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Free Money Friday Every Day: Power Conference Tournaments Begin!

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 2-5:

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 (Yesterday’s Record):

Jump To: NCAAB Picks/Analysis | NBA Picks/Analysis | Sprinkles | MikePick2 | Picks Recap

NCAAB 260-263-10 (1-3):

Instead of listing picks by game, I am going to list them by conference for the next 5 days. I’m going to pick every Big Ten and SEC Tournament game, and most of the other big games. I’m also going to throw in some futures for every conference tournament. Let’s do this.

Jump To: SEC | Big 12 | Big Ten | PAC-12 | Big East | ACC

Jump To: Georgia vs Ole Miss | Vanderbilt vs Arkansas | Northwestern vs Minnesota | Nebraska vs Indiana | Utah vs Oregon State | Washington vs Arizona | California vs Stanford | Washington State vs Colorado

SEC:

Futures:

Auburn to Win SECT +280

Auburn has the easiest path to the championship of any team in the field. They have a double bye and then play the winner of Missouri vs Texas A&M. Auburn lost to both teams this season which makes me believe that they will have extra motivation for this game regardless of opponent.

If they win that game, they will play either #3 LSU, #6 South Carolina, #11 Arkansas, or #14 Vanderbilt. All teams that Auburn has beat this season. LSU is flailing right now having lost 6 of their last 10 games and four of their last seven. South Carolina is probably the most likely team to make the semi-finals out of these four, and Auburn matches up very well against them.

Then Auburn just needs to win the title game to cash our bet.

Sprinkle on Mississippi State to win SECT +1400

Mississippi State won 6 of their last 9 games to steal the 4th double bye. They play the winner of #5 Florida vs #13 Georgia/#12 Ole Miss in their first game. Florida might be playing without Kerry Blackshear, and if he does play, it’s safe to assume he won’t be 100%.

State also has maybe the most dominant player in the SEC in Reggie Perry. He has averaged a double-double in SEC play this season.

If they win their first game, they will play either #1 Kentucky, #8 Tennessee, or #9 Alabama. I don’t this it’s wise to assume anyone will beat the behemoth that is Kentucky, but we have seen it happen multiple times this season. Kentucky also doesn’t really care about the conference tournament. Coach Cal has said that all that really matters is getting ready for the NCAAT.

I think it’s unlikely that State will win the title, but I think they have the best odds of anyone that isn’t Kentucky or Auburn. I will gladly sprinkle them (0.5 unit) to win it all.

#13 Georgia vs #12 Ole Miss:

Georgia is not good. Ole Miss is actually pretty good. Georgia has the worst defense in the SEC based on adjusted defensive efficiency. Ole Miss is third in the SEC in adjusted defensive efficiency. Anthony Edwards has shrunk in big games against decent defensive teams this season (Ole Miss, Auburn twice). I think this stage is going to be too big for the freshman, Edwards. I will take the experienced guard duo of Breein Tyree and Devontae Shuler.

The Pick: Ole Miss -3

#14 Vanderbilt vs #11 Arkansas:

Only two teams are coming into the SEC Tournament on a win streak: #7 Texas A&M and #14 Vanderbilt. They have both won two games in a row.

Vanderbilt has been SO much better recently than they were all season. They also gave several teams some very good games during conference play. I realize that it is a tiny sample size of two games, but over the last week (the two-game win streak) Vanderbilt has played like a Top-4 team in the SEC. They beat Alabama and South Carolina. Both teams were in a position to play themselves into the NCAAT conversation, and the Gamecocks were potentially playing for a Top-4 seed in the SECT.

Here are some Commodore SEC ranks from the win streak: 4th in Adj. Offensive Efficiency, 2nd in EFG%, 2nd in FT Rate, 1st in 2P%, and 4th in 3P%. South Carolina has the best defensive efficiency during conference play, and Vanderbilt put up 83 points against them.

Arkansas is led by the 3-headed monster of Mason Jones, Jimmy Whitt, and Isaiah Joe. They are all very good basketball players. The Razorbacks have been a sexy pick in the SEC since before the season started, but all season they have underperformed.

In Arkansas’s last five games (3-2 SU), their SEC ranks: 1st in adj. offensive efficiency, 13th in adj. defensive efficiency, 1st in EFG%, 1st in TO%, 14th in ORB%, 13th in opponent ORB%, 1st in FT Rate, 4th in 2P%, 11th in opponent 2P%, and 3rd in 3P%. They’ve been very good at offense but very not good at defense and rebounding.

I think it’s worth noting that Vanderbilt has been 4th in the SEC over the last five games in opponent FT Rate and 3rd in opponent 3P%.

Away from Bud Walton Arena, the Razorbacks are 5-8 and have lost their last five games. They beat Valparaiso (by 4) on a neutral court, and they have road wins over Georgia Tech (by 1), Indiana (by 7), Ole Miss (by 4), and Alabama (by 4).

This game also fits the Conference Tournament First Round Underdogs system that we are 4-3 betting this season. In the last decade and a half, teams that are underdogs of more than six points in the first round of conference tournaments have covered the spread 58% of the time when the line doesn’t move or moves against them.

I’m not buying Arkansas.

The Pick: Vanderbilt +9.5 & ML Sprinkle

Jump To: SEC | Big 12 | Big Ten | PAC-12 | Big East | ACC

Jump To: Georgia vs Ole Miss | Vanderbilt vs Arkansas | Northwestern vs Minnesota | Nebraska vs Indiana | Utah vs Oregon State | Washington vs Arizona | California vs Stanford | Washington State vs Colorado


Big 12

Futures:

Baylor to Win B12T +300

Kansas is the favorite, but on the offshore site that I use, they are -126. I don’t think that offers much value at all, so I’m looking at the only team that beat the Jawhawks in conference play: the Baylor Bears.

Baylor has been incredible all season. They were #1 for five weeks in a row. If anyone can knock off Kansas, it’s Baylor in the final.


Jump To: SEC | Big 12 | Big Ten | PAC-12 | Big East | ACC

Jump To: Georgia vs Ole Miss | Vanderbilt vs Arkansas | Northwestern vs Minnesota | Nebraska vs Indiana | Utah vs Oregon State | Washington vs Arizona | California vs Stanford | Washington State vs Colorado


Big Ten

Futures:

Wisconsin to Win B1GT +500

You’re going to give me the #1 seed at 5/1 odds? I will gladly take the team that has won eight games in a row, is full of experience, and is incredible at shooting 3-pointers and FTs.

