February 6, 2016 (9:58 AM ET)
Four teams provide value today!
Saturdays are all about NCAA basketball moving forward as promised last week.
1) Take Seton Hall at -4 spread against Georgetown for 3% of the bankroll.
This is a matchup of teams who are currently heading in opposite directions. The Georgetown Hoyas have been struggling in recent weeks having lost 4 of their last 6 games. Their offense is severely dependent on the play of D V'auntes Smith-Rivera. Smith-Rivera is averaging 16.6 points and 4.5 assists per game. LJ Peak is the only other player on the team who is averaging in double digits which means that the Hoyas will only go as far as the play of Smith-Rivera takes them.
Seton Hall meanwhile is an extremely balances team and has a much deeper rotation than that of their counterparts. They are above average defensively as they rank 64th in the nation in points allowed, holding their opponents to just 66 points per game on 40% shooting from the floor. They are also one of the best teams off the glass as they average 29th in rebounding, pulling down an average of over 40 boards per game.
Georgetown has shown their struggles on the road this season and are playing just .500 ball away from home. Meanwhile the Pirates have shown that they have a significant advantage at home as evident by their 10-2 overall record in front of their home crowd. This will be the Pirates second game of a three game homestand and most recently they are coming off a convincing 79-62 victory over a tough Marquette Golden Eagles team. The most recent meeting between these two teams resulted in a 73-67 Georgetown win on their home court last March and you can believe that the Pirates would like nothing more than to gain their revenge and repay the favor to the Hoyas.
The Hoyas are a very undisciplined team on the defensive side of the ball this season and are committing an above average amount of fouls. They have sent their opponents to the line an average of 25 times per contest and that could come back to hurt them in this contest. Even though the Pirates are not one of the best free throw shooting teams in the country, they are a team that can make the most of their opportunities. As we have seen many times in the past, a team’s ability to cover a spread such as the one listed here often comes down to free throw shooting at the end and we believe this game could be one of them. Barring a late and meaningless three-pointer in "garbage" time, the Pirates should be able to come away with the win and cover on their home court tonight.
2) Take Mississippi at +3 spread against Vanderbilt for 3% of the bankroll.
The Vanderbilt Commodores are coming off an impressive upset of the #8 Texas A&M Aggies in their last contest and while that win was no doubt impressive, we also believe that that victory has severely skewed the perception heading into this contest. The commodores have been one of the more inconsistent teams on the season, having failed to record back to back victories since early January. Their disparity between their performances both at home and on the road have been a major concern as well. They are just 1-6 on the road this season, with their lone win coming against an up and down Tennessee Volunteer team back in early January. They have averaged under 40% shooting from the field in their road contest and their offensive output is nearly 10 points less (67.9 points) on the road than at home (76 points). While their win over A&M certainly surprised some people, Vandy has lost 13 of their last 18 games on the highways and now heading back on the road, we expect their struggles to continue against an Ole Miss team who will be desperate for a win.
Ole Miss comes into this contest having lost 5 of their last 7 games. Like their opponents however, the Rebels have also been an inconsistent team when it comes to their play at home versus on the road. At home this season the Rebels are 8-2 overall with their two losses being narrow decisions to Florida and South Carolina. At home this season the Rebels are averaging 79 points on 43% shooting. They are also one of the best rebounding teams in the SEC and bring down an average of 40 boards per contest. Vanderbilt is a big team; however the Rebels should have the advantage on the glass tonight. Ole Miss is also one of the best free throw shooting team in the conference as well and has used that to their advantage this season. If they are able to navigate the Commodore's defense and penetrate into the lane, they should be able to take advantage at the charity stripe. The Rebels will also have the best player on the floor in Stefan Moody. Moody is averaging 23.5 points and 4.1 assists on the season and is a likely Player of the Year candidate this season.
There is no question that the recent perception of these two teams are somewhat skewed. Vanderbilt is coming off an impressive and somewhat surprising victory over one of the top teams in the nation and there is no doubt that their stock is at an all-time high in this contest. Meanwhile the Rebels have been somewhat struggling the last few weeks and just barely squeaked by a fairly poor Missouri team in their last contest. It’s apparent that much of the betting public as well as the odds makers have lost faith in the Rebels this season. That is where we believe the mistake has been made and we plan to take advantage. The Commodores have yet to prove that they can produce a solid effort on the road. Until they can do, they should not be favored in this contest, especially by a full possession or more. The Rebels will be motivated in this contest and they will bring the Commodores back down to earth by winning this game outright. Even if Vandy somehow finds a way to win on the road, we believe it will be by the slimmest of margins which will make the points valuable in this contest.
3) Take Wyoming at -1 spread against Utah State for 3% of the bankroll.
