Saturday, March 08, 2014 at 5:00 PM
There’s been some serious debate about whether or not Michigan State or Ohio State will matter very much in this year’s Big Dance. Earlier this season, that would have been blasphemy. Ohio State got off to a great start and was very highly regarded in the rankings. Michigan State was part of multiple high profile TV games early in the season, and has a great track record when it comes to winning in March.
Lately though…Ohio State has seemingly fallen apart, while Michigan State has mixed great games with lemons. It was Michigan who won the Big Ten, having already clinched the trophy before the final weekend. Ohio State has stumbled to a 9-8 record in league play heading into Sunday’s finale, falling behind surprising NEBRASKA in the conference standings. Michigan State is playing for a 13-5 finish…which is solid but not “superpower” caliber.
Actually, the debate about these teams lingers over to the computer ratings. Even college...
Saturday, March 08, 2014 at 1:47 PM
It is wall-to-wall college basketball today with 106 regular season and post-season conference tournament games scheduled on what will be for handicappers one of the most challenging Saturdays of the season as desperate teams pulling out all the stops to stay alive for a possible NCAA Tournament bid.
Friday night, Harvard (25-4) became the first team to wrap up and NCAA bid with a 70-58 victory over Yale. The win gave the Crimson the Ivy League title and their automatic bid to the Big Dance. Last year, Harvard knocked off 3rd-seeded New Mexico in their first game.
There are dozens of games on the schedule in which teams are in a do-or-die mode as to their NCAA chances and many face the challenge of knocking off a big-time opponent (West Virginia vs. Kansas, for instance) to stay in the picture.
Few games today are more interesting for bettors than the Missouri Valley Conference semifinal game in St. Louis that matches Wichita State (32-0) with Missouri State (20-11) for the third...
Saturday, March 08, 2014 at 1:31 PM
Okay, so without exaggerating or anything, there's approximately 85-to-90 College Basketball teams attempting to fit into the 68-team field of NCAA Tournament squads that will be announced to the world next Sunday, March 16th shortly after 6 p.m. Eastern time.
Maybe you're one of the folks who has gotten all caught up in the BPI and RPI and strength of schedule bits that the ESPN folks have been floating your way for weeks now but we'll discard those rather arbitrary numbers/figures and give you "gut feel" opinions/comments here in today's Jim Sez
So, here's three teams that might think that they're in good shape when it comes to entrance into the NCAA but they really should be worried ...
UMASS (23-6, 10-5 Atlantic-10) - No doubt the Massachusetts Minutemen have to be happy that they will enter Sunday's game at Saint Louis having won six of their last eight games but here's a couple of problem spots for the Amherst gang:
Right now they're in fourth place in an Atlantic-10...
Friday, March 07, 2014 at 8:00 PM
We’ll take a break this weekend from conference tournament previews to focus on a couple of key games matching teams who could prove to be very important through the rest of the month. In this report, we’ll study Saturday Night’s North Carolina/Duke rivalry showdown. Then, we’ll be back tomorrow to look at Sunday’s Michigan State/Ohio State battle.
Any of those four teams could reach the Final Four. All four of those teams could be victims of early upsets in conference tournament and Big Dance action given weaknesses that could jump up and bite them at just the wrong time. That means handicappers should be paying close attention!
We start at Cameron Indoor, where Duke tries to bounce back from a Wednesday Night loss at Wake Forest and get revenge for an earlier loss this season to North Carolina. Let’s see what college basketball guru Ken Pomeroy and USA Today Computer whiz Jeff Sagarin think about the teams heading into this final weekend of...
Friday, March 07, 2014 at 6:00 PM
We’ve already seen it some this week…and it’s going to become a major story this weekend and in the conference tournaments in college basketball. Teams who “must win” because they’re on the bubble in NCAA Tournament discussions are going to be overrated by the market. Some of them will no doubt rise to the occasion and cover their spreads (particularly against flat or disinterested opponents). But, more than half will likely fail to play to inflated expectations.
Why is that?
*If you’re on the bubble right now, you’re probably not very good! Solid teams are already in the Dance. They’ve played well enough to lock up their invitation regardless of what happens from this point forward. Only “less than solid” still has anything to sweat. Put that kind of team in a must-win situation, and it’s far from certain that they’re capable of delivering. Any points added by oddsmakers to their posted lines will...
Friday, March 07, 2014 at 4:00 PM
As the KING OF UPSETS, with the best documented record of outright upset calls from anyone in the sports betting industry, I’m constantly on the lookout for possible underdog edges in sports betting. This year’s March Madness is shaping up as one of the most wild and wide-open we’ve ever seen. The stage is set for upsets becoming the norm rather than the exception.
It’s gotten to the point where I’m starting to think that EVERY major conference is overrated? How can that be? How could all the power leagues take steps backward at the same time?
I need to be clear here. There are certainly strong teams and competitive leagues in the sport right now. But, I feel confident in stating that most, and possibly all, have taken a step backward from recent perceptions. The spectrum is widening out right now because of talent distribution, conference realignment, coaching, and the way defense is now called inside the arc. That’s lessened the advantage that...
