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Free Money Friday Every Day: Home vs Road

By | Talent Columns, Views from the Couch | No Comments

As always, for more information behind each pick, watch Free Money Friday Every Day on the ESPN106.7 twitter account every weekday at 3 pm or listen to the Free Money Friday Every Day podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotifySticher, or espnau.com.

Yesterday 7-8:

Today is a new day with a new slate, so I don’t love to spend a lot of time looking at yesterday’s slate. There’s not a big reason to get too worked up over one day, but it is worth looking at what went right/wrong. I don’t really look at the Sprinkles in hindsight though because I don’t totally expect the team to win. That’s why I only sprinkle the ML. I believe they have a good chance, but I don’t expect the win.

  • PHI -7.5 @ CLE – the 76ers lost by 14. They mystify me.
  • Magic @ Hawks U226 – I was just wrong about this one, but I was also following two systems. I guess everything was wrong.
  • Evansville +15 @ UNI – They lost by 20. This was a poor ATS vs good ATS game. We were 22-7 in these games before yesterday, so it isn’t all that surprising to see some regression.
  • UND ML @ NEOM – THEY LOST BY 1 IN OVERTIME. I AM ANGER.
  • Vanderbilt +2.5 & ML hosting Mizzou – Mizzou finally got their first road win since Dec 7.
  • LSU ML @ Florida – LOST BY 15 WOW LSU WOW
  • UVU +6 @ Cal Baptist – They lost by 7. This was a poor ATS vs good ATS game. We were 22-7 in these games before yesterday, so it isn’t all that surprising to see some regression.

Today’s Picks (Yesterday’s Record):

NCAAB Picks/Analysis | NBA Picks/Analysis | Sprinkles | MikePick2 | Picks Recap

NCAAB 225-227-9 (5-3):

Mount St. Mary’s @ St. Francis (PA) | San Diego @ Gonzaga | Illinois @ Northwestern | Arizona State @ UCLA | South Dakota State @ North Dakota State Western Illinois @ Oral Roberts

Mount St. Mary’s @ St. Francis (PA):

  • Spread: St. Francis (PA) -9 (now -8)
  • O/U: 136 (now 137.5)

This is a Poor ATS vs Good ATS game. We went 0-2 in these games yesterday, but we are 22-9 in these games on the season. Like I said in the recap of yesterday’s picks, some regression makes sense; however, I’m still going to continue with the system because it has done so well.

Mount St. Mary’s has covered exactly 50% of their games this season, which barely gets them inside our optimal percentage. St. Francis (PA) has covered 70.8% of their games. That is comfortably above our 66% threshold.

The Pick: Mount St. Mary’s +8

San Diego @ Gonzaga

  • Spread: Gonzaga -25.5 (now -25.5)
  • O/U: 147 (now 149)

San Diego lost their last game by 29 @ St. Mary’s. In conference games during the regular season, unranked teams coming off a 15+ point loss have covered the spread 64% of the time when playing Top-5 opponents.

Normal people like betting Top-5 teams and fading teams after big losses. Oddsmakers know this, so they inflate the lines. We are going to do the opposite.

The Pick: San Diego +25.5

Illinois @ Northwestern:

  • Spread: Northwestern +6.5 (now +6)
  • O/U: 132 (now 133)

This is a super, super interesting game to me. Let’s dive into it:

Setting the Scene: Illinois is sitting at 18-9 (10-6), and Northwestern is a putrid 6-20 (1-15). The Wildcats have lost 11 games in a row by an average of 13.8 points per game. On Sunday, they lost to Minnesota at home by 26. Illinois won 7 in a row between Jan 5th and Jan 20th. They followed that up with four (4) straight losses before winning their last two games in Happy Valley against Penn State and at home against Nebraska. The Illini currently sit in 4th place in the B1G, half of a game behind Penn State and Michigan State for a tie for second place. Those two teams both won last night and Monday night, respectively. Illinois bested Penn State on Feb 18th in their only meeting of the season, but they lost in both meetings with Michigan State. Illinois needs this win to keep their hopes for the 2- or, more realistically, 3-seed in the B1G Tournament.

Trends: Illinois has been average ATS this season, covering in 52% of their games, but they do have some more positive trends working in their favor:

Illinois – 52% ATS on the season Northwestern – 10-16 ATS this season

1-0 ATS as a road favorite

3-5 ATS as a home underdog

9-4-1 ATS with 2-3 days off (played Monday)

4-7 ATS with 4+ days off (played Sunday)

6-4 ATS as away team

3-11 ATS at home
9-7 ATS in conference games

7-9 ATS in conference games

7-8-1 ATS after a win

8-11 ATS after a loss

2-3-1 ATS with rest disadvantage

4-6 ATS with rest advantage

On the Court: It’s no secret that Illinois has struggled offensively during conference play. They are currently ranked dead last in the B1G in effective FG%, 2P%, and 3P%. They are, however, ranked 1st in the conference in offensive rebounding.

The fascinating thing is that Illinois has actually been better on offense in their conference games outside of Champaign. Look at Table 1 for a breakdown of their home vs road numbers in conference games:

Table 1: Illinois Conference Home/Road Offensive Stats

Location Adj. OE EFG% TO% ORB% FT Rate 2P % 3P %
Home 105.0 43.3 15.8 34.8 29.4 43.7 28.2
Road 113.3 45.6 17 32.3 26.9 46.1 29.7

If you’re wondering if that is a strange phenomenon for a B1G team, you’re not alone. I thought the same thing, so I did some more digging. Check out Table 2 below for a comparison of how the entire B1G shoots at home vs on the road.

Table 2: B1G Teams Conference Home/Road Offensive Stats

Team EFG% H EFG% R EFG% Diff 2P% H 2P% R 2P% Diff 3P % H 3P% R 3P % Diff
PSU 47.6 50.3 2.7 46.9 48.1 1.2 32.5 35.9 3.4
Illinois 43.3 45.6 2.3 43.7 46.1 2.4 28.2 29.7 1.5
NW 45.6 46.8 1.2 43.9 46.1 2.2 32.4 32.4 0
MD 47.3 48 0.7 50.2 46.1 -4.1 29.2 33.3 4.1
NEB 46.8 47.2 0.4 44.9 47.7 2.8 32.9 30.9 -2
RUTG 47.9 47.7 -0.2 49.2 48 -1.2 29.7 31.4 1.7
MICH 49.7 49.4 -0.3 50.6 54 3.4 32.2 28.2 -4
MINN 46.9 45.6 -1.3 50 44.4 -5.6 28.3 31.6 3.3
MSU 51.6 50.2 -1.4 52.1 46.8 -5.3 33.9 37.5 3.6
IND 50.1 45 -5.1 48.2 46.3 -1.9 36.2 27.8 -8.4
IOWA 53.8 47.5 -6.3 50.5 52 1.5 39.2 26 -13.2
WISC 53.8 46.2 -7.6 48.5 45.8 -2.7 40 31.1 -8.9
PUR 51.8 42 -9.8 48.8 42.3 -6.5 38.7 27.5 -11.2
OSU 56.2 45.5 -10.7 52.4 42.4 -10 40.7 33.3 -7.4

Illinois is in orange. A positive difference means that the road statistic is better (higher) than the home statistic. You can see that Illinois is one of two teams that is better in all three shooting statistics, the other being Penn State. According to this data, which is from barttorvik.com, if a team is better at shooting either inside or outside the arc, they are usually worse in the other area, i.e. if a team is better at shooting 3-pointers, they are worse at shooting 2-pointers. But does this matter?

Yes. It shows us that Illinois is one of the most consistent offensive teams in their conference. You basically know what you are going to get from this offense game-in and game-out. Look at Wisconsin, Purdue, and Ohio State. Those teams are completely different offensively on the road. They are so, so much worse.

Illinois is much better at defense at home, but they only drop from a top-2 defense at home to a top-5 defense on the road (conference ranks).

Northwestern is the worst team in the conference at both offense and defense at home, and it really isn’t that close.

Analysis: This should be a bloodbath. Northwestern isn’t going to be able to keep Illinois off the offensive boards, the free throw line, or the 3-point arc. Northwestern is allowing opponents to grab 32.3% of offensive rebounds and make over 40% of their 3-balls. Illinois has three players that shoot 30% or better from long range including one player who has made 40%. They don’t shoot 3s well as a team, but they have guys who can knock them down if you give them space.

The Pick: Illinois -6.5

Arizona State @ UCLA:

  • Spread: UCLA -2.5 (now -3)
  • O/U: 141

Setting the Scene: UCLA has quietly turned their season around since non-conference home losses to Hofstra and CS Fullerton. They sit at 17-11 and are 10-5 in the PAC-12. The Bruins have won 5 games in a row and 6 of their last 7. Mick Cronin’s squad has 3 games remaining in the regular season: hosting ASU, hosting Arizona, and @ USC.

DISCLAIMER: This next part is going to sound crazy, but I swear it’s true. They are currently in a three-way tie for 2nd place in the PAC-12 with Oregon and ASU and only a half game back of Colorado for 1st. They can still win the regular season title.

So can ASU. The Sun Devils are 19-8 (10-5) and have won 7 in a row (8 of 9). They have four games remaining: @ UCLA, @ USC, hosting Washington, and hosting Washington State.

On the Court: These two teams have been about the same during conference play. UCLA has been a little better on offense but a little worse on defense. UCLA plays slower than ASU.

Analysis: I think this is going to come down to who wants it more. UCLA has been the best team in the PAC-12 at offensive rebounding and 2nd best at getting steals. ASU has been the best in the conference at turning over their opponents. UCLA is playing at home. Usually teams turn the ball over less and control the pace of the game better when they are at home. If UCLA can do that, combined with their effort on the offensive glass, I think they be able to win and cover the spread in this game.

The Pick: UCLA -3

South Dakota State @ North Dakota State:

  • Spread: North Dakota State -4 (now -5)
  • O/U: 147.5 (now 145)

A few things about this game make no sense to me: the spread and the movement of the O/U. We’ll start with the latter. The over has gotten 95% of bets and 94% of money in this game, but the number has dropped between 1.5 and 3 points depending on where you look. It’s at 144.5 on BetMGM right now.

Setting the Scene: Now, the first thing that makes no sense to me. If you have paid attention to the Summit League at all you know that South Dakota State and North Dakota State are the two best teams. I have paid attention to the Summit League. I am 24-17 betting it this season, 18-7 since Feb 16th, and 4-1 last night.

South Dakota State is 22-8 and in first place in the league at 13-2. They have won 8 games in a row and are 12-1 since the first game of league play. They have covered in 6 of the 8 games during this win streak and 15 out of 18 games dating back to before league play started. This is their last game of the regular season. If they win, they win the Summit League regular season title.

