Three weeks in and I’m unable to break the .500 mark for a given week much less for the year. Sitting at 7 games under .500, you’re making money if you just do the opposite of these picks. Good on you if you are, but I’m hoping to get back closer to even with another seven games of ACC action.
Here’s a classic example of two teams who want to get up and down the court on offense, but don’t mind defending for most of the shot clock on defense. It also presents a challenge when looking at totals. But I’m going with the under. The Hokies are a much different offensive team away from home, and NC State will be willing to let VaTech slow this game down. I will warn you, if this goes over it will turn out to be something like 86-81.
Pick: Under 146.5
I just can't seem to get this Louisville team correct. Their games tend to be either high scoring affairs because Louisville can’t defend or low scoring contests because Louisville can’t score. In both cases the other team is just obliged to take what the Cardinals give them. Wake Forest has been really strong at home coming up with 23 and 19 point wins against teams from the Commonwealth, Virginia Tech and Virginia. They’re only close ACC win in Winston-Salem was over a Miami team who I think is really good. I’m inclined to lay the points with Wake, but too many crazy things can happen when games aren’t competitive. Instead I’m going to look at the under. Even the implied total suggests Wake Forest scores around 84 points. That’s a lot and I’m willing to bet they’ll get close to that number, but Louisville won’t hold up their end of the bargain.
Pick: Under 152.5
Last week, I mistakingly went against my priors and picked the Hokies to cover over the Hurricanes. I was wrong to go against my belief that Miami is a much better team than they’ve shown so far this season, thus creating value when they’re getting points against inferior teams. Syracuse is one of those inferior teams. As we saw when the Orange went against the Tar Heels last week, Syracuse can get decimated on the boards and they’re susceptible to three point shooting. I expect Miami’s guards, Nijel Pack and Wood Poplar to have their way while Norchad Omier can dominate down low.
Pick: Miami +1
Last week, I loved one pick and it was the North Carolina vs Syracuse over, and I was right. The rationale was UNC had faced three straight teams whose defenses slow down other offenses. Enter a Syracuse team that is a sieve on defense and the game soared over. The same happened this week when UNC faced Louisville. But after facing two teams that rank in the top 100 in defensive tempo, the Tar Heels hit the road to face a Boston College team back in the bottom 200 in defensive tempo. While Boston College has been scoring more this season, UNC can and will lock them down on defense (relatively) and this one stays under the number.
Pick: Under 154.5
Don’t look now, but Florida State is 5-1 in conference having just taken down Miami in Coral Gables. Clemson, meanwhile hasn’t shown yet why they were picked as a trendy pick to enter the ACC’s top 4, but they’re still a really solid team. I expect a back and forth game that will come down the final minutes. It’s because of that, I lean over.
Pick: Over 151.5
I’m not so naive to think Virginia’s win over VaTech all of a sudden means this team has woken up, but I liked what I saw and Dante Harris’ return can’t be overstated. He takes so much pressure off Reece Beekman both defensively and handling the ball that it was clear he was missed. In recent road game swoons, the Hoos have been undone by teams getting hot from three. The Yellow Jackets are shooting at less than a 32% clip. So while I’ve now jinxed the Hoos and Georgia Tech will shoot 13 for 18 from deep, the probabilities say that won’t happen.
Pick: Virginia -1.5
Pittsburgh Panthers @ Duke Blue Devils
KP: Duke -13, O/U 143
Draftkings: Duke -13, O/U 141.5
These two met just 11 days ago in Pittsburgh, in a game the Blue Devils won easily. Pitt couldn’t get anything going offensively, but I expect a different story this time around. Duke is almost a given to score 75-80 points, especially at home, so as long as the Panther’s are able to put up even a modest amount of offense, this total looks to be a little low.
Pick: Over 141.5
Season Total: ATS (3-6-0), O/U (3-7-0), Total (6-13-0)