I would be tempted to take Michigan State or Maryland if they didn’t have to play each other to get to the title game.

#13 Northwestern vs #12 Minnesota

This might be a bloodbath. It could get ugly very fast. I don’t understand why people are backing Northwestern. The line has dropped from -8.5 to -8. I’m all over Minnesota here.

Additionally, the under in first round Big Ten tournament games is 25-18 (58.1%) since 2005.

Minnesota has a very good defense, and Northwestern has one of the worst effective FG% in the country. When the two teams played less than a month ago, Minnesota held the Wildcats to 57 points.

The Pick: Minnesota -8 & Under 136

#14 Nebraska vs #11 Indiana

This game actually fits two different systems that we talked about last week: Conference Tournament First Round Underdogs and Conference Tournament: Good recent ATS vs Bad ATS. We are playing both systems tonight, so what do we do?

Well, the Cornhuskers have lost 16 straight games. They are so banged up that they had to put two football players on their roster just to fill their bench.

Additionally, the under in first round Big Ten tournament games is 25-18 (58.1%) since 2005.

Indiana opened as an 11.5-point favorite, but that line has jumped all the way up to 15. I don’t want to take a team to win a game in their conference tournament by 15 points, but, also, it’s Nebraska.

I feel too conflicted to pick a side in this game, so I am just going to take the under and call it a bet.

The Pick: Under 144

Jump To: SEC | Big 12 | Big Ten | PAC-12 | Big East | ACC

Jump To: Georgia vs Ole Miss | Vanderbilt vs Arkansas | Northwestern vs Minnesota | Nebraska vs Indiana | Utah vs Oregon State | Washington vs Arizona | California vs Stanford | Washington State vs Colorado


PAC-12

Futures:

UCLA to WIN P12T +700

UCLA was on a tear to end PAC-12 play. They won 7 games in a row before dropping their last game of the season by 2 on the road against USC.

In their last 8 games, their PAC-12 ranks:

  • 3rd in Adj. OE
  • 4th in Adj. DE
  • 2nd in ORB %
  • 4th in opponent ORB%
  • 2nd in FT Rate
  • 1st in Opponent FT Rate

It took some time for them to figure out Mick Cronin’s system, but they have been clicking on all cylinders recently. They ended up 2nd in the conference, earning a first-round bye. They play the winner of #10 Cal and #7 Stanford. If they win, they will likely play an ASU team that they just beat on February 27th. Win that game, and they’re in the finals. Let’s go Bruins.

#9 Utah vs #8 Oregon State

Oregon State has an incredible senior guard, Tres Tinkle, that has been electric lately. Oregon State has beaten bad teams this season and lost to good teams. Utah is a bad team.

The Pick: Oregon State -3.5

#12 Washington vs #5 Arizona

We talked about this system last week. Since 2005, teams that have gone 2-0 ATS in their last two games have gone 312-247-11 (56%) ATS when facing an opponent that has gone 0-2 ATS.

The Pick: Washington +6

#10 California vs #7 Stanford

In the last decade and a half, teams that are underdogs of more than six points in the first round of conference tournaments have covered the spread 58% of the time when the line doesn’t move or moves against them.

The Pick: Cal +9.5

#11 Washington State vs #6 Colorado

In the last decade and a half, teams that are underdogs of more than six points in the first round of conference tournaments have covered the spread 58% of the time when the line doesn’t move or moves against them.

The Pick: Washington State +10

Jump To: SEC | Big 12 | Big Ten | PAC-12 | Big East | ACC

Jump To: Georgia vs Ole Miss | Vanderbilt vs Arkansas | Northwestern vs Minnesota | Nebraska vs Indiana | Utah vs Oregon State | Washington vs Arizona | California vs Stanford | Washington State vs Colorado


Big East

Futures:

I am terrified of the Big East. Everyone has beaten everyone this season. This should be a wild tournament, but I am not confident enough to bet on anyone.

ACC

Futures:

Their tournament already started, so I missed my opportunity to take a future on the tournament. I really blew it on this one.


Jump To: SEC | Big 12 | Big Ten | PAC-12 | Big East | ACC

Jump To: Georgia vs Ole Miss | Vanderbilt vs Arkansas | Northwestern vs Minnesota | Nebraska vs Indiana | Utah vs Oregon State | Washington vs Arizona | California vs Stanford | Washington State vs Colorado

Jump To: NCAAB Picks/Analysis | NBA Picks/Analysis | Sprinkles | MikePick2 | Picks Recap | Top


NBA 83-85-1 (0-2):

I’m going to be taking some time off from betting the NBA, so that I can focus on college basketball for the conference tournaments and the NCAAT.


Jump To: NCAAB Picks/Analysis | NBA Picks/Analysis | Sprinkles | MikePick2 | Picks Recap | Top


Sprinkles 47-78 (0-0):

Vanderbilt ML vs Arkansas

See above

UNC ML vs Syracuse

I think UNC is getting an inflated line at -3 because they are a blue blood that dominated last night. I also might be falling subject to that logic thinking that UNC will win the game, but I will put a sprinkle on them despite them being the favorite.


Jump To: NCAAB Picks/Analysis | NBA Picks/Analysis | Sprinkles | MikePick2 | Picks Recap | Top


MikePick2 18-23 (1-0):

Parlay +155

  • Ole Miss ML vs Georgia
  • Oregon State ML vs Utah

Jump To: NCAAB Picks/Analysis | NBA Picks/Analysis | Sprinkles | MikePick2 | Picks Recap | Top


Picks Recap:

  • MISS -3
  • VAN +9
  • MINN -8
  • NW/MINN U136
  • NEB/IND U144
  • ORST -3.5
  • WASH +6
  • CAL +9.5
  • WSU +10
  • VAN ML
  • UNC ML
  • MP2: MISS ML + ORST ML

Jump To: NCAAB Picks/Analysis | NBA Picks/Analysis | Sprinkles | MikePick2 | Picks Recap | Top


 

Free Money Friday Every Day: Conference Tournament Tuesday

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 3-2:

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.