North Dakota State is 20-8 and in second place in the league at 11-3. They had won 7 in a row before losing on the road against North Dakota on Saturday. They have two games left in Summit League play, finishing the season at home against Nebraska-Omaha on Saturday. If they win both games, they win finish tied with South Dakota State for 1st in the Summit League at 13-3. I don’t know if they would share the title or not because South Dakota State has already beaten North Dakota State this season, 77-74 on Feb 19th.

Trends: South Dakota State is one of the best teams in the country at covering the spread. They have covered in 71.4% of games this season, and their trend with the lowest cover rate is “with equal rest” at 54.5%. That means in the games that they are the worst at covering, they still cover more often than not. They are 11-4 ATS in conference games this season, and they are 5-2 ATS in road conference games.

North Dakota State has covered 52% of games this season. They have been good as a favorite, covering 61.1% of those games, but they’re only 3-5-1 ATS as a home favorite. In conference games they are 7-6-1 ATS, but they’re only 2-4 in conference home games.

Summit League home teams have not been good ATS during conference play. They are 28-38 ATS overall, 7-21 ATS in February, 20-23 ATS as favorites, and 4-14 ATS as favorites in February.

North Dakota State has averaged over 82 points/game at home during conference play. Those games have an average total of 154.7 with a max of 168, a median of 151, and a min of 142. They have been astonishingly consistent at home on both ends of the floor. They scored 80, 83, 82, and 83 points in their last four home games. They gave up 70, 76, 70, 74, 70, and 74 points.

South Dakota State has averaged exactly 79 points/game on the road during conference play. Those games have an average total of 152.43 with a max of 183, a median of 148, and a min of 131. They have been the opposite of consistent on the road on both ends of the floor. They scored between 94 and 70 in each game and gave up between 99 and 61 (3 times) in each game. Their median numbers are 78 points scored and 68 points given up.

On the Court: These are the two best teams in the Summit League at defense. They both rank in the Top 3 in defensive efficiency, opponent effective field goal percentage, opponent FT rate, and all three opponent shooting percentages (FT, 2P, 3P). South Dakota State doesn’t force turnovers (9th) and doesn’t rebound well on the defensive end (8th), but they do block a lot of shots (1st in block rate). North Dakota State is the best in the league at defensive rebounding, but they also struggle to force turnovers (8th in opponent TO%, 6th in block rate, 7th in steal rate).

On offense, both teams are very good, but South Dakota State is better. The Jackrabbits are #1 in the conference in offensive efficiency and every shooting percentage except FT. They are 2nd in offensive rebounding percentage. The Bison are 4th in efficiency, free throw rate, and 3P percentage; 2nd in effective field goal percentage and 2P percentage; and 1st in FT percentage.

Analysis: This should be a very good, very close game. These teams match up well. I love the Jackrabbits. I think they are going to be the more motivated team in this game. Sealing a conference championship on your rival’s home floor would be absolutely incredible. The consistency of NDSU at home is great for looking at the total. Their last four home games have all fallen between 150 and 159, and South Dakota State’s offense is the best that will come to Fargo this season. North Dakota State hasn’t had an opponent score fewer than 70 points, and South Dakota State hasn’t scored less than 70 in this spot. I’m asking myself if I think that both teams will score their averages. I think the answer is no. 82 and 79 are too many points to assume against defenses this good. But do I think that both teams will get to 73 points? Absolutely.

The Pick: South Dakota State +5 & Over 145

Western Illinois @ Oral Roberts

  • Spread: Oral Roberts -13.5 (now -13.5)
  • O/U: 160 (now 159)

I’m going to make this short and sweet. I am incredibly angry at Oral Roberts still. Western Illinois is terrible. Summit League home teams have not been good ATS during conference play. They are 28-38 ATS overall, 7-21 ATS in February, 20-23 ATS as favorites, and 4-14 ATS as favorites in February.

Oral Roberts is quite good at offense. They are probably going to score 85 points. Will Western Illinois get to 75? Probably.

Western Illinois has covered their last 4 conference road games.

The Pick: Western Illinois +13.5 & Over 159


NCAAB Picks/Analysis | NBA Picks/Analysis | Sprinkles | MikePick2 | Picks Recap | Back to Top


NBA 73-71 (1-2):

Trail Blazers +10 @ Pacers:

This is a game that fits a system that we have been using. The system bets on a team playing on the road that did not cover the spread as an underdog in its last game playing against a team that did cover the spread in its last game. Historically, the system has won 55% of games. I am only 3-5 when tailing the system, but I don’t pick every game that it does.

In this game, I just don’t think the Pacers are 10 points better than the Blazers.


NCAAB Picks/Analysis | NBA Picks/Analysis | Sprinkles | MikePick2 | Picks Recap | Back to Top


Sprinkles 39-67 (1-3):

South Dakota State ML @ North Dakota State

See above.


NCAAB Picks/Analysis | NBA Picks/Analysis | Sprinkles | MikePick2 | Picks Recap | Back to Top


MikePick2 16-20 (1-0, 3 in a row, 4 of last 5, +0.43u):

There is no MikePick2 tonight because I don’t like any of the numbers. I am upset about it because I have been on fire with these lately.


NCAAB Picks/Analysis | NBA Picks/Analysis | Sprinkles | MikePick2 | Picks Recap | Back to Top


Picks Recap:

  • MSM +8
  • ILL -6.5
  • WIL +13.5
  • WIL/ORU O159
  • USD +25.5
  • SDKS +5
  • SDKS/NDSU O145
  • UCLA -3
  • Trail Blazers +10
  • SDKS ML

NCAAB Picks/Analysis | NBA Picks/Analysis | Sprinkles | MikePick2 | Picks Recap | Back to Top


Free Money Friday Every Day: Turning the Week Around

By | Talent Columns, Views from the Couch | No Comments

As always, for more information behind each pick, watch Free Money Friday Every Day on the ESPN106.7 twitter account every weekday at 3 pm or listen to the Free Money Friday Every Day podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotifySticher, or espnau.com.

Yesterday 4-9-2:

Today is a new day with a new slate, so I don’t love to spend a lot of time looking at yesterday’s slate. There’s not a big reason to get too worked up over one day, but it is worth looking at what went right/wrong. I don’t really look at the Sprinkles in hindsight though because I don’t totally expect the team to win. That’s why I only sprinkle the ML. I believe they have a good chance, but I don’t expect the win.

  • Ole Miss +9 – Push on FTs at the end.
  • Ole Miss +4.5 1H – lost by 7. Auburn’s best first half maybe all season.
  • Ole Miss/Auburn O141 – 125 total, Breein Tyree has his worst game of the season and Ole Miss turned the ball over like 100 times.
  • Ole Miss 1H ML – lost by 7.
  • UK/TAMU O129 – Push
  • TAMU +3 1H – lost by 9. I was just wrong about this one.
  • OKC -7 – blew a 20-point lead I think
  • Bama/MSST O159 – 153 total points.
  • Bama ML – lost by 7.
  • NCST ML – lost by 6.
  • NOP +7.5 – lost by 9.

Today’s Picks (Yesterday’s Record):

Navigate:

NCAAB Picks/Analysis | NBA Picks/Analysis | Sprinkles | MikePick2 | Picks Recap

NCAAB 220-224-9 (1-4-2):

Today’s Games:

Evansville @ UNI | Utah Valley @ Cal Baptist | Rutgers @ Penn State | Maryland @ Minnesota | Missouri @ Vanderbilt Denver @ IPFW | North Dakota @ Nebraska Omaha

Evansville @ UNI:

  • Spread: UNI -15 (now UNI -13.5)
  • O/U: 138 (now 135.5)

This is a Poor ATS vs Good ATS game. We have gone 22-7 in these games this season. Northern Iowa has covered 68% of games this season, and Evansville has covered a measly 38.5%. Evansville is on the road in a conference game, so we’ll happily take the 15 points.

The Pick: Evansville +15 (now +13.5)

Utah Valley @ Cal Baptist:

  • Spread: Cal Baptist -6 (now -6.5)
  • O/U: 150

Just like Evansville vs UNI, this is a Poor ATS vs Good ATS game. Cal Baptist has covered 68.2% of their games on the season, and Utah Valley has only covered 40% of games. Those are both comfortably within our optimal percentages, and since it is a road conference game, we will take Utah Valley.

The Pick: Utah Valley +6 (now +6.5)

Rutgers @ Penn State:

  • Spread: Penn State -6 (now -5)
  • O/U: 136 (now 137.5)

I was going to stay away from this game, but I have decided to fade the public in this game. Rutgers has gotten 20% of the bets so far in this one, so I will probably wait to make sure that number doesn’t increase a whole bunch. Keep an eye on my twitter to see when/if I pull the trigger.

The Pick: Rutgers +5 (probably)

Maryland @ Minnesota:

  • Spread: Minnesota -1 (now -1)
  • O/U: 131 (now 134.5)

I know what you’re thinking, “Big Ten home teams not named Nebraska and Northwestern have won 78.13% of games this season!” You’re correct. They have.

In fact, Minnesota is 5-3 at home in Big Ten play! However, their losses are to Michigan State, Iowa, and Indiana in 3 of their last 4 home games.

Maryland is 4-4 on the road with wins over Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan State in 3 of their last 4 road games.

Maryland’s loss to Ohio State on Sunday snapped a 9-game winning streak. They were 12-2 in their last 14 games before the Ohio State game.

Minnesota being a 1-point home favorite means that Maryland would be between a 2- and 4-point favorite on a neutral court. Since Maryland has shown that they can win on the road in the Big Ten, I am happy to take the Terps as a tiny road underdog.

In the interest of full disclosure, this is a “Fade the Public in Big Conferences” game. Maryland has received just 18% of bets which are accounting for 40% of money.

The Pick: Maryland +1

Missouri @ Vanderbilt:

  • Spread: Mizzou -2.5 (now -2)
  • O/U: 142 (now 138.5)

Mizzou has won one (1) game on the road this season. It was December 7th against Temple. They have only covered the spread in two (2) road games this season. Vanderbilt has covered in 6 of their last 8 games. Those covers came against UGA, Tennessee, Miss State, LSU, Florida, and Kentucky.

The big edge for Vandy in this game is at the FT line. The Commodores are ranked 50th in the country in point distribution from the charity stripe. Mizzou opponents are #3 nationally in point distribution from the FT line. The Tigers foul a ton.

Vandy has been perfectly average against the spread in this spot. They have covered in 50% of their games this season, as a home underdog, with 2-3 days off, in conference games, with equal rest, and after a loss. They are just under 50% in home games and just over 50% as an underdog.

That is enough for me.

The Pick: Vanderbilt +2.5 (now -2)

Summit League 18-16 (10-4 last week):

Denver @ IPFW:

  • Spread: IPFW -7.5 (now -7.5)
  • O/U: 144 (now 146)

Setting the Stage: Denver is 2-12 in conference, and IPFW is 5-9. They are in 8th and 7th place in the league, respectively. The Mastodons are coming off a 2-point home loss to Nebraska Omaha, a game in which they were also a 7.5-point favorite. Denver is coming off a 4-point OT win against Oral Roberts at home. They were 6.5-point underdogs, and they scored 100 points.