Friday, March 07, 2014 at 8:51 AM
IT’S MARCH AND THERE’S PLENTY OF MADNESS AROUND –
WE CHECK OUT SATURDAY’S BIGGEST
COLLEGE B-BALL SHOWDOWNS
INCLUDING #14 NORTH CAROLINA AT #4 DUKE
AND #25 KENTUCKY AT #1 FLORIDA …
PLUS THERE’S NBA NEWS & NOTES TOO
By Jim Hurley
Hope you didn’t really have anything on your personal calendar for this second Saturday in March … ‘cause there’s so much great College Basketball action on the menu that you are not gonna wish to wander far from your TV or computer screen.
In just a few moments we’ll offer up previews of the top Four (4) games on this Saturday docket – all of ‘em are major doozies, ladies and gents, and the first three tilts come in back-to-back-to-back fashion from noon Eastern time straight on! – and we’ll dial up the “411” when it comes to the NBA, too... but first let’s get you this key information reminder:
Jim Hurley and his Network of...
Friday, March 07, 2014 at 7:00 AM
It hasn’t been a great year for the Colonial Conference. And, the league has been drifting away from relevance ever since the George Mason coaching advantage disappeared. But, you still can’t afford to take the eventual CAA representative lightly in the Big Dance. That representative will be determined by the Colonial Conference tournament that begins Friday and runs through Monday Night in Baltimore.
This week’s schedule. All the games are being played at the Baltimore Arena.
Hofstra (8) vs. NC Wilmington (9)
Delaware (1) vs. the groggy and tired winner of Hofstra/Wilmington
Drexel (4) vs. Northeastern (5)
Towson (2) vs. James Madison (7)
William & Mary (3) v. College of Charleston (6)
The semifinals and finals will be played Sunday and Monday. That Monday Night champio0nship game will be televised by the NBC Sports cable network.
Here’s how college basketball guru and USA...
Thursday, March 06, 2014 at 4:00 PM
Our first early weekday starts of the 2014 college basketball postseason arrive Friday with opening round action in the Southern Conference. This is the home of Davidson, a perennial danger side in the Big Dance. But, it’s also a league that’s been falling on hard times. You’ll see in the computer rating assessments below that some of the very worst teams in the nation play here. And, not just one or two!
In fact, strength of schedule issues have given Davidson such a hit that they’re not a sure thing to reach the Big Dance this year. They’ll have to win this tournament, which will be played in Asheville, North Carolina. The top seeds will at least have a home state advantage in terms of travel and crowd.
Here’s the schedule:
FRIDAY’S FIRST ROUND
Samford (8) vs. Appalachian State (9)
Georgia Southern (7) vs. Furman (10)
NC Greensboro (6) vs. Citadel (11)
Davidson (1) vs. the...
Thursday, March 06, 2014 at 7:00 AM
The West Coast Conference tournament, which gets under way Thursday Night at the Orleans Arena here in Las Vegas, is a rare event in this first week of postseason action. The league looks to have TWO teams locked into the Big Dance…with Gonzaga and BYU currently in range in the computer ratings to feel relatively safe. BYU is close enough to the Bracketology bubble that they need to stay focused. Most other mid-majors either have one lock, or NO locks with the only bid going to the tournament winner.
That means you’ll likely see spirited efforts from #3 seed San Francisco, and #4 seed St. Mary’s, as they try to crash the party. But, they may have trouble going the distance because there’s surprising depth this year in the West Coast. Another oddity…there’s not a single team ranked worse than #200 in the most respected computer rankings! Tough event!
Here’s the schedule…
THURSDAY’S FIRST ROUND
Portland (7) vs. Loyola...
Wednesday, March 05, 2014 at 7:00 PM
Wichita State has made a very good case for being a #1 seed in the Big Dance, even if they haven’t played as tough a schedule as other college basketball superpowers. They’ve been dominating the teams they have been playing. And, if Gonzaga could get a #1 seed last year as a mid-major with a lesser record, it’s hard to deny Wichita State the same consideration. Particularly when this Wichita State team took out Gonzaga last year on their way to an Elite 8 appearance.
That being said, if Wichita State DOESN’T win the Missouri Valley tournament this week, naysayers will be able to suggest that they don’t deserve full honors. They couldn’t win “when it mattered.” And, any loss will be to an underdog far enough back in the Power Ratings that it’s going to hurt Wichita’s math. If the Shockers want to be a #1 seed in the Dance, they need to keep winning!
The Missouri Valley tournament begins Thursday Night with first round...
Wednesday, March 05, 2014 at 6:47 PM
So, here's where we stand: Save for the annual Penn vs. Princeton finale (see Tuesday), the College Basketball Regular Season comes to a close for everyone else in Division 1 ball this Sunday and then the conference tournies really get revved up into high gear.
In other words, time is growing short for a batch of hoops teams that still have designs on getting into this year's NCAA Tournament and so in today's edition of Jim Sez we'll detail Three (3) teams that have "work-to-do" in order to likely secure a bid.