  • IPFW +2.5 – they were terrible.
  • BYU -4 – I am still very surprised that BYU lost this game.

Today’s Picks (Yesterday’s Record):

NCAAB 259-260-10 (3-2):

North Dakota vs North Dakota State:

  • Spread: North Dakota State -6 (now -6)
  • Total: 143.5 (now 137)

Setting the Scene:

It’s the Summit League Conference Tournament Championship! North Dakota is the 6-seed. They beat South Dakota (#3) and IFPW (#7) to get to the final. North Dakota State is the 1-seed. They shared the regular season championship with South Dakota State. They beat Denver (#8) and Oral Roberts (#4) to get to the final.

Trends:

The higher seeded teams are 3-3 ATS in the Summit League Conference Tournament this season. Only one of the six games has gone over the total.

Conference Tournament Averages:

UND NDSU
Points Scored 73.5 73
Points Allowed 63.5 69
Total Points 137 142

On the Court:

The two teams have played twice already this season. They split the previous two games with the home team winning each game. North Dakota has been much better at defense at home this season, and their offense has only been slightly better. North Dakota State has been the opposite. Their defense has been slightly better on the road, and their offense has been better at home. Most teams perform similarly to the way North Dakota State does.

In the conference tournament, North Dakota has played better than North Dakota State. They have better numbers in almost every statistical category.

The Fighting Hawks have really stepped up their play in the conference tournament. Strange enough, North Dakota State has been worse. Check out this comparison between their conference stats and their tournament stats.

ADJOE ADJDE EFG% EFGD% TOR% TORD% ORB% DRB% FTR FTRD 2P% 2P%D 3P% 3P%D
UND C 101.6 108.5 51.8 53.8 17.7 16.2 24.2 23.1 39.7 30.5 54.2 52.9 32.4 37.3
UND T 103.3 94.7 52 42.1 15.4 12.5 21.7 22.1 54.5 30 42.1 42.5 43.2 27.7
NDSU C 105.8 101.8 54.7 49.9 15.2 13.8 20.8 17.8 33.4 29.6 55.5 50.2 35.8 32.8
NDSU T 102.8 102.7 44.4 47.3 10.3 13.2 26.3 27.4 47.4 15.4 37.1 49 37 26.9

 

Analysis:

I’m concerned that North Dakota’s improvement is unsustainable. Their defense has stepped up in a MAJOR way, but one of those games was against IPFW. They also are forcing fewer turnovers, so it isn’t like that is the reason the defensive numbers have improved so much. IPFW only scored 59 points; they could’ve just had a very off day.

Also, North Dakota is shooting 12% worse from 2P-range and 11% better from 3P-range. We’ve seen teams get hot and that carry them through the tournament in the past, but am I willing to rely on them being hot in this one game setting? Especially since the team they are playing is very, very good at defending the arc.

The Fighting Hawks have also gotten to the FT line incredibly frequently in the tournament, but North Dakota State has been very good at not fouling all season. The Bison have been absolutely fantastic at not sending opponents to the FT line in the conference tournament.

Based on the other two games that these teams have played; I do think this will be a close game. I don’t think North Dakota will win. I just don’t trust this incredible two-game run they’ve been on. I expect some regression across the board.

I was going to take the Under in this game until I saw that it had dropped all the way to 137. I will be shocked if both of these teams don’t reach 70 points.

The Pick: UND +6 & Over 137

Northeastern vs Hofstra:

Setting the Scene:

The Colonial Athletic Association Conference Championship!

Trends:

Northeastern has covered 43.8%. Hofstra has covered 75% (1st).

On the Court:

Analysis:

This is a Poor ATS vs Good ATS game. We are 24-12 in these games.

The Pick: Northeastern +1.5

Alabama State @ Southern U:

Setting the Scene:

It’s the first round of the SWAC Tournament. It’s a home game for Southern because they are the higher seed. They are the 2-seed, and Alabama State is the 7.

Trends:

Alabama State has covered 50%. Southern U has covered 73.1% (2nd).

Analysis:

This is a Poor ATS vs Good ATS game. We are 24-12 in these games.

The Pick: Alabama State +9.5

NBA 83-83-1 (0-0):

Grizzlies -2.5 hosting Magic:

I just think the Grizzlies are the superior team, so I’m happy to take them to win by 3 at home.

Mavs -3 @ Spurs:

Both teams are super banged up right now, so I will take the team that has the best healthy player: Kristaps & the Mavs.

Sprinkles 47-78 (0-0):

MikePick2 17-23 (0-0):

Parlay +107

  • UNC ML vs Virginia Tech
  • NDSU ML vs UND

Picks Recap:

  • UND +6
  • UND/NDSU O137
  • NE +1.5
  • ALST +9.5
  • Grizzlies -2.5
  • Mavs -3
  • MP2: UNC ML + NDSU ML

Free Money Friday Every Day: Underdog Thursday is BACK

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 7-7-1 +0.47u:

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.

  • San Jose State +9.5 @ New Mexico – Conf Tourney 1R Underdog. Lost by 13
  • Thunder -7.5 @ Pistons – Fade Tanking Teams. Won by 7.
  • LSU ML @ Arkansas – lost by 9.
  • TAMU/AUB U133 – 153 total points.
  • MINN ML @ IND – lost by 5.
  • Bryant +6.5 @ St. Francis (PA) – Poor ATS vs Good ATS. Lost by 26.
  • Jazz -8 @ Knicks – Fade Tanking Teams. Push.
  • Wizards +7.5 @ Blazers – Road Dog off ATS Loss. Lost by 20.
  • Won the MikePick2!!

Today’s Picks (Weekend Record):

NCAAB 244-243-10 (3-3):

Illinois @ Ohio State:

Setting the Scene:

Both teams are still alive for an incredibly important Top 4 seed in the Big Ten tournament. This is a huge game.

Trends:

Illinois has been a super streaky team this season. They are currently on a four game winning streak. They beat Penn State, Michigan, Purdue, and Wisconsin on the road in conference play this season. They are one of three Big Ten teams with a winning record on the road.