Trends: IPFW is 9-5 at home this season, but three (3) of those wins have come against Manchester, Ohio Norther, and Judson College. So, against D1 opponents, IPFW is 6-5 and only 3-4 in Summit League play. They beat South Dakota on Jan 1, North Dakota on Jan 30, and Western Illinois on Feb 5. IPFW has covered 2 of those 7 Summit League games, against the two Dakotas.

North and South Dakota are both better than Denver, especially on the road. Denver has not won on the road all season (0-13, 0-7) and has only won once outside of their building (1-15). The Pioneers have covered 5 of their 7 road games in conference play. Their only two losses ATS came against W Illinois on Jan 11 and Nebraska Omaha on Feb 16. These last two paragraphs make it seem like W Illinois is good, but they are 5-19 (2-12) and, in fact, not good. This is unrelated, but I felt like it needed to be said.

Summit League home teams have only covered 7 out of 26 games in February, a whopping 26.92%. This is a very interesting game though because neither of these teams is very good.

Denver has scored an average of 73.7 points in their road conference games, and those game have had an average total of 157.57 with a max of 168 and a min of 147. Obviously, they haven’t had a road conference game under 144, and their defense seems to be the issue. They have given up 83.86 points/game in these 7 games.

IPFW has scored an average of 66.43 points in their home conference games, and those games have had an average total of 136.43 with a max of 160 and a min of 120. Only one (1) of their home conference games has gone over 144, the game that got to 160 on Jan 18th against Oral Roberts. ORU scored 92 points, the most IPFW has given up at home by 21.

On the Court: When you compare how IPFW has played at home during conference play to the rest of the Summit League, they rank 9th in offensive efficiency and turnover percentage; 8th in FT Rate, 2P%, and 3P%; 1st in defensive efficiency and defensive rebounding; and 2nd in opponent FT Rate. They also play at the 2nd slowest pace. Basically, they stink at offense, getting to the free throw line, and shooting, but they are great at defense and not fouling.

A major reason for the offensive struggles and defensive prowess may be because they play so slow. They use a lot of the shot clock which can cause an offense to take bad shots because they are running out of time. This would also impact their turnover percentage. Their non-steal turnover percentage is 293rd in the country and dead last in the Summit League, per KenPom. This means that they have a lot of turnovers that are “unforced”, things like shot clock violations, offensive fouls, traveling, etc. They also have had their shots blocked more often than any other Summit League team which could also be due to forcing tough shots at the end of the shot clock.

As I mentioned earlier, Denver has not won a road game all season (0-13, 0-7), and it isn’t difficult to see why when you compare how they have played to how the other Summit League teams have played on the road during conference play. The Pioneers rank 7th in offensive efficiency, defensive efficiency, opponent turnover percentage, and offensive rebounding; 8th in turnover percentage; and 9th in opponent free throw rate. They have played at the 2nd fastest pace. This means they struggle to score, defend, force turnovers, grab offensive rebounds, not turn the ball over, and not foul.

Some of these deficiencies might be associated with the speed at which at they play. Their tempo during conference play has been 72.6, per KenPom. If they had played at that pace all season, it would be 25th in the country. A lot of teams that play that fast have trouble being efficient, not turning the ball over, and grabbing offensive rebounds. A main issue for Denver is that the best teams that play that fast are good at forcing turnovers which creates more possessions for them. Denver is not.

Analysis: The way that IPFW plays should benefit Denver in this game. IPFW wants to slow the game down, but they turn the ball over a ton. Denver should get some extra possessions and be able to hang around in this game. Denver is going to have to step up on defense, but they should be aided by IPFW’s complete inability to shoot the basketball. I don’t think that IPFW is going to get to Denver’s opponent’s scoring average of almost 84 points. Their highest total in a home conference game is 75. Denver’s offense has scored fewer points each road game, so I think this game is going to end up somewhere around 70-65.

The Pick: Denver +7.5 & Under 146

North Dakota @ Nebraska-Omaha:

  • Spread: Nebraska-Omaha -5.5 (now -5.5)
  • O/U: 153 (now 154)

Setting the Stage: North Dakota is 13-15 (7-7), and Omaha is 15-14 (8-6). They are in 5th and 4th place in the league, respectively. North Dakota got a huge home win over North Dakota State as 4.5-point underdogs in their last game. Nebraska-Omaha is coming off a 7-point road win over Summit League bottom feeder Western Illinois. They were 4.5-point favorites.

Trends: Nebraska-Omaha is 11-2 at home this season and 5-2 at home during conference play. They are 6-4 ATS as a home favorite, 7-4 ATS at home, and 8-6 ATS after a win, but they are only 3-4 ATS at home during Summit League play. North Dakota is 4-11 on the road this season and 2-4 on the road during conference play with wins against Denver and W Illinois, the two worst teams in the Summit League. They are 5-9 ATS in conference games, 2-4 ATS in conference road games, 4-8 ATS after a win, 8-17 ATS on the season (one of the worst in the country), 5-13 ATS as an underdog, 4-11 ATS on the road, and 2-11 ATS as a road underdog.

Summit League home teams have only covered 7 out of 26 games in February, a whopping 26.92%.

North Dakota has averaged 74.83 points in their road conference games, and those games have averaged 155.5 points with a max of 169 and a min of 140. They have given up an average of 80.67 points and a median of 83 points.

Nebraska-Omaha has scored 80 points/game in home conference games, and those games have averaged 155.29 points with a max of 169 and a min of 141. They have given up an average of 75.29 points and a median of 78 points.

On the Court: Nebraska-Omaha has been very bad at defensive at home during conference play. They rank dead last in the Summit League in defensive efficiency, opponent effective field goal percentage, defensive rebounding, and opponent 2-point field percentage. The only thing they can do well on defense is force turnovers. They have been the best in the Summit League at forcing turnovers at home during conference play. They are also pretty good at not fouling, ranking 3rd in the conference in opponent free throw rate in such games.

On offense, the Mavericks have been just fine. They rank between 4th and 7th in every offensive statistic in home games during Summit League play except turnover percentage (3rd).

North Dakota is a super interesting team when they have played on the road in conference. They have been good at offense (3rd in Summit League in offensive efficiency), GREAT at offensive rebounding (2nd), getting to the free throw line (2nd in FT Rate), and shooting inside the arc (2nd in 2P%), but they have been terrible at shooting 3-pointers only making 25.2% which causes their effective field goal percentage to be 8th in the conference at only 49%.

On defense, the Fighting Hawks have been just as perplexing. They are 6th in defensive efficiency, but their opponent effective field goal percentage ranks 3rd in the conference. They have been very bad at defensive rebounding (8th) and defending the arc (9th in 3P%) where they have allowed opponents to make over 40% of their shots. Their defense inside the arc has been incredible. They have only allowed opponents to make 48.3% of their shots, good for 1st in the Summit League.

Analysis: I think that Nebraska-Omaha’s defensive ineptitude really leaves the door open for North Dakota in this game. If North Dakota can limit their own turnovers, this should be a close game. Both teams have not been good on defense, but both are very good at the few things they actually do well. I think this is going to be a very tight game. I think both teams are going to be able to score over their averages due to their opposition’s defensive issues. I think this is a game that could go either way with both teams ending up in the high 70s or low 80s. I cannot imagine that both teams will score below their season averages which is what they would have to do for this game to go under.

The Pick: North Dakota +5.5 & Over 153.5

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NBA 72-69 (1-2):

Celtics +5.5 @ Jazz:

The Jazz are not 5-points better than any good team right now, and Brad Stevens is still absolutely stupidly good as a road underdog.

76ers -7.5 @ Cavaliers:

We are going to fade the tanking team once again.

Magic @ Hawks U226:

I know what you’re thinking, “an under in a Hawks game? Are you crazy? They don’t play defense.” To answer your questions: yes, maybe.

This under fits two different profitable systems that I track, so I am going to take it.

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Sprinkles 39-64 (1-3):

Vandy ML hosting Mizzou

See above.

North Dakota ML @ NEOM

See above.

LSU ML @ Florida

Florida has been wildly inconsistent all season and even at home. They have allowed between 98 and 47 points. They have scored between 104 and 61 points. I have no idea what is going to happen in this game, but it should be fun and not at all surprising if LSU wins a must-win game for them.

Celtics ML @ Jazz

Brad. Stevens. Road. Underdog.

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MikePick2 15-20 (1-0):

Parlay: +120

  • Penn State ML hosting Rutgers
    • Rutgers is 1-6 on the road in Big 10 play. Their only win was against Nebraska on Jan 3rd. Their second win will not be against #16 Penn State on Feb 26th.
  • Arkansas ML hosting Tennessee
    • Arkansas is still a bubble team, and just got Isaiah Joe back from injury. He and Miles Jones are one of the best backcourts in the SEC. Fayetteville is a tough place to play, and the Vols only road SEC wins are against Mizzou on Jan 7th, Vandy on Jan 18th, and Alabama by 1 on Feb 4th. They had to overcome a 15-point deficit and shot 2-18 from behind the arc in the win over Alabama.

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Picks Recap:

  • EVAN +15
  • UVU +6
  • RUTG +5 (probably)
  • MD +1
  • VAN +2.5
  • DEN +7.5
  • DEN/IPFW U146
  • UND +5.5
  • UND/NEOM O153.5
  • Celtics +5
  • Sixers -7.5
  • Magic/Hawks U226
  • VAN ML
  • UND ML
  • LSU ML
  • BOS ML
  • MP2: PSU ML & ARK ML

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Free Money Friday Every Day: Not the Start We Wanted

By | Talent Columns, Views from the Couch | No Comments

As always, for more information behind each pick, watch Free Money Friday Every Day on the ESPN106.7 twitter account every weekday at 3 pm or listen to the Free Money Friday Every Day podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotifySticher, or espnau.com.

Yesterday 2-4:

Today is a new day with a new slate, so I don’t love to spend a lot of time looking at yesterday’s slate. There’s not a big reason to get too worked up over one day, but it is worth looking at what went right/wrong. I don’t really look at the Sprinkles in hindsight though because I don’t totally expect the team to win. That’s why I only sprinkle the ML. I believe they have a good chance, but I don’t expect the win.

  • ILL -13.5 hosting NEB – won by 12
  • LOU ML – were up double digits in the second half and lost
  • WVU -5.5 @ UT – lost by 10
  • MIA -6 @ CLE – lost in OT by 6

All in all, not the start to the week that we wanted. Really would’ve loved if that 0-2 in the NCAA was a 2-0. We’re back below 50% now, but I have faith that we can climb out of the 1 pick hole tonight. Let’s do this.


