Extreme Teams In College Hoops



It's time to start transitioning toward college basketball and NBA coverage here in the web articles. I'll still preview what the sharps are thinking about all the upcoming NFL games every weekend. Early each week, I'll be focusing on basketball.

If you're like most Las Vegas and Reno bettors, you're just now starting to pay attention to college basketball. It's mostly a sharp betting sport only in November and December. I always encourage my clients to play aggressively in those months. Many just can't focus on hoops when college football is still going on. Well, college football ENDED last Thursday when Alabama beat Texas. Get focused on hoops!

I was looking at pointspread performances over this past weekend. A few teams really jumped out as 'extreme' teams in terms of their records against the spread. I wanted to highlight some of those for you today. There are actually several (a few dozen) teams on the big board who have either covered or failed to cover about two thirds of their games. It's a big board in college hoops, so that happens every year. It's important for you to realize that oddsmakers and sharps can't possibly be in synch with every board team. Some fall through the cracks. Here's a list of teams who have either been much better or much worse than expectations through this past Saturday's action.

*ST. MARY'S: It's hard to believe that a team could be 12-1 ATS in its first 13 games of the season. You'd think the line would catch up eventually! It hasn't yet for this group. St. Mary's has been money in the bank since the very start of the season. Everybody pays attention to Gonzaga in this league (the West Coast Conference). Portland was getting a lot of run early as a team to watch as well. St. Mary's just kept right on covering spreads because the focus was elsewhere.

You'd think the line would catch up soon. It's bound too. People thought that at 3-0 ATS...and 6-1 ATS...and when conference play began. St. Mary's opened with a 21-point win over San Francisco as just an 11-point favorite.

*NORTHERN IOWA: We move to the Missouri Valley conference for another hot team. Northern is 11-3 ATS this season, and an amazing 5-0 ATS in conference action. This league started early. Northern is at the head of the class right now with an undefeated record straight up in the Mo. Valley, 14-1 overall for the year.

How dominant has this team been? Their last two wins were by double digits on the road, as underdogs! They also beat respected Creighton on the road as a dog awhile back. People knew they'd be good. But, THIS good? That's caught everyone in Nevada by surprise.

There's a lot to like about the Missouri Valley this year. Northern Iowa is at the top of the list.

*IOWA: We turn things around now and look at one of Northern Iowa's earlier victims. The Iowa Hawkeyes have fallen on hard times in an improving big Ten. Iowa has covered just 20% of their board games so far this season...witting at 3-12 ATS through the weekend.

I think oddsmakers knew early on these guys would be in trouble. They put some lines on the board that were very out-of-character for past Iowa squads. It didn't matter! Iowa couldn't cover them anyway. If you haven't been paying attention to college hoops for awhile, you might be surprised to learn that Iowa has been a double digit underdog in all four of their conference games to this point. They're 1-3 ATS against those high numbers.

It's important to remember that, whenever a conference takes a big step forward, there's usually somebody who gets left behind. You can make a lot of money going against that left behind team. Iowa is in big trouble this year in terms of trying to win games. They may eventually offer betting value because the lines will continue to rise, but the Big Ten powers will be prone to slack off against the Hawkeyes so they can be at peak intensity for contenders. Watch this group carefully. Teams who are 3-12 ATS after 15 board games usually aren't 6-24 ATS after 30.

*WASHINGTON: This has been one of the huge surprises out West. Washington was supposed to be a team to watch this year. Maybe they will be come March. Right now, they're underachieving expectations to an extreme degree. The Huskies went 2-10 ATS to start the season. Remember that pointspread results are the best definition of 'underrated' and 'overrated' because pointspreads reflect how you're 'rated' by analysts of the game.

In Washington's last home game (Oregon), the Huskies lost by 11 points when they were supposed to win by 11 points.

This was supposed to be a down year in the Pac 10 overall, helping launch a decent Washington team to a great record. Washington's mostly turned out to be another disappointment:

*THE IVY LEAGUE TRIPLE: The Ivy League doesn't play as many board games early in the season because of the focus on academics. They prepare for conference play by mostly taking on very small programs you're not familiar with. There are a few teams who have jumped out as extremes in early action though.

Cornell 9-3 ATS
Dartmouth 1-4 ATS
Penn 0-6 ATS

You may have watched Cornell give a thrill to #1 Kansas a few days ago. You at least saw highlights of the game. Cornell is one of the most dangerous Ivy League teams we've seen in a few years. The legal betting markets were aware of Cornell, but have been very slow to react their true quality. These guys will be a real Cinderella threat in March if they stay healthy.

Dartmouth just fired its coach last week. It was rumored that the players were going to boycott if he wasn't let go! How often do you hear something like that at a staid Ivy League school?

Pennsylvania is the team that everyone used to be afraid of in the Ivy League. That's not the case any more. They've fallen on very hard times. The markets have been very slow to react to how bad this team really is.

Folks, there are edges you can exploit all over the board in terms of overrated and underrated teams if you're willing to do the work and pay close attention to developments. If you're not, sign up with somebody who is!


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