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-= TOP PLAY =-
NCAA-B Mar 21 '13 (2:45p)
SAINT MARYS CA vs MEMPHIS U
25* Round of 64 GAME OF THE YEAR on Memphis +1.5
The Memphis Tigers represent my strongest play in the Round of 64 for the 2013 NCAA Tournament. They should not be an underdog to the Saint Mary's Gaels in this one folks.
Memphis gets no respect despite its 30-4 record this season. That's because many believe that the Tigers didn't pick up any significant non-conference wins, but I beg to differ. They won at Tennessee 85-80 as a 2.5-point underdog. Sure, they lost to Minnesota, VCU and Louisville, but those aren't really bad losses.
The Tigers are the most athletic team in the entire NCAA Tournament. I believe that athleticism will prove to be too much for Saint Mary's to handle. The Tigers come into this game having won 24 of their last 25 games overall. I don't care who they have beaten during this stretch, that's impressive to say the least.
Saint Mary's is lacking quality wins as well. It has losses to Pacific, Georgia Tech and Northern Iowa this season. Its biggest wins have come against BYU and Creighton, which is far from impressive.
This team is simply getting too much respect for its 67-54 win over an overrated Middle Tennessee State team in the first round on Tuesday. I actually had the Gaels picked in that contest, but I'll gladly fade them as they take a huge step up in competition here.
Memphis has a big edge in rest and preparation as it was clearly getting ready for Saint Mary's or Middle Tennessee on Monday and Tuesday, while the Gaels had to get ready for the Blue Raiders. Saint Mary's is 1-7 ATS when playing its 2nd game in 3 days this season. The Tigers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600. Bet Memphis Thursday.
-= TOP PLAY =-
NCAA-B Mar 21 '13 (3:10p)
DAVIDSON vs MARQUETTE
20* Thursday Round of 64 No-Doubt Rout on Marquette -3
Davidson has been one of the most popular upset picks in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. As a result, Marquette is only a 3-point favorite over the Wildcats. I believe there is a ton of value in backing the Golden Eagles in the Round of 64 Thursday because of it.
Davidson comes in way overvalued due to its 17-game winning streak heading into the NCAA Tournament. This team really hasn't beaten anyone of any significance during this streak. A look at its non-conference resume tells a different story.
The Wildcats have losses to New Mexico, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Gonzaga, Charlotte, Drexel and Duke. They really don't have a quality non-conference win unless you want to count Vanderbilt, West Virginia and Richmond. I'm not counting them.
Marquette has been underrated all season. It tied shared the Big East regular season title with Louisville and Georgetown with a 14-4 mark. This team also has a solid non-conference win over Wisconsin (60-50). Getting the Golden Eagles as only a 3-point favorite is an absolute gift.
The Golden Eagles are a perfect 9-0 ATS off a loss against a conference rival over the last 2 seasons. They are coming back to win in this spot by an average of 11.6 points/game. The Wildcats are 5-13-1 ATS in their last 19 non-conference games. Davidson is 3-8 ATS in its last 11 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600. Take Marquette Thursday.
NCAA-B Mar 21 '13 (4:10p)
SOUTHERN vs GONZAGA
15* Thursday Round of 64 Major Mismatch on Gonzaga -21.5
The Gonzaga Bulldogs will roll to a 22-plus point victory Thursday over the Southern University Jaguars. The Bulldogs will have home-court advantage in the West Region as this game will be played in Salt Lake City, UT which is only several reasons I like them to cover this big number.
The biggest reason I'm backing the Bulldogs is the fact that Southern University played one of the easiest schedules you will ever see, and it still managed to lose nine games this year. It only played one NCAA Tournament team in Iowa State, losing 59-82 on the road. It also had double-digit losses to lowly Nebraska and TCU, which are bottom feeders in the Big Ten and Big 12, respectively.
As you can see, Gonzaga is by far the best team that Southern has faced this season. What's most impressive about Gonzaga's 31-2 record heading into the NCAA Tournament is the fact that 13 of those 31 wins came by 22 or more points. That includes victories over West Virginia (84-50) and Oklahoma (72-47). Plus, Southern is one of the weakest opponents that the Bulldogs have faced all year.
The Bulldogs are 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 Thursday games. Gonzaga is 4-0-1 ATS in its last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600. The Bulldogs are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning S.U. record. These three trends combine for a perfect 13-0 system backing the Bulldogs. Bet Gonzaga Thursday.