We're also getting back to the NFL Draft news/notes with a look at the top incoming ILBs (inside linebackers) and OLBs (outside linebackers) and we'll crank it all up in just a moment in this Jim Sez but first this key reminder:
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will keep steamrolling their way through March Madness with loads of College Basketball winners right here online or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 - plus don't...
Wednesday, March 05, 2014 at 5:00 PM
The Metro-Atlantic Tournament, which gets under way Thursday afternoon in Springfield, Massachusetts, is historically one of the most entertaining postseason events in college basketball. Many league teams play exciting styles. The title always seems to be up for grabs. And, the winner often gives a big-name opponent a thrill in the Big Dance.
This year, Iowa and Manhattan enter as virtual #1 seeds according to the most respected computer ratings. Iona is officially #1…but the teams are almost interchangeable in terms of quality…and are both seeded to reach the finals. A few other teams hope to have a say about that…but, with nobody else in the top 100, it may truly be a weekend that’s a showcase for Iona and Manhattan.
If you’ve been reading the VSM BLOG this week, you’ve seen that JIM HURLEY’S NOTEBOOK has been previewing some of the tournaments already. We’ll use that format…that features ratings and efficiency stats from...
Wednesday, March 05, 2014 at 7:00 AM
If you’ve been watching college basketball in recent days, you’ve basically seen a parade of pretenders being exposed. This may be the most wide-open I’ve seen the national championship picture in recent seasons. It seems like everyone has at least one exploitable weakness. Many teams are way overrated by the media polls and the computer ratings in my view.
Why is this happening?
*The new enforcement of defensive rules has been a bit of an equalizer. Teams who used to mug opponents on defense to forge great records have taken a few steps backward this year because they can’t do that any more. Many mid-level teams with offensive talent have taken a step forward because it’s easier to score.
*Many of the Preseason “superstars” have turned out to be mortal. This has led to some teams being overrated, while the star players on other teams were personally offended about the freshman hype that they came out and had great seasons. You regulars...
Tuesday, March 04, 2014 at 7:00 PM
The Belmont Bruins were a popular darkhorse pick in many media circles in recent seasons. The media kept getting embarrassed! Though it’s been a bit of a down year for Belmont by those recent standards…the computers don’t love them nearly as much as they usually do…the Bruins are still clear favorites to win the Ohio Valley Conference basketball tournament that begins Wednesday Night.
They’ll get a run for their money from perennial OVC power Murray State. And, things should be very intense because there’s no chance anyone from the league will get an at-large berth this season. That should make for some great semifinal and championship action.
Here’s the schedule for this event that will be played over the next four days. All games will be played at the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville. Note that only eight teams from the 12-team league are in the postseason tournament.
Tennessee Tech (5) vs. SIU-Edwardsville (8)
Tuesday, March 04, 2014 at 5:00 PM
Tournament play begins this week in many of the mid-major conferences in college basketball. The KING OF UPSETS Wayne Allyn Root is here to tell you that it’s best to WAIT until next week’s major conference events before trying to make upset calls and moneyline bets.
Mid-major tournaments are rigged for the favorites!
It’s very hard for Cinderella stories to develop in most mid-major tournaments because the brackets are staggered to reward the best two seeds. The Horizon League even lets the top seed host the event! These conferences have found over the years that they often get really embarrassed in the Big Dance if anyone but their very best teams earns the invitation. They still want to have a postseason tournament because of the money that gets generated. But they want to make sure that the best teams have it as easy as possible to run the table so they might write their own Cinderella stories in the NCAA’s.
As a result, many top seeds get byes into...
Tuesday, March 04, 2014 at 10:01 AM
THE COLLEGE ROUND-BALL MID-WEEK UPDATE –
IT’S GETTING DOWN TO NITTY-GRITTY TIME IN REGULAR-SEASON PLAY AND WE’RE BUSY CHECKING OUT FIVE KEY CONFERENCE HEAD-TO-HEAD “BUBBLE” TILTS ON THIS SUPER-IMPORTANT WEDNESDAY NIGHT …
PLUS WE WEIGH IN ON THE UPCOMING MINI-TOURNIES INVOLVING THE MISSOURI VALLEY & THE WEST COAST CONFERENCES
By Jim Hurley
It’s safe to say that there are approximately six-to-eight conferences out there that sport multiple “bubble teams” as we head into the games of Wednesday, March 5th – we’re not quite sure if that means mediocrity rules in many of these leagues or that simply so many teams are dead-even these days – but look around and you’ll see the ACC, Big East, Big 10, Pac-12 and SEC all have three-or-more “bubble teams” as we speak.
As fate would have it on this first Wednesday night in March, there are five – count ‘em, five –...
Monday, March 03, 2014 at 7:00 PM
March Madness is here! The first postseason conference tournament of 2014 begins Tuesday Night with opening round action in the Horizon League. The worst six teams in the nine-team loop play first round games at campus sites. Top seed Green Bay has a bye into the semifinals, which they will be hosting later this week. Second seed Cleveland State is also off until Saturday’s semifinals. Third seed Wright State has a bye into the quarterfinals.
