5 ATS) are a perfect 9-0 SU at Auburn Arena, although the competition has been easy with only two games warranting a spread (1-1 ATS). Auburn is offensively challenged overall (66.2 PPG, ranked 217th) and got blown out in its last two games at Vanderbilt (65-35) and Florida State (85-56).
Auburn is 3-0 ATS in the last three games against Kentucky, all as double-digits dogs, including one at home. The ‘under’ is 4-0 in the last four meetings.
No. 9 Missouri Tigers at Iowa State Cyclones - 8:00 p.m. (ET)
The Tigers (14-1 SU, 6-4 ATS) are still smarting from their 75-59 loss at Kansas State on Saturday as 1-point favorites. It was the first time the nation’s fourth-ranked scoring offense (84.4 PPG) was held under 75 points. It was also their first Big 12 road game and they struggled badly away in the conference last year (1-7 SU, 2-6 ATS) with the only win ironically at Iowa State (76-70).
Iowa State (12-3 SU, 6-5 ATS) has won seven games in a row and started to even receive some votes for the top-25 polls. Six games during the winning streak were at home and included covers over Iowa (86-76 as 8 ½-point favorites) and Texas (77-71 as 2-point underdogs). The Cyclones definitely want to slow this game down and keep the score in the 70s.
The ‘under’ is 4-0 in the last four meetings between Iowa State and Missouri.
No. 10 Kansas Jayhawks at Texas Tech Red Raiders - 9:00 p.m. (ET)
Kansas (12-3 SU, 8-6 ATS) is another Big 12 team like Missouri that is trying to prove it can compete with No. 4 Baylor. The Jayhawks have won five straight games (3-1 ATS) since a shocking home loss to Davidson on December 19. Included was a 67-49 win over rival Kansas State. The ‘under’ is 4-0 in the last five games with the defense clamping way down (49.8 PPG).
The Red Raiders (7-7 SU, 3-7 ATS) look like they’re in for another long season. However, they were able to get a home cover over Baylor last Saturday in a 73-60 defeat as 14-point ‘dogs. That was just a 4-point deficit with under six minutes remaining. Texas Tech is another offensively challenged team (66.6 PPG) and the ‘under’ is 7-2 in its last nine with totals.
Texas Tech lost (88-66) and failed to cover at home versus Kansas last year, but was 3-0 SU and ATS the prior three in Lubbock, each as underdogs.