The wagering public has had more time to dissect the Friday numbers and they have come up with interesting choices on the Friday afternoon or morning matchups depending on one’s time zone. What did these people see that maybe you didn’t or what do you know something they don’t?
The one contest the public felt the strongest about is the Texas A&M; and Utah State total. At DonBest.com, they show this game opening at 129.5 and have seen it be in free fall down to 125. The reasoning for is not readily apparent, at least by how each team plays. Texas A&M; averages just over 133 total points per game and 129.6 points away from College Station. Utah State is over 136 total points in all games they have played and even higher on the road at 139 exactly.
The general tendency would be to believe the pace will be slowed down for a tournament tilt and the Aggies from Logan, UT are 14-5 UNDER after allowing 30 points or less in the first half in two straight games. Texas A&M; is 11-3 UNDER in road games after one or more consecutive losses. Both are good defensive squads, thus it will be curious to see what occurs.
The Purdue and Siena contest, which will be the first game in Spokane, figured to have movement at least in one direction. All week people have been talking about the Boilermakers lopsided loss to Minnesota in the Big Ten tourney and they will face a veteran Siena team that knocked off higher-seeded teams in each of the last two NCAA tournaments. Purdue opened as five-point favorites and have fallen to four at Sportsbook.com and most other wagering outlets.
Even before Robbie Hummel’s season ending injury, Purdue was not a good wager and is 2-11 ATS having won eight or more of their last 10 games this season. Siena figures to be more focused than they were in MAAC champion game where they had to overcome huge deficit to win over Fairfield 72-65 to survive as nine-point favorites. On the years, the Saints are holier than thou 10-2 ATS after failing to cover the spread.
The total on this 4 vs. 13 encounter has fallen 1.5-points to 130 and this seems a little less certain. If Siena is really ready to pull the upset, the number coming down is justified, as the Saints are 11-4 UNDER having won 12 or more of their last 15 contests. However, the Boilermakers are 14-4 OVER in road games after failing to cover four or five of their last six against the spread.
Many have no idea who Oakland U. is (Summit League champions) and even fewer would know where they are from (Rochester, MI). The Golden Grizzlies are veteran bunch, with two seniors and three juniors in the starting lineup, making their second NCAA appearance in three years. Oakland U. averages 76.8 points per game and the contests they have played that had oddsmakers numbers, they are 10-4 OVER. Why than is the total headed downward against third-seeded Pittsburgh?
Three factors are in play. The Golden Grizzlies played four teams in this tournament, averaging just 54.5 points a contest. The Panthers of Pitt hold opposing teams to 40 percent shooting and neutral court teams off an upset win over a conference rival as an underdog like Oakland, in a game involving two teams with win percentage of 60 to 80 percent, are 46-19 UNDER.
The Cornell story is ideal for the Cinderella in March, their misfortune, at least on the surface is drawing one of the hottest teams in the tournament in Temple. The Owls have flown to 10 consecutive wins (8-2 ATS) in being the A-10 champions for the third year in a row. This doesn’t stop the Big Red from having a chance to pull the upset and lines are trending towards university from Ithaca, NY. No one is going to confuse the Ivy League with the Atlantic 10, especially this season. Yet this isn’t your grandpa’s Cornell club. The Big Red shoot the ball expertly (48.1 percent) and drain the three-ball at 43.4 percent rate. They also have a rarity, a 7’0 center in Jeff Foote, who’s a solid player.
No question Temple deserves all the accolades coming their way, however one aspect deserves a further look. In common opponents this season, Cornell is 5-3 SU & ATS, with +2.9 scoring margin. The Owls against these same opponents are 7-2, with 4-5 ATS record and score differential of +5.9. The public might be on to something.
Missouri and Clemson are essentially mere images of one another, pressing teams that love to force turnovers and disrupt opponents into numerous miscues. Mizzou has veterans from last year’s Elite 8 club and they force 10.9 steals and 20 turnovers per contest, leading the nation in both categories. The Tigers of Clemson are ninth in the country in steals at 9.6 per game and they convert on seven shots from beyond the arc. Missouri also is not afraid to launch the three ball either, making eight of their own an outing.
The total opened at 138 and is up 2.5-points. With both teams ability to force turnovers, that usually leads to points. Each has faced a pressing defense in practice all season and should know how to attack once they break the press, taking the ball to the basket. Missouri is 10-1 OVER in last 11 NCAA battles and Clemson is 24-10 OVER after two or more consecutive Under’s.