ACC Tournament Favorites, Dark Horses and Prediction

Last season the Virginia Cavaliers won the ACC tournament. This season the Cavaliers won the regular season title and come in as one of the favorites to win the ACC tournament, which starts Tuesday in Greensboro. Many questions remain unanswered heading into the tournament. Virginia lost its last regular season game to Louisville, while Duke has played exceptionally well since losing two straight earlier in the season. Miami is looking for at least two wins to assure themselves of a spot in the NCAA tournament.



Virginia will be the No. 1 seed, but Duke heading into the tournament is the team to beat. With Tyus Jones running the show and Jahlil Okafor the sensational freshman center, the Blue Devils look tough to beat. Duke can be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament with a victory in the ACC tournament. The only concern with the Blue Devils is they are just 8 deep.


Virginia has the best defense in the nation with the exception of Kentucky with clutch offense that has kept them in the top 5 all season.


The Cardinals must be given credit as they lost starting point guard Chris Jones but have not let up. Montrezl Harrell is able to take control of games, while Terry Rozier is great with the game on the line.

Notre Dame

The Irish have not received that much attention since losing to Duke last month, but with Jerian Grant, a great player no one talks about and Pat Connaughton the Irish can win the big games. Bonzie Colson has come on of late down low and at the wing making them even more dangerous on the offensive end.

Dark horses:

North Carolina, North Carolina State and Miami

Most on the Line:

Miami needs at least two wins to have a good shot at making the NCAA tournament field. NC State should make it as long as they are not routed in a game in this tournament. Both Duke and UVA are playing for possible No. 1 regional seeds, though both could get one.


The Syracuse Orange are gone due to a self imposed ban for the postseason even prior to the harsh penalties set down last week by the NCAA. The 2-3 suffocating zone will not be missed, but the talented Jim Boeheim on the Orange bench will be.

Look for Duke, Virginia, Notre Dame and Louisville to reach the semifinals with Duke and Virginia playing in the finals.


Duke 69-63

NCAA Finals Dream Match Up: Kentucky vs. Duke

March has arrived and that means the NCAA Tournament more appropriately called March Madness. Sitting at the top of the odds chart to win the National Championship are the Kentucky Wildcats. Kentucky is 29-0 and can move to 30-0 on Tuesday with a win over the Georgia Bulldogs.

Looking down the road if we may, odds makers through their crystal ball or algorithms whichever you believe, see Kentucky, Duke, Wisconsin and Arizona as the teams with the best odds of winning the national championship.

Many believe it could be a battle between Duke and Kentucky with Kentucky sitting at 39-0 in the national championship game against the Duke Blue Devils and Coach K.

Duke would be the only team that could beat Kentucky and they are peaking just at the right time. The Blue Devils have won 9 straight games after losing back-to-back games to North Carolina State and Miami.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski said his team has played well all season with the exception of a few games where they did not shoot well. He added that you do not beat teams like Wisconsin, Stanford, Michigan State and Notre Dame unless you are good. He claims his players have also matured since the season started.

Duke has Jahlil Okafor as well, arguably the best player in the nation, just ask Coach K, he will be more than happy to tell you that.

That would mean the year’s best player would be against the country’s best team, what other matchup would anyone really want to see.

Since 1984-85, when the tournament was expanded to 64 teams, just four national championship games have had two No. 1 seeds. Some of the best final games came from the matchups, including Duke vs. UConn in 1999, North Carolina vs. Illinois in 2005, Florida vs. Ohio State in 2007 and Kansas vs. Memphis in 2008.

With Kentucky vs. Duke, you will also have the most hated and most loved teams in the nation in the eyes of college basketball fans. This matchup might not reach the 24.1 rating and 35 million viewers that the Indiana State/Larry Bird vs. Michigan State/Magic Johnson drew but it could especially if Kentucky reaches the final at 39-0.

Mike Krzyzewski is 8-1 at Duke against Kentucky. Kentucky coach John Calipari is attempting to reach his third Final Four in the past three years and his second national title in three years.

It might be a long shot, but that is what sports betting is all about, long shots. Let’s hope the Basketball Gods are looking down upon college basketball and the NCAA Finals feature Kentucky vs. Duke.