Here’s the schedule:
Illinois-Chicago (9) at Valparaiso (4)
Detroit (8) at Milwaukee (5)
Youngstown State (7) at Oakland (6)
FRIDAY (in Green Bay)
Wright State (3) vs. Youngstown/Oakland winner
UIC/Valpo winner vs. Detroit/Milwaukee winner
SATURDAY (in Green Bay)
Cleveland State (2) vs. winner of first quarterfinal
Green Bay (1) vs. winner of second quarterfinal
Survivors play on home court of superior seed
You can see that the deck is stacked for the top seed in this...
Monday, March 03, 2014 at 12:55 PM
200-Unit College “Perfect Storm” Game Of Year
Should Win Tonight In Dominating Fashion
College Conference Tournaments Begin Tonight
Kentucky Basketball Coach John Calipari Has Class But Unfortunately It’s All Low
By Kelso Sturgeon
There are approximately 10,530 college basketball games played during the regular season and it is quite rare to find many that qualify as 200-unit play. Sometimes one can see coming and plan ahead a bit while others suddenly appear overnight—coming from unexpected places. Tonight we have such a game that because of the circumstances under which it is being played meets all the requirements for a 200-unit play.
This means for the first time in more than four decades of handicapping I am releasing two 200-unit plays in a three-day time span. This past Saturday I won my 200-unit College Basketball Game of the Year II as Virginia (-3.5) ran off and hid from nationally-ranked...
Monday, March 03, 2014 at 10:55 AM
IT’S OUR JIM SEZ
SALUTE TO THE OSCARS
AS WE HAND OUT THE WINNERS
OF A HALF-DOZEN TOP COLLEGE B-BALL CATEGORIES …
PLUS THE WEEKEND HOOPS RE-CAP ANSWERS THE
BURNING QUESTION: YES, VIRGINIA, THE CAVS ARE INDEED A TRUE
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDER!
Hey, who needed the red carpet treatment, anyway?
Step right up and we’ll be happy to give you our College Basketball “Oscar winners” here in today’s edition of Jim Sez plus we haven’t forgotten that it’s indeed March and so we’ll give you some hardwood action to watch on this first Monday/Tuesday of the month.
But without further ado, here’s our College Basketball “Oscar” winners:
BEST PICTURE/STORY – Wichita State
C’mon, how could it be anyone else, right?
The second-ranked Shockers – 31-and-oh following Saturday’s easy-as-pie 68-45 win/cover against 16-point road underdog Missouri State – have absolutely ...
Sunday, March 02, 2014 at 7:00 PM
Through about mid-January, Notre Dame and North Carolina were two of the most overrated teams in the country. At that time, Carolina caught FIRE, starting an 11-game winning streak that continues to this day with the Irish visiting for ESPN’s Big Monday. The Heels are 9-2 ATS against the Vegas line in those games, with the number only recently catching up to their new level of play.
Notre Dame? They just keep struggling, having found a way to blow a cover as an underdog in overtime this past Saturday vs. Pittsburgh. That makes this TV showdown very tricky to handicap.
*Notre Dame is slumping, a bad road team, and is in a tough schedule spot after a “punch to the gut” loss just two days ago. Can you ask them to play well?
*North Carolina has failed to cover its last two games after the line finally adjusted. Are you asking them to climb an unrealistic hurdle by laying the points. This cat may already be out of the bag.
Let’s run the game through our key...
Saturday, March 01, 2014 at 7:00 PM
The Villanova Wildcats didn’t get much preseason run as a threat this year in college basketball. But, like a few other teams on the national landscape, the squad has played consistently solid all year long amidst a collection of disappointments. With just over a week to go in the regular season, the polls currently rate Villanova as an Elite 8 caliber team.
Handicappers and fans will get a good chance to evaluate that ranking, and Villanova’s postseason hopes Sunday when they host Marquette in a game that will be nationally televised by CBS. Marquette is a talented team that’s been a disappointment against expectations….and that currently finds itself on the outside looking in regarding bubble talk. Will Villanova come in overconfident against a team trying for a statement win?
Marquette: #58 in Pomeroy, #56 in Sagarin
Villanova: #9 in Pomeroy, #5 in Sagarin
They’ll have to really lift their play to pull that off! Hey,...
Friday, February 28, 2014 at 7:00 PM
You know Memphis is going to be ready for Louisville. This used to be a big basketball rivalry. Then Louisville went to the Big East! Now, these two teams are conference rivals once again for a very short time, before the Cardinals head to the ACC. The city of Memphis is ready for its shot at Louisville!
And, the team itself was so focused on Louisville that they went out and lost to struggling Houston Thursday Night. That was a classic look-head. Memphis will have their heads on straight for this one. But, so will Louisville! The Cards have only dropped two conference games all season…one was at home to this very Memphis team.
This has a chance to be a great one because of the history and emotions involved for two talented teams. And, we’ll learn a lot about Louisville’s chances to repeat as National Champions based on what we see here. Getting swept by a team like Memphis would make it seem very unlikely that the Cards could run the table against this...
