Well that didn’t go as planned. In the first week of legal betting in the Commonwealth of Virginia, I gifted you all an 0-6 week (0-4 since we can’t bet on Virginia college teams). You’re welcome. Don’t say you weren’t warned though. Throughout my time writing this column I’ve never shied away from telling you all how bad I am at this. After a week off last week, it’s time get back at it and pad our accounts (for you that may mean doing the opposite of what I do) before some little football game on Sunday.
This Miami team scares me half to death. Once you think you can trust them, they lay a stinker. They are different at home but are coming off a win over Duke. Maybe there is something to a team having a let down after beating Duke? VahTech is coming off a big loss to Pittsburgh so they’ll be looking to bounce back, but Miami is the type of team that doesn’t make it easy on you. But Keve Aluma is playing just too well right now for the Hokies, and I think they can get a bounce-back
Pick: VahTech -4
N.C. State Wolfpack @ Boston College Eagles
KP: Boston College +1, O/U 149
Vegas: Boston College +4, O/U 146.5
The Boston College Eagles aren’t a very good team, but they do play a pretty exciting game of basketball. And if by exciting you mean playing with reckless abandon at both ends of the court. They’re one of the quickest teams in terms of tempo on offense and defense. That will play right into the hands of the NC State Wolfpack who play a relentless pressure defense which can turn into turnovers and points for the Pack. And if the Eagles’ 56% two point percentage is any indication, Manny Bates and D.J. Funderburk should have a field day down low. After playing Virginia, the basket should look huge to the Wolfpack, so I like them to cover here.
Pick: N.C. State -4
Since hosting Virginia as the number one rated defense on KenPom, the Clemson Tigers have proceeded to lose four of six, all of the losses non competitive. Furthermore, they haven’t eclipsed 65 points in any of those games. They’re expected to score 68 in this one per the KenPom projection. The Tigers can muck it up and slow down the fast paced Orange. Syracuse will make you beat them with threes which is something Clemson isn’t great at. That will lead to empty possessions and a low scoring affair.
Pick: Under 135
Pitt is one of those teams that are all over the place. Lose to Notre Dame by 26, beat VahTech by 11. Beat Duke, lose to Wake Forest. their scoring is all over the place as well. We know Virginia likes to score in the sixties, but they’ve got an 80 point output in them. One nugget I’m looking at more and more when it comes to game totals is how a team gets and gives up points at the free throw line. We know Virginia doesn’t get to the line often, so when playing a team that doesn’t commit a lot of fouls, we can bet the game will move quickly without a lot of free points. That’s the case here as Pitt only gives up 17% of their points from the free-throw line. A ten point spread scares me though Virginia can certainly cover. Give me the under.
Pick: Under 127.5
When looking at their results, dare I say it, Duke’s losses haven’t been all that bad. After dropping two early games at home (to Michigan State and Illinois), all their losses in the ACC have come on the road. Plus, they’ve managed to beat Clemson and Georgia Tech at home who are both pretty decent. North Carolina has looked respectable against ok competition. On the year, they only have one KenPom “A” game win and that was Stanford on the first of December. This game is always very wonky and hard to handicap. So give me the home team and I’ll lay the points.
Pick: Duke -3.5
Notre Dame Fighting Irish @ Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
KP: Georgia Tech -3, O/U 143
Vegas: Georgia Tech -4.5, O/U 141.5
On paper this seems like a mismatch with Georgia Tech clearly one of the more competitive teams in the ACC and Notre Dame is everyone’s “get right” game. But the line keeps inching up making me nervous about taking the Yellow Jackets. The Irish have been much more competitive recently, but I’m looking at the total here. Notre Dame doesn’t turn it over and they won’t turn you over. Georgia Tech is one of the steal happiest teams in the country, but the Irish are able to protect the ball. That will limit Georgia Tech’s quick points and this game will be played in the upper sixties.
Pick: Under 141.5
Season Total: ATS (10-12-0), O/U (3-7-1), Total (13-19-1)