Pac-12 and Big 10 Highlight Sunday College Basketball Schedule

The Big Ten and Pac-12 will highlight action Sunday in college basketball. The month of March begins today and that means the NCAA tournament and March Madness cannot be far away.

Nevertheless, teams are battling for position in their respective conferences preparing for the start of their conference tournament in less than 2 weeks.

Out west, the Oregon Ducks visit the Stanford Cardinal, while the Purdue Boilermakers visit the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Oregon followed its huge upset of Utah 69-58 last Sunday as a home dog by 4.5 points, with an important 80-69 win over California as a road dog of 2 points this past Wednesday.

The Ducks are 7-1 straight up and 6-2 against the spread in their past eight games overall.

Stanford routed Oregon State by 27 points on Thursday as a home favorite of 9 points. However, the Cardinal is only 3-4 SU and 2-5 ATS in its past 7 games played.

Oregon is 4-1 ATS over its past five games after a win SU. The Ducks have covered 6 of their past 8 games on Sunday.

Sanford is 1-5 ATS in its past 6 games played on Sunday. The Cardinal is 6-3-1 ATS in its past 10 games played at home.

The visiting team is 5-3 SU and ATS in this matchup over the past 8 games.

Purdue visits Ohio State on Sunday as an underdog of 9.5 points. The Boilermakers have made some noise of late at 8-1 SU and ATS in its past 9 games overall. On Thursday, the Boilermakers defeated Rutgers 92-85, but failed to cover as a home favorite of 14 points.

All five Purdue starters scored 10 points or more in the win over Rutgers.

Ohio State has had a few problems down the stretch with a 3-3 SU and ATS record of its past 6 games played. However, they look strong in a rout of Nebraska 81-57 on Tuesday as a favorite at home by 13.5 points.

Purdue is 17-5 ATS over its past 22 games versus an opponent with a winning straight up record and is 6-1 ATS over its past 7 games following a win SU.

Ohio State has covered the spread in its past 6 games played at home but is 4-9 ATS over its past 13 games after a win ATS.

Head to head, the team at home is 7-2 SU over the past 9 games played. Ohio State is 4-2 ATS over the past 6 games between the two teams.

Purdue defeated Ohio State 60-58 SU and ATS as a favorite by 1.5 points.

No. 3 Gonzaga Faces Rival Saint Mary’s

The No. 3 ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs visit the Saint Mary’s Gaels on Saturday night. Gonzaga is 27-1 straight up and 12-11-2 against the spread. Saint Mary’s is 20-6 SU and 16-6-2 ATS. Gonzaga opened as an 8.5-point favored by currently is -6.5.

Even though Gonzaga has just 1 loss straight up this season, the Bulldogs are 1-4 ATS over their past five games played. Of course, it makes it a bit more difficult when those five games the Bulldogs were favored by 10 points or more.

Besides a win by 8 points over Pepperdine, none of the past five games has been close even though they have failed to cover.

Gonzaga has one of the country’s best offenses even if the competition it faces is not the best in the country. The Bulldogs have the best field goal percentage in the nation and score an average of 80 points per game.

The defense for St. Mary’s is just average but on offense they are competitive. However, the first time the two meet earlier this season Gonzaga covered a 15-point spread.

Gonzaga is in the top 20 in the country for defensive field goal percentage. In January in the first meeting between the two, the Bulldogs held St. Mary’s to 36% shooting, while Gonzaga hit 53% of its shots. St. Mary’s could only score 47 points, which is its lowest output of this season.

Gonzaga has won 20 straight games for the third time in team history. The Bulldogs have won 10 of the past 12 regular season titles outright. St. Mary’s, who are in second place this season, was the winner of the conference in 2011-12 one season after both teams split the title.

Gonzaga has won 7 straight against St. Mary’s, with the past 6 by an average margin of 19.7 points.

St. Mary’s has won 9 of its past 10 on its home court. The Gaels will retire the jersey of former Gaels star Patty Mills, who now plays for the San Antonio Spurs, at the game tonight.

It is the first time all season that St. Mary’s will be the underdog at home. Gonzaga has not covered a spread in any of its past six games on road, but remember the spreads have been large in each game.

Pick: Gonzaga 62-57

With No NBA Tonight, My Focus is on the College Hardwood

Jay Wright's Villanova Wildcats look to avenge an earlier loss to Seton Hall.