Friday, February 28, 2014 at 6:50 PM
IT’S OUR JIM SEZ
“SALUTE TO THE OSCARS”
AS WE GIVE YOU THE WINNERS
OF A HALF-DOZEN TOP COLLEGE B-BALL CATEGORIES
By Jim Hurley
Hey, who needs the red carpet?
Step right up and we’ll be happy to give you our College Basketball “Oscar winners” here in today’s weekend edition of Jim Sez plus we haven’t forgotten that it’s indeed March and so we’ll give you some pre-Oscar viewing on this first Sunday of the month with a couple of sure-to-be-exciting TV tilts too.
So here goes …
BEST PICTURE/STORY – Wichita State
C’mon, how could it be anyone else, right?
The second-ranked Shockers – 30-and-oh while heading into its Saturday home game against Missouri State – have absolutely captured the imagination of all hard-core hoops fans from coast-to-coast and gotta say right now we’ll be a tad disappointed if Wichita State doesn’t make it back to this year’s Final...
Friday, February 28, 2014 at 5:00 PM
I always pay close attention to Pac 12 basketball because the games are played in my backyard. Las Vegas is a virtual suburb of Los Angeles in terms of modern travel…which means UCLA is almost a home team during their good years because of all the buzz in local sportsbooks. Arizona isn’t that far away either, and the Wildcats are once again on the short list of possible national champions as we head into the month of March.
I don’t think the league is getting enough run nationally. Isn’t that always the case! More people talk about how funny Bill Walton is doing games on ESPN than they do about the actual talent in the league. The most recent “bracketology” report from Joe Lunardi, though, shows SIX teams probably headed to the Dance…with a seventh from Oregon knocking on the door.
Arizona: projected #1 seed
UCLA: projected # 5 seed
Arizona State: projected #8 seed
Stanford: projected #9 seed
Friday, February 28, 2014 at 3:00 PM
It seems like the Super Bowl was just a few days ago…but the month of February has flown by quickly to signal the arrival of MARCH MADNESS on the Las Vegas sports betting calendar. March begins Saturday. And, that means tournaments are just around the corner.
*The Horizon League tournament begins Tuesday March 4 at campus sites
*The Ohio Valley Conference tournament begins Wednesday March 5 in Nashville
*The Missouri Valley Conference tournament begins Thursday March 6 in St. Louis
*The West Coast and Metro Atlantic tourneys also begin that Thursday
Are YOU ready for the tournaments? If not, these next few days of action are very important. Even if you ignore the mid-majors and focus on the big time TV conferences, you only have two weekends left to get yourself up to speed. Here are keys to focus on as you watch all the marquee matchups that are still ahead.
RE-FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH PLAYMAKERS AND GAMEBREAKERS
It’s time to really pin...
Friday, February 28, 2014 at 9:09 AM
LADIES AND GENTS, IT’S TIME TO FINALLY SAY
HELLO TO THE MERRY MONTH OF MARCH!
WE BRING YOU A SATURDAY SIX-PACK OF GREAT
COLLEGE B-BALL GAMES ON THE 1ST OF THE MONTH
THAT GETS THIS HOOPS-CRAZED TIME IN GEAR
By Jim Hurley
And you thought we’d never get here, right?
Well, the calendar page turns to say March here on Saturday but the “madness” has already begun with major free-for-alls for a batch of available at-large NCAA Tournament bids, and here’s how we see the big picture in terms of NCAA Tournament berths per major conference – feel free to disagree with us and remember there’s still a couple of weeks of basketball action before we get to Selection Sunday on March 16th but this is how we’re seeing it right now here at Jim Sez:
The American Athletic Conference will get five teams into the NCAA Tourney field – that’s Cincinnati, Louisville, SMU, Memphis and Connecticut. No more, no less;
Friday, February 28, 2014 at 7:00 AM
Nobody in the nation expected Virginia to win the ACC this season. Sure, they were a potential sleeper. But, they were a sleeper in a conference expected to be dominated by Duke, Syracuse, and possibly Pittsburgh…and they were on a list of sleepers that also included talented North Carolina and a few other teams.
Seeing the Cavaliers sitting at 15-1 in league play entering Saturday’s huge showdown with Syracuse is truly one of the biggest surprises in the entire sports world the past few years. That shouldn’t happen! And, with so few games left on the schedule, you can see that the conference championship is largely at stake in that Syracuse/Virginia showdown.
Virginia 15-1 (Syracuse and Maryland left to play)
Syracuse 13-2 (Virginia, Georgia Tech, and Florida State left to play)
Duke 12-4 (Wake Forest and North Carolina left to play)
Duke is locked out because they trail by 3 games in the loss column with only two games left on the...
Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 7:00 AM
Before the season started, many were convinced that Kentucky was going to be a very serious national championship threat. Last year’s collapse, lowlighted by an NIT loss to Robert Morris, was an anomaly. Coach John Calipari had reloaded with superstar talent…and a return to superpower status was imminent.
While things are better in February of 2014 than they were in February of 2013, Kentucky is still largely a disappointment. They’re having serious trouble stringing together good games. They were outclassed to a surprising degree in a home loss to Florida. Right now, the most respected computer assessments don’t even have them as a Sweet 16 caliber team. Let’s run our indicator stats for Thursday Night’s nationally televised Arkansas/Kentucky game so we can get caught up on the Wildcats.
