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Check out our quick-hitting betting notes on Tuesday’s ranked college basketball games:
(17) Memphis at Xavier (+3.5)
The Tigers' 17-game win streak is tied with Akron for the longest active streak in the nation, and it's the fifth-longest stretch in school history. The Musketeers have won three of their last five but are coming off a 75-71 loss to Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday in which they blew a 17-point lead in the second half. Xavier is 9-3 at home this season with all three losses coming by five points or less — against Vanderbilt, Wofford and Virginia Commonwealth. Eight of Xavier's 11 losses have been by seven points or fewer, including six defeats by four points or fewer. The Musketeers are 5-1 ATS in their last six home games.
(1) Indiana at Minnesota (+5.5)
The Hoosiers have a 1 1/2-game lead over Michigan State in the Big Ten race and have won four straight contests. Indiana is well-rested with seven days in between games after winning at Michigan State on Feb. 19. Minnesota has suffered back-to-back losses of 21 points against Iowa and 26 to Ohio State. The Golden Gophers are averaging only 51.4 points over their last five contests and are 0-5-1 ATS in their last six games overall.
(6) Florida at Tennessee (+9)
Florida, which has won four of five, can clinch a double-bye in the SEC Tournament by winning at surging Tennessee. The Gators lead the 14-team conference by two games after Saturday’s 71-54 revenge win over Arkansas. Florida has held 19 opponents under 60 points, while the Gators have failed to hit 60 only once. The Vols have scored over 80 points in three straight regular-season SEC games for the first time since 2000 and are 5-0 ATS in their last five overall.
Nebraska at (16) Wisconsin (-15.5)
Wisconsin has won five of its last six games, including a 65-62 OT win over the Wolverines on Feb. 9 and, most recently, a 69-41 rout of Northwestern on Wednesday. The Badgers prevailed 47-41 over Nebraska in their first meeting on Jan. 6 and have won four in a row in the head-to-head series. The Cornhuskers are 0-8 against ranked teams this season.
Vegas Wiseguy Report: Fade Dead NCAAB Teams
by Ted Sevransky
It’s late February, and there’s still two more full weeks of regular season action in college hoops before the madness truly begins. It’s too early to write about conference tournament betting strategies – I’ll save that for next week. But it’s not too late to write about the bevy of ‘dead’ teams that are populating the college hoops landscape right now; teams that are lethargically playing out the string of the regular season. Sometimes, the sharp move is to lay big points fading sorry teams.
Northwestern is a classic example of a late February ‘dead’ team. The Wildcats have been shorthanded since December, when leading scorer (at the time) Drew Crawford went down with a season-ending shoulder injury. The loss of leading rebounder Jared Swopshire (knee) earlier this month made a bad situation worse. The remaining roster is short on both talent and confidence; a bottom tier offensive club and a mediocre (at best) squad defensively.
What happens when a team like Northwestern loses their hope and their passion? Simple – if you bet against them, you make money! The results don’t lie. The Wildcats have lost seven of their last eight in SU fashion, covering only once in defeat during that span (2-6 ATS). They’ve been held in the 40’s on five separate occasions during this stretch; 9-2-1 to the under in their last dozen ballgames. Do you think this team will bring their ‘A’ game when they travel to East Lansing to face the Spartans on senior day? I wouldn’t count on it!
One thing that sets ‘dead’ teams apart from ‘bad’ teams is their tendency to quit when trailing; unable to respond positively to adversity. Another Big 10 team, Minnesota, is a near ‘lock’ to make the NCAA tournament, which means we’ll be getting opportunities to fade them for weeks to come. The Gophers were 15-1 SU after beating Illinois by 17 in Champaign in early January. Things have not gone well since!
Tubby Smith’s squad is 3-8 SU in their last eleven ballgames. Reports of significant internal chemistry issues have seeped to the surface; a roster and a coaching staff that aren’t exemplifying the concept of ‘teamwork’ very often. An early double-digit lead at Iowa last weekend turned into a 21-point road loss. It was just as bad at Ohio State, a 26-point defeat. I wouldn’t count on the Gophers’ ability to hang tough with Indiana this week, nor do I have any interest in laying double digits with them against Penn State next weekend – this is a dead team about to lay big chalk; an easy fade in that role too!
