March 12, 2016 (9:28 AM ET)
There are two picks today.
1) Take Temple at +2 spread against Connecticut for 3% of the bankroll.
The oddsmakers have gotten this one wrong and we plan on taking advantage of their mistake. We rightfully backed the UConn Huskies yesterday in their win over the Cincinnati Bearcats; however this is a situation that certainly does not lend itself favorable to the Huskies. Yesterday's matchup with Cincinnati was arguably one of the best of the 2015-2016 season. It was an incredible rollercoaster ride of emotions for both teams. The Huskies had their chance to close things out in regulation; however they surrendered a big lead late in the second half to send the game into overtime. Neither team could create any separation on the scoreboard until triple overtime when Cincinnati drained a deep three-pointer with less than 1 second remaining. While everyone at that point thought the game was over, Jalen Adams heaved up a 60 foot hail mary that happened to find the basket, forcing a fourth overtime! The Huskies stormed the court as eventually UConn managed to pull away in the 4th OT and come away with a hard fought victory.
It was an incredible game and a valiant effort by the Huskies, however, the question now has to be asked: "Exactly how much do they have left in the tank after that performance and those additional 20 intense minutes?" We all know that tournament time is when the Huskies start to show their true colors, however, the fact that they played not only a physically, but emotionally draining matchup and have to turn around less than 24 hours later and play arguably the best team in the conference in Temple, is simply too tough of a task! Temple managed to sweep the Huskies in the regular season and while we certainly believe that it is difficult for a team to hang a victory three times in a season over their opponents, it does in fact happen and we believe this will be one of those times. Not only do the oddsmakers expect the Huskies to win, they actually have them favored which we believe is simply too much to ask of this team in this particular situation. This is what we call a 'False Favorite' situation as we believe it is Connecticut that should have been installed in the role of 'underdogs'!
The Huskies are certainly a team that will not go down without a fight, however yesterday's matchup was much more important to Kevin Ollie's team. UConn needed that victory in order to secure their spot in the upcoming NCAA tournament and they have done that. This game, while it would certainly be nice to win, is not a must win for UConn and we don’t expect we will see the same determination and emotion in this contest. In fact, we wouldn't be surprised if they came out flat and lost this game fairly convincingly.
Temple is a tough opponent and the team that won the regular season conference title. They had a relative easy time in their quarterfinal matchup yesterday against South Florida, coming away with an 18 point victory. There is no question that the Owls will have the more rested players in this contest and late in that second half, that could be the determining factor. This will likely be a close game; however we simply don’t believe UConn will have enough left to close the game out in the second half. Temple has been a team that has finished games this season and that is exactly what we expect them to do in this one. They should win this game outright, but even if UConn somehow manages to extend their run in the tournament, it will likely be by the closest of margins which makes getting points extremely precious.
2) Take Dallas Mavericks at +1 spread against Indiana Pacers for 3% of the bankroll.
To say the Mavericks need this game would be an understatement. A 4-game losing streak has seen them slide down from a comfortable 6th seed in the West to occupying the 8th and final playoff spot! The fact that Houston and Utah both won last night piles even more pressure on them. Luckily for them, this is a veteran squad that is extremely experienced and has players that have faced adversity in the past. They aren't ones to panic or give up as a younger team might. The fact that Mavs are 5-2 after three or more consecutive losses, over the last 3 seasons proves that they don't take defeats lightly and often give that extra effort required to bounce back!
The last thing the Pacers wanted was an extended and unusual break. Indiana hasn't played since Monday, March 7th! To have 4 full days of rest is something that CJ Miles admitted is beneficial to him as he's recovering from an injury but NOT to the rest of the squad. Direct quote: "For me it's a blessing, for the rest of the guys it's a curse when they've been playing and you got four days off all of a sudden!" He's absolutely right. While this lenthy layoff may help he and new acquisition Ty Lawson have a better chance of participating in this game, it is bad news for the rest of the players. Given that Miles and Lawson have been out injured and play part-time roles off the bench, they aren't likely to carry the Pacers to a victory. Their presence on the court is not much of a boost therefore. On the other hand, the fact that the starters and the rest of the squad have not played for 5 days means they'll likely be rusty, especially in the earlygoings. It wouldn't surprise us if Pacers came out flat in the first half, trying to work themselves back into game shape as practice and shootarounds are no subsitutes for NBA action and the intensity and speed it demands. This 4-day layoff is detrimental to Frank Vogel's side as basketball is a game of rhythm and extended time off doesn't help with that.
Dallas, on the other hand, is in good game shape and will be ready to come out of the gate fired up! The fact that they have a deep and healthy squad gives them another edge. Unlike the Pacers who have 3 players that are carrying knocks and are 'game-time' decisions, the Mavs' regular rotation has no injury woes. Every player is ready to step in and contribute and that's how coach Rick Carlisle likes it. If the starting guard tandem of D-Will and Wes Matthews does not perform well for example, Dallas can go to Ray Felton and Barea or even Devin Harris! They have numerous options at almost every position but the key for them is to rebound well and not allow Indiana second-chance opportunities. If they can do themselves justice on the boards, they should have no problem winning this game as they find themselves in a very advantageous spot!
The Mavericks will be extremely motivated for this contest. That's because this is their last home game before travelling to Charlotte and Cleveland before hosting Golden State and Portland! As if that wasn't daunting enough, they then head out on an extended road trip that will see them play the Blazers and Warriors again! Needless to say, their upcoming schedule does not leave them with many realistic chances of snatching victories. That makes this home game against the rusty Pacers an absolutely 'must-win' game! They need to snap their losing streak and right the ship and we believe they'll temporarily do that this afternoon. Indiana was playing well before this unusual break but any momentum they had built with a win over San Antonio has evaporated by now. And yet because the public saw that, the perception on them is quite strong compared to the recently slumping Mavs! That creates value on this particular spread as we believe Dallas should have been installed as 3-point favorites here at American Airlines Center, a place where they are 75-46 over the last 3 seasons and enjoy great home-court advantage! Indiana has another game tomorrow and has that to worry about as well. And since that is an Eastern conference game against a direct playoff rival, Atlanta Hawks, they may even prioritize that over this one.
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