Today’s Picks (Yesterday’s Record):

To jump to a certain part of the article use the following links:

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NCAAB 219-220-7 (0-2):

To jump to a certain game use the following links:

Iowa @ Michigan State | Kentucky @ Texas A&M | Ole Miss @ Auburn | Alabama @ Mississippi State

Iowa @ Michigan State

  • Spread: Michigan State -8.5
  • O/U: 151.5

Strength on strength match-up. Iowa has the best offense in the Big10, and Michigan State has the best defense.

Iowa’s offense has been very good on the road during conference play, ranking in the top 3 in efficiency, offensive rebounding, and 2P%. They have been dead last in the Big10 in 3P% on the road in conference. Conversely, Michigan State’s defense hasn’t been very good at home during Big10 play. The only thing they have been elite at is making shots inside the arc.

Iowa’s defense has been very bad on the road during conference play. They are dead last in efficiency, opponent effective FG%, opponent 2P%, and opponent 3P%. They are second to last in defensive rebounding. Michigan State’s defense has been quite the opposite. They are top-3 in the Big10 at everything except forcing turnovers, not fouling, and defensive rebounding.

Michigan State is going to win this game, but I think Iowa will be able to keep it to single digits.

The Pick: Iowa +8.5 (now +8.5)

Kentucky @ Texas A&M

  • Spread: Kentucky -6.5
  • O/U: 129

TAMU excels in three key areas that, if things go well, should help them mightily against a Cats team that will probably be looking ahead to welcoming Auburn to Rupp on Saturday:

  • Getting to the FT line. They are 9th in the nation at FT rate, and Kentucky is known to foul. Getting Nick Richards and co in foul trouble will really help the Aggies.
  • Not fouling. Kentucky is incredible from the FT line, but TAMU should be able to limit the number of FTs that the Cats shoot. The Aggies are #37 nationally in opponent FT rate, and they have allowed opponents to shoot fewer than 15/game this season. They have made more FTs than their opponents have attempted this season.
  • Forcing turnovers. The Aggies rank 27th in the country in opponent TO% at 22.7%. In conference home games, they have been even better, turning over their opponents 26.3% of the time. This could especially be huge for the Aggies since Ashton Hagans, Kentucky’s primary ball carrier, has averaged 4 turnovers/game over his last 9 games.

This will be TAMU’s second Quad 1 home game during SEC play. The first was an OT loss to LSU on Jan 14. That is not a very big sample size. Since a Quad 1 home game is a game played against #1-30 in the current NET rankings, and LSU is currently #29, I expanded my parameters to include Quad 2 home games. TAMU has played 4 top 75 team in the NET during conference play. That still isn’t a great sample size, but it is better than 1. In those games, TAMU is 1-3. They have allowed an average of just over 80 pts/game and scored 75 pts/game. Their average margin of victory is -5.75.

This will be Kentucky’s 8th Quad 3 or better road game in SEC play. They are 5-2 in those games. They are averaging 75.57 pts/game and allowing 70.71 pts/game for an average margin of victory of 4.86 points.

Why does this matter? Let’s look inside the numbers of how TAMU and Kentucky have played in those games. Quad 1/2 home games for TAMU, and Quad 3 or better road games for UK, both in SEC play. These are their rankings in the SEC for the described games, i.e. TAMU is 4th in the SEC in offense in Quad 1/2 home games during conference play, and Kentucky is 2nd in the SEC in offense in Quad 3 or better road games during conference play.

  • Total Offense: Only 3 SEC teams have been better offensively than TAMU: Mizzou, Mississippi State, and Auburn. Only LSU has been better offensively than Kentucky.
  • Total Defense: No SEC team has been worse on defense than TAMU. Kentucky has been 6th in the SEC in defense.
  • Turnovers: No team has been better at forcing turnovers than the Aggies, and only Auburn has been better at not turning the ball over. Kentucky ranks 5th in offensive TO% and 12th in defensive TO% which means they won’t turn you over, but they have been susceptible to turning the ball over at times.
  • Free Throws: TAMU is 4th in offensive FT rate behind Arkansas, Mississippi State, and Mizzou, and they are first in defensive FT rate. They do not foul. Kentucky is 3rd in offensive FT rate, and 10th in defensive FT rate. They get to the line quite a bit, and they will foul you, too.
  • Rebounding: TAMU is 7th in offensive rebound % and dead last in defensive rebound %. Kentucky is 7th in offensive rebound % and only Arkansas has a worse defensive rebound %. Neither of these teams are particularly good at rebounding.
  • Shooting: TAMU is 4th in effective FG%, 3rd behind Alabama and UGA in 2P%, and 5th in 3P% at 36%. Kentucky is 2nd in effective FG% behind LSU, 8th in 2P%, and first in 3P% at 44.7% (which I don’t think is sustainable).
  • Defending Shooters: TAMU is dead last in opponent effective FG%, 12th in opponent 2P% (only ahead of South Carolina and Mizzou), and last in opponent 3P% at 44.2%. Kentucky is 1st in opponent effective FG%, 1st in opponent 2P%, and 6th in opponent 3P% at 30.9%.

Summary: Both teams have been very good offensively in these situations. TAMU relies heavily on turnovers defensively, but they have been very good at forcing them. Kentucky shoots the lights out on offense but will turn the ball over.

We have seen Kentucky come out of the gates slow in a few conference games against bad teams this season (see Ole Miss, Vanderbilt…twice), but then they blow the other team out in the second half. With their minds possibly on the huge game on Saturday, I think something similar could happen tonight. Maybe even some early foul trouble.

It is also worth noting that at the time of writing this, 96% of money has come in on the OVER in this game causing oddsmakers to bump it up from 127.5 to 129.

The Pick: TAMU +3 1H & Over 129 (opened 127.5)

Ole Miss @ Auburn

  • Spread: Auburn -9
  • O/U: 141

Auburn has not been winning by 5 at halftime since Jan 25th against Iowa State. They haven’t led by 5 at the half in a conference game since Jan 22nd against South Carolina. They’ve only done it twice in SEC play, the South Carolina game and against UGA on Jan 11th.

In the 8 games since the Iowa State game, Auburn’s average margin at halftime is -6.5 points. In 14 conference games, their average halftime margin is -3.42 points.

Auburn without Isaac Okoro is not good enough to beat Ole Miss by 9. I don’t care where the game is played. They had to come back from down 20+ to beat Ole Miss in the Pavilion earlier this season.

Also, both teams can score. A lot.

The Pick: Ole Miss +4.5 1H & Ole Miss +9 (now +8.5) & Over 141 (now 142)

Alabama @ Mississippi State

  • Spread: Miss St -4
  • O/U: 157.5

Bama has had 65% of their games go over this season, and Miss St has had 70% of theirs go over.

Alabama hasn’t had a road game go under 160 since Jan 22nd.

Mississippi State hasn’t had a home game go under since Mizzou scored 45 points against them on Jan 14th. It’s their only home conference game to go under.

The Pick: Over 159 (now 157.5)

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NBA 71-67 (2-1):

Thunder -7.5 @ Bulls

We are going to continue to fade tanking teams at home. Also, OKC is 38-18 ATS and 21-5 ATS on the road while the Bulls are just 12-17-1 ATS at home. Plus, Otto Porter, Denzel Valentine, and Wendell Carter Jr are all out for the Bulls.

Bucks -1.5 @ Raptors

Bucks have not lost the second game of a back-to-back this season and are 6-1 ATS. They are 31-4 SU and 22-13 ATS (62.9%) in conference and 21-4 SU and 15-10 ATS (60%) as a road favorite. They’ve been steamrolling through the NBA this season.

Pelicans +7.5 @ Lakers

Pelicans have been so, so much better with Zion, and I think there is a huge revenge factor in this game for the Pelicans. There is the obvious of getting back at Anthony Davis for not wanting to play for the team, but there is also all the former Lakers who I think will try to stick it to LeBron for shipping them all off.

Anthony Davis is probable, but it’s hard for me to think he won’t play. The Pelicans are remarkably healthy right now.

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Sprinkles 38-61 (0-1):

Ole Miss 1H ML @ Auburn

See above.

Alabama ML @ Miss St

This would be a massive win for Alabama’s tournament resume, and when a team can get as hot as Alabama can from 3-Point range, it’s almost always worth a sprinkle. (Plus Alabama is still covering at their insane rate on the season).

NC State ML @ UNC

If NC State wins this game, they will have beaten both Duke and UNC this season. Plus, they lost UNC at home, so is a little revenge in order? It’s worth a sprinkle.

OU ML hosting Texas Tech

Beating Tech would give OU a huge win for their tournament resume, much like Alabama. Plus, they are playing at home, and Tech has had their offensive struggles this season.

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MikePick2 14-20 (0-0):

Parlay: +105

  • UK ML @ TAMU
  • SMU ML hosting Memphis

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Picks Recap:

  • Iowa +8.5
  • TAMU +3 1H
  • UK/TAMU O129
  • Ole Miss +4.5 1H
  • Ole Miss +9
  • Ole Miss/Auburn O141
  • Alabama/Miss St O159
  • OKC -7.5
  • MIL -1.5
  • NOP +7.5
  • Ole Miss 1H ML
  • Alabama ML
  • NC State ML
  • OU ML
  • MP2: UK ML & SMU ML

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Free Money Friday Every Day: Best Week Ever

By | Talent Columns, Views from the Couch | No Comments

As always, for more information behind each pick, watch Free Money Friday Every Day on the ESPN106.7 twitter account every weekday at 3 pm or listen to the Free Money Friday Every Day podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotifySticher, or espnau.com.

Weekend 19-17 +3.09u:

Today is a new day with a new slate, so I don’t love to spend a lot of time looking at yesterday’s slate. There’s not a big reason to get too worked up over one day, but it is worth looking at what went right/wrong. I don’t really look at the Sprinkles in hindsight though because I don’t totally expect the team to win. That’s why I only sprinkle the ML. I believe they have a good chance, but I don’t expect the win.

It’s Monday, so we are looking back at the Weekend (Fri, Sat, Sun) and the past week (Mon-Sun). I’m not going to go through each pick, but I am going to look at what went well and what did not.

Last Week:

  • 40-31 +8.86u
  • 10-4 (+5.1u) in the Summit League
  • 27-12 (69% +12.13u) in College Basketball
  • 8-10 (+0.1u) in Sprinkles
  • 2-4 on MikePick2

You can see, I had an incredible week. It was one of the best weeks that I have ever had in basketball betting. It was the best week of the season, by far in College Basketball. It looks like I need to be more selective in my ML Sprinkles because I don’t have to be even 50% to be in the positive units range. A two game swing here or there could change a lot. Also, it wasn’t a great week for the MikePick2. Maybe I need to change what I’m looking for in games that I pick for the MikePick2.