There are plenty of other major conference examples to speak of. South Florida has been positively woeful of late, losing each of its last five by double-digit margins while failing to cover a single pointspread. This team played in the Big Dance last year, but I don’t expect them to hang tough against the likes of Pitt, UConn and Cincinnati down the stretch.
Mississippi State lost at home to Vanderbilt, 72-31, this past weekend. The Bulldogs made a grand total of seven shots from the field for the entire 40-minute contest while getting outrebounded 51-17. In their previous home game, Rick Ray’s squad lost 78-36 (24% shooting) to a Missouri team that hasn’t won a single other road game all year. I wouldn’t count on a strong showing from the Bulldogs at home against rival Ole Miss this coming weekend either!
Texas Tech, like Mississippi State, was expected to be a bottom feeder this year. Head coach Billy Gillespie was forced to resign before the season after allegations of player mistreatment surfaced. Six players transferred out of Lubbock following last year’s eight-win campaign, and interim head coach Chris Walker walked into to an untenable situation when he was promoted. Yet the Red Raiders were .500 against the spread after upsetting Iowa State back on January 23rd. They haven’t won a game since, while going 2-6 ATS during that span, and still have road tilts at Kansas State and Kansas upcoming on their schedule.
At 6-17 ATS, bettors haven’t made any money supporting Duquesne all year. This team has won only one game and covered only twice since before Christmas and is in the midst of a 1-14 SU, 2-13 ATS run. Their defensive efforts have been non-existent; their offensive execution nearly as bad, and the betting markets haven’t been able to make a line high enough to get the Dukes under the spread.
Old Dominion head coach Blaine Taylor didn’t survive the Monarchs’ 2-20 SU start; an absolute disaster for a program that has been a fixture in the postseason for the last eight years, averaging 24 wins per season during that span. They got a small bump when Jim Corrigan was named interim head coach, but the betting markets reacted very quickly. That’s why we’ve seen ODU lose SU as favorites twice in its last three games. And because the Monarchs are ineligible to play in the NCAA tournament this year, their final few games are as meaningless as it gets for a downtrodden bottom feeder.
Wyoming started 15-2 and notched a rare Top 25 ranking back in early January! But the Cowboys are 2-7 SU, 1-8 ATS in their last nine Mountain West Conference games, including back-to-back no shows in their last two contests. Wyoming’s early season success was largely the result of its gritty, scrappy nature; not its talent level. But head coach Larry Shyatt didn’t have a deep team to begin with, and it got worse when leading scorer Luke Martinez broke his hand in a bar brawl. A plethora of injuries and illnesses have made their depth concerns even worse; bad news against the likes of New Mexico and Colorado State to close out the regular season
The Golden Gophers look to bounce back from their 71-45 loss at Ohio State and build on their 4-1 ATS record in their last 5 games after scoring less than 50 points in the previous game. Minnesota is the pick (+6) according to Dunkel, which has the Hoosiers favored by only 3. Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (+6). Here are all of today's games.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26
Time Posted: 6:00 a.m. EST
Game 517-518: Indiana at Minnesota (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Indiana 75.371; Minnesota 72.309
Dunkel Line: Indiana by 3; 133
Vegas Line: Indiana by 6; 139
Dunkel Pick: Minnesota (+6); Under
Game 519-520: Towson at George Mason (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Towson 54.696. George Mason 55.858
Dunkel Line: George Mason by 1
Vegas Line: George Mason by 6 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Towson (+6 1/2)
Game 521-522: Memphis at Xavier (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Memphis 69.467; Xavier 62.406
Dunkel Line: Memphis by 7; 138
Vegas Line: Memphis by 4 1/2; 133
Dunkel Pick: Memphis (-4 1/2); Over
Game 523-524: Auburn at Alabama (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Auburn 56.996; Alabama 65.106
Dunkel Line: Alabama by 8; 113
Vegas Line: Alabama by 11 1/2; 119
Dunkel Pick: Auburn (+11 1/2); Under
Game 525-526: Loyola-Chicago at Detroit (7:30 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Loyola-Chicago 50.209; Detroit 66.858
Dunkel Line: Detroit by 16 1/2
Vegas Line: Detroit by 13
Dunkel Pick: Detroit (-13)