Ohio State is 14-2 at home this season and 12-4 ATS. They are also 8-2 in their last 10 games.

On the Court:

Ohio State has a better offensive and defensive efficiency, but Illinois is incredible on the offensive glass. Illinois ranks 68th in the country in extra scoring chance opportunities. They have one of the best guard/big man combos in the conference.

Analysis:

Both teams should be extremely motivated, and I think this is going to be an incredibly close game.

The Pick: Illinois +5.5

Lipscomb @ North Florida:

POOR ATS VS GOOD ATS. Lipscomb less than 50%. North Florida is 2nd in the nation at about 70%.

The Pick: Lipscomb +7.5

Texas Southern @ Southern U:

POOR ATS VS GOOD ATS. SOUTHERN has covered almost 70% of their games this season. TEXAS SOUTHERN only about 45%.

The Pick: Texas Southern +4.5

Eastern Illinois vs Austin Peay:

This is a “Conference Tournament: Good recent ATS vs Bad recent ATS” game. We are 1-0 in these. Eastern Illinois has covered 4/5 and Austin Peay has covered 1/5.

The Pick: Eastern Illinois +6

Portland @ Santa Clara:

This is a “Conference Tournament First Round Underdogs” play. We are 2-2 betting teams that are greater than 6-point underdogs in the first round of the conference tournament when the spread either doesn’t move or moves against them.

The Pick: Portland +7.5

Air Force vs San Diego State

This is another “Conference Tournament: Good recent ATS vs Bad recent ATS” game. We are 1-0 in these. Air Force has covered 1/5 and SDSU has covered 3/5.

So, this game has already happened today. I meant to take San Diego State -17 because that is what the system says to do. I accidentally bet on Air Force. I realized this during my live broadcast on ESPN 106.7’s twitter feed. If you watch the video back, you can see I get very flustered when I am talking about this game. That is because I realized I accidentally backed the wrong team.

The game is over now, and Air Force covered the spread. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.

The Pick: Air Force +17 (on accident)

NBA 81-77-1 (1-2-1):

Nuggets -10 @ Hornets:

We are going to continue to fade tanking teams.

Raptors -8 @ Warriors:

Steph Curry is coming back tonight, so I think the Raptors are going to murder the Warriors. I think this is a deflated line to get people to back the Warriors because of Steph. We don’t even know how much he is going to play.

Sprinkles 44-74 (2-2):

Alabama State ML hosting Jackson State

MikePick2 17-21 (1-0) +1.11u:

Parlay +140

  • Houston ML @ UCONN
  • ASU ML hosting Washington

Picks Recap:

  • ILL +5.5
  • LIP +7.5
  • TSU +4.5
  • EIU +6
  • PORT +7.5
  • AFA +17
  • Nuggets -10
  • Raptors -8
  • ALST ML
  • MP2: HOU ML + ASU ML

Free Money Friday Every Day: Will Auburn be Perfect at Home?

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 8-5 +3.3u:

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.

  • Mississippi State ML @ South Carolina – lost by 12
  • Penn State ML hosting Michigan State – absolutely choked in the second half to lose by 8
  • Cleveland State +7.5 vs Oakland – lost by 21. Pure system play.
  • Texas/OU O133 – 103 total points; Texas won by 1 on a buzzer beater 3.
  • Lost both legs of MikePick2.

I am bummed that I not only lost the MikePick2, but I actually lost both parts. Despite that, I had a great day betting. I am back over 50% in NCAA Basketball! In the NBA, I am headed back toward profitability. The only way to get there is to keep my foot on the gas, so let’s get into it.


Today’s Picks (Yesterday’s Record):

Jump To: NCAAB Picks/Analysis | NBA Picks/Analysis | Sprinkles | MikePick2 | Picks Recap

NCAAB 241-240-9 (5-2 +2.53u):

Jump To: Texas A&M @ Auburn | Eastern Illinois @ Jacksonville State | Bryant @ St. Francis (PA) | San Jose State @ New Mexico | Wyoming @ Colorado State

Texas A&M @ Auburn:

  • Spread: Auburn -12.5
  • Total: 132 (now 132)

Setting the Scene:

Auburn comes into this game at 24-5 and “tied” for 2nd place in the SEC (LSU) with an 11-5 record. After losing in Rupp on Saturday, Auburn can’t win the regular season title, and they can’t fall out of the Top-4 and lose the double bye in the conference tournament thanks to Mississippi State’s loss last night. They are playing for seeding and a perfect home record.

Texas A&M is 14-14 on the season and 8-8 in the SEC. They are 8th in the SEC between Tennessee (9-8) and Alabama (8-9). I think that makes them half a game behind/ahead, but I don’t understand how half games work. Buzz Williams should be commended on his coaching job this season. The Aggies looked like an SEC bottom dweller during non-conference play, but they have actually had a pretty good conference slate. Arkansas is only 6-10 in conference, and they might make the tournament still.

Trends:

Auburn has not lost a home game all season. They have won 9 of their last 12. They have not been as good against the spread this season (13-16). At home they are 8-8 ATS, and they have been favored in every home game. They are only 11-13 ATS after a win, 9-11 ATS with 2-3 days off, 11-14 ATS as a favorite, 7-9 ATS in conference games, and 5-7 ATS with equal rest.

Texas A&M is 4-4 in road conference games this season with wins over Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri, and Vanderbilt. I don’t know if it is worth noting that Auburn lost to Alabama and Missouri on the road. The Aggies are on a two-game losing streak SU and ATS, but they did win the 3 games before that. Their whole season has been like that. TAMU has covered 5 out 8 games on the road; they were the underdog in all 8 games. They are also 10-6 ATS in conference games, 12-9 ATS as an underdog, 8-6 ATS with equal rest, and 9-8 ATS with 2-3 days off. They have lost 5 conference games by at least 13 points. Three of those have been road games.

On the Court:

As their record indicates, Auburn has been quite good this season. They rank 42nd in adjusted offensive efficiency and 54th in adjusted defensive efficiency, per KemPom. Auburn is elite at offensive rebounding (13th in nation) and FT Rate (3rd in nation). The Tigers are super, super bad at 3-point shooting (29.9% 322nd) and FT shooting (67% 294th). They make up for those deficiencies by shooting a lot of FTs and a lot of 3-pointers.