So let’s take what we learned and apply it to this week. We will keep the Quality over Quantity mantra that we had last week because it seemed to work pretty well. Also, the extra research into games seems to be paying off as well. Also, I still don’t forgive Oral Roberts.

Today’s Picks (Weekend Record):

NCAAB 219-218-7 (11-6 +3.6u):

A solid weekend and a very good week got us over 50% for the season. A number we have been chasing since I changed my tracking metrics a few weeks ago. I am elated. Now, we are gunning for that 52% mark. Last week, I picked 39 college basketball games. If I pick 38 games this week, I will have picked 475 on the season. In order to get to the 52% goal, I will have to have won 247 out of 475 games. So, this week’s goal is to go 28 of 38. Last week, we went 27 of 39, so it is definitely doable; however, it will not be easy. We’re attempting to follow up a 69% week with a 73.68% week. Let’s do this. Time to start out with a 2-0 day. Here are the picks:

  • Illinois -13.5 hosting Nebraska
    • Illinois is 5-2 in conference home games. Nebraska is 0-7 in conference road games.
    • That has nothing to do with the spread, but it makes you wonder why Nebraska has been so putrid on the road this season.
    • Well, they can’t defend, rebound, or get to the free throw line. Those are 3 major things that help you win on the road.
    • Illinois has struggled to score at home during conference play, but they have made up for it with incredible defense and rebounding. Also, they don’t foul. Kofi Cockburn, Illinois’ dominant 7-footer, should be able to do whatever he wants against a way overmatched Nebraska front court.
  • West Virginia -5.5 @ Texas
    • West Virginia has lost 4/5. They have lost 5 road games in a row and 6/7 road games in Big12 play. The offense is the issue, as it usually is when teams are struggling in road games. The defense has still been the typical very good West Virginia defense.
    • Texas had lost 4 in a row before wins over TCU and Kansas St, two of the worst teams in the Big12. Texas is just not very good, AND they lost probably their best player for the season. Without Jericho Sims, the Longhorns will probably get dominated inside by West Virginia’s very good frontcourt.
    • I think West Virginia is probably undervalued here due to their road struggles in conference this season, and Texas’s back to back wins. Remember, WV beat UT by 38 in Morgantown. The Mountaineers desperately need a win, and I think they get it tonight.

NBA 69-66 (4-5):

It was a weird week in the NBA with no games until Thursday, and everyone coming off a week off for the All-Star Break.

  • Magic +4 @ Nets
    • This is a Road Dog off ATS Loss play. I like it a lot with the Nets recently losing Kyrie for the season. I know that they are used to playing without him, but they still aren’t very good. The Magic aren’t very good either. I think this should be a very close game, so I will happily take the Magic +4.
  • Heat -6 @ Cavs
    • We went 2-4 fading tanking teams last week, but I am confident that number will turn around in no time. I don’t have as much faith in the Interim Coach Bump for the Cavs now that some time has passed, and the Heat know they have to start playing better coming into the playoff stretch.
  • 76ers -8.5 hosting the Hawks
    • The 76ers are the most bizarre team in the NBA. They are incredible at home and against good teams. They are terrible on the road and against bad teams. It is very, very strange. For this game, I expect the 76ers to cover. They have been one of the best teams in the league at home, and the Hawks are terrible on the road, only covering 33% of road games on the season. This seems like a game that Trae Young goes for 45 in a double digit loss.

Sprinkles 38-60 (3-5)

  • Louisville ML @ FSU
    • Louisville is #11, and they are going on the road to take on a Florida State team that is quietly ranked #6. The spread on this game is FSU -2.5. That means that the oddsmakers consider Louisville the better team, but FSU is playing at home. Usually, home court advantage is between 2 and 5 points. Florida State’s should be above 3.5.
    • I look at that think there must be value on sprinkling who oddmakers consider the better team.

MikePick2 14-20 (2-1):

  • There’s not one tonight. I don’t like the numbers. Sorry.

Free Money Friday Every Day: ORU…I hate you

By | Talent Columns, Views from the Couch | No Comments

As always, for more information behind each pick, watch Free Money Friday Every Day on the ESPN106.7 twitter account every weekday at 3 pm and every Sat/Sun at 10 am or listen to the Free Money Friday Every Day podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotifySticher, or espnau.com.

Yesterday 7-4:

Today is a new day with a new slate, so I don’t love to spend a lot of time looking at yesterday’s slate. There’s not a big reason to get too worked up over one day, but it is worth looking at what went right/wrong. I don’t really look at the Sprinkles in hindsight though because I don’t totally expect the team to win. That’s why I only sprinkle the ML. I believe they have a good chance, but I don’t expect the win.

  • Oral Roberts -6.5 @ Denver – They lost by 4 in OT. 100-96. Coming into this game, Denver was 1-11 in conference play, and they had lost 18 of their last 19 games. Oral Roberts gave up ONE HUNDRED (100) POINTS. Oral Roberts allowed Denver to shoot 61.4% from inside the arc, and Denver made 25 out of 29 FTs (86.2%). Denver out-rebounded Oral Roberts 42-37, but they turned the ball over 16 times! Those 16 turnovers meant that Denver turned the ball over on 19% of their possessions, that is so high. The worst part? Oral Roberts was up 67-55 with 9 and half minutes left in the game, AND they were up 88-83 with SIXTEEN (16) (8*2) (4*4) SECONDS left in the game. Their win probability was 98.6%. Like I said, they lost by 4 in OT. Their loss cost me a perfect week in the Summit League and last night’s MikePick2. I am so angry at the Golden Eagles; I can barely put it into words. They lost a game in which they scored NINETY-SIX (96) (48*2) (32*3) (24*4) (16*6) (12*8) POINTS! 96! Look at this win probability chart from KenPom:

  • MEM -1 @ SAC – They lost by 4. I didn’t watch this game, so I am not sure what I should be angry about, not gonna lie.
  • MIA -6.5 @ ATL – They lost by 5. Trae Young only scored 50, so it’s hard to be too mad about this one. Oh wait, JUST KIDDING. MAYBE DON’T LET THE OTHER TEAM’S BEST PLAYER SCORE 50 POINTS IN A GAME FOR WHICH YOU HAD THREE FULL DAYS TO PREPARE. THE HAWKS HAVE ONE GOOD PLAYER AND A BUNCH OF OTHER REALLY YOUNG GUYS THAT MIGHT BE GOOD BUT ARE JUST ALRIGHT RIGHT NOW. STOP THE ONE GOOD PLAYER. Sorry, I am still very angry with Oral Roberts.

All things considered (I hate you, Oral Roberts), yesterday was a great day. I am on fire right now. Since Monday, I am 24-13. I went 9-1 in Summit League games this week (not counting the portion of the MikePick2 because I consider that 1 MikePick2 lost not a loss on each portion of the MikePick2). Since the first Monday in February (the 3rd), I am 80-76. Let’s keep it rolling.


Today’s Picks (Yesterday’s Record):

NCAAB 208-212-7 (6-1 (freaking Oral Roberts)):

  • Penn -2 @ Dartmouth
    • Dartmouth can’t score. They rank 300th or worse in points per game, adjusted efficiency, offensive rebound %, FT rate, and free throw %. Penn’s defense is actually pretty good. They are 1st in the Ivy League in opponent effective FG% and opponent 2P%; 2nd in the Ivy League in defensive efficiency, opponent FT rate, and opponent FT%; and 3rd in opponent 3P%. That basically boils down to this:
      • Penn’s defense restricts the scoring ability of their opponents by not allowing them to make shots anywhere on the floor, not fouling, and, on the rare occasions they do foul, not fouling good free throw shooters. This means that Penn probably isn’t great defensively inside.
    • If one team can’t score, it will probably be hard for them to win. That’s called analysis people.

NBA 66-63 (1-2):

  • Pacers -6.5 @ NYK
    • The Knicks are what we call a team that is tanking. We are going to continue Fade Tanking Teams even though we lost 2 out of 3 doing so last night.
  • Mavs -4 @ Magic
    • The Mavs are just the better team in this game. The Magic are 8-18-2 ATS this season as underdogs and 10-17-1 ATS at home. They have really struggled against teams that are better than they are, and they have struggled to cover at home.The Mavs are 18-8 straight-up and 18-6-2 ATS on the road. They have been killing it away from American Airlines Center this season. Also, Luka.
  • Nuggets +2 @ OKC
    • The Nuggets are getting Mason Plumlee and Michael Porter Jr. back from injury, and they are currently own the 2nd best record in the Western Conference. Denver is 9-0 against division opponents this season and have the 3rd best ranking against division foes according to teamrankings.com.

Sprinkles 34-54 (1-0):

    • Saint Louis ML hosting VCU
    • St Peter’s PK @ Manhattan
      • For starters, St. Peter’s has covered the spread in 17 out of their 24 games this season. That is 70.8% and T-6th in the country. They are 9-1 ATS as a road underdog, 9-3 ATS as the away team, 11-4 ATS in conference games, and 5-2 ATS in conference road games. Manhattan, on the other hand, is 5-4 ATS at home, 3-3 ATS as a home favorite, and 7-7 ATS in conference games. So, they are almost exactly average.
      • Peter’s is relatively great defensively. They are #1 in the MAAC in efficiency, effective FG%, 2P%, and block% defensively. They are 2nd in opponent turnover %, 3rd in steal%, and 4th in opponent 3P%. That bodes well against a Manhattan offense that is 9th in the MAAC in efficiency, effective FG%, and 3P%, offensively. They are 11th in the MAAC in FT% at a staggeringly low 59.7%. If this is a close game, St. Peter’s should have an edge.
      • On the other side of the ball, this should actually be a good match-up. The Peacock’s offense is pretty good, but they turn the ball over way too much. The Jaspers’ defense is between pretty good and good, but they struggle to limit offensive rebounds, to not foul, and to defend the 3-point arc.
      • This game opened at St Peter’s +1.5, and it has moved to a PK. I was going to take St. Peter’s +1.5 and sprinkle them on the ML, so I will only sprinkle them as a PK, now.
    • Cavaliers ML @ Wizards
      • The Wizards are one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA, and I expect the Cavs to get a bit of an interim coach bump here. Give me the Cavs trying to prove they were correct for all wanting their coach fired.
    • Nuggets ML @ OKC
      • See above.

MikePick2 12-19 (0-1 (O. R. A. L. R. O. B. E. R. T. S.)):

    • Parlay: +135
      • Mavs ML @ Magic
      • Pelicans ML @ Blazers
        • No Dame for the Blazers tonight.

Free Money Friday Every Day: I’m Hot

By | Talent Columns, Views from the Couch | No Comments

As always, for more information behind each pick, watch Free Money Friday Every Day on the ESPN106.7 twitter account every weekday at 3 pm and every Sat/Sun at 10 am or listen to the Free Money Friday Every Day podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotifySticher, or espnau.com.

