Last Updated: 2019-04-06
Now, we’ll take a look at today’s two games from a totals perspective and again, we’re pretty much right at the lines with our projections in a couple of games we would be passing on if they were played during the regular season. While a lot of bettors have a habit to make their biggest wagers in the biggest games, that’s probably not the wisest of decisions, since lines are tougher than ever at this point of the year.
Texas Tech vs. Michigan State: The total in this one dropped from 61.5 to 61 in the middle of the night, while I have it at 62 and down to 61 if we look at just the away numbers for each team, with the Red Raiders’ offensive drop of four points in the first half when they take to the road the primary factor.
Neither team plays at a real fast pace, with both being slightly below average in that category, so not a whole lot of running up and down the court here, unless the opportunity presents itself. We shouldn’t really see one team trying to push the tempo just to get a running game.
The number is low here, and the bet could be decided by how the ‘feeling out’ process works in the first few minutes of the game. Would be inclined to lean to the under here and hope to see little scoring at the opening of the game.
Virginia vs. Auburn: The total in this one is also 61 and I have Virginia leading 32-29 at the break with both sets of numbers, so it’s really a question of just trying to decide which way to lean in this one. The full-game total has climbed by half a point with two-thirds of the wagers on the over, while the total in the MSU game dropped a point with 59% of the wagers on the over, so this move is likely a little less meaningful than the one in the Spartans’ game.
The Cavs are a decent-shooting team and the Tigers aren’t the greatest team defensively, although they are pretty good in that department, just not quite in the same league as the other three teams, so their biggest strength is limiting the number of shots the opposition gets by forcing turnovers, which may not work quite as well against the Cavaliers.
If I had to make a play in this one, would probably take a shot on the over, but even making a token play on the total in this one is a bit of the tough side.
END OF APRIL 6 PICKS
Just the one game in college basketball today and four days remaining in the season as things are about finished for another season. The predictions are pretty close to tonight’s game, along with both of the women’s games, so will try to do the best we can here.
South Florida at DePaul: Obviously our projections are going to be pretty much the same as they were two days ago and the only thing that’s changed is there is a little more pressure on both teams, seeing how this is a winner-take-all contest. You can’t look at the first half without taking the full-game line movement into consideration, as South Florida is getting some sharp money, as the line has moved from DePaul -3 to DePaul -1 even though the wagering is pretty even on both teams.
How the Bulls come out will be key here, as they suffered an emotionally draining loss Wednesday, fighting back from a double-digit deficit only to lose in overtime. The Bulls didn’t play their game at all and basically got what they deserved. They never should have been trying to outscore the Blue Demons and even though Laquincy Rideau was 7 for 8 on 3-point attempts they still came up short.
The total is 68.5 for the first half and I have DePaul leading 35-32 and 40-30 on home and away numbers, but will take the under here, even though one set of numbers is under by 1.5 and the other is over by 1.5. It’s a matter of USF coming out and slowing things down and not getting caught up in playing offense as much as they play defense, which is what they do best.
Women’s Final Four
Baylor vs. Oregon: The Bears have moved from -7 to -7.5 and the total on this one is now 147.5. I have Baylor winning 80-72 in a game that will be decided by Oregon’s 3-point shooting. The Bears are better in the inside, while the Ducks are No. 4 in the country in the long-range shot. The Bears are near the bottom of the standings on the 3-pointer. If I had to play it, would probably lean to the Ducks and the points.
UConn vs. Notre Dame: Another solid game, the Irish are favored by 2.5 and I have Notre Dame winning 81-78. Notre Dame knocked the Huskies out of the tournament last season and UConn responded with an 89-71 victory in the regular season. If I had to play it, would lean to the Irish.
END OF APRIL 5 PICKS
Two finals in the minor basketball tournaments tonight, although the NIT is the biggest of the two, but don’t tell that to Marshall and Green Bay, who will battle it out for the College Insider Tournament Championship.
Lipscomb vs. Texas: The first-half total in this one is 66, while I have it at 70 with the overall numbers and 68 if we look at just away stats, as Lipscomb scores 2.9 fewer points on the road than they do overall, while allowing .4 more points, so we see an overall reduction of 2.5 points in their first halves away from home. The Longhorns are scoring 1.8 fewer points on the road than they do overall, while allowing 2.2 more points for an increase of .4 points on the road, which when you take the two numbers, pretty much explains why the away projection was calling for two fewer points.