Texas A&M has been worse than their record shows, especially on offense. They rank 230th in adjusted offensive efficiency. They rank 300th or worse in 5 offensive statistics: Effective FG%, Turnover %, 3P%, Block %, and Steal %. They have been pretty good defensively, ranking 77th in adjusted defensive efficiency. They are 31st in opponent turnover % and 34th in opponent FT rate. They are terrible at preventing offensive rebounds (329th) and opponent FT % (332nd).

Auburn’s home conference scoring numbers: 67, 73, 95, 91, 75, 80, 82, 83 = 80.75 pts/game

Texas A&M’s road conference scoring: 50, 74, 54, 48, 63, 66, 69, 59 = 60.38 pts/game

Auburn’s home conference opponent scoring numbers: 58, 66, 91, 90, 66, 67, 60, 79 = 72.13 pts/game

Texas A&M’s road conference opponents: 64, 68, 74, 63, 58, 64, 50, 69 = 63.75 pts/game

The Aggies play at one of the slowest paces in the country. Their average possession length on offense is 322nd in the country and last in the SEC. Auburn plays faster, but they don’t play an insane amount faster.

Analysis:

Texas A&M is going to have to slow this game down to have a chance to win, and they have shown the ability to do it. It’s one of the reasons that their games have continued to have low totals. It’s the reason that the total for this game is so low compared to Auburn’s average total. Auburn is the better team, but we have seen TAMU give a lot of better teams very good games this season. They held Ole Miss to 47 points, held Vanderbilt to 50 points, lost to LSU by 4, beat Mizzou twice, beat Tennessee in Knoxville, held Alabama to 68 on the road, and lost to Kentucky by 9.

I think that this will either be a close game or Auburn will win by 20+. There’s no in-between. I lean towards it being a closer game based on Auburn’s slow starts this season.

The Pick: Texas A&M +12.5 & Under 132

Jump To: Texas A&M @ Auburn | Eastern Illinois @ Jacksonville State | Bryant @ St. Francis (PA) | San Jose State @ New Mexico | Wyoming @ Colorado State

Eastern Illinois vs Jacksonville State:

  • Spread: Eastern Illinois -2.5 (now -2)
  • Total: 136 (now 138)

Setting the Scene:

It’s the first round of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament! Eastern Illinois is the 6-seed and Jacksonville State is the 7.

Trends:

Jacksonville State has covered the spread in 1 of its last 5 games, and Eastern Illinois has covered the spread in 3 out of its last 5 games.

Analysis:

“Since 2005, teams with good recent ATS form have gone 307-242-11 (55.9%) ATS when facing an opponent with bad recent ATS form. A $100 bettor following this system would have returned a profit of $4,896.” – per John Ewing of The Action Network

The Pick: Eastern Illinois -2.5

Jump To: Texas A&M @ Auburn | Eastern Illinois @ Jacksonville State | Bryant @ St. Francis (PA) | San Jose State @ New Mexico | Wyoming @ Colorado State

Bryant @ St. Francis (PA):

  • Spread: St. Francis -7.5 (now -6.5)
  • Total: 150 (now 150)

Setting the Scene:

It’s the first round of the Northeast Conference Tournament! St. Francis (PA) is the #2 seed, and Bryant is the #7.

Trends:

St. Francis (PA) has covered the spread in 67.9% of their games this season, and Bryant has covered 46.7%.

Analysis:

This is a Poor ATS vs Good ATS game. It is in Loretto, PA which is where St. Francis (PA) is located. So, Bryant is a road team in a conference game.

The Pick: Bryant +6.5

Jump To: Texas A&M @ Auburn | Eastern Illinois @ Jacksonville State | Bryant @ St. Francis (PA) | San Jose State @ New Mexico | Wyoming @ Colorado State

San Jose State @ New Mexico:

  • Spread: New Mexico -9 (now -9.5)
  • Total: 157 (now 157)

Setting the Scene:

It’s the first round of the Mountain West Conference Tournament! San Jose State is the 10-seed, and New Mexico is the 7-seed.

Trends:

Since 2005, underdogs of more than 6 points have covered 58% of games in the first round of conference tournaments when the line stays the same or moves against them.

On the Court:

Analysis:

This is purely a system play. Just like the two from yesterday in which we went 1-1.

The Pick: San Jose State +9.5

Jump To: Texas A&M @ Auburn | Eastern Illinois @ Jacksonville State | Bryant @ St. Francis (PA) | San Jose State @ New Mexico | Wyoming @ Colorado State

Wyoming @ Colorado State:

  • Spread: Colorado State -10.5 (now -10.5)
  • Total: 134 (now 136)

Setting the Scene:

It’s the first round of the Mountain West Conference Tournament! Wyoming is the 11-seed, and Colorado State is the 6-seed.

Trends:

Since 2005, underdogs of more than 6 points have covered 58% of games in the first round of conference tournaments when the line stays the same or moves against them.

On the Court:

Analysis:

This is purely a system play. Just like the two from yesterday in which we went 1-1.

The Pick: Wyoming +10.5


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NBA 80-75 (3-0 +2.77u):

Thunder -7.5 @ Pistons:

We are 4-8 Fading Tanking Teams so far this season. The Pistons are so bad, and the Thunder are one of the best teams in the NBA at covering the spread.

Jazz -8 @ Knicks:

The Jazz are playing really well lately. I am very happy to take them whilst Fading a Tanking Team here.

Wizards +7.5 @ Trail Blazers:

The Wizards are Road Dogs coming off an ATS loss. We are 5-5 betting these teams this season.

Pelicans @ Mavs O238.5:

Both teams can score. A lot. The Mavs have also been one of the best home over teams this season.


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Sprinkles 42-72 (0-2):

LSU ML @ Arkansas

LSU is playing for seeding in the SEC tournament, and they desperately need a win. They are 3-point underdogs in this game. They’re the better team. They should win. I don’t know if they will, so I will just sprinkle them.

Villanova ML @ Seton Hall

The Big East loves to beat each other. I think this is one of those games that will go down to the wire. In a game that I think could go either way, I will sprinkle Nova.