Yesterday 10-6:

Today is a new day with a new slate, so I don’t love to spend a lot of time looking at yesterday’s slate. There’s not a big reason to get too worked up over one day, but it is worth looking at what went right/wrong. I don’t really look at the Sprinkles in hindsight though because I don’t totally expect the team to win. That’s why I only sprinkle the ML. I believe they have a good chance, but I don’t expect the win.

  • AUB -3 @ UGA – lost by 10
  • RUTG -1 hosting Michigan – lost by 8
  • DePaul +4.5 hosting NOVA – lost by 20, fade the public in big conferences
  • BUT ML @ HALL – lost by 2 on a layup with 0.4 seconds left
  • TCU ML @ UT – lost by 14
  • SC ML @ MSST – lost by 3
  • Both parts of the MikePick2 lost.
  • So, if you take out the 5 sprinkles, I won 8 of my 11 picks. I am on fire.

Today’s Picks (Yesterday’s Record):

NCAAB 203-211-7 (8-3):

  • North Florida +9 @ Liberty
    • UNF has covered the spread in 76.9% of their games this season. That is the best rate in the country. Additionally, they are 8-1 ATS as an underdog, 12-2 ATS on the road, 6-1 ATS as a road underdog, and 11-2 ATS in conference play. Their worst applicable ATS trend is that they are 11-5 ATS after a win.
    • Liberty has not been nearly as good at covering the spread, only doing so in 54.2% of their games this season. They are 12-9 ATS after a win, 12-10-1 ATS as a favorite, 3-6-1 ATS at home and as a home favorite, and only 4-8 ATS in conference play.
    • Normally, that would be enough for me, but since the line is so high, I decided to dig a little deeper. These two teams are the best in their conference. It is a strength on strength match-up. UNF is #1 in the Atlantic Sun in 7 out of 10 offensive categories, including efficiency, every shooting percentage, and turnover percentage. Liberty’s defense is #1 in the ASUN in 6 out of 10 defensive categories, including efficiency, opponent effective FG percentage, opponent turnover percentage, and opponent offensive rebound percentage. UNF plays at the second fastest tempo in conference while Liberty plays at the 9th
    • Liberty’s offense is 2nd in the ASUN in efficiency, but they trail UNF by over 9 points per 100 possessions. That is a lot. UNF’s defense is not nearly as good as their offense, but they should be good enough at that end to hang around in this game. They don’t turn their opponents over and don’t limit offensive rebounds, but Liberty rarely ever turns the ball over or gets offensive rebounds anyway. Scottie James gets a lot of offensive rebounds for Liberty, but no one else really does. UNF is also the best team in the conference at defending the 3-point line.
    • I think Liberty will probably win this game because of UNF’s deficiencies on defense, but I do think that the Osprey’s are good enough on offense to keep their team in the game.
  • Nebraska Omaha +2 @ IPFW & 5
    • I don’t understand either of these lines at all.
    • IPFW has the worst offense in the Summit League. They rank 7th, 8th, or 9th in every offensive category except offensive rebound percentage. There are 9 teams in the Summit League.
    • Omaha isn’t great, but they force a good number of turnovers which is important when you’re playing on the road.
    • IPFW has had ONE conference game go over 147 points, on Jan 18th against Oral Roberts. They gave up 92 points in that game. They have scored 75 points twice in conference play. 75 and 77. Both against W Illinois. W Illinois is 5-18 this season and 2-11 in conference. This game is going under.
  • Oral Roberts -6.5 @ Denver & 5
    • Summit League home teams have covered 5 out of 21 games in February for a whopping 23.81%. On the season, road teams in the Summit League have covered 55.93% of games. That continues tonight.
    • Oral Roberts has all of the qualities you look for in a road conference team:
    • They don’t turn the ball over
    • They shoot well from the FT line
    • They shoot pretty well from 3 (35.1% in conference play)
    • They turn over their opponents
    • Also, Denver fouls too much and fouls good FT shooters (80% against)
    • Denver has lost 7 in a row and 12 out of 13 conference games. They have allowed 78 points or more in 10 conference games.
  • Iowa -2.5 hosting Ohio State
    • Iowa is covering by an average of 6.86 points per game at home in BIG10 play.

NBA 65-61:

  • MIA -6.5 @ ATL
  • MEM -1 @ SAC
  • HOU -10 @ GSW

Sprinkles 33-54 (2-3):

  • Nebraska Omaha ML @ IPFW

MikePick2 12-18 (0-1):

  • Parlay: +130
    • Iowa ML
    • Oral Roberts ML

Free Money Friday Every Day: 8 Games, 11 Picks, 5 Sprinkles

By | Talent Columns, Views from the Couch | No Comments

As always, for more information behind each pick, watch Free Money Friday Every Day on the ESPN106.7 twitter account every weekday at 3 pm and every Sat/Sun at 10 am or listen to the Free Money Friday Every Day podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotifySticher, or espnau.com.

Yesterday 3-4:

Today is a new day with a new slate, so I don’t love to spend a lot of time looking at yesterday’s slate. There’s not a big reason to get too worked up over one day, but it is worth looking at what went right/wrong. I don’t really look at the Sprinkles in hindsight though because I don’t totally expect the team to win. That’s why I only sprinkle the ML. I believe they have a good chance, but I don’t expect the win.

  • Ole Miss +1.5 & ML – lost by 3, and they were just putrid in the closing minutes. Tyree had an open 3 to send the game into OT and missed.
  • OU +3 – they lost by 11. I knew this was going to happen. I told y’all yesterday that if I bet on OU they would get killed.
  • PSU ML – Penn State put on a master class on how to lose a close game at home.

Today’s Picks (Yesterday’s Record):

NCAAB 195-208-7 (2-2):

  • Texas A&M +10.5 @ Alabama – Opened BAMA -11.5, now 10.5
    • ATS Records: TAMU – 41.7%; Bama – 72%
    • I am 17-7 betting Poor ATS teams on the road in a conference game against Good ATS teams.
    • Bama was on a 4-game losing streak ATS from Jan 25th to Feb 4th and have now covered 3 in a row. They are back to their covering ways.
    • This is going to be a fascinating game between two teams that play opposite styles of basketball. Alabama has one of the fastest tempos in the country. TAMU plays the slowest of any team in the SEC. Bama relies on offense and shooting while TAMU relies on defense and getting to the FT line.
  • LA Monroe +7 @ Arkansas St – Opened ARST -8, now -7/7.5
    • ATS Records: LA Monroe – 40.9%; Arkansas St – 68%
    • I am 17-7 betting Poor ATS teams on the road in a conference game against Good ATS teams.
    • Arkansas St is not good defensively. They rank in the bottom half of the Sun Belt in every defensive category except one, and they are in the bottom 2 in defensive efficiency, opponent effective FG%, opponent offensive rebound %, opponent FT rate, and opponent 2P%.
  • DePaul +4.5 hosting Villanova – Opened NOVA -5, now -4.5
    • I am 3-5 fading the public in major conference games this season.
    • DePaul has only gotten 15% of bets (2:33 pm central). That is comfortably below the 25% threshold that we like.
    • Because of the low percentage and Villanova’s name brand, I am comfortable locking this pick in now.
  • Cal +6 @ Wazzou – Opened Cal +5, now consensus is +5.5/6
    • Cal has received 17% of bets as of 2:43 pm central time.
    • I am 3-5 fading the public in major conference games this season.
    • Since 17 is not close to 25, I went ahead and pulled the trigger on this one, also. When I looked a few hours ago, Cal had gotten 22% of bets. The fact that the number has gotten smaller also makes me feel like I can bet it now.
  • SDSU -3.5 @ UND & O149 – Opened SDKS -4.5, now -3.5/Opened at 151, now 150
    • This is another one of those lines that I just do not understand. South Dakota State is the best team in the Summit League and not just by record. KenPom has 10 advanced stats for offense and defense. South Dakota State is #1 in the Summit League in 5 offensive and 5 defensive categories. They are 2nd in two other defensive categories.
    • The Jackrabbits are below average at 3 offensive and 3 defensive things. On offense, they turn the ball over an above-average amount and have the ball stolen from them at a conference high rate. They also rank 7th out of 9 in FT shooting %; however, they make 73.5% of their FTs which really isn’t bad. It would rank in the mid-80s nationally if they had done it all season. They have been better in conference play than over the season. On defense, they are below average at turning over their opponents, steal %, and opponent offensive rebound percentage. So really, they are below average at 1 offensive thing and 2 defensive things. It just so happens that they are dead last in the conference at those things: getting the ball stolen from them (and thus TO%), opponent offensive rebound percentage (so defensive rebounding), and stealing the ball from the other team (and thus opponent TO%) (it is worth noting that they are #1 in block %, so they generate turnovers that way).
    • The issue for North Dakota is that they aren’t built to take advantage of those few flaws. The Fighting Hawks have been slightly above average at forcing turnovers during conference play, exactly average (5th out of 9) at offensive rebounding, and way below average (8th) in TO%.
    • These two teams played on Jan 15th in Brookings. South Dakota State was a 7-point favorite. They won 87-66.
    • While I don’t think that the Jackrabbits will win this game by 20, I do think they will win rather easily. I would be remiss not to mention that South Dakota State is tied for 3rd in the country at 19-7 ATS (73.1%) this season.
    • Also, North Dakota has only had 2 conference games go under 149 points, so I will take the over.
  • NDSU +1.5 @ SDAK & O149.5 – Opened SDAK -1.5, now 1.5/Opened 151, now 149.5
    • This is a game between the current #2 and #3 teams in the Summit League. The Bison are 10-2 in conference play, and the Coyotes are 9-4.
    • The two teams are very similar. Neither team turns the ball over, turns their opponents over, gets offensive rebounds, or allows their opponents to get offensive rebounds. Both teams are very good offensively, ranking in the top-3 of the league in efficiency, effective FG%, 3P%, and 2P%.
    • The reason I am on North Dakota State in this game are as follows:
    • South Dakota is the worst team in the Summit League at defending the 3-point line where the Bison shoot over 35%.
    • North Dakota State has had a top-2 defense in conference play, and they thrive at not fouling and not letting opponent score inside the 3-point arc (opponents have shot 48.9% from 2P range, #1 in SL).
    • Dave Richman’s squad’s only liability on defense are that they don’t turn their opponents over, but South Dakota rarely turns the ball over anyway.
    • On the other hand, Todd Lee’s Coyotes’ squad only gets offensive rebounds 16.8% of the time. That is last in the Summit League, and the Bison are the best team in the conference at limiting offensive rebounds.
    • This game will probably be a dog fight right down to the end. That favors North Dakota State because South Dakota is 333rd nationally in bench minutes. God forbid this game go to overtime because the Coyotes will be gassed.
    • North Dakota State has had 8 out of 12 conference games get to 150 or above. South Dakota has had 10 out of 13 conference games and 12 of their last 14 games get to at least 150 total points. I will take the over.
  • Rutgers -1 hosting Michigan – Opened RUTG -1, now -2.5
    • Strength on Strength match-up. Michigan’s offense is one of the best in the Big10 in everything except FT rate, offensive rebounding, and 3P%. Rutgers defense is one of the best in the Big10 in everything except FT rate and opponent FT % which means they foul too much and usually foul good FT shooters.
    • On the other side of the ball, neither team is very good. They have both been between mediocre and bad at almost everything during conference play. The only thing Rutgers has been elite at is not getting their shots blocked. The Wolverines haven’t been elite at anything.
    • I’ll take the Big10 team at home because Big10 home teams not named Nebraska or Northwestern have won 69 (nice) out of 87 games (79.31%). Nebraska and Northwestern are both terrible at basketball this season and are a combined 3-11 at home. They are the only two teams in the conference without a winning home record. Three Big10 are undefeated at home during conference play: Maryland, Iowa, and, you guessed it, RUTGERS. I don’t see that changing tonight.
  • AUB -3 @ UGA & U150 – Opened AUB -2.5, now -4/4.5
    • There is no way to sugarcoat how lost Auburn’s defense looked without Isaac Okoro on Saturday against Mizzou, especially in the first half, or how bad Auburn was from behind the 3-point arc (1-17 5.9%). That performance makes this a must-win for Auburn if they want to stay in the race for the regular season SEC title.
    • Here are the bright sides for the Tigers:
    • It’s almost impossible for them to shoot as poorly from beyond the arc as they did against Mizzou.
    • In the first Auburn/Georgia game, it was Allen Flanigan who defended future lottery pick Anthony Edwards for most of the game. Edwards had one of his worst games of the season, shooting 6-15 (2-9 from 3) from the floor and 4-11 at the FT line with 3 assists and 3 turnovers.
    • Georgia’s defense has been one of the worst, if not the worst, during conference play. They are last in the SEC in opponent effective FG% and opponent 2P% and 10th in opponent offensive rebound % and opponent 3P%. This is a great game for Auburn to get right offensively.
    • Georgia is not good at offense either. They turn the ball over too much and are almost as bad as Auburn at shooting 3-pointers. This is especially good since Auburn is 13th in the SEC allowing opponents to make 37% in conference play.
    • Auburn should have an advantage inside. Austin Wiley could have another big game if he stays out of foul trouble. Auburn has been better lately at getting the ball to their big man inside.
    • Georgia has scored 75 points or less in every SEC game except 3: vs Alabama (who plays no defense and plays at a ridiculously fast pace), @ Kentucky (I don’t understand this one), and vs Tennessee (mid-January when Tennessee was terrible). Auburn has had 6 of their last 7 games go over 150; however, they played overtimes in 4 of their last 6 games, managed a respectable 73 points (5.9% from 3) against a decent Mizzou defense (without Okoro), and scored an average of 67 points/game in regulation away from Auburn Arena this season.