NCAA-B Mar 21 '13 (7:15p)
SOUTH DAKOTA ST vs Michigan
15* SDSU/Michigan Thursday No-Brainer on Michigan -11
The Michigan Wolverines are way undervalued heading into the NCAA Tournament due to a poor finish to the season. They had a chance to share the Big 12 regular season title, but lost to Indiana in a last-second heartbreaker 72-71.
Michigan would go on to beat Penn State before falling to Wisconsin in the Big Ten Tournament. That has given it some extra time to get back to the practice court and get back to the basics. Remember, this was the No. 1 team in the country at one point after a 20-1 start that included wins over fellow NCAA Tournament contenders Pittsburgh, Kansas State, NC State, Minnesota and Illinois.
South Dakota State (25-9) will be no match for Michigan in this one. That's evident with the fact that two of their losses came to fellow NCAA Tournament teams Minnesota (88-64) and Belmont (76-49) in blowout fashion.
Not only is Michigan undervalued due to a poor finish, but it will also have a huge home-court advantage in this one to try and get back on track. This game will be played in Auburn Hills, MI, so you can certainly say that the Wolverines have gotten the luck of the draw here. They will have a big following Thursday night, and I look for these players to feed off of that.
The Wolverines are 22-4-1 (85%) ATS in their last 27 Thursday games. Michigan is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 neutral site games. The Wolverines are 19-9 ATS after 1 or more consecutive losses over the last 3 seasons. Take Michigan Thursday.
NCAA-B Mar 21 '13 (7:20p)
Belmont vs ARIZONA
15* Thursday Round of 64 Line Mistake on Arizona -4
The Arizona Wildcats should be a much bigger favorite over Belmont Thursday in the Round of 64. The public believes that Belmont has an excellent shot of pulling off the upset, which has kept this line smaller than it should be. I'm not buying it.
Arizona is certainly the better team in this one, and that will show on the court Thursday. The Wildcats went 25-7 this season against a much tougher schedule than 26-6 Belmont faced. They got off to a 14-0 start that included wins over fellow NCAA Tournament teams in Florida, Miami, San Diego State and Colorado. This team is the real deal, yet they aren't getting treated like it.
Belmont is a popular upset pick, but the fact of the matter is that this team doesn't have the talent to compete with a loaded roster like the one that Arizona brings to the table. That was evident in non-conference losses to Northeastern (74-71), VCU (65-75), Kansas (89-60) and UCF (66-63).
Another huge advantage is the fact that this game will be played out West in Salt Lake City, UT. There's no question that the Wildcats will have a big home-court edge in this one folks, though they don't need it to destroy the Bruins.
The Bruins are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 neutral site games. Belmont is 3-12 ATS in road games when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 2 seasons. The Wildcats are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 NCAA Tournament games.
The Bruins are 0-7 ATS in road games versus teams who are called for 17 or less fouls/game after 15+ games since 1997. Belmont is 0-6 ATS in March games over the last 2 seasons. The Bruins are 0-6 ATS after 3 straight games committing 14 or less turnovers over the last 2 seasons. These three trends combine for a perfect 19-0 system backing the Wildcats. Roll with Arizona Thursday.
Akron vs. VCU
The Rams look to build on their 11-1 ATS record in their last 12 NCAA tournament games. VCU is the pick (-7 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Rams favored by 9 1/2.
Dunkel Pick: VCU (-7 1/2).