Both teams in this Mountain West Conference matchup have had their fair share of troubles this season. The Utah State Aggies have been one of the more inconsistent teams in the country coming into this contest having lost 7 of their last 9 games, including 4 straight. Meanwhile, the Wyoming Cowboys have been looking for some consistency themselves having lost 5 of their last 7 games heading into this conference showdown. While both of these teams are certainly considered "middle of the pack" in their respective conference, in this head to head matchup, we believe the Cowboys hold a decisive advantage. Wyoming has managed to capture the win in 4 of the last 6 meetings between these two teams, with the most recent coming in a 67-65 victory in this venue last March.
The Aggies have been struggling on both sides of the ball this season but where we believe the difference will be made is on the defensive end. The Aggies are 162nd in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 71 points per game on average. They are also allowing team to find the open shooters as they are allowing team to shoot 45.4% from the field on the season. They have not been good at defending the 3 point line either as teams are shooting 37% from beyond the arc and knocking down an average of over 7 triples per game. We believe this will play exactly into what the Cowboys will try to do offensively in this contest.
The Cowboys have an absolutely superstar on their roster and will have the best player on the floor in Josh Adams. Adams is the leading scorer for the Cowboys averaging 24.2 points, 5.7 rebound and 3.9 assists per game. He is a force to contain and the Cowboys have another legitimate scoring threat in Jason McManamen who is averaging 13 points per contest this season. Both Adams and McManamen should be able to exploit the many holes in the Aggies defensive game. As a team, the Cowboys are shooting 43.3 percent from the floor and averages 9.3 three pointers per contest on 36.3% shooting from deep. This is something that we expect them to exploit in this contest.
The Cowboys are also a team that likes to pound inside and create contact which has sent them to the line an average of 24 times per game. They are a team that also makes their opponents pay for sending them to the line as they convert on over 75% of their attempts from the charity stripe. The Aggies give up an average of 18 trips to the fouls line per contest and if they cannot tighten up on the defensive end, then the Wyoming players should be able to dictate the tempo and control the flow of the game.
There is no doubt that both teams will be desperate for a win; however the Cowboys have shown much more consistency on the season than their counterparts. It's worth mentioning that the home team is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings. It shows that both sides feed off their crowd noise and that should be the case again as the play of Adams should be enough to carry the home to a victory.
4) Take Pittsburgh at +1.5 spread against Virginia for 3% of the bankroll.
The Virginia Cavaliers come into this contest ranked 9th in the country. They built their season around a solid defense that is currently 6th best in the nation and holding opposing offenses to just 60.5 points per game! While there is no question that Virginia is a quality team, they have shown some weaknesses this season. While their defense is superb, their offense has been a bit flat at times as they rank just 211 in the nation in scoring average. They have also shown their struggles on the road at times, having gone just 2-4 in true road games this season, with all 4 losses coming at the hands of unranked teams. That could certainly be a foreshadowing of things to come in this contest as today they will be facing one of the most prolific offenses in the country.
The Pittsburgh Panthers have quietly put together a solid season for themselves as they currently sit at 17-4 on the season and 6-3 in conference play and while Virginia has undoubtedly gotten more media attention, the Panthers have produces similar number to their opponents. They have also been nearly unstoppable on their home court this season, compiling an impressive 13-2 overall record. Pitt has always enjoyed a strong home court advantage which has been evident by their 220 victories in this venue since the 2002-2003 season. The only team in the nation with a better home record during that span is the Kansas Jayhawks.
This year's Pittsburgh team is incredibly balanced as they rank 33rd in the nation in scoring average, 3rd in assists, and 59th in total defense. Their most recent performance was arguably their best of the season they shot 52.9 percent overall and had 30 assists on its 36 field goals. It was only the 15th time in school history the school had reached 30 assists in a game and was also Pitt’s seventh time with at least 90 points this season! This is a team that is starting to build momentum and find their rhythm. Given how proficient they have been on the offensive side of the ball, they should find a way to spread out the Virginia defense and find the open man.
Pittsburgh is still in contention for an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament and given their conference record thus far, they are still in the running for the coveted double-bye heading into the ACC tournament. A win over Virginia would be a big statement and resume building win this late into the season. This is also a revenge game for the Panthers as the last time these two teams met, Pitt was held to just 41 points last season. This will be the one and only regular season meeting between these two teams and we believe Pitt will be looking to settle the score in this one.
We believe the perception of these two teams has skewed the line in this contest. Virginia is no doubt the more high profile team, however playing Pittsburgh at home is as dangerous as it gets. Given Virginia's struggles on the road this season, we believe Pitt will get their statement win over a ranked team and make headlines.
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