Sprinkles 31-51 (1-1):

  • Butler ML @ Seton Hall
    • Butler has road conference wins over St. John’s and Providence. The Big East continues to cannibalize itself.
  • North Dakota State ML @ South Dakota
    • See Above
  • TCU ML @ Texas
    • Both of these teams are not good. I think TCU has every chance to win this game.
  • Providence ML @ Georgetown
    • Providence has road conference wins against DePaul, Marquette, and Butler.
  • South Carolina ML @ Mississippi State
    • South Carolina NEEDS this win to try to get that ever important 4th seed in the SEC Tournament. Frank Martin might just terrify his team into winning this game.

MikePick2 12-17 (0-1):

  • Parlay: +136
    • Rutgers ML hosting Michigan
    • Minnesota ML hosting Indiana

Free Money Friday Every Day: Quality over Quantity

By | Talent Columns, Views from the Couch | No Comments

As always, for more information behind each pick, watch Free Money Friday Every Day on the ESPN106.7 twitter account every weekday at 3 pm and every Sat/Sun at 10 am or listen to the Free Money Friday Every Day podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotifySticher, or espnau.com.

Yesterday 1-0:

Today is a new day with a new slate, so I don’t love to spend a lot of time looking at yesterday’s slate. There’s not a big reason to get too worked up over one day, but it is worth looking at what went right/wrong. I don’t really look at the Sprinkles in hindsight though because I don’t totally expect the team to win. That’s why I only sprinkle the ML. I believe they have a good chance, but I don’t expect the win.

BUT I WENT 1-0 YESTERDAY! LET’S. GO.


Today’s Picks (Yesterday’s Record):

NCAAB 193-206-7 (1-0):

  • Baylor @ OU +3
    • I am terrified of this game, but I am going to Fade the Public in Big Conferences on this game. I am 3-4 doing it this year, but the system has won 4 in a row and 6 of 8. I recognize that very recent performance is not indicative of future success, but the system has won at 57%, so let’s do it.
    • Right now, OU has only gotten 21% of the bets.
    • Again, I am terrified of this game. I have seen some conflicting predictions. I have read conflicting opinions. I saw someone who has this predicted as a 1 point spread and someone who says Baylor wins by 4. Because of this fear, I am going to wait until like 7:45 to place this bet if Baylor has still gotten less than 25% of bets.
    • If I’m talking myself into betting OU, here are the things I’m looking at:
      • OU is 3rd in the country in opponent Ft rate. They do not foul.
      • OU is 48th in adjusted defensive efficiency, which is only 5th in the Big12.
      • OU is 44th in opponent 2P%, and Baylor is 232nd in 2P%.
      • OU is 1st in the Big12 in TO%. They don’t turn the ball over.
      • Baylor isn’t a particularly good defensive rebounding team, ranking only 248th in opponent offensive rebounding %, but OU doesn’t get offensive rebounds. They rank dead last in the Big12.
      • OU is 1st in the Big12 in FT% and block%. They are 3rd in 3P% and 4th in 2P%.
      • MaCio Teague might not be playing for Baylor. He is one of their best players.
      • OU should have a size advantage.
      • Baylor plays Kansas on Saturday.
    • If I’m talking myself out of betting OU, here is what I’m looking at:
      • Baylor is 25th in adjusted offensive efficiency
      • Baylor is 4th in offensive rebounding %, and OU is 107th in opponent offensive rebounding %.
      • OU doesn’t foul but Baylor is 208th in FT Rate. They don’t rely on going to the line to get points.
      • Baylor is 77th in the country, shooting over 35% from 3. Baylor allows opponents to make 1/3 of their threes. In conference play, Baylor has made 32.6% and OU has allowed 33.9%.
      • Baylor’s defense is 3rd in adjusted defensive efficiency, 6th in opponent effective FG%, 28th in TO%, and 5th in 2P%.
      • Baylor is used to playing at a size disadvantage. They start 3 guys 6-foot-3 or smaller, and their center is 6-9. Baylor keeps winning games through hard work and effort. That is why their offensive rebounding and defensive numbers are so good.
  • Ole Miss +1.5 @ Mizzou
    • Ole Miss is going to win this game. Mizzou doesn’t have the ability to score with the Rebels, or the size to dominate them inside. Ole Miss should’ve beat Kentucky in Rupp Arena on Saturday before falling short at the end. Ole Miss led or was within one possession until the closing minutes of that game. And Breein Tyree had a normal game by his standards, only 19 and 5. I expect Tyree, Shuler and company to come out looking for blood. They still have a shot at a good finish in the SEC, and they have been dominating the other teams around them in the rankings.
    • Ole Miss Key Recent Results (Tyree Points):
      • L by 4 vs LSU on 1/18 (36)
      • W by 10 @ UGA on 1/25 (20)
      • L by 1 vs AUB in 2OT on 1/28 (8)
      • L by 10 @ LSU on 2/1 (9)
      • W by 14 vs SC on 2/5 (38)
      • W by 17 vs UF on 2/8 (23)
      • W by 25 vs MSU on 2/11 (40)
      • L by 5 @ UK on 2/15 (19)
    • I get that it’s easy to look at those results and say, “They went 4-4 in those games. That’s not impressive.” You’re not wrong about the record; however, in 4 games against by far the Top-3 teams in the SEC, they lost by a combined 20 points, and the Kentucky loss was much closer than the 5-point finish. You can also see that Tyree’s points are like a bonus for Ole Miss. It’s very odd. Usually teams that are 13-12 with an elite scoring guard need that guard to put up big numbers for them to compete. Ole Miss does not. They hung with LSU, Auburn, and Kentucky when Tyree scored under 20 points. Against the other 10 teams in the SEC (i.e. not UK, LSU, AUB, or Ole Miss), Tyree has scored 26, 27, 18, 20, 38, 23, and 40. That is an average of 27.4 points. He’s also shooting an absurd 45% from 3-point range in conference play.
    • Missouri is 11th in the SEC in defensive efficiency during conference play. They rank dead last in opponent FT rate which should really benefit the Rebels since they shoot 75% from the FT line even though they rarely ever get there (they are last in FT rate during conference play).
  • UK +2.5 @ LSU & O145
    • I don’t understand this line at all.
    • Ashton Hagans defense > Skylar Mays offense
      • Hagans averages 2 steals/game and has tallied at least 1 steal in every game this season except the Auburn game during which he was in foul trouble the whole game and limited to 20 minutes before he fouled out. He is an elite defender. This should be a great match-up to watch.
    • Richards/Montgomery vs Watford/Days or Williams is going to be a war.
      • Richards is UK’s 6-11 Jr forward that has been dominating in recent weeks. Montgomery is a 6-10 So forward. Richards/Montgomery average 21 points and 15 rebounds per game and have effective FG%s of 65.7% and 51.7%, respectively. They add about 3 blocks per game on defense.
      • Watford is the Tigers’ tallest player at 6-9, but he is a forward. Days and Williams are both 6-6 and are also forwards. They will all be working inside which is one of the things that makes this battle so interesting. Watford/Days/Williams average about 40 points and about 21 rebounds per game. Williams shoots 3-pointers at 37.5% on the season.
      • It is going to be fascinating to see how Kentucky defends LSU.
    • Quickley and Maxey are going to be the difference in this game.
      • Quickley is UK’s leading scorer at 15 pts/game, and Maxey adds 14. Together, they add about 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals each game. Quickley is an elite shooter. He shoots 38.7% from behind the arc on the season, 43.1% from 3 in conference play, and over 90% from the FT line. Maxey does his damage inside the arc, with a 51.5 eFG% and 55.4 TS% in conference play. I don’t know how LSU defends the two of them. LSU will walk out Ja’vonte Smart to combat the two. Smart is a very good player (12.5/3.2/4.1), but he can’t do it alone.
    • The Bench
      • LSU doesn’t really have one. They only go about 3 players into the bench, and none of their bench players offer much in terms of offensive production. The bench averages around 13.89/9.35/1.95. They play 22.4% of minutes which is 328th in the country.
      • Similarly, UK goes 4 players into their bench, and those players average 16.42/11.21/1.62. They play 26.4% of minutes, 279th.
    • Upside for LSU
      • They don’t foul very much, which is good because UK is 6th in the country in FT shooting %. UK won’t turn them over; they rank last in the SEC in opponent TO%. UK isn’t great at limiting 2nd chance opportunities, and LSU ranks #1 in the SEC at offensive rebound %.
    • Upside for UK
      • The only thing LSU’s defense has been good at during conference play is not fouling. LSU ranks 12th or worse in defensive efficiency, opponent effective FG%, opponent TO%, and opponent 3P%.