The National Basketball Association is still on their All-Star Break which means I turn my attention to the college scene. Believe it or not, we are already getting close to conference tournament time for some of the smaller conferences and before you know it, the big boys will be on stage as they prep for the tourney.

Seton Hall (+16.5) at Villanova – The Wildcats score five more points per game than do the Pirates and they give up five points less per game than does Seton Hall. That doesn’t bode well for the Pirates. Head-to-head the two teams have seen Villanova win seven of the last ten meetings but the Pirates own a two-game winning streak right now.

Trends: Seton Hall is 1-11 straight up in their last 12 road games at Villanova… The Wildcats are 12-3 SU in their last 15 games against Seton Hall… The Pirates are 2-5 SU in their last seven road games… The Wildcats are 2-4 against the spread in their last six game at home versus the Pirates.

The Pick: The Pirates rebound better than ‘Nova does so I like them getting the points but I like the Wildcats to win.

Jamie Dixon and the Panthers have a tough assignment at Virginia.

Pittsburgh (+13) at Virginia – The Panthers are coming off of a very important home win over North Carolina but this road test is a different monster altogether. Both teams are scoring in the upper 60’s each game but the Cavaliers are allowing a paltry 50 points per game defensively while Pitt gives 65 per game. The Panthers are a little board on the offensive glass than is Virginia but everything else favors the Cavs tonight.

Trends: Pitt is 1-5 straight up in their last six road games… UVA is 1-5 against the spread in their last six games… The Panthers are 0-4-1 ATS in their last five road games… The Cavs are 13-1 SU in their last 14 games at home.

The Pick: I like UVA to cover considering Pitt’s road woes of late.

Kansas (+1) at West Virginia – There really isn’t a stat to point to in this game that makes you jump on one side or another. Both teams score over 70 points per game and both give up about 65 per game. KU is a little better on the defensive boards while the Mountaineers hold an edge in offensive rebounding.

Trends: Kansas is 4-2 straight up in their last six road games… WVU is 15-3 straight up in their last 18 games at home… The Jayhawks have won three of the last four times they’ve played the Mountaineers… West Virginia is 1-4 against the spread in their last five games.

The Pick: I like the Mountaineers to cover at home but I expect a close contest throughout.

Clemson (+4) at Georgia Tech – This is a contest of two ACC teams who are not always used to being also-rans but that’s where they find themselves in 2015. The Tigers are 15-10 and are holding out hope of an NCAA berth but an NIT bid is more likely. Georgia Tech is under .500 and is going to need to pull off a miracle in the ACC Tournament in order to advance to the NCAA Tournament in March.

Trends: The Tigers are 8-17 straight up in their last 25 road games… Georgia Tech is 2-11 straight up in their last 13 games… Clemson has won five of the last six games in Atlanta straight up versus the Yellow Jackets… GT is 1-5 against the spread in their last six games at home against the Tigers.

The Pick: I love Clemson here getting the points.

College Basketball Futures With Value

With college football and the NFL now in the sport bettors’ rearview mirror and the NBA postseason still another three months away, college basketball has taken center stage.

The next big event will be March Madness, which means bettors will be paying close attention to what is taking place on the hardwood on college campuses across the nation.

Since only a few weeks remain before the regular season ends, it is an ideal time to check the futures that have value in college basketball.

Kentucky the top ranked team in the nation at 24-0 is the big favorite to win the national title. Most shops have the Wildcats as 5 to 7 favorites. The Wildcats are the clear favorite but stranger things have happened in college basketball hence March Madness.

However, paying for a huge favorite this early does not have that much value.

However, the following teams might.

Duke is 8 to 1 at this point on the futures board according to Bovada and betonline. The Blue Devils this season are underrated, if that is possible, as some people have soured on the team for their lack of success during the NCAA tournament of late.

However, this season the team has beaten Wisconsin and Virginia and will be tough in March.

The Gonzaga Bulldogs are 12 to 1. This season the Bulldogs might have the best chance to reach the Final Four and at that point, anything can happen. The value is there as the Bulldogs have a talented offensive group.

The Wisconsin Badgers are at 9 to 1. Last season Wisconsin nearly reached the national championship game and this season’s team is as good if not better than last year.