There are contrasting styles here, with Lipscomb ranked No. 13 in Pomeroy’s adjusted pace ratings, while the Longhorns are way down the list at No. 322. The Longhorns should be able to slow the tempo down a little bit if they choose, but they do have better athletes than Lipscomb, so you would think a game with more possessions would be beneficial to the Longhorns, but it’s difficult to predict how the Longhorns will come out and play.
The full game total has dropped quite a bit and that’s where the majority of players make their bets, since the number of full-game bettors dwarfs the number of first-half bettors, so you do have to respect that move, so I’ll stay away from the total and stick to the side play.
Green Bay at Marshall: The full-game total on this one has also dropped a fair amount and is now down to 168 with a few places already at 167 after opening around 172. The first half total is still 78.5 and I have this one at 88 with the overall numbers and 89 with the home and away numbers, so will go against the grain in this one and take the over.
Trying to figure out why nearly 60% of the full-game wagers are on the under is a bit of a challenge, here, as these two are both in Pomeroy’s top 12 in adjusted pace and both are in the top 10 for shortest length of possession. There could be some assumption that the teams will focus on defense a little more since it is the championship game, but if that happens, believe it will be more in the second half, and the teams will try to outscore each other early on.
END OF APRIL 4 PICKS
Four games in college basketball tonight, as the NIT and CIT have reached their semifinals, with the NIT games being played in Madison Square Garden and the CIT games played on home courts.
As has been the case recently, the majority of games are pretty close to the first half lines and totals, with an occasional exception, so will see what we can come up with here for today.
Wichita State vs. Lipscomb: The first half total on this one is sitting at 70.5, which is to be expected after seeing the full-game total drop several points even though the number of wagers is slightly favoring the over. Overall numbers have this one at 71, while the away numbers for both teams – since it’s being played at a neutral site – have it at 69. For years, there was a slight belief that games played in the huge arenas tended to go under the total more often than not because it was harder to gauge depth perception, although that’s probably fallen out of favor a bit. Just going to stay clear of this one.
Texas vs. TCU: The first half total in this one is 65, while I have at 66 and that increases to 69 when looking at just away numbers. These two met twice during the season and we saw 62 and 66 points, so will just pass on this one, as well.
Hampton at Marshall: The first-half total on this one is a lofty 83.5, while I have at 84 and 88 if looking at home and away numbers for each team. Both teams are a little better than average on offense and neither is that good on defense, but both like to play at a fast pace, so will go ahead and give the lean to the over here, as the Thundering Herd is a better offensive team at home and we should see a fair amount of up-and-down play.
Texas Southern at Green Bay: The first half total in this one is 84.5 and I made it 84 and 83 if looking at the home and away numbers of both teams. This is another game between teams who like to get up-and-down the court, but neither team is as good offensively as Hampton or Marshall, at least according to Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted offense rankings. Still, too close to make a play and will let this one go.
END OF APRIL 2 PICKS
Just one college basketball game on the schedule, which we’ll look at a little bit, as well as the two women’s games on the docket, where we went 1-1 in the women’s tournament on Sunday.
For something that kind of started by accident, there’s definitely some positives to our first-half projections and wagers, and it’s something that can probably get a little better results-wise in the future. It’s completely different handicapping a first-half than it is the entire game, and there have been a few times where I’ve been tempted to take a team or total in the first half and the opposite for a full-game wagers but haven’t been able to bring myself to do that quite yet, at least on these articles.
It’s been a bit of a learning experience and I can see running either separate numbers for home and away stats or using a variation of overall and home and away combined numbers, although the easiest thing to do might be to simply change the home court advantage a little bit more than the +1 for the home team in the first half and -1 for the visiting team in the first half. That’s done as to not affect the projected total.
DePaul at USF: Anyway, we’ll get on to today’s game between DePaul and South Florida, where the Bulls and Blue Demons have a first-half total of 71.5 and I have it at 67, so will go ahead and give the under a shot here, as the format of the three-games between the two makes it imperative South Florida wins this one and if they’re going to do so, it will be due to their defense and they play pretty solid at that end of the court at home, where they allow fewer than 30 points in the half.
USF should know better than to try and get in a running contest with DePaul, who is No. 67 in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted pace ratings, while the Bulls are No. 188 and the Bulls have won their last two games by playing defense, allowing 57 and 47 points.
Baylor vs. Iowa: The total in this one is 144 and I have it at adjusted to 146, so not really much to go on here. Thought the line might be slightly higher, so will just stay clear of the total here.
Notre Dame vs. Stanford: Much like the game above, this one is at 150 and my adjusted numbers have it at 151, although Stanford has been scoring a little less in the tournament.
END OF APRIL 1 PICKS
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