THURSDAY, MARCH 21
Game 707-708: North Carolina A&T vs. Louisville (6:50 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: North Carolina A&T 50.898; Louisville 78.019
Dunkel Line: Louisville by 27; 119
Vegas Line: Louisville by 25 1/2; 123 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Louisville (-25 1/2); Under
Game 709-710: Missouri vs. Colorado State (9:20 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Missouri 67.227; Colorado State 66.212
Dunkel Line: Missouri by 1; 145
Vegas Line: Missouri by 3; 142 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Colorado State (+3); Over
Game 711-712: Davidson vs. Marquette (3:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Davidson 64.840; Marquette 66.761
Dunkel Line: Marquette by 2; 128
Vegas Line: Marquette by 3 1/2; 133
Dunkel Pick: Davidson (+3 1/2); Under
Game 713-714: Bucknell vs. Butler (12:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Bucknell 60.135; Butler 62.042
Dunkel Line: Butler by 2; 127
Vegas Line: Butler by 3 1/2; 122
Dunkel Pick: Bucknell (+3 1/2); Over
Game 715-716: Valparaiso vs. Michigan State (12:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Valparaiso 61.969; Michigan State 73.335
Dunkel Line: Michigan State by 11 1/2; 129
Vegas Line: Michigan State by 10 1/2; 126
Dunkel Pick: Michigan State (-10 1/2); Over
Game 717-718: St. Mary's vs. Memphis (2:45 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: St. Mary's 69.277; Memphis 67.195
Dunkel Line: St. Mary's by 2; 134
Vegas Line: Memphis by 1; 138
Dunkel Pick: St. Mary's (+1); Under
Game 719-720: Akron vs. VCU (9:45 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Akron 58.834; VCU 68.177
Dunkel Line: VCU by 9 1/2; 130
Vegas Line: VCU by 7 1/2; 134 1/2
Dunkel Pick: VCU (-7 1/2); Under
Game 721-722: South Dakota State vs. Michigan (7:15 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: South Dakota State 59.139; Michigan 68.777
Dunkel Line: Michigan by 9 1/2; 144
Vegas Line: Michigan by 11 1/2; 139
Dunkel Pick: South Dakota State (+11 1/2); Over
Game 723-724: Southern vs. Gonzaga (4:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Southern 52.744; Gonzaga 72.285
Dunkel Line: Gonzaga by 19 1/2; 121
Vegas Line: Gonzaga by 22 1/2; 126 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Southern (+22 1/2); Under
Game 725-726: Wichita State vs. Pittsburgh (1:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Wichita State 65.119; Pittsburgh 67.699
Dunkel Line: Pittsburgh by 2 1/2; 122
Vegas Line: Pittsburgh by 4 1/2; 118 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Wichita State (+4 1/2); Over
Game 727-728: Harvard vs. New Mexico (9:50 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Harvard 56.144; New Mexico 66.199
Dunkel Line: New Mexico by 10; 130
Vegas Line: New Mexico by 11 1/2; 125
Dunkel Pick: Harvard (+11 1/2); Over
Game 729-730: Belmont vs. Arizona (7:20 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Belmont 62.630; Arizona 65.486
Dunkel Line: Arizona by 3; 136
Vegas Line: Arizona by 4 1/2; 140
Dunkel Pick: Belmont (+4 1/2); Under
Game 731-732: Oregon vs. Oklahoma State (4:40 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Oregon 65.241; Oklahoma State 66.443
Dunkel Line: Oklahoma State by 1; 138
Vegas Line: Oklahoma State by 3 1/2; 134 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Oregon (+3 1/2); Over
Game 733-734: New Mexico State vs. St. Louis (2:10 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: New Mexico State 61.954; St. Louis 72.249
Dunkel Line: St. Louis by 10 1/2; 118
Vegas Line: St. Louis by 8 1/2; 122
Dunkel Pick: St. Louis (-8 1/2); Under
Game 735-736: California vs. UNLV (7:27 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: California 62.529; UNLV 67.049
Dunkel Line: UNLV by 4 1/2
Vegas Line: UNLV by 2 1/2; 131
Dunkel Pick: UNLV (-2 1/2)
Game 737-738: Montana vs. Syracuse (9:57 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Montana 56.818; Syracuse 68.500
Dunkel Line: Syracuse by 11 1/2; 133
Vegas Line: Syracuse by 13; 127 1/2
Dunkel Pick: Montana (+13); Over
Game 739-740: Denver at Maryland (7:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Denver 64.696; Maryland 71.146
Dunkel Line: Maryland by 6 1/2; 124
Vegas Line: Maryland by 3 1/2; 128
Dunkel Pick: Maryland (-3 1/2); Under
Both of these teams are solid offensively. California averages 67.5 points per game while UNLV averages 71.7 points per game. Neither team has a defense that intimidates their opponents. California is allowing 66.4 per game and UNLV 64.7 when playing away from home. The over is 5-1 in California’s last 6 games against Mountain West teams and it is 6-2 in UNLV’s last 8 vs teams from the PAC-12.
California’s offense has been hot coming into the NCAA tournament averaging 74.5 points per game in their last two games against Stanford and Utah. When these teams met back in December UNLV put up 76 points and California scored 75 points. The total on that game was set at 147.5, which is obviously substantially higher than the total on today’s game. Not much has changed for these teams since that game so it seems the total is much lower than it should be.
