Earlier this week, our editors put out a call for new writers to join our team here at Streaking the Lawn. Seriously, it’s pretty fun, you should check it out. However, they forgot to include the job most needed is a new betting columnist. After a 1-6 week, I’m down to 17-24 on the year. We’re to the point where it’s up to you whether you want to tail or fade these picks. Honestly, I wouldn’t blame you either way.
Something is off in the Matrix. I’m actually about to tout Syracuse. For years, I’ve thought this team was one of the most overrated in the country, much less the ACC. But something happened a couple weeks ago and the Orange have been blitzing teams (the first 40 minutes of the Virginia not withstanding). Pittsburgh on the other hand has beaten North Carolina twice and Boston College while losing to Wake Forest, Miami, and Louisville (twice). Syracuse is closer to Louisville than Boston College and North Carolina.
Pick: Syracuse -6
Last week, I confessed that my kryptonite this season is going to continue to believe in the Tar Heels as, despite them not being good at all, they’re better than they’ve played. Well the cure for what ails you is Miami. While the 5.5 is a lot to ask for, the total looks mighty juicy. The Hurricanes have the 216th defensive efficiency, play the 79th fastest tempo on defense, and are 324th in offensive rebounding percentage allowed. You know what the Tar Heels want to do on offense. That’s right, get up and down the floor and create extra opportunities on the offensive glass. Expect lots of points.
Pick: Over 146.5
Last week, I played the Eagles because I felt they were getting way too many points. They got boat raced. This week, they’re not getting enough points as they host VaTech. The Hokies have gone into Syracuse and Wake Forest coming way with wins of greater than four points, so there’s no reason to believe they can’t do the same thing in Chestnut Hill. But remember, I’m really bad at this.
Pick: VaTech -3.5
As someone who prides himself on being able to stomach taking games under, this game provides a great opportunity to get some value. Just by comparing the KenPom predicted outcome to the vegas odds, the value is squarely on the under. KenPom has an implied score of 57-69 while Vegas predicts 60-69. Basically, the entire point total moved in favor of Clemson. Despite winning three of their last four, the Cardinals in the Yum Center are a different animal. Louisville will want to keep the pace slow, and Clemson won’t be able to speed them up. Neither team shoots a ton of free throws, so freebies will be hard to come by. I think Louisville rolls. 69 will be a rough total for them to get to, so Clemson will thus struggle to get into the upper 50s.
Pick: Under 129
Don’t look now but NC State has the 161st tempo in the country. That’s a far cry from 38th and 39th fastest tempo from 2018 and 2019 respectively. It’s also contributing to lower scoring games. They’ve only gone over this total once in their past five games and that was against Miami who’s giving up points to teams in bunches. Georgia Tech plays faster than they have in recent years and also is prone to turning it over (something NC State preys on), but their 34th ranked defense should be good enough to keep this game from getting out of control.
Pick: Under 141.5
Florida State is the class of the ACC right now. Quietly, they’re 16-2 and haven’t lost since early December. So, that means they get run out of their own gym this weekend, right? Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to college basketball in 2020. No, in all seriousness, outside of a close game with in-state rival Miami last weekend, the ‘Noles have been really good at taking down teams in the ACC’s bottom half. They shouldn’t have any issue with the Irish.
Pick: Florida State -8
What to do about Virginia? I lean the under, because well, I always lean the under in Virginia games. Especially against a team like Wake Forest that likes to play fast on offense. But they’re also prone to turnovers, and in a nice departure from previous UVA teams, this year’s version actually likes to push in transition as opposed to settling into the offense. I could see this game “shooting out.” So, if not the total, what about the spread? I think it’s foolish to pick against Virginia. They’re results at the end of games have been too wonky to think it’ll keep happening. The Hoos have held leads with under five minutes to go too many times for those to regularly come out against them. Plus, while their three point shooting and turnovers have been historically bad, I have to think regression to the mean (albeit a still atrocious mean) will come. Give the Hoos one more three pointer and one less turnover and they win a couple of those games. With only having to get the win, I think the Hoos take care of business.
Pick: Virginia -1
Season Total: ATS (14-17), O/U (3-7), Total (17-24)