Arkansas: #53 in Pomeroy, #44 in Sagarin
Kentucky: #17 in Pomeroy, #18 in Sagarin
Both college basketball guru Ken Pomeroy and USA...
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 2:44 PM
San Diego State (-20.5) Crushes San Jose State 90-64
To Push February Record In 100-Unit Games To 7-1
600-Unit Crunch Time Festival Begins Tonight
With 100-Unit College Bounce-Back Game Of Month III
Wichita State Becomes 1st Team Ever To Open
Regular Season 30-0…Can Close Out 31-0 Saturday
By Kelso Sturgeon
In a world where betting lines are has hard as a rock the success of college basketball bettors is almost always found in the details—the little things that improve a betting line a point of two one way or the other—and it is these little things that have opened the door to a 7-1 run in February with eight 100-unit releases, including last night’s San Diego State win over San Jose State.
To lay the 20.5 points...
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 2:35 PM
EXTRA, EXTRA …
WE’RE CHECKIN’ OUT THE THURSDAY NIGHT MENU
IN COLLEGE HOOPS LAND WITH ARKANSAS-KENTUCKY,
MARQUETTE-GEORGETOWN & OREGON-UCLA ALL
QUALIFYING AS GOTTA-HAVE-IT GAMES
(FOR ONE TEAM OR THE OTHER!) …
PLUS WE WEIGH IN ON THE NFL DRAFT, TOO
AS IT’S TIME TO EXAMINE THE TOP DEFENSIVE ENDS
Step right up if you’re one of the many College Basketball teams facing a proverbial “must-win” situation on this next-to-last day in February.
The very busy Thursday night card in college hoops-ville includes a slew of teams that must pile up some late-season wins if they’re gonna be on the NCAA Tournament list of 68 teams next month and so we’ll get right to it here in today’s Jim Sez column:
ARKANSAS (18-9, 7-7 SEC) at #17 KENTUCKY (21-6, 11-3 SEC)— 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
No doubt the college basketball talk shows on TV, radio and the internet have been buzzing for weeks now regarding the...
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 7:00 AM
Even though it’s the Florida Gators who took over the #1 spot in the wire service polls this week, it’s still the Arizona Wildcats who are best in the nation according to the most respected computer ratings. And, this is a big night for the best team in cyberspace, as they try to avenge their only “loss in regulation” thus far against Pac 12 rival California in a game that will be televised nationally by ESPN.
Arizona is 25-2 this season
Arizona lost 60-58 at California
Arizona lost 69-66 at Arizona State in double overtime
That’s how close Arizona is to still being undefeated. It took a virtual buzzer shot by Cal to take them out in Berkeley, then 10 extra minutes for a hated state rival to stun them in hostile territory.
We should also mention that Arizona had to shoot a paltry 32% from the floor at Cal for that game to even be close!
Clearly, revenge will be on the minds of a very talented team. Let’s see if our key...
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 2:00 PM
For many years, I talked on TV about emphasizing sports bets that “don’t make sense” based on traditional handicapping factors. The contrarian approach has always worked well for WAYNE ALLYN ROOT. It continues to pay dividends on a regular basis because the masses are usually wrong!
And, in the case of late season college basketball, the STATS are often wrong…the STANDINGS are often wrong…the BRACKETOLOGY estimates are often wrong…and we all know the national poll ratings mean little in the days leading up to March Madness.
Let me briefly touch on each of those…
I believe that stats have a place in sports handicapping. But, they’re often misleading late in a regular season because teams don’t play to their stat averages. Sometimes teams with great stats are flat as a pancake because they’re waiting for the postseason to get here. Sometimes teams with lousy stats get sky high for a chance to upset a...
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 11:00 AM
The college basketball campaign has flown by so quickly…it may be hard for some of you to believe that the regular season actually ends for some teams THIS weekend! A few of the mid-majors wrap up league action Saturday or Sunday, before beginning their postseason tournaments a few days later. For everyone else, only two weekends remain.
Historically, this time of the year creates many HUGE play possibilities for my personal approach. I wanted to devote today’s discussion in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping to the keys to finding those 150-unit, 200-unit, 250-unit, and possibly even 300-unit opportunities. Here’s what you should be looking for…
THE BOUNCE FACTOR…TIMES TWO!
I’ve talked about “the bounce factor” a lot in this sport over the years. If you’re new to the coursework and the website, “the bounce factor” simply involves the tendency for teams to bounce from one extreme to...
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 9:26 AM
OUR COLLEGE B-BALL MID-WEEK UPDATE:
TRACKING A PAIR OF KEY WEDNESDAY NIGHT TILTS
PLUS WE DO A LITTLE PRE-MARCH DAY-DREAMING TOO!
It’s always fun to do a little “day-dreaming” at this stage of the College Basketball season and now less than three weeks away from Selection Sunday (that’s March 16th) we like to look at the #’s 1-thru-8 teams in the current Associated Press Top 25 poll and see what Elite 8 matchups we could conceivably be getting late next month in Memphis, Anaheim, New York City (yes, Madison Square Garden has a host site this year) and Indianapolis.