Minnesota ML @ Indiana

In February, road teams in the Big Ten won 4 games each week. This does not include home games for Nebraska or Northwestern because everyone beats those teams every game. Road teams have already won 3 Big Ten games this week. If I’m not mistaken, Minnesota is a bubble team and boast a road win over Ohio State this season. I think this game is the Big Ten’s best chance to get to 4 road wins this week.

Grizzlies ML @ Nets

The Nets played an incredibly intense OT game against the Celtics last night. I think the Nets might get tired in this game against a young, hungry Grizzlies team that can get out and run behind Ja Morant.


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MikePick2 16-21 (0-1):

Parlay: +168

  • Florida ML @ Georgia
    • Florida needs this win to try to hold onto their double bye for the SEC Tournament.
  • Dayton ML @ Rhode Island

Obi Toppin. That is all.


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Picks Recap:

  • TAMU +12.5
  • TAMU/AUB U132
  • EIU -2.5
  • BRY +6.5
  • SJSU +9.5
  • WYO +10.5
  • Thunder -8
  • Jazz -8
  • Wizards +7.5
  • Pelicans/Mavs O239
  • LSU ML
  • NOVA ML
  • MINN ML
  • Grizzlies ML
  • MP2: UF ML + DAY ML

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Free Money Friday Every Day: Down the Stretch

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 5-3:

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.

  • Mavs -5 @ Bulls – lost by 2
  • HOU -10 @ Knicks – Knicks won by 2
  • Texas Tech/Baylor U129 – 60-60 at end of regulation

Today’s Picks (Yesterday’s Record):

Jump To: NCAAB Picks/Analysis | NBA Picks/Analysis | Sprinkles | MikePick2 | Picks Recap

NCAAB 236-238-9 (1-1):

Jump To: Purdue @ Iowa | Texas @ Oklahoma | Vanderbilt @ Alabama | Tennessee @ Kentucky | Cleveland State @ Oakland | Holy Cross @ Bucknell

Purdue @ Iowa:

  • Spread: Iowa -5.5 (now -5)
  • O/U: 140 (now 143)

Setting the Scene:

Purdue is 15-14 on the season and sit at 10th in the Big Ten at 8-10. Iowa is 20-9 and 11-7 in conference which puts them at 5th place. They can still get a Top-4 seed in the Big Ten tournament which would earn them a double bye.

Trends:

Purdue is 2-7 in road conference games with their only wins coming against Indiana and Northwestern. They lost to Nebraska on the road, just saying. They have only covered in one of those seven games. The Boilermakers are just 1-5-2 ATS as a road underdog, 2-7-2 ATS as an underdog and as a road team, 5-9 ATS after a win, 6-10-2 ATS in conference games, and 12-15-2 ATS on the season. Iowa is a perfect 9-0 in home conference games. They’re the only team left in the Big Ten that is undefeated at home in conference play. The Hawkeyes are 7-0-2 ATS in those 9 games. Iowa has covered in 69.2% of games this season, 84.6% of homes games, 83.3% of games as a home favorite, 80% of games as a favorite, 66.7% of conference games, and 56.2% of games after a win.

On the Court:

We are going to look at the two teams before and after Purdue beat Iowa by 36 on February 5th. I call it Pre-Beat Down and Post-Beat Down (Pre BD and Post BD). I realize that it’s just a bunch of numbers for which you did not ask. The “Change” column is really the only one that matters. I tried to highlight it the best that I could for you. The bold numbers are numbers that moved in that team’s favor, aka that team improved in that stat. The italicized numbers are numbers that moved in a negative way for that team, aka the team did the opposite of improve in that stat. Continue to the “Analysis” section for a breakdown of the data. The data is from barttorvik.com.

Purdue

Iowa

Stat

Pre BD Post BD Change Pre BD Post BD

Change

ADJOE

103.2 107.2 4 118.6 118.4 -0.2

ADJDE

90.6 95.9 5.3 98.1 94.8 -3.3
EFG% 43.8 45.1 1.3 50.3 51.8

1.5

EFG%D

48.7 48.6 -0.1 49.8 48.5 -1.3

TOR

16.3 17 0.7 16.4 16.6

0.2

TORD 20 16 -4 15.4 18

2.6

ORB

33.6

31.4 -2.2 33.1 29.4 -3.7
DRB 27.5 28.3 0.8 28.1 31.6

3.5

FTR

21.1 28.7 7.6 31.3 32.5 1.2
FTRD 25.8 38 12.2 31.1 29.3

-1.8

2P%

43.2 46.7 3.5 49.3 52.3 3
2P%D 49.4 44.1 -5.3 52.3 48.6

-3.7

3P%

31 27.6 -3.4 34.7 33.9 -0.8
3P%D 31.7 36.1 4.4 30.9 32.2

1.3

ADJ T 63.6 66.4 2.8 70.3 70.5

0.2

Analysis:

  1. Penn State got better offensively; Iowa basically stayed the same
  2. Purdue’s defense got worse; Iowa’s got better
  3. Both teams are shooting slightly better and defending shots slightly better.
  4. Both teams are turning the ball over just as often, but Iowa is turning over opponents more and Purdue is doing it less.
  5. Both teams are getting ORBs less Iowa has gotten DRB more often, but Purdue is grabbing them just as frequently as they were before the beat down.
  6. Purdue is getting to the line a lot more, but they are also fouling a lot more.
  7. Both teams are shooting and defending better from 2P range.
  8. Purdue is shooting and defending significantly worse from 3P range while Iowa is doing about the same from distance.

If you think that this could be because of the quality of teams they were playing, Purdue is 2-4 since the beat down with both wins coming against Indiana. They have played road games against Indiana, Ohio State, and Wisconsin, and they hosted Indiana, Michigan, and Penn State. Iowa is 4-2 since the beat down with wins at home against Nebraska, Ohio State, and Penn State. They won at Minnesota, but they lost on the road to Indiana and Michigan State. It would be easy to say that Iowa’s game against Nebraska would skew their stats in such a small sample size, but they had better numbers against Ohio State.

At the end of the day, this is a Poor ATS vs Good ATS game, but I really do think this is going to be a very close contest. Iowa has clearly gotten better since the wake-up call against Purdue about a month ago, but it isn’t like Purdue has been sitting around getting worse. I don’t think Purdue is going to be able to do enough to win this game; Iowa is so good at home. I do think they’ll hang around.

