Teddy_Covers's Blog

Posted Monday, March 17, 2014 04:36 AM

Vegas Wiseguy Report: Big Dance First Take

We’ve got brackets to break down!  I’ll offer a quick take on the 28 matchups already set for Thursday and Friday.  Games are listed in rotation order.

The A-10 got a handful of mediocre teams like Dayton into the NCAA Tournament mix, but the Flyers will certainly be looking forward to a matchup against an Ohio State team that has repeatedly avoided them in non-conference play.  The Buckeyes enter the tourney on an 0-6 ATS run; just 4-11 ATS in their last 15 tries as chalk.

Syracuse, too, was a pointspread disaster area down the stretch, cashing only one winning bet in their last eight ballgames.  But Western Michigan’s only win against an NCAA Tournament team came on the opening night of the season, back on November 8th, when they beat New Mexico State.

Phil Martelli’s St Joseph’s team hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game since 2004, when Jameer Nelson and Delonte West were his starting guards.  UConn is a Top 10 team for free throw shooting percentage; always key in this ‘short favorite’ pointspread range.

Villanova went 21-9 ATS this season, the third best pointspread team in the tournament field – only Wichita State and Tulsa had better spread records.  Wisconsin-Milwaukee earned their Big Dance bid the hard way, winning SU on the road at Green Bay and then at Wright State in the Horizon League ... [More]

Posted Monday, March 10, 2014 02:51 AM

Wiseguy Report: NCAA Conference Tourney's

The Big Dance gets all the headlines; all the media attention.  And it makes sense why that happens.  College basketball is way too big for the average fan.  More than 350 teams in more than 30 conferences are simply too much for non-hardcore hoops aficionados to handle.

And then there’s the bracket factor.  The entire country fills out brackets.  They’re easy to fill out, the seedings make sense to Joe Public, and after the first round, most of the ‘obscure’ teams are gone.  Those ‘obscure’ teams that survive are now public darlings, Cinderalla stories that casual fans can understand and follow.

Forget fans – I’m no ‘casual fan’, and if you’re reading this, you probably aren’t either.  We’re sports bettors.  And for serious college basketball bettors, there’s absolutely no comparison between this week and next week.  This week, we’ve got dozens of ‘Little Dances’, the conference tournaments that are a sports bettors dream.  Next week, for the Big Dance, it’s still a betting bonanza, but not quite as good.  Here are my Top 6 reasons why.

More Games

The Big Dance, start to finish, consists of 67 games.  Once the opening weekend is done and we’ve got a three day break before the Sweet 16, only 15 NCAA Tournament games still remain.  Serious bettors always want more ... [More]

Posted Monday, March 03, 2014 03:41 AM

Who Has What it Takes? (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this article last week, I took a basic look at the profile of the past 16 NCAA champions.  From that profile, I was able to make a ‘short list’ of potential champs in 2014, consisting of the following 18 teams: Cincinnati, Louisville, Virginia, Syracuse, Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, Iowa St, Creighton, Villanova, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Arizona, UCLA, Florida and Kentucky.

However, since last week, two of those 18 teams have been bounced from consideration, including one of the co- favorites at any sportsbook in Vegas – John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats.  Kentucky lost two straight last week; Iowa has lost three of their last four.  Both teams are now above the seven loss cut-off line and can be eliminated. 

The next step in the elimination process is to look at the team’s records away from home.

The NCAA championship is not won on a team’s home floor.  Even with a favorable location one weekend, a team is still going to have to win four ‘neutral site’ games in order to cut down the nets in Arlington on April 7th.  And the best predictive evidence that I’ve seen for future success in neutral or hostile environments is previous success is neutral or hostile environments.  

In most years, we’ll find a sub .500 road record or two among the list... [More]

Posted Monday, February 24, 2014 09:50 AM

Who Has What it Take To Win the Big Dance?

Who Has What It Takes to Win the Big Dance in 2014?

Part 1

 History shows us many things about what it takes to be a champion.  I write this article every year, and every year except for one, I have been able to identify the eventual NCAA national champion among my elite level teams. 

Last year was no exception.  Here’s what I wrote about Louisville in my ‘Who Has What It Takes’ article from 2013: “The Cardinals have star power, depth, experience and talent.  They rebound, play defense and win games consistently away from home.  Rick Pitino’s squad meets all the criteria that has been effective at predicting past championship.  Plain and simple, Louisville has what it takes to win it all.”  Louisville, of course, was the last team standing in the 68 team field last year, winning the national championship over Michigan.

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Posted Monday, February 10, 2014 03:21 AM

Vegas Wiseguy Report: NCAA Bottom Feeders

Last week I wrote about the four best pointspread teams in the country in college hoops this year – Cleveland State, Villanova, Wichita State and Utah.  Between the four, they combined to go 7-1 ATS over the past week, continuing to cover spreads even after doing so consistently for the past three months. In other words, the markets still haven’t caught up with these teams.

This week, I’m taking the opposite approach; examining the very worst pointspread teams in all of college basketball.  Why are they so bad against the spread?  Will they continue to be money losers as February rolls into March? And what statistical profile do these teams have in common that will help us identify them as early as possible next year?  Let’s take a look!

I did a version of this column last year at this same time (second week of February).  At that time, the single worst pointspread team in all of college basketball was Indiana- Purdue Indianapolis, abbreviated IUPUI.  This year, IUPUI isn’t the single worst pointspread team in college hoops only because they’re tied with South Alabama and LaSalle at the bottom of the ATS standings.

This isn’t supposed to happen.  In theory, the betting markets are going to gradually de-value squads that aren’t covering pointspreads, making it highly unlikely that the same team can be an absolute bottom feed... [More]

Posted Monday, February 03, 2014 10:22 AM

Vegas Wiseguy Report: NCAA Hoop ATS Elites

The Super Bowl is in the rear view mirror after Sunday’s huge Seattle blowout, which can only mean one thing – college hoops is on center stage for the next eight weeks.  I’ve been writing game previews for ESPN.com/Insider, but I’ve yet to write a true ‘college basketball overview’ column so far this season.  It’s time!

I’m going take a look at the four very best ‘regular board’ pointspread teams in the country in this week’s column.   Elite level teams aren’t necessarily pointspread winners, and bottom feeders can cash ticket after ticket if the betting markets set numbers that allow them to hang within the number as big underdogs.  And the very best pointspread teams tend to be under-the-radar type squads, like the single best ATS team in college hoops thusfar in the 2013-14 campaign.

Cleveland State has a decent record, sitting in a second place tie in the Horizon League standings with a 6-3 mark in conference; 15-9 SU overall.  If the NCAA tournament started today, Gary Waters’ Vikings wouldn’t even sniff an at-large bid – they’ll need to win the league tournament to go dancing next month.  And yet Cleveland State leads the nation with 16 pointspread covers in 21 lined games.

The Vikings showed us early that they were capable of exceeding expectations, in large part thanks to their defensive effort.  They faced ... [More]

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