Two weeks going the wrong direction. Now nine games under 0.500 and something has to change. Upon further review, however, I’m only two games under 0.500 against the spread. It’s the totals that are killing me. Totals have usually been a strong point for me, but perhaps this year there is much more inconsistency in how teams are playing. I’m going to keep that in mind as we try to finish the year out strong.
Florida State returns to action after a two-week COVID pause, their second of the season. It will be interesting to see how they come back. I looked at the season to determine how long pauses have affected ACC teams and confirmed my hunch, that they struggle in their first game back. I’ve counted ten COVID pauses (10 days or more) across nine ACC teams (NC State twice) and teams have lost their first game against back (against D-1 competition) seven times. Of the wins, Virginia beat William and Mary before being destroyed by Gonzaga while Georgia Tech beat Clemson but had been practicing because their COVID pause was extended due to NC State. Then there’s Florida State, the only team to come off pause and look good, beating NC State 105-73. I don’t think that happens again. Florida State should win the game, but Wake could be sneaky enough to keep it under double digits.
Pick: Wake Forest +13.5
Boston College is a mess. I’ve kept waiting for them to figure some things out as I really like some of their pieces, Steffon Mitchell, CJ Felder, and Jay Heath. But it just hasn’t happened. Syracuse is fighting for an NCAA Tournament spot and can’t afford a loss in a game like this. They should be solid back in the dome after being away for the last two games and even though twelve is a big number, I can still swallow it.
Pick: Syracuse -11.5
Duke Blue Devils @ N.C. State Wolfpack
KP: N.C. State +2, O/U 150
Vegas: N.C. State +3, O/U 149
Speaking of waiting for it to come together, I thought last week was going to be a good week for Blue Devils going up against UNC. Clearly we’ll have to wait until they play the Cavaliers for Duke to put it together. However, the good thing about Duke is the world expects them to turn it around as well, so we are getting a decent number here.
Pick: NC State +3
Contrary to wanting to stay away from Totals, I just can’t help myself when it comes to the Virginia/UNC game. Every year when they play North Carolina, it’s the same story. UNC wants to play fast, UVA wants to play slow. And every year it’s the same thing as Roy Williams and (insert fast playing point guard) walk away frustrated that despite running into a brick wall over and over again, they couldn’t knock it down. Kihei Clarke and Reece Beekman should be able to contain Caleb Love and the Tar Heel attack while Sam Hauser and Jay Huff can keep the North Carolina bigs away from the offensive glass and limit second chance opportunities. When Virginia has the ball, I think they create some matchup problems by being able to draw Garrison Brooks, Armando Bacot, and Day’Ron Sharpe away from the basket. The implied score is 68-62. UNC has struggled to get into the 60’s against the Hoos in recent years and this year could be much of the same.
Pick: Under 129.5
Season Total: ATS (11-13-1), O/U (3-10-1), Total (14-23-1)