The Pick:

Purdue +5

Jump To: Purdue @ Iowa | Texas @ Oklahoma | Vanderbilt @ Alabama | Tennessee @ Kentucky | Cleveland State @ Oakland | Holy Cross @ Bucknell

Texas @ Oklahoma:

  • Spread: OU -6.5 (now -7)
  • O/U: 132 (now 133)

Setting the Scene:

Texas heads into Norman at 18-11 and 8-8 in conference. They’re 4th in the Big 12 despite some midseason troubles that included losing Jericho Sims for the season. They have won and covered four games in a row. Oklahoma is also 18-11 and 8-8 at 4th place in the conference. They had lost three in row before impressive wins and covers over Texas Tech (at home) and West Virginia (on the road) in their last two games. The two teams played in Austin on January 8th, and OU won by 10 as 3-point underdogs.

Trends:

Texas is 13-16 ATS on the season. They have covered four games in a row and 7 of their last 10. Their applicable trends ATS: 6-3 as away underdog, 6-4 as away team, 10-7 with equal rest (both teams played Saturday), 7-5 with 2-3 days off, 9-7 in conference games, and 7-6 as an underdog. They are only 7-10 ATS after a win.

Oklahoma is 13-16 ATS on the season. They have covered their last two games and 6 of their last 10. Their applicable trends ATS: 9-7 in conference games, 10-8 with equal rest, 10-10 with 2-3 days off, 6-8 as home team, 6-8 as the favorite, 7-10 after a win, and 4-6 as a home favorite.

On the Court:

These two teams are average Big 12 teams. Oklahoma is slightly better, ranking 4th and 5th in offensive and defense efficiency, respectively. Texas is right behind them at 7th and 6th. Oklahoma has been elite during conference play at not turning the ball over, not getting their shots blocked, and not fouling. They rank 1st in the Big 12 at all three. Texas ranks 2nd in the Big 12 at 3-point shooting, knocking down over 35% of their triples. OU is allowing opponents to made one-third of their shots from behind the arc. The other place that the Longhorns has a slight edge is defending inside the arc. OU is very good there, making over 49% of their shots during conference play, but Texas has only allowed opponents to make 46.7% of attempts.

The weaknesses of these two teams match up pretty well. Texas has the worst FT Rate in the conference, but OU is the best in the conference at not sending teams to the line. OU is the worst team in the conference at forcing turnovers, but Texas turns the ball over the 7th most frequently. OU doesn’t turn the ball over, but Texas doesn’t rely on forcing turnovers, they rank 7th. OU may have an edge on the offensive glass because Texas ranks 9th in the league at preventing offensive rebounds, but OU is last in the league at grabbing offensive rebounds.

Analysis:

I think this is going to be a battle. Both teams need this win for their NCAA Tournament hopes. It would be a bigger win for Texas than OU, and I think that matters this time of year. If I’m right, this game will be close and come down to the wire. We might even see OT.

The Pick:

Texas +7 & Over 133

Jump To: Purdue @ Iowa | Texas @ Oklahoma | Vanderbilt @ Alabama | Tennessee @ Kentucky | Cleveland State @ Oakland | Holy Cross @ Bucknell

Vanderbilt @ Alabama

  • Spread: Alabama -14 (now -12)
  • Total: 162 (now 155.5)

Setting the Stage:

Vanderbilt has been the worst team in the SEC this season. They are only 9-20 (1-15) and have lost 7 games in a row. They’ve covered 3 of those 7 games and 6 of their last 10. Alabama was a bubble team, and, if they can make some noise down the stretch, they could play their way back onto the bubble. That starts by dominating Vanderbilt. Alabama is 16-13 (8-8) and are 19-10 ATS on the season; however, they are only 7-6 ATS as a home favorite.

Trends:

Vandy has averaged 62.6 points in their last 7 conference road games. Alabama has averaged 81.6 points in their 8 conference home games this season. That includes outliers of 68 vs Tennessee and Texas A&M. If you take those two games out, Alabama has averaged just over 86 points/game.

Alabama has also given up 75 points/game at home during conference play. It is worth noting that they range from giving up in the 60s to Mississippi State, Auburn, and Tennessee to giving up over 80 points to South Carolina, LSU, and Arkansas. Vandy has given up over 79 points/game on the road during conference play. They’ve allowed fewer than 71 points just once, @ Tennessee, and over 80 points in 5 of their 8 games.

I removed Vandy’s first road conference game (@ Auburn) from their scoring stat because it was the only game they scored more than 70 points (79), but I didn’t remove it from their defense stat because they gave up 83 points which is a relatively normal amount for them.

Analysis:

It is at this point that I ask myself if I think that Alabama’s incredibly fast paced offense will score 85 points. The answer is yes. Vanderbilt gave up at least 85 on the road to Ole Miss (86) and South Carolina (90), and they almost gave up 85 to Florida (84), Auburn (83), and Mississippi State (80). The more difficult question is whether I think the Commodores will get to 70 points. They’ve only done it twice on the road in conference play: 79 against Auburn and 70 against Mississippi State. I think that they will. Alabama’s defense has been the 12th best in the conference over the last 3 weeks. The Crimson Tide really rely on forcing turnovers defensively. They struggle to defend if they can’t force them. Vanderbilt is actually pretty good at not turning the ball over, and they are going to get a lot of possessions because of Alabama’s pace.

The Pick:

Over 156

Jump To: Purdue @ Iowa | Texas @ Oklahoma | Vanderbilt @ Alabama | Tennessee @ Kentucky | Cleveland State @ Oakland | Holy Cross @ Bucknell

Tennessee @ Kentucky

  • Spread: Kentucky -9 (now -8.5)
  • O/U: 131 (now 131)

Setting the Scene:

Tennessee is having a disappointing season. They are only 16-13 (8-8) and enter this game 4-7 in their last 11 games. Kentucky is playing their best basketball of their 24-5 season. They wrapped up an SEC Regular Season Championship with a win over Auburn on Saturday. They have won 8 games in a row and 13 of their last 14.

