February 27, 2016 (11:29 AM ET)
There are 3 college picks today.
1) Take Tennessee at PK against Arkansas for 3% of the bankroll.
This is a matchup where we believe recent performance and perception has played a key role in the line. The Arkansas Razorbacks come into this contest on a two game winning streak and have a better record than their opponents tonight. The Tennessee Volunteers come into this contest having lost 6 of their last 9 games, which has no doubt deterred many of the casual fans from backing the Vols. It's important to mention however that during their recent slump, all of the Vols losses have come on the road. At home however, they have been one of the more solid programs in the country, with a 12-2 record and hold notable wins over teams like LSU, Kentucky, South Carolina and Florida.
The Arkansas Razorbacks, despite their two game winning streak have been one of the worst road teams in the country. Arkansas has lost 5 straight road games and 10 of their last 11 trips on the highway. Their lone road win this season came against the worst team in the SEC, the Missouri Tigers. The Razorbacks are considered an above average offensive team, however when they take to the road, their seasonal average drops nearly 8 points per contest. Meanwhile, their opponents who are also an offensive minded team, score an average of 10 point more at home than they do on the road, averaging just over 80 on this court this season. Their defense also seems to step thing up a notch as well, holding their opponents to just 71 points per game on 38% shooting.
Tennessee is also a solid rebounding team and will have a decisive advantage on the glass tonight. They have a +6 rebounding advantage over their opponents tonight. Their ability to hold the Razorbacks to single shot possession could be the difference in this game tonight. The Volunteers are also the better free throw shooting team in this contest as they make 72% of their attempts from the charity stripe. Arkansas has seen themselves get into foul trouble recently and commit and average of 23 fouls per game. Tennessee's ability to covert at the line could also weigh heavily on the outcome of this game.
This is also a revenge game for the Vols as they were handled just a few weeks ago when they visited Arkansas. The Razorbacks won that contest 85-67. Arkansas jumped out to an early first half lead and never looked back. We expect that the Volunteer players would like nothing more than to return the favor tonight. This is Tennessee's second to last home game of the season, with the finale coming up against Ole Miss. Given how well they have performed at home this season, this is an incredibly reasonable line to pay on a home team that is looking to bounce back from a loss. We don't expect to see a whole lot of defense in this contest; however Vols should do enough to come away with the victory.
2) Take Duquesne at +1 spread against Richmond for 3% of the bankroll.
This is an interesting matchup between two schools that the casual fan may not know much about and what they likely do know about them has somewhat skewed their perception. The Duquesne Dukes come into this contest having lost 6 straight games. While that is enough to deter any casual bettor, we believe that they are the overall better team in this contest. The hold both the offensive and rebounding edge in this contest, which are two key areas of the game needed to pull out a victory. The Dukes nearly pulled out of their losing skid, taking a very good St Bonaventure team down to the wire on the road, narrowly losing by 4 points. There is no question that the Dukes are in desperate need for a win and we expect that to motivate them in this contest.
Duquesne is also a much better team at home. They are 10-4 on their home court this season and average over 80 points per game. In their last 6 home games, they have eclipsed the 86 point mark each and every time. They have been on the road in three of their last 6 games during their slump including their last two back to back. Their home games during that stretch came against quality opposition in the form of both Davidson and George Washington, who are both ranked in the RPI top 30. Duquesne has a very deep rotation, with 10 different players who cycle in and out, which could pay dividends in this matchup. In their last contest, six different players managed to score in double digits, but their downfall was that the remaining four contributed only a combined 4 total points. If the Dukes can get any kind of production out of their entire rotation, that should be enough for them to secure a victory tonight.
Like their opponents, the Richmond Spiders have been struggling as well, having lost 3 straight heading into this contest. The issue with Richmond is that they are not a very deep team. TJ Kline is the playmakers on that team and has received very little production from other players in the rotation. The Spiders have also had an issue playing for the full 40 minutes of the game. They have been outscored by combined 37 points in the second half of their last 3 games which shows that they lack the ability to finish, even when they have their opponents on the ropes. Duquesne has at least been playing in closely contested games and losing by narrow margins, while the Spiders have lost by 12 or more points in each of their last two contests.
It's always tough to back a team on a lengthy losing streak, but as is all things in sports, streaks are meant to be broken. They key is predicting which exact moment that is going to happen and we believe this is the ideal situation for the Dukes to bounce back and snap their recent skid. The Dukes should feed off the crowd in this one which will be enough to carry them to a victory.
3) Take Notre Dame at -2 spread against Florida State for 3% of the bankroll.
This is an extremely important matchup this afternoon for the 23rd ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish. As it stands, they are currently in 5th place in the competitive ACC with a 10-5 record however they are just a single game back of Louisville and Miami for second place in the ACC with three games to play, which includes a home matchup against the Miami Hurricanes. With both Louisville and Miami squaring off this afternoon, if the Irish win all three remaining games they could very well end up with the second spot in the ACC, however they have to win this matchup this afternoon.
Florida State comes into this matchup now having lost 5 straight games after losing in blowout fashion the Duke Blue Devils. The Seminoles season is all but over. They are currently 12th place in the ACC standings with a 6-10 conference record. They are not heading to the big Dance this year and after such a hopeful and promising season, you have to question just how much motivation the Seminoles have in finishing out the season as they have now given up 80 or more points in their last three games which and it certainly won’t get any easier against Notre Dame. Florida State has never been a defensive minded team which is evident by their 230th ranking in the country; however the fact that they have been giving up nearly 8 more points than their seasonal average is certainly of a concern and something we expect Notre Dame to exploit this afternoon.
The Irish are one of the most well rounded teams in the country. Led by Demetrius Jackson, they are averaging 77.7 points per game which is good for 77th in the nation, while on defense they are allowing just an average of 69.7 points per game, placing them 126th overall. The Irish have already mounted an impressive resume this season, including wins over Louisville and North Carolina. They have also had success on the road and are one of the few teams to defeat both Iowa and Duke on their home courts this season. Even though this is a road contest ;that should not intimidate these Irish players. Florida State has shown flashes of brilliance this season; however they've dropped their last two straight home games which have likely put them out of postseason contention. There is no question that this game means much more to the Irish than their opponents and even if this is a closely contested matchup, Notre Dame's defense has the much better chance at making those critical stops at the end of the game. If that is indeed the case, Notre Dame should come away with a win with late free throws giving us the cover as well.
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