Game 527-528: WI-Milwaukee at WI-Green Bay (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: WI-Milwaukee 44.670; WI-Green Bay 63.619
Dunkel Line: WI-Green Bay by 19
Vegas Line: WI-Green Bay by 14
Dunkel Pick: WI-Green Bay (-14)
Game 529-530: Wright State at Illinois-Chicago (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Wright State 55.867; Illinois-Chicago 50.295
Dunkel Line: Wright State by 5 1/2
Vegas Line: Wright State by 1
Dunkel Pick: Wright State (-1)
Game 531-532: Youngstown State at Valparaiso (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Youngstown State 52.449; Valparaiso 63.944
Dunkel Line: Valparaiso by 11 1/2
Vegas Line: Valparaiso by 13 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Youngstown State (+13 1/2)
Game 533-534: Wyoming at Air Force (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Wyoming 61.274; Air Force 63.728
Dunkel Line: Air Force by 2 1/2
Vegas Line: Air Force by 4
Dunkel Pick: Wyoming (+4)
Game 535-536: Florida at Tennessee (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Florida 79.360; Tennessee 67.315
Dunkel Line: Florida by 12; 132
Vegas Line: Florida by 9; 124
Dunkel Pick: Florida (-9); Over
Game 537-538: Wake Forest at Florida State (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Wake Forest 56.425; Florida State 64.655
Dunkel Line: Florida State by 8; 135
Vegas Line: Florida State by 5; 139
Dunkel Pick: Florida State (-5); Under
Game 539-540: Nebraska at Wisconsin (9:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Nebraska 60.889; Wisconsin 73.905
Dunkel Line: Wisconsin by 13; 110
Vegas Line: Wisconsin by 16; 113 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Nebraska (+16); Under
Play On - Road teams as an favorite or pick (WRIGHT ST) revenging a home loss vs opponent against opponent off an upset loss as a favorite.
67-31 since 1997. ( 68.4% 32.9 units )
3-1 this year. ( 75.0% 1.9 units )
CBB FLORIDA at TENNESSEE
Play On - A road team vs. the money line (FLORIDA) average offensive team (67-74 PPG) against a poor offensive team (63-67 PPG) after 15+ games, after allowing 30 points or less in the first half in 2 straight games.
257-161 since 1997. ( 61.5% 77.8 units )
20-13 this year. ( 60.6% -0.2 units )
CBB NEBRASKA at WISCONSIN
Play Under - Road teams against the total revenging a loss where team scored less than 50 points, off an upset win as an underdog.
70-33 since 1997. ( 68.0% 33.7 units )
We did end up with a winning day on Monday, with our lone loss being ISU. It appears we were not alone, so let's just forget about that one. I've been preaching that we win some like that and we lose some like that, and it's typically how you handle these things and what we do next that matters. My answer is nothing different than if we'd have won every games.
Indiana at Minnesota: The Hoosiers stock is probably back to a season-long high after beating Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State, which means we'll pay an even bigger premium to back them. It should be noted that two of those three wins were at home, and the Spartan game really could have gone either way. The Gophers beat the Spartans to open Conference play, and squeaked one out at home against Wisconsin, but really haven't had a signature win, and have had some brutal losses. They did play the Hoosiers tough in Indiana earlier, at least on the scoreboard. It looks as if they only lost by seven, which I suppose they did, but that game was essentially over at haftime. Indiana went to the line 40 times, the Gophers 16. I don't expect that to happen again tonight on the road, but it is indicative one thing. Indiana is a great offensive rebounding team and Minnesota is not a great defensive rebounding team, and unless that changes tonight Minnesota has no chance. I simply don't trust them not to turn the ball over, but, this is another game like we had last night in Seton Hall where the best team, this time of year, may not win, at least not ATS. I guess I could make two cases for Minnesota. There's the obvious potential letdown for the Hoosiers, and they've played the worst Conference SOS while Minnesota has play the best. Indiana does look pretty focused right now, but laying six points on the road in what's probably the Gophers GOY might be tough to do. This one will either be close all night, or over early. Key will be if Minnesota can slow the pace down enough, which also will dictate and play on the total. I lean to Minnesota and the under. I just and lol moment in that the public sides will obviously be the Hoosiers and the over, so sometimes I will just bet Minnesota and the under for no other reason that the fact that the public won't win the both.
