Biggest College Moneymakers
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With Oddsmaker Nick Bogdanovich
TIME TO CHECK IN ON THE BEST ATS COLLEGE TEAMS
It's been awhile since we looked in on the best college basketball teams against the spread this season. I have to say that oddsmakers have done a pretty good job this year up and down the card. But, all of the following snuck through the cracks and posted very good records against the spread.
GEORGE MASON 21-5
This one's just amazing. Nobody should be able to cover more than 80% of the time through that many games! Mason is very good this year, and will certainly have a chance to make some headlines in the NCAA Tournament again. It was five years ago when they made it all the way to the Final Four. I'm not saying this team is that good. But, they're certainly much better than oddsmakers, sharps, squares, cocktail waitresses, janitors, and anyone else in a sportsbook realized. How can a well-known program like this fall through the cracks? The market lost sight of the Colonial Conference because other mid majors were getting more media attention back when the season started.
The Longhorns are at 74% covers even after losing outright last weekend to Nebraska. They bounced back with a blowout of Iowa State a few days later. Oddsmakers have been trying to get the number right ever since Texas won at Kansas. But, no matter how high they went, the Horns had a way of clearing the hurdle. This team has a great defense, and has a real shot to go all the way in my view. Of course, you can say that about several teams this year.
Here's another big name program in a power conference that's been covering spreads. That record equates to 68% success vs. the number even though the Boilermakers were ranked and highly regarded coming into the season. Ohio State's long undefeated run took the media spotlight off Purdue. You'll find today that it's a lot of second and third best teams in a league posting the best numbers. George Mason is an exception. Texas may or may not be better than Kansas...but the thought coming into the season was that Kansas would be better. When Purdue lost Robbie Hummel again, expectations were lowered too much.
INDIANA STATE 18-10
Where did these guys come from? Even when people talk about the Missouri Valley this year, they focus on Wichita State and Missouri State. Larry Bird's old school is the one that was making all the money against Vegas expectations though. State enters the final weekend of regular season play in the MVC sitting in third place in the straight up standings behind those two more publicized teams.
Back to the Big Ten for a feisty team that's lost a lot of heartbreakers. I can't believe Wisconsin BANKED IN a three-pointer to beat them straight up Wednesday Night. Kansas had to go overtime to win in Ann Arbor. Ohio State had their hands full too. Michigan should have a good enough record to get into the NIT. Maybe the fates will smile on them at that time...giving backers a few more games to invest in a squad that's 67% against the Vegas number.
COLORADO STATE 16-8
Once again we see the third best team in a mid-major sneaking through. You've heard a lot about BYU and San Diego State this year (and they play Saturday in a game that could have an influence on NCAA seeding). Colorado State's covered two-thirds of their games because nobody's paying attention to the Rams. I had them plus the points against BYU for a winner Wednesday Night. I'll be looking to ride the Rams in the Mountain West tournament too.
The ACC has been pushed off the airwaves this year by the big season from the Big East, and the big stories in the Big Ten. Duke is still great, but oddsmakers know that. North Carolina has made a run. But, it's Virginia that's been the best team against expectations in the storied conference.
We wrap it up with a team that's as far off the basketball map as you can get. Utah State gets what limited coverage there is in the WAC. Idaho is another non-leader in a mid major that's cashing tickets. Remember this next year, and forever-after...the sweet spot for great ATS records is just below the conference leaders. It's tough to make money with the best teams a conference unless oddsmakers have really missed the boat. Just below them is where the value lies.
I'm very excited about this weekend's college basketball card because I see value all over the board. You swept the board with me Wednesday Night. I'll try to do the same for you Friday Night as we build our bankrolls for Saturday and Sunday. Those two days will feature some of my biggest releases of the entire season because of the dynamics in play. We have conference wars...bubble games...season finale's in some of the mid majors...and certainly several message-sending games that will be nationally televised.
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