Is Butler a Public Team?

Tony Salinas: Is Butler a Public Team?

You wouldn't normally think of Butler as a team that the general public would bet with too much enthusiasm. But, back-to-back trips to the Final Four may have caused this team to be overrated in 2011-12 heading into Wednesday's national TV game against #8 Xavier.

Why do I say that?

Butler hasn't covered a game yet this season!

This is a new-look team that's going to have to rebuild on the fly if they want to make it back to March Madness this season. Things have been very iffy out of the gate.

  • Butler (-3.5) lost to Evansville 80-77 in overtime to start the season. That's the same Evansville team that North Carolina annihilated Tuesday Night. North Carolina was favored by 24 in that game...which gives you a sense of how far away Butler is from this year's superpowers at the moment.

  • Butler (-13.5) beat Tennessee-Chattanooga 57-46. That's not a very good opponent, and the double digit win for Butler wasn't enough to cover the Vegas spread.

  • Butler (+4) lost to Louisville 69-53 at home. Yes, a HOME game saw a 16-point loss against a top national opponent. Some casual fans were surprised Butler was getting so little respect at home. They had to shield their eyes when things got ugly in the second half.

  • In a non-board game, Butler actually fell behind Gardner-Webb 50-35 at halftime before rallying to win by two points. At home! Against Gardner Webb!

  • Butler (+13.5) lost at Indiana 75-59. At least the Vegas lines are getting closer. And, Indiana is a program that's quickly gotten better. Butler's way behind the Hoosiers at the moment after enjoying a couple of seasons as the best team in the state.

  • Butler (-5) lost at home to Valparaiso 77-71 in overtime. So, another poor home result...and another game where Butler was overpriced by the market.

Overall, we're looking at five board games for Butler, and an 0-5 record ATS. The team is clearly way behind the sports elite right now...and even grades out worse than Evansville and Valpo in seasons where those two teams aren't supposed to be dangerous mid-majors.

Maybe Wednesday's game with Xavier will turn out to be a confidence builder for this young team. Or, maybe this is the game that dooms them to a long season of disappointment. I may have this game as part of my selection mix tonight. It's a very busy Wednesday...and my clients only get the exact same games I'm betting the biggest myself (I'm also looking at Arizona/Florida, Colorado State/Duke, Alabama//Dayton, Georgia Tech/Georgia, and Wichita State/Tulsa by the way).

I can tell you that I'll be watching Xavier/Butler on the big screens here in Vegas to get a read on what Butler's going to look like the rest of the way. The Braves will be on the board FOUR more times between now and Christmas:

Saturday: at Ball State
Dec. 17: versus Purdue
Dec. 20: at Gonzaga
Dec. 22: at Stanford

Then conference play in the Horizon League will begin in the week between Christmas and New Year's. If oddsmakers can't get this team figured out, the value could hold true very deep into the season. Remember that a lot of new bettors hit the boards once the football bowls end. They're not going to realize how bad Butler has gotten either if this slump continues.

Oh...I have a list of about five or six teams who are just like Butler in terms of being overrated by the market because of past successes. And, I have another half-dozen or so who are being underrated because they've gotten good while everyone still remembers their down phases from the past few seasons.  

You can always purchase my best basketball plays a few hours before tipoff here at the website. If you're ready to sign up for the full season, call my handicapping office at 1-888-536-8880. I have great rates on two-sport combination packages. This is the ideal week to try out the baskets because Wednesday's schedule is loaded and Saturday's college slate is absolutely off the charts.

Butler sure had a fantastic run there for a few years. And, this sharp young head coach may have them playing competitive ball again very soon. Or, maybe this is the year he'll take his lumps before building a better team next season. You don't have to worry about rebuilding years with me. You're always GETTING THE BEST OF IT with TONY SALINAS!

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