For long shots, you might like Iowa State. At 60 to 1, the Cyclones have value when it comes to a dark horse. The team has not played as well as some thought they would, but the upside is huge for the team. Last season, without their best player, Georges Niang, in the tournament, the Cyclones reached the Sweet Sixteen.

A real long shot with value are the San Diego State Aztecs. According to topbet and, the Aztecs are currently 100 to 1 to win the tournament. Offensively the team is not that strong but they are primed to record a few upsets under Steven Fisher. The Aztecs are tremendous workers on defense. They can slow down the tempo of a game to make it shorter and keep them in games that other teams might be blown out of.

Saturday College Basketball Bits and Pieces

This weekend has a number of good college basketball matchups.

After visits to the Elite Eight four straight seasons, it looks as if Florida will miss March Madness this season. The Gators are 12-10 straight and 7-13-1 against the spread. If they do not go to the Big Dance, it will be their first miss since 2008.

Nevertheless, if Florida can defeat the nation’s top ranked and undefeated Kentucky Wildcats they would be back in the bubble conversation once again.

However, if the Gators lose then their only hope for postseason play is spelled N-I-T.

Kentucky on the other had is an entirely different story. The Wildcats are an impressive 22-0 SU and 11-11 ATS. Kentucky defeated Georgia on Tuesday at home in its last game. The Wildcats did not look that well but sill won by 11.

UK’s size is almost unheard of with three players who are 7-footers and six in all that are 6-foot-9 or taller.

Bits and Pieces

Arkansas could be without Michael Qualls its second leading scorer in its showdown on Saturday with Mississippi State. Qualls sprained a knee and is listed as questionable.

Georgia could get leading scorer as well as rebounder Marcus Thornton back for its game on Saturday against Tennessee. Georgia is 0-2 without Thornton in the lineup.

Alabama’s Rickey Tarrant, the second leading scorer is doubtful for the Crimson Tide’s games against LSU. He injured his leg in Alabama’s loss to Florida and has sat out two straight games.

Georgia Southern leads the nation with a 12-1-2 against the spread record.

Pepperdine is 15-8 straight up and 15-4-2 against the spread with its 80-74 win on Thursday over BYU. Pepperdine swept BYU this season. The Cougars slim hopes of an NCAA bid were destroyed completely with the loss.

Kourtney Roberson from Texas A&M is a question mark for the Aggies Saturday game versus Missouri because of an injury that has not been disclosed.

As of late in the day Friday, it was unknown what the playing status of  Malek Harris and Marcus Foster was. Both were suspended just prior to Kansas State’s game against Texas Tech.

Already without Briante Weber their starting guard, VCU must face their opponents this weekend without Treveon Graham who is scoring over 16 points per game while grabbing 6.6 rebounds. He is doubtful against St. Bonaventure after spraining an ankle last Wednesday.

Updated Futures for College Basketball National Champion

The college football national champion has been crowned and now college basketball takes center stage. The field for the NCAA basketball championship has opened up as favorites have started to stumble during the ongoing conference schedules.

Kentucky the No. 1 team in the preseason and through Monday of this week has started to shown some vulnerability.

The Wildcats are struggling in their opening games of the SEC. Kentucky is nevertheless 2-0 SU, but 2-0 ATS and has played three overtimes in its first two conference games.

Duke was the No. 2 team in the country with most observers believing the Blue Devils were one team that could defeat Kentucky. However, Duke lost to North Carolina State in an ACC showdown.

Despite the best efforts of the media and fans, a national champion will not be crowned in college basketball in January or February.

While Kentucky sitting at 10 to 11 and Duke at 8 to 1 are still the two favorites to be cutting the nets down in early April, it is far too early to write off a number of other legitimate contenders.

Included in those is Virginia at 8 to 1 and Wisconsin at 10 to 1

Virginia is with Duke heading the list of teams just below Kentucky.

Wisconsin lost as home favorites 80-70 against Duke this past December, but neither of the Badgers two losses clouds anyone’s perception of Wisconsin being a legitimate title contender.

The Badgers have an efficient offense, experience and size, led by Frank Kaminsky the 7-footer. The Badgers also have the seventh best scoring defense in the nation, giving them the ingredients needed to win the national championship.