Go ahead and tell us how these games would grab you with a Final Four berth on the line and – just for fun – we’ll match the way things would go with #1 playing #8 etc. at the sites listed above:
How about Florida vs. Villanova (at Memphis) … Wichita State vs. Louisville (at Anaheim) … Arizona vs. Duke (at New York City) … and Syracuse vs....
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 7:00 AM
It’s exciting to be the #1 team in the nation…but it’s also exciting to BEAT the #1 team in the nation. The Florida Gators, who just climbed to the top spot this week thanks to recent Syracuse struggles, will take the court for the first time from the top of the totem pole Tuesday Night at Vanderbilt in a game that will be nationally televised by ESPN.
Last year at this time, we were consistently adamant that the Gators were a pretender who created the illusion of greatness by running up the score at home vs. a weak schedule. Out of the state, versus anyone who knew what they were doing, the Gators turned mortal very quickly. A lucky draw in the Big Dance delayed the inevitable until the Elite Eight round….where Michigan mauled them in Dallas (Florida Gulf Coast had been the Gators’ Sweet 16 opponent).
Is this year’s team just another pretender? Or, are the Gators just now finally living up to the hype of last year? Let’s run through our...
Monday, February 24, 2014 at 9:03 AM
THE COLLEGE BASKETBALL REPORT:
NOW THAT ‘CUSE COACH BOEHEIM HAS
“CALMED DOWN” AND “CHILLED OUT”
IT’S TIME TO SEE IF THE ORANGE
CAN PUT AN END TO ITS LITTLE MINI-SLIDE …
PLUS WE SALUTE SUNDAY’S BIG WINNERS
INCLUDING MIGHTY MICHIGAN AND RISING STAR SMU …
AND WE PREVIEW TUESDAY’S TOP TILT
AS NEW #1 FLORIDA HEADS TO VANDY
By Jim Hurley
Hey, you can count us among the many hoop fans ‘round America that’s simply sick-and-tired of all the analyses and examinations regarding the famed “block vs. charge” call that’s been so much at the heart of not only did 2013-14 College Basketball Season but was “the story” in last Saturday’s epic battle between Syracuse at Duke:
Obviously, you’ve all by now either watched the game in full or at least viewed the key highlights and – while maybe it never does get old watching Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim go bananas...
Monday, February 24, 2014 at 7:00 AM
Last week they were undefeated and the number one team in the country. Monday Night, they’re trying to avoid their third loss in a row! The Syracuse Orange will be dealing with a brutal schedule spot as they visit the Maryland Terrapins just two nights after suffering a tough loss at Duke in a game that will be nationally televised by ESPN.
We resume our nightly big game previews Monday with this Syracuse/Maryland showdown. We’ll continue in-depth coverage in this format all the way down the road to March Madness and through the Big Dance. It’s time to kick things up a notch in college basketball!
Let’s run through our indicator stats for this tough Syracuse test…
Syracuse: #10 in Pomeroy, #11 in Sagarin
Maryland: #48 in Pomeroy, #59 in Sagarin
The computers don’t see Syracuse as an Elite 8 team at the moment, let alone a threat for #1 in the nation. College basketball guru Ken Pomeroy and USA Today computer whiz...
Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 12:00 AM
THE COLLEGE HOOPS REPORT – HERE’S A LOOK AT A COUPLE OF KEY SUNDAY TILTS AS UP-AND-COMER SMU IS AT #21 UCONN
PLUS IT’S THE BIG 10 BIGGIE BETWEEN
#13 MICHIGAN STATE AT #20 MICHIGAN …
OUR NFL DRAFT COVERAGE ROLLS ON WITH A LOOK
AT THE TOP WIDE RECEIVERS AS THERE SHOULD BE A
HANDFUL OF PASS-CATCHERS GOING IN ROUND I
By Jim Hurley
Hey, March 16th will be here before y’all know it and that means there’s precious little time now for College Basketball teams to make some final statements to either impress the NCAA Tournament Committee (an ever-changing cast of characters that don’t always “get it”) and/or to upgrade their particular seedings in next month’s “Big Dance”.
While lots of hoop teams wait with baited breath to see if they’re “in” or they’re “out”, we’ll take a few moments in today’s "Jim Sez" column to examine three teams playing on this...
Friday, February 21, 2014 at 8:38 AM
THE NBA TRADE DEADLINE –
THE ROCKETS DON’T GET RONDO
AND SO ALL THE SMALL DEALS ARE
REALLY NO BIG DEALS AT ALL …
NORTH CAROLINA SURGES PAST DUKE 74-66
IN A RUSH-THE-COURT SPECIAL
PLUS WE PREVIEW SATURDAY’S TOP TILTS
IN COLLEGE HOOPS-LAND INCLUDING
#11 LOUISVILLE AT #7 CINCY, STREAKIN’ ST. JOHN’S
AT #9 VILLANOVA & (OF COURSE)
STILL-#1 SYRACUSE AT STILL-#5 DUKE
By Jim Hurley
Gotta say it truly was a “big news night” on Thursday as the Miami Heat blitzed Oklahoma City 103-81 as even LeBron James’ bloody nose couldn’t ruin their night, while the college kids had something to shout about as North Carolina won its eighth game in a row with a real comeback special in a 74-66 triumph over fifth-ranked Duke … but we want to know why the Carolina kids felt it necessary to rush the court, and why the ESPN know-it-alls kept referring to this one as an “upset” as the ...
Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 7:00 PM
I haven’t had a chance to talk about this yet in the new college basketball season. Wanted to make sure I put in on your radar for the rest of this month and then the tournaments in March. If you like betting on underdogs, it can be very lucrative to focus on the earliest start times on Saturdays, Sundays, and then any day where there’s afternoon tournament action next month.
The early start times serve as an “equalizer” that help reduce the advantage of superior teams, while allowing less talented but more disciplined teams to take advantage.
Why are early start times bad for favorites?
*They’re often flat because it’s hard to play with peak intensity that early
*Vegas prices favorites on the assumption of intensity
*Most regular season games are at night
*The day games that do happen usually aren’t in that earliest slot
*Crowds are subdued because nobody’s fully awake yet
*Crowds haven’t had time to imbibe anything that...
Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 2:00 PM
You’re already starting to see it across the college basketball landscape. And, you’re going to see a lot more of it during this relative “dead zone” from now and the beginning of conference tournaments. BAD college basketball teams get REALLY bad late in a losing season. You want to see out these towel tossers and bet against them as often as possible.
Why does this happen?
*There’s literally NOTHING to play for until a shot at a miracle in a tournament
*Bad teams often run into superior opponents who DO have something to play for
*Players on bad teams get SICK of EACH OTHER!
*Players on bad teams get SICK of THEIR COACH! (And vice versa)
*Bad teams get no respect from officials, which costs them at the free throw line
*Bad teams de-generate into selfish offensive basketball that kills scoring
*Bad teams stop playing help defense, which allows opponents to score more easily
It’s a harmonic convergence of our regular keys here in my...
Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:26 AM
Anyone with even a little knowledge of college basketball saw it coming. They just did not expect it to happen in this game, a contest in which Syracuse was a solid 14-point home favorite over Boston College, a team that was 1-12 in its last 13 games and battling Virginia Tech for last place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Handicappers knew the end to Syracuse's unbeaten streak would most likely soon come to an end but that would take place because four of its last six games are on the road-at Duke (21-5), at Maryland (15-12), at Virginia (22-5) and at Florida State (15-11). No win by a visiting team is ever a sure thing in those far-away places.
But a 62-59 home loss to a bad BC team-never.
But with that said, we in the world of laying 11 to win 10 had watched Syracuse begin to struggle to struggle after its 91-89 draining overtime home win over Duke, February 1. That game took everything out of the Orange and the energy spent to win it left Syracuse with a near-empty tank of...
Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 12:10 AM
Hard-core college basketball fans just had to show a little patience when it came to Duke-North Carolina Part I this year.
The snow-out/inclement weather that kayoed the original February 12th game in Chapel Hill had everyone bummin' (even a dude named Dicky V. too!) but the fact of the matter is tonight's rescheduled game is bigger and better than what we all would have gotten a week ago ... and here's why:
Duke - now the #5 team in this week's Associated Press Top 25 poll - has banged out two more wins since last Wednesday with that scary 69-67 non-cover win against 13 ½-point underdog Maryland last Saturday at a joint-was-jumpin' Cameron Indoor Stadium followed by this past Tuesday's rollicking 68-51 victory at 11-point pup Georgia Tech and so Mike Kryzewski's squad zooms into this prime-time tilt at 21-5 overall and riding a modest four-game winning streak since that Super Bowl weekend overtime loss in Syracuse.
Hey, we don't want to hear anything about Duke's four...
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 7:00 PM
Thursday Night, the Miami Heat visit the Oklahoma City Thunder on TNT, in one of the most anticipated regular season games of the entire year. That makes this the perfect time to talk about how smart handicappers should use marquee matchups like this to evaluate the readiness of contenders for the challenges that lay ahead.
Oh…don’t sleep on Houston/Golden State in the nightcap either. And, Oklahoma City will be at war again this Sunday when the LA Clippers come to town for a meeting that will be nationally televised by ABC. Things are about to get interesting!
You want to look for “statement” performances. Perhaps more importantly, you want to notice who ISN’T able to make a statement. That’s proven to be a telltale sign in recent seasons for teams who weren’t quite ready yet to win a title. They started showing that after the All-Star Break once other contenders buckled down and got to work.
The stretch run has begun. Here’s what...
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 12:00 AM
COLLEGE BASKETBALL MID-WEEK UPDATE:
KEEPING AN EYE PEELED FOR A COUPLE OF
“FORGOTTEN TEAMS” AS SELECTION SUNDAY
NOW IS LESS THAN A MONTH AWAY …
WE PREVIEW A PAIR OF TOP TILTS TONIGHT
AS #1 SYRACUSE AND #2 FLORIDA TAKE CENTER STAGE
