Just like the Virginia Cavaliers, the betting preview killed it last weekend. We went a solid 6-1, but then this happened:
No betting preview on @STL_UVA tonight, but here are my leans— Ryan Reese (@HoosOn_First) January 9, 2019
VT -7.5 @ GT
FSU -10 vs Miami
UVA/BC U126 - Gotta stay on brand, right?
I’ll spare you going to look up the results of those bets; that’s an 0-5 night. Fortunately more people read last weekend’s column than read that Tweet. So here we are, back again with a nice slate of seven Saturday games. On to the picks.
Virginia @ Clemson
KP: Clemson +7, O/U 123
Vegas: Clemson +7, O/U 126
What to do here? My inclination is to stick with the under. I bet the under Wednesday night when the Hoos traveled to Boston College with a total of 126. And that was against a team that plays to a 70 possession pace. Now Virginia travels to Clemson who plays to a 68 possession pace. So why not? Here’s why not. This Virginia team is really good on offense. Would anyone be surprised if the Hoos roll 70-57? I sure wouldn’t. That being said I could see Virginia getting back to the basics and winning 60-52. You know what those two results have in common? Yup, the Cavaliers cover the number.
Pick: Hoos -7
Louisville @ North Carolina
KP: North Carolina -12, O/U 158
Vegas: North Carolina -12, O/U 159
One angle I love to exploit in betting college basketball is to go against what we just saw. Historically, I’ve loved taking the over in Virginia’s last opponent’s next game as the basket must look ginourmous to a team that just ran into a brick wall. The same can be said for track meets. Last time out, we saw the Tar Heels and Wolfpack running up and down the court. North Carolina likes to play fast. But what happens when another team dictates the pace? By that I look at their defensive tempo, and as such, they actually play defense for about 17 seconds, as opposed to 13 seconds on the offensive end. If a teams wants to run, they’ll be happy to oblige. But they’re just as content to actually play defense and therefore I see their games going lower more often than not. Louisville won’t try to run with UNC and 159 is a lot in any game.
Pick: Under 159
Pittsburgh @ NC State
KP: NC State -12, O/U 154
Vegas: NC State -11, O/U 154
Both these teams like to get out on offense and run. Like I said about UNC above, if a team wants to run with NC State, they’ll also be more than happy to oblige. I think NC State gets the win, and most likely they cover. But something gives me pause. The Wolfpack are 285th in the country in allowing teams to get to the line. That has backdoor cover written all over it. So the 11.5 is a little steep. However, the combination of fast offenses early along with free throws late and this game should go over
Pick: Over 154
Boston College @ Notre Dame
KP: Notre Dame -7, O/U 145
Vegas: Notre Dame -6, O/U 145
This one is pretty simple. I really don’t like Notre Dame and the Boston College Eagles are still frisky...I think. They should have a much easier time against Notre Dame than they did against Virginia. And even though this game is on the road, I think BC has enough with the points.
Pick: Boston College +6
Duke @ Florida State
KP: Florida State +7, O/U 155
Vegas: Florida State +7.5, O/U 157
This game stumps me. I don’t want to overreact to FSU laying an egg last Saturday in Charlottesville, though I also want to believe a lot of that was Virginia’s doing. On the other hand, this is the exact kind of spot where Duke can get tripped up in ACC play. FSU won’t be intimidated by the Blue Devils and they have the size and athleticism to match up with the likes of Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett. I think for Florida State to have a chance, they’re going to have to muck it up and attempt to slow down the pace. And Duke isn’t immune to low scoring games. 82-75 seems like a bit of stretch, so the under looks like the play.
Pick: Under 157
Wake Forest @ Miami
KP: Miami -11, O/U 147
Vegas: Miami -10.5, O/U 145
I’m actually kind of surprised to see the over/under this low in this game. Wake Forest isn’t going to pose any significant threat on the defensive end as they rank 218th in defensive efficiency. On the other end of the court. Miami actually let’s its opponents play faster while on offense than the Hurricanes will play when they have the ball. That has all the makings for an up and down game without much defense.
Pick: Over 145
Georgia Tech @ Syracuse
KP: Syracuse -9, O/U 125
Vegas: Syracuse -9.5, O/U 127
I don’t think the Yellow Jackets will threaten to win this game outright, but Syracuse struggles to score so I don’t see them running away with it. Add to that a smallish O/U and the value is in the points, even with Georgia Tech on the road.
Pick: Georgia Tech +9.5
Season Total: ATS (14-9), O/U (11-6), Total (25-15)