When it comes to defense, Virginia can boast the top scoring defense in the country and will have their shot at Duke when they play host to the Blue Devils January 31, likely entering that encounter at the top of the ACC standings with the Blue Devils.

Of course, more than half of January and all of February remain before the conference tournaments take place followed by March Madness. However, there should be shifting in the top 25 and on the national championship futures board, as teams get deeper into their respective conference schedules.

NCAA 2015 National Championship Odds


College Basketball National Championship Futures Updated

The NCAA basketball regular season has not even entered its conference schedules yet, but that does not stop odd makers from constantly updating their futures boards for the national championship.

The Kentucky Wildcats started the season on many futures boards including Bovada and topbet, as a 9 to 5 favorite to win the National Championship in April 2015. The price for the preseason was historically low. However, odds makers believed the Wildcats were a solid pick to win the national title.

Through their first 12 games, which have been all victories, the Wildcats have not done anything to temper expectations. On the contrary, Kentucky has seen its championship odds gradually shrink on futures boards such as betonline and

Following its rout of UCLA 83-44, where the Wildcats led at halftime 41-7, odds makers shrank Kentucky’s odd to just 10 to 11 to win the national championship on April 6.

John Calipari the Kentucky head coach has his Wildcats playing unselfishly, cohesive and overpowering on the court.

Its offense has finally caught up to its stifling defense. Kentucky made 12 of its 26 shots from beyond the three-point line, while holding the Burins to only 19 of 71 overall from the floor.

However, at not even money, Kentucky is not a popular bet to win the national title.

Betting on Kentucky using the moneyline in each game of the postseason tournament, while rolling over the winnings from the prior game, is a strategy that is likely the most effective and not betting the odds.

One other reason is that the team that is dominant during the regular season not always goes on in college basketball to win the national title.

Not every one of the most impressive teams in college basketball finished holding the title in their hands.

Florida did in 2007, while Duke did in 1993. UCLA made it boring in the 60s and 70s with its title after title.

However, the Runnin’ Rebels of UNLV in 1991 entered the Final Four undefeated and left with frowns on their faces.

Kentucky will get a big test this Saturday December 27 when they travel to Louisville to face the Cardinals their in-state rivals and the No. 4 ranked team in the nation.



Kentucky Wildcats Face First Big Test Against North Carolina

College basketball takes center stage this weekend as the only action in college football is the annual Army – Navy classic.

That signals a time for many bettors to move some focus to the round ball and college basketball.

The transition from the gridiron to the hard court should not be a tough one especially when the weekend is highlighted with a clash between visiting North Carolina the No. 21 ranked team and the Kentucky Wildcats the No. 1 team in the nation, at Rupp Arena.

The current line on Bovada and has Kentucky favored by 12 points.

After just ten games into the season, many are talking about an undefeated season for the Wildcats. However, against the spread, Kentucky on topbet and betonline is just 5-5.

However, Kentucky is No. 1 in the country for defensive field goal percentage allowed at 28.7%, which is a big reason the UNDER has cashed in 9 of their 10 games played.

However, Kentucky has yet to play an official game on the road after its first 10 games.

This will be the first “true road game” for UNC. North Carolina has been tested though playing two teams in the top 25 and four games at neutral sites.

The Tar Heels at 5-3 ATS are more profitable to start the season, but have two losses outright as favorites already this season. This matchup is the Tar Heels first major test as a road dog.

Kentucky’s big news of the week was the announcement that Alex Poythress their talented junior forward tore an ACL during practice. He will miss the rest of the season.

The Wildcats forward was averaging 20 minutes a game in the Kentucky platoon system.

The UNDER has cashed in 21 of the past 27 games Kentucky has played at home.

North Carolina has covered the spread in 9 of the past 11 games played versus Kentucky.

For many it is easy to shy away from the Tar Heels in this situation. Kentucky has been promoted as being unbeatable and North Carolina lost to Iowa at home earlier this month.

However, 12 points is a great deal to give a team that has talent near the level of Kentucky.

Sure, the Wildcats defeated Kansas by 32 points as a favorite by 7 points but the spread equalizes things and the Wildcats are just 5-5 this season against the number. With Poythress sidelined for the Wildcats, the team will have to readjust its platoon system somewhat and that could effective their production on offense.

The game should be a defensive battle with low scoring and I like North Carolina to cover.