What a great weekend ahead! Besides having the latest info on line moves for the Super Bowl 50, we have today’s action, plus a look at what might be the best Saturday in college basketball this season with big games and a prime time NBA affair the same night. Take a minute to review all the betting trends and our free picks (Slight leans no longer graded), which are 24-18 recently, to see what we are thinking. See you back here Monday.
NBA – (851) MIAMI at (852) CHARLOTTE 7:05 ET SUN, FSSE
Actually, this line move is more about Kemba Walker being upgraded to ‘Probable’ after missing last game. Charlotte opened at – 1 and with the news Walker was a go, this number jumped to -2.5 and within 30 minutes was up to -3.5. Both teams are in good form with Miami having 5-1 SU and ATS and the Hornets at 5-2 SU and ATS, but being able to catch the hook with the Heat has me leaning that direction.
Betting Trend – 74% backing Miami
Doug’s VPID Take – Lean Miami
NBA – (857) L.A. CLIPPERS at (858) ORLANDO 7:05 ET PRIME, FSFL
With Orlando at home, sports bettors are counting on Orlando’s offense and not very defensive in moving the total up two points to 206.5. The average total score of an Orlando game has been 217.5 points in their last seven, with almost no defense being played. That has not been the case for the L.A. Clippers, who in that same span of contests has allowed 95.4 points a game. So what wins out? The Clippers offense takes what the Magic give and Orlando moves to 11-1 OVER at home after allowing 105 points or more in two straight games the last three seasons.
Betting Trend – 74% backing Over
Doug’s VPID Take – Play Over
CBB – (871) COLUMBIA at (872) YALE 5:00 ET FS1
Not many might realize this is for sole possession of first place in the Ivy League with a pair of 4-0 teams. Oddsmakers made Yale a 6.5 point favorite and they have been pushed to -8. In researching the numbers, the Bulldogs shoot at a higher percentage and play better defense, plus have covered 11 of 12 on Friday nights, a traditional Ivy hoops night. However, I’m thinking the other way since Big Red averages 10 three’s game and is 18-5 ATS as a road underdog of 6.5 to 9 points.
Betting Trend – 57% backing Columbia
Doug’s VPID Take – Columbia covers
CBB – (525) VIRGINIA at (526) PITTSBURGH 12:00 ET W-ESPN
Both clubs has three ACC losses and are trying to catch North Carolina who is 8-1 in the ACC. Virginia has won five in a row (1-4 ATS) and is starting to look like a Tony Bennett team on both ends of the floor. After looking so sharp early, Pittsburgh’s offense has become widely inconsistent.
Anticipated Line – Virginia by 1-3 points
Doug’s VPID Take – Lean Virginia (at these numbers)
CBB – (573) VILLANOVA at (574) PROVIDENCE 2:30 ET FS1
Big East has been a good league all year and Villanova is trying to work their way to a top seed for the tournament. The Wildcats only conference loss has been to Providence and now they have to go to their joint. The Friars were caught looking ahead to this matchup, losing this week at DePaul, but comes in 6-1 ATS off a spread loss.
Anticipated Line – Villanova by 4-6 points
Doug’s VPID Take – Lean Providence
CBB – (589) FLORIDA at (590) KENTUCKY 4:00 ET CBS
The loser could be out in chasing the SEC title, in what has become the premier rivalry in the league. Kentucky plays much better at home at 12-0 (6-6 ATS), winning by 17.1 PPG. Though Florida has slipped the last couple years and is only 2-5 on the road, they have covered five times and are 5-0 ATS off a spread setback.
Anticipated Line – Kentucky by 4-6 points
Doug’s VPID Take – Lean Kentucky
CBB – (597) PURDUE at (598) MARYLAND 4:00 ET ESPN
Both these Big Ten combatants are trying to hunt down Indiana and Iowa and the winner stays in the chase. Maryland is unbeaten at home (12-0 and 5-7 ATS) and has the size to take away what Purdue tries to accomplish in the paint, along with better overall guard play. The Boilermakers have to control tempo and run efficient offense to pull upset.
