One final weekend before the kickoff of the conference season. It’s not much, but the rivalry in that other Commonwealth headlines the weekend. Here are a couple of picks to get your weekend rolling.
Davidson @ North Carolina
KP: North Carolina -15, O/U 159
Vegas: North Carolina -14.5, O/U 161
Last Saturday, UNC lost 72-80 to the Kentucky Wildcats in a game that featured 83 possessions. Now KenPom thinks UNC, combined with Davidson, will score 159 in a game that will feature nine less opportunities? Add to that, Vegas is giving us even more points. Sign me up. Davidson will try to slow this game, knowing they don’t want to get into a track meet with the Tar Heels. And I think they will succeed doing so, even if they don’t cover the 14.5.
Pick: Under 161
Kentucky @ Louisville
KP: Louisville +1, O/U 147
Vegas: Louisville +2.5, O/U 146
Kentucky has not played a true road game to date and despite their victory over UNC a week ago, they’ve not been particularly good this season. Therefore, I have a hard time thinking they can go into Louisville and come away victorious, much less cover the 2.5. So far, I’ve faded Louisville early in the season, but I’ve faded Kentucky too. Something has to give, so I’ll take the home team. I’ll also give a long look at the money line depending on where this line ends.
Pick: Louisville +2.5
Lipscomb @ Clemson
KP: Clemson -6, O/U 148
In years past, I’ve held Clemson in a similar esteem as Virginia when it comes to slowing down a basketball game and keeping the score low. But this year, I haven’t seen that version of the Tigers. Enter the Lipscomb Bisons and their 27th ranked tempo and I lean the over. Buyer beware however, in their losses on the road against quality competition (Belmont and Louisville) the Bisons combined to score 150 and 140 points respectively. I still like the over, but I’ll be treading lightly.
Pick: Over 148
Marshall @ Virginia
KP: Virginia -19, O/U 139
Speaking of treading lightly, as long as Vegas keeps opening Virginia totals in the 130s, treading lightly is something I will not do. Marshall comes to town in a blur sporting the 8th ranked pace in the country and they’re comfortable playing around 78 possessions per game. I’ve seen this movie before where a team comes in and tries to run on the Hoos. Spoiler alert, it doesn’t work. They’ll try to push and Virginia won’t let them. The harder they try, the harder they’ll fail. Make sure you’re looking out for the total when it opens because in a matter of hours, it’ll be down around 133.
Pick: Under 139
Season Total: ATS (10-7), O/U (7-5), Total (17-12)