Trends:

Tennessee has gotten 21% of the bets in this game so far. That number has been dropping. It was at 23% around noon CT today.

On the Court:

Kentucky is better at just about everything. This is a very bad match-up for Tennessee.

Analysis:

This is purely a Fade the Public in Big Conferences play. We are 4-6 on these this season.

The Pick:

Tennessee +8.5

Cleveland State @ Oakland

  • Spread: Oakland -7 (now -7.5)
  • Total: 129.5 (now 131)

Underdogs of between 6.5 and 19.5 points have covered the spread 58% of the time in the first round of conference tournaments if the line doesn’t move or moves fewer than 5 points against them.

The Pick: Cleveland State +7.5

Jump To: Purdue @ Iowa | Texas @ Oklahoma | Vanderbilt @ Alabama | Tennessee @ Kentucky | Cleveland State @ Oakland | Holy Cross @ Bucknell

Holy Cross @ Bucknell

  • Spread: Bucknell -13 (now -12.5)
  • Total: 144.5 (now 141.5)

Underdogs of between 6.5 and 19.5 points have covered the spread 58% of the time in the first round of conference tournaments if the line doesn’t move or moves fewer than 5 points against them.

I know what you’re probably thinking, “Wait, this line moved in their favor.” That is true, but I am taking it because the opening line was Holy Cross +13, and the consensus is still +13.

The Pick: Holy Cross +12.5


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NBA 78-75 (4-2):

76ers @ Lakers -12.5:

It’s no secret that the 76ers play like a lottery team on the road. Today is no different when they travel to take on the Lakers. The 76ers will also be without Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Josh Richardson. I really do not like their chances to cover without possibly their three best players. I am not afraid of Shake Milton.

Warriors +16 @ Nuggets:

The Warriors are Road Underdogs coming off an ATS Loss. We are 4-5 on these bets this season, so I’m on this one to get us to 50% on the season betting this system.

Wizards @ Kings -5.5:

The Wizards on the third game of a West Coast road trip, but that is not why I’m fading them today. The Kings have been on a tear since the All-Star Break. They are 5-1 SU and ATS. The lone loss coming against OKC in the middle of playing 3 games in 4 days and 4 games in 6 days on the road.


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Sprinkles 42-70 (1-0):

Penn State ML hosting Michigan State

Penn State is 6-2 at home during Big Ten play. Their only losses are to Wisconsin and Illinois. Michigan State has been as good as those two teams on the road during conference play, notching 5 conference road wins this season. The Spartans have won their last 3 conference road games, against Illinois, Nebraska, and Maryland. I think that could lead to slightly too much value, but I am not confident enough to take Penn State even on such a short line. Therefore, I will just sprinkle the Nittany Lions in a huge conference game.

Mississippi State ML @ South Carolina

Mississippi State is 3-3 on the road in SEC play, and this would be a massive Quad 1 win for their tournament hopes. I expect State to come out motivated, and I like their chances to beat this South Carolina team that has home losses to Boston, Houston, and Stetson.


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MikePick2 16-20 (0-0):

Parlay: +114

  • Iowa ML hosting Purdue
    • See above.
  • Marquette ML @ DePaul

DePaul is 2-14 in conference. Today is not the day that record gets better.


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Picks Recap:

  • PUR +5
  • TEX +7
  • TEX/OKLA O133
  • VAN/BAMA O156
  • TENN +8.5
  • CLEV +7.5
  • HC +12.5
  • Lakers -12.5
  • Warriors +16
  • Kings -5.5
  • PSU ML
  • MSST ML
  • MP2: IOWA ML+MARQ ML

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Free Money Friday Every Day: Let’s Start Strong

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 10-10:

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.

  • Summit League Last Week 10-6 +3.2u
  • Last Week: 21-25
  • NCAAB Last Week: 16-18
  • NBA Last Week: 5-7
  • Sprinkles Last Week: 4-11; 2 in OT by 2
  • MikePick2 Last Week: 2-0

Today’s Picks (Weekend Record):

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

NCAAB 235-237-9 (7-6):

Texas Tech @ Baylor:

  • Spread: Baylor -7.5
  • Total: 128 (now 129)

Setting the Scene: Texas Tech heads to Waco sitting at 18-11 on the season and 3rd in the Big 12 at 9-7 in conference. They have lost two games in a row, failing to cover the spread in either, a home loss to Texas by 10 and a road loss to OU by 14. Baylor is 25-3 and 2nd in the Big 12 at 14-2 in conference. They have lost two of their last three games, failing to cover the spread in both losses.

Trends: Texas Tech is 2-1 ATS as an underdog, but all other applicable trends are at 50% or below. Baylor has a slew of positive trends that apply to this game, but we are going to focus on the most important one: on the season they are 19-9 ATS, which is over 67%.

On the Court: This should be a great game. Both teams rank in the top 4 in the Big12 in almost every statistic. Texas Tech struggles to rebound and defend inside the arc, and Baylor struggles to shoot from inside the arc and at the free throw line. The Bears also got their shots blocked pretty frequently.

Analysis: This is a poor ATS vs good ATS game. The Red Raiders cover at 50% on the season, and Baylor up above 67%. That puts them both barely inside our optimal percentages. Since Tech is on the road in a conference game, we’ll take the points. I’m also going to take the under in this game since both teams are so good defensively.

The Pick: Texas Tech +7.5 & Under 129


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NBA 74-73 (1-2):

Portland +6.5 @ Orlando:

Portland is Road Dog off an ATS loss.

Rockets -10 @ Knicks, Jazz -8.5 @ Cavs, Mavs -5 @ Bulls:

We are going to continue to fade tanking teams. Also, all three of these road favorites are playing really well right now.

Grizzlies +2 @ Hawks

The Grizzlies are coming off a big win against the Lakers. I expect them to win this game also.


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


Sprinkles 41-70 (2-3):

Grizzlies ML @ Hawks


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


MikePick2 16-20 (0-0):


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


Picks Recap:

  • TTU +7.5
  • TTU/BAY U129
  • Blazers +6.5
  • Rockets -10
  • Jazz -8.5
  • Mavs -5

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


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


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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.


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Sprinkles 39-67 (1-3):

South Dakota State ML @ North Dakota State

See above.


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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.


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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

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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:

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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.