February 14th 2014 - Posted 5:00 PM Eastern Time
Just like last night, there are a couple of teams we lean towards but ultimately we're making only one wager.
There will be more picks tomorrow when the bigger schedule of games presents more value in more interesting matchups.
Take Temple at +14.5 spread against Louisville risking 2%
This game is a mismatch, there is no doubt about that. We are not going to sit here and claim that Temple is going to pull the upset and beat the Cardinals because we don't believe that will be the case. We understand what a poor season Temple has been having this year. They are just 6-16 this season and just 1-9 in the conference. Meanwhile Louisville is on the completely other side of the spectrum at 19-4 SU and 8-2 in conference. But as far as covering the spread goes, we believe this is actually a scary situation for Louisville backers tonight and we'll explain why.
The Cardinals are the defending National Champions. Right from the beginning of the season, they have had an enormous target on their back. Much like teams like the Miami Heat in the NBA, the Louisville Cardinals have been getting each and every team's absolute best on a nightly basis. That's going to be no different here tonight against Temple. The Owls offense hasn't actually been bad this season as they have put up respectable numbers, it has been their defense that has mostly let them down this season. The Owls offense puts up an impressive 78 points per game at home with 4 players averaging more than 14 points per game! They have also been solid from the free-throw line hitting 74% of their shots from the charity stripe. Playing the defending champs in their home arena with a chance to "shock the world", Temple really has nothing to lose in this game as nothing is expected of them and so they will be playing loose and without tension. While an upset is unlikely, their motivation and drive should be enough to keep them somewhat competitive in this game.
What's to be said about the Cardinals' motivation in this game? Louisville is facing off against a team that even the players probably realize have no chance to beat them. That however is where teams become the most dangerous. There is no doubt that Louisville is looking past the Owls in this contest tonight. How could they not? The question then becomes, how much is enough? The Owls are being spotted 14 points on their home floor. Does a veteran and sportsman coach like Rick Pitino need to completely embarrass a weaker opposition and coach on their home floor? We don't think so but 80% of the public disagrees. Louisville is one of the most public plays of the day and Vegas has been taking in a huge amount of money on them and yet the line has pretty much stayed the same through the day!
Fourteen points is a lot of lay on the road, even for a team like Lousiville. They are coming off of a 8-day layoff and may be a bit rusty in the opening minutes! Not only that, they have 4 games over the coming 9 days! It is only natural that they will do enough to get the win but won't spend all their energy on crushing a clearly inferior opponent. Even if Louisville does dominate, there is always a chance for a backdoor cover. When the outcome is no longer in doubt, they will rest starters to avoid unnecessary injuries and fatigue for upcoming games. We feel that Temple will find a way to cover the big spread.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Underdogs of 10 to 19.5 points are 29-6 ATS after allowing 75 points in at least 5 consecutive games, with just one or fewer starters returning from last season!
- AAC squads are 0-8 after layoffs of at least six days!
- Temple is the only offense that boasts 4 players who each average at least 14 points!
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