Sprinkles 30-50:

  • Ole Miss ML
  • UK ML

MikePick2 12-16 (3 in a row):

  • Parlay +108
    • Penn State ML hosting Illinois
    • Wisconsin ML hosting Purdue

Free Money Friday Every Day: Just One Pick

By | Talent Columns, Views from the Couch | No Comments

As always, for more information behind each pick, watch Free Money Friday Every Day on the ESPN106.7 twitter account every weekday at 3 pm and every Sat/Sun at 10 am or listen to the Free Money Friday Every Day podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotifySticher, or espnau.com.

Weekend 12-13-1:

Today is a new day with a new slate, so I don’t love to spend a lot of time looking at yesterday’s slate. There’s not a big reason to get too worked up over one day, but it is worth looking at what went right/wrong. I don’t really look at the Sprinkles in hindsight though because I don’t totally expect the team to win. That’s why I only sprinkle the ML. I believe they have a good chance, but I don’t expect the win.

Today’s Picks (Weekend Record):

NCAAB 192-206-7 (11-8-1):

  • Xavier -1.5 @ St. John’s

Free Money Friday Every Day: Slim Pickings

By | Talent Columns, Views from the Couch | No Comments

As always, for more information behind each pick, watch Free Money Friday Every Day on the ESPN106.7 twitter account every weekday at 3 pm and every Sat/Sun at 10 am or listen to the Free Money Friday Every Day podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotifySticher, or espnau.com.

Yesterday 5-9-1:

Today is a new day with a new slate, so I don’t love to spend a lot of time looking at yesterday’s slate. There’s not a big reason to get too worked up over one day, but it is worth looking at what went right/wrong. I don’t really look at the Sprinkles in hindsight though because I don’t totally expect the team to win. That’s why I only sprinkle the ML. I believe they have a good chance, but I don’t expect the win.

  • Hampton +5 @ Campbell & O150.5 – Hampton scored 49 points. Their lowest of the season.
  • FGCU @ KENN U126.5 – 128.
  • JAC +9 @ UNF – System had been 17-6. Can’t win them all.
  • WIN -4.5 @ GWB – I said I hate betting on them, and sure enough they lost
  • NOP -3 hosting OKC – Zion had a massive night. It was like they didn’t want to win.
  • UTM @ SEMO O152 – 146. That’s 3 unders in a row for UTM. I cannot believe it.
  • Austin Peay pushed.
  • Lost both Sprinkles but won the MikePick2.

Today’s Picks (Yesterday’s Record)

There’s no NBA action tonight, and it is a very small NCAAB spread with no big name programs playing. Luckily, I love the Summit League.

NCAAB 181-197-5 (2-6-1):

  • Brown +7 @ Penn
    • Brown – 43.8%; Penn – 66.7%
    • The team that is poor covering the spread should be undervalued on the road in a conference game against a team that has been good against the spread.
  • North Dakota State -12.5 hosting IPFW & U139
    • Betting Trends
      • ATS – NDSU – 54.5%; IPFW – 43.5%
      • NDSU has lost 1 home game all season, to Utah Valley before Thanksgiving, but they are 2-3 ATS in home conference games.
      • IPFW has only won 3 road games all season. 5-8 ATS on the road. 4-6 ATS as road underdog. 2-2 ATS as road dog in conference.
      • NDSU has had 4/5 conference home games go over, and one game go under 139.
      • IPFW has had 1 out of 5 road conference games go under 139
    • On Court
      • Bison Ball
        • Season Summary
          • They play very slow and rarely ever turn the ball over (12th). They are very good at shooting free throws and 2 pointers, but they do not get offensive rebounds (325th). IPFW’s defense is good at one thing, defensive rebounding, and pretty good at not fouling. The NDSU offense should have their way.
        • Conference Summary
          • Things changed quite a bit for both teams during conference play. The Bison are the best team in the Summit League shooting inside the arc and at the free throw line. They are top 3 in the league in efficiency, effective FG%, and 3P%. The IPFW defense has stepped up also. They are top-2 in the league at forcing turnovers, defensive rebounding, opponent FT % (#1), block %, and steal % (#1). That means that IPFW is forcing a lot of turnovers, limiting 2nd chance opportunities, and typically fouling bad free throw shooters. Where NDSU has a huge advantage in inside the 3-point arc where they are making 59% of their shots, and IPFW is allowing opponents to make 55.3% of shots.
      • IPFW Ball
        • Season Summary
          • Bison are very #1 in the nation at limiting offensive rebounds. They are incredibly bad at forcing turnovers and pretty darn bad at defending the 3-point shot. They also don’t foul very often at all. The IPFW offense turns the ball over a lot and is middle of the pack at shooting from distance and from inside the arc. They rarely get to the free throw line which is especially an issue since they only shoot a tick over 68%. I don’t know how IPFW takes advantage of the NDSU defense that really isn’t very good. I guess 3-point shooting, but typically teams are worse at shooting 3s on the road.
        • Conference Games Summary
          • Things go from bad to worse for IPFW when you only look at these two teams in conference play. NDST is top 2 in the Summit League in efficiency, opponent effective FG%, defensive rebounding (1st), opponent 3P%, and opponent 2P% (1st). The one deficiency of this defense during conference play is forcing turnovers. The IPFW ranks last or 2nd to last in efficiency, effective FG%, turnover % (last), FT rate, 2P%, and FT% (last). IPFW is 2nd in the Summit League in offensive rebounding. Basically, IPFW will not be able to take advantage of NDSU’s one big defensive flaw, and their one BIG offensive advantage will probably be mitigated by NDSU.
    • North Dakota State should be able to make shots, but IPFW has been quite good at not fouling and forcing turnovers. IPFW probably won’t be able to make shots, and they turn the ball over a ton. The Bison should massacre the Mastodons, and since the Bison play so slow and the possibility of a lot of turnovers, I like the under.
  • South Dakota State -14.5 hosting Denver & O151.5
    • Betting Trends
      • ATS – SD State – 75% (3rd); Denver – 54.2%
      • South Dakota State has been a home favorite in 5 conference games. They covered in all 5.
      • Denver is 0-5 SU, but 4-1 ATS on the road in conference play. They have been an underdog in every game. They have been a double-digit dog 4 out of the 5 games and covered all 4.
      • South Dakota State has had 3 out of 5 home conf games go over. 2 went over 151.5.
      • Denver has had all 5 conference road games go OVER, and only 1 went under 151.5 (149).
    • On Court
      • Jackrabbits have the ball
        • Season Summary:
          • The Jackrabbits are a very efficient offensive team. They shoot incredibly well from inside the 3-point arc, making 56.4% of their shots which is 5th This will be a big issue for a Denver team that is one of the worst teams in the country at defending inside, allowing opponents to make 55.6% of their 2-point shots. Where Denver has an edge would be rebounding. They are a top-30 team in defensive rebounding, only allowing opponents to get 24% of potential offensive rebounds. Unfortunately for Denver, SD State doesn’t rely on offensive rebounds. They are a rather middle of the pack team at grabbing offensive boards. Basically, Denver allows their opponents to shoot well everywhere, to shoot incredibly well inside the arc, to get to the free throw line a lot, and to not turn the ball over. That does not bode against a very good, very efficient offense like South Dakota State’s.
        • Conference Play Summary:
          • San Diego State clearly has the best offensive in the Summit League during conference play, ranking #1 in efficiency, effective FG%, and 3P% (at a staggering 43.6%). They are 2nd in the league at 2P% at 58.8% and 3rd in offensive rebound % at 26.9%. The Denver defense has been pretty good during conference play, ranking in the top half of the Summit League in opponent effective FG%, opponent 3P%, opponent 2P%, opponent offensive rebound %, and steal %. Their main issue is that they foul a lot, and they foul good free throw shooters a lot. Expect the Jackrabbits play offense inside out, getting the ball inside and getting fouled or kicking out to knock down 3’s at their insane clip.
      • Pioneers have the ball
        • Season Summary
          • South Dakota State is only good in two places defensively: defending the 3-point arc and not fouling. They are very bad in one area: forcing turnovers. Unfortunately for Denver, their offense relies on getting to the free throw line a lot. They don’t shoot well from the free throw line, so they really need to get to the line often to make the trips worth it. They have been a top-45 team at getting to the free throw line but against a team that doesn’t send their opponents to line that could be a major issue. Denver also only shoots a middle-of-the-pack 33.1% from behind the arc, which tells me that they will probably struggle against a very good Jackrabbit defense at defending out there. Denver is a top-10 team at not getting their shots blocked, but South Dakota State doesn’t block many shots. It appears that Denver’s offensive flaws match up with South Dakota State’s defensive flaws, and their “strengths” either don’t mitigate South Dakota State’s strengths or don’t do anything to take advantage of South Dakota State’s flaws.
        • Conference Games Summary:
          • South Dakota State also has the best defense in the Summit League. They are #1 in the conference in efficiency, effective FG%, opponent FT rate, opponent 3P%, and block %. They are #2 in the conference in opponent 2P% and opponent FT% (this means on the rare occasion that they do foul, they foul bad FT shooters). It is worth noting that they are 9th in the league in turnover % and 8th in opponent offensive rebounding %. The only things that Denver’s offense is good at is getting to the free throw line, 3rd in the Summit League in FT rate, and block %. Their 5.1% block % is 1st in the Summit League. Just like when you look at the season numbers for both teams, you do not see anywhere where a strength of Denver is mitigating a strength for South Dakota St. The Jackrabbits aren’t going to put Denver at the line. I’m not sure how much it will matter that the Pioneers don’t get their shots blocked, and the Jackrabbits block a lot of shots.
    • South Dakota State should score at will if they can limit turnovers. The best game comparison when looking at this Denver team is when they played North Dakota State in Fargo on Jan 25th because North Dakota State and South Dakota State are very similar defensively. They were tied 41-41 with 13 mins left in the 2nd They lost the next 6 minutes by 16, going down 64-48, before losing the game 82-70. Denver let NDSU shoot 53% from 2-point range and almost 47% from 3. NDSU went to the line 32 times. South Dakota State should murder Denver. I’m going to take the over because I don’t think Denver is going to turn the ball over, so they should have opportunities to score.