Memphis at Xavier: With the VCU loss and Xavier having no shot to play in the Big Dance unless they win the A-10 (which will not happen) this game means a whole lot more to Memphis, really. That's almost a dangerous spot for them on the road. Xavier can play pretty loose, knowing they're expected to lose and having nothing TO lose. I can see a potential letdown for Memphis after beating Southern Miss on the road, and cannot see where they've really beaten (OTHER than Southern Miss) a decent opponent on the road. We all know the Tigers will play fast, but what's interesting is that Xavier has had success against up-tempo teams, such as Duquesne, Dayton, and Temple, so winning here is not at all out of the question. They've got the height advantage, and this one comes down to turnovers and pace. BOTH teams have struggled to protect the ball, and if Xavier can handle the pressure defense Memphis will throw at them, they have every reason to win the game. However, at the moment I like the under a bit better. Xavier does play very solid defense and will clearly try and slow this game down. Xavier does offensive rebound well which may limit the fast break points the Tigers are used to getting, and neither team is all that sharp from the FT line. Xavier and under?
Wake Forest at Florida State: I totally get how FSU might be a little pissed at losing by 25 at Wake six weeks ago, but that was long ago and a far away place. I just don't know how you can lay these points with this FSU team right now. They haven't beaten ANYONE in Conference play by more than five points this season, at home or away, so laying them in this case is simply not an option. Yes, they'll WANT to win by 100, but they are a mess, and have their last road game at North Carolina on Saturday. My guess is they just want to get that one over with, and finish the season with two home games, win or lose. So, Wake hasn't won (or been in many) road games this season, other than UNC Greensboro. How the hell do they get up again after beating Miami, OR, does this give them confidence going forward. It might, since they really aren't good enough to have "letdowns". They've very young, but they won't have any problem playing as fast as FSU wants to (although FSU has slowed things down to some extent) and although they've had the youthful turnover issues, FSU isn't much better and honestly, Wake has a better defense in Conference play. If FSU thinks they're going to run and shoot, if they don't make some three's early this will be close all night. FSU's basketball team is a mirror image, emotionally, of their football team. Soft. I lean to Wake to stay within this number, or perhaps more aptly put there is no way I can bet of FSU to win and cover this game.
Minnesota Gophers plus 6 1/2 hosting Indiana Hoosiers
Yes, I realize Minnesota opening with 15 wins in its first 16 games is a distant memory. The Gophers have lost eight of their past 11. Their bad stretch began with an 88-81 road loss to Indiana on Jan. 26. The Gophers nearly came back from a 23-point deficit in that matchup.
The Gophers have gotten blown out in their last two games, losing on the road to Ohio State and Iowa. The Gophers have turned the ball over a combined 41 times in those two games while shooting just 32.6 percent from the field.
But Minnesota is much better at home, has played a difficult schedule (17th in the Ratings Percentage Index rankings) and this is a circle-the-wagons, let-everything-hang game. The Gophers know they need a good showing to regain their confidence and get back off the mat not to mention keep them firmly on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament. A blowout home loss would look bad.
The Gophers have beaten Michigan State and Wisconsin at Williams Arena during the past three weeks. The Spartans are ranked ninth and Wisconsin is 17th, respectively, in the latest The Associated Press Top 25 poll.
Indiana is No. 1. The Hoosiers are in a bit of if not a letdown spot at least a situation where their motivation doesn't figure to be as high as Minnesota's. The Hoosiers won a hard-fought 72-68 road battle at Michigan State in their last game to give them a two-game lead in the loss column over the Spartans for the Big Ten Conference crown.
On the injury front, senior forward Rodney Williams, the Gophers' second-leading rebounder and third-leading scorer, has recovered from his shoulder soreness and will start. Indiana guard Victor Oladipo, who is second in scoring for the Hoosiers, isn't 100 percent due to a sprained ankle.
This is the Big Ten. Desperate home teams protect their turf. The Gophers are in that spot. They've beaten Top 20 teams at home and they can hang in here against the best.