When I sit down to begin my handicapping for the weeks games, I start with the KenPom prediction. And upon first look, every single ACC game outside of Virginia vs. Duke had a predicted total in the 140’s. I started to salivate. However, predictions are one thing, lines are another. Lo and behold however, we’re getting almost every total in the 140s, something I love to see. Since I love Virginia, I’m allergic to high scoring basketball games. But since that’s the complete opposite of just about every college basketball fan, there’s value to be had on the under. This week is no different.
148 would be an instant take on the under, but here at 144.5, I still like it. For this to hit over with the spread, Pitt would have to score over 75 points, something they’ve only done once on the road all year. Florida State is the type of team that will let a team score that much, but I just don’t see it happening. While I’d feel a little more comfortable with this total higher than 145, I still think this game can come close to the upper 130’s like the last time these two faced off.
Pick: Under 144.5
An all under week? Not so fast. Boston College is usually known for slowing you down and mucking it up, but they’ve shown recently that they can keep up with teams scoring. NC State will want to push and should be able to get close to their tempo. Further, I like teams to fare better offensively the game after they play against Virginia, so NC State should find an easier time scoring against the Eagles. I’ll zag here and take an over.
Pick: Over 140
Teams with below average pace, check. Neither teams excels on the offensive glass, check. Neither team turns it over, check. Neither team turns you over, check. This game has all the makings for an under. Given the keys above, I am surprised each team is able to score like they do. But that just tells me they’re ok playing the other teams’ tempo. Expect a lot of single-shot possessions and for the game clock to move quickly. Both teams are capable of getting hot from three, but unless they do that, 143 is too high.
Pick: Under 143
Total or the points? Total or the points? Why is UNC favored by seven here? It’s just too many points. Clemson probably isn’t the best team in the ACC as their conference standing suggests, but they’re certainly not worthy of getting seven against a middle of the pack ACC team. But once again, I’m looking at the total here. North Carolina just isn’t the free and loose offensive juggernaut we’re used to seeing. Sure, they’re still really good down low and good at generating second chance points, but I have a hard time trusting them in high total games as they’re shooting just 30% from three. Clemson’s defense forces their opponents into taking 41% of their shots from beyond the arc, so if they can do that to UNC and the Heel’s aren’t hitting, this one won't get too out of hand.
Pick: Under 149.5
Now, for the only game with a KenPom total prediction not in the 140s. Duke travels to Virginia in a game that doesn’t have the luster it’s had in recent years. In big games, Duke has been able to play lower scoring affairs, but it’s not necessarily due to their improved defense. This Duke team struggles to score. However, this isn’t a Virginia team that’s beating teams with their defense (unless you’re NC State who ran the “I’m going keep trying to play fast and run into this brick wall and see if anything changes” offense). Duke will be able to get theirs. Kyle Filipowski, despite shooting 28% from three on the year, will manage to can six triples, but Virginia will be able to keep up. A spread around six opens the door for foul shots at the end, so I think this one goes over.
Pick: Over 126
At Wake -13, this outcome has to be 80-67 or so. Georgia Tech has scored more than 67 points just three times all year in ACC and one of those came in overtime (the other two were in games they won). Wake on the other hand can score, but with a spread over double digits against a team that won’t push tempo and will struggle scoring themselves, I like the under. Like the Duke/Virginia game above, the point differential can make a huge difference in late game fouling situations. In a 4-8 point game, expect lots of fouling. On the flip side, in blowouts teams usually play out the final couple minutes of game time once the game is in hand. Given the 13 point spread and a total near 150, I like this game to stay under.
Pick: Under 147.5
Here we have another high total with a double digit favorite. And just like Georgia Tech, Louisville struggles to score. Miami will in this one going away. They’ll score close to 80, but Louisville will have a hard time breaking 63-64. We cap off the day with another game under.
Pick: Under 147.5
Season Total: ATS (8-11-0), O/U (18-19-0), Total (26-30-0)