We have seen Syracuse in this position before. As a number four seed back in 2005, the Orange lost to number 13 seed Vermont and if they are not careful, they could be a victim once again. The regular season ended horribly for Syracuse which lost four of its last five games and turn what was a very impressive season to one that was pretty average. But then the Orange gave their fans some life with wins over Seton Hall, Pittsburgh and Georgetown. Then after building a big lead over Louisville, they allowed a 27-3 run and the questions once again came out. Montana has responded very well after the loss of forward Mathias Ward who was lost for the season in February with a foot injury. He was the leading scorer at the time, averaging 14.8 ppg and after going down, the Grizzlies has to rely more on their backcourt and Will Cherry and Kareem Jamar have not disappointed as they account for 38 percent of the team's scoring. Overall, the Grizzlies have a 6.1 ppg scoring margin and they have won six straight games so momentum is clearly on their side. Syracuse got a pretty bad draw as well as it has to head out to San Jose for its first set of games. The Orange could have some issues against the Grizzlies matching up with their great outside shooting. Montana meanwhile has a shorter trip and got a better than expected seed as head coach Wayne Tinkle said Montana's close games with some of the top Mid-Major programs in the nation like South Dakota St. and Davidson, as well as their first game against Colorado St., helped the Grizzlies snag a higher seed. Montana is 16-4 ATS in its last 20 games following a conference win by three points or fewer while Syracuse is 8-17 ATS in its last 25 games following a loss by 15 or more points. A 13 seed has defeated a 4 seed in each of the last five years, including twice in 2008. While the outright upset is not out of the question, the generous amount of points here makes this a play on Montana. Play (737) Montana Grizzlies
These two teams already played this season; UNLV won 76-75 at California. The Runnin’ Rebels scored 45 points in the first half as California simply did not have an answer for UNLV’s interior players. This is a terrible match-up for the Golden Bears because they have nobody who can guard Anthony Marshall and now UNLV has another insider player in Khem Birch who didn’t play in the first meeting. California is perimeter heavy with guards Allen Crabbe and Justin Cobbs and the team goes as they go. Combined, Crabbe and Cobbs average 34.2 points per game which is more than 50% of the total points California’s offense averages per game (67.5).
UNLV is a well-balanced team that has four guys that average more than 10 points per game which is a huge edge against a team like California that relies too heavily on their two guards. UNLV has too much inside the paint for California so we recommend laying the points with the Runnin’ Rebels in this game on Thursday night.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs have been hearing all week that they are the worst number one seed and that they aren't going to get to the Final Four. Mark Few's team has been consistently great against inferior teams this year, and this Southern team is very inferior. Southern hasn't played anyone good this year since their season opener when they lost to Iowa State by 23 points. Southern will be outclassed badly here. Gonzaga should make a major statement. Take Gonzaga.
I think UNLV is showing some great value as a 3-point favorite here. A lot of that has to do with this being a 12 vs 5 matchup and the public jumping all over California.
I've watched both of these teams play and I have not been that impressed with Cal. They don't have a true inside presence on offense as they run most of their offense through their three-guards. UNLV generates a lot of turnovers on defense with blocks and steals that lead to a lot of easy baskets in transition. It will only be that much easier for the Rebels defensively only having to worry about shutting down the perimeter. I'm also not a fan of Cal's defense. They struggle to guard the perimeter and don't create any turnovers. I give UNLV the edge on both sides of the ball, which makes them an automatic play with this line. BET UNLV!
Bottom Line: Harvard isn't getting quite the respect it deserves here. The Ivy League champs bring back 3 starters from a team that played Vandy to a 9-point game in last year's NCAA tournament. The Crimson won at Cal, played Saint Mary's to a 1-point game on the road and played Memphis to a 10-point game on the road to cover the spread in each of those games. Those are all NCAA tournament teams. Harvard is 12-4 ATS in road/neutral court games versus non-conference foes over the last 2 seasons. The Crimson are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games and 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games versus a team with a winning record. The Lobos are just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 NCAA Tournament games. New Mexico will have a tough time stretching this one out to double digits against a disciplined Harvard squad that shoots a high percentage and rarely takes a bad shot. Take the points.
The Key: Akron will have a tough time dealing with VCU's defensive pressure without Alex Abreu (PG), who is out indefinitely due to a violation of team rules. He is by far the best ball handler on the team, as evidenced by his 173 assists compared to 85 turnovers. That's a solid 2:1 ratio. Akron was one-and-done in the NIT last season while VCU defeated Wichita State in its opening NCAA tournament game and then nearly shocked Indiana. The Rams have won six games in the Big Dance the last two seasons so they clearly have more big game experience. VCU has been money this time of year as it is on an 11-1 ATS run in NCAA tournament games. The Rams have seen Akron 4 times since 2008 and have won all 4 meetings. I expect them to continue their dominance of the Zips while picking up the cover in the process. Lay the points.