Anticipated Line – Maryland by 4-6 points
Doug’s VPID Take – Lean Maryland
CBB – (607) ARIZONA at (608) WASHINGTON 4:30 ET FOX
Everyone is trying to track down Oregon, which includes these two clubs. Arizona has been a funny team all year, but should have a presumably rusty Allonzo Trier back. Washington has been a great surprise in the Pac-12 and with how they love to run, this will be high octane affair.
Anticipated Line – Arizona by 3-5 points
Doug’s VPID Take – Lean Washington
CBB – (639) NORTH CAROLINA at (640) NOTRE DAME 5:00 ET ESPN
These ACC foes both run efficient offenses which score over 78 PPG. Each team is off a loss in which they were off kilter offensively and did not play with passion on defense. The matchups favor North Carolina even on the road. Should be close until the last four minutes.
Anticipated Line – North Carolina by 1-3 points
Doug’s VPID Take – North Carolina covers
NBA – (519) OKLAHOMA CITY at (520) GOLDEN STATE 9:05 ET ABC
By any NBA aficionado’s thinking, these are two of the top four teams in the league, who also happen to be the two best scoring squads in the league. The stars will be out in the sky and on the court, as Oklahoma City tries to end Golden State’s 22-game home winning streak (11-10-1 ATS) this season. The Thunder are frequent road favorites, but are only 1-3 SU and ATS when catching points. Warriors have come up big in big games.
Anticipated Line – Golden State by 7-9 points
Doug’s VPID Take – Lean Golden State
SB50 – (101) CAROLINA vs. (102) DENVER 6:30 ET CBS
As has become the norm, the actual starting point of the Super Bowl line has become murky, with lots of reports, presumably all factual, but the playing field is not level. In doing our best to find the facts, sportsbooks who wanted the first number out, they made Carolina a 5.5-point favorite. (Interesting to note, one unnamed oddsmaker was quoted as saying “Carolina would have been -3.5 (over Denver), but was moved to -5.5 after blowing out Arizona, to feed public perception.”)
Later, after the books took bets from limited bettors, with limits on wagers made, the “official” line was Carolina -4, with a total of 45.
Not unexpected, Carolina has been bet up to -6 at most wagering outlets. Early betting like this is usually what books call “squares” or normal bettors who prefer favorites and OVER’s on totals. In checking, most sportsbooks were primarily taking Panthers money, which has forced the books to keep raising the number, with nearly 80 percent of bets placed on Ron Rivera’s club the first week.
The two driving forces are the perception Carolina is the better team and Cam Newton is the superior quarterback. Impossible to argue with either situation and let’s remember Denver was fortunate to get top seed, with New England losing at Miami in Week 17 and the Broncos pulling off a rare victory over San Diego that same day in spite of -4 turnover differential.
With the Panthers this large a favorite, many sharps were sitting on the sidelines hoping the number went to 6.5 or 7, looking to get Denver at that price, which would seem to be great value, considering they have the NFL’s best defensive team. This also set up the potential to be on both sides of a key number like 6.
Regardless, people are suckers for a good story and with Peyton Manning expected to retire, having this kind of defense, backed with sentiment of -fairy tale- ending, just like the person who brought him in to play quarterback, John Elway, this will be too good for many to pass up and look for closing number of -4.5 or -5.
The total’s open of 45 had seen a minor push to 45.5, which was anticipated. Since, 45 is where 70 percent of the books are. The total is a function of how you view the game. If you prefer Denver, chances are the UNDER is more appealing because of their defense, how they are expected to run the ball and Carolina’s stop troops also being exceptional.
If you like Carolina, hard to ignore 13-5 OVER record, with the No.1 scoring offense and check this out: The Panthers are 7-0 OVER after a game with a turnover margin of +2 or better this season and what we found fascinating is they allowed 22.6 PPG in those contests. Update – As of Friday, the number has settled at 5.5 and we expect the game time number to 5, with total at either 45 or 44.5.
Betting Trend – 67% backing Carolina and 65% on Over
Doug’s VPID Take – Carolina covers and Over
Public Consensus Record – 51% to 79% – 3-2
Public Consensus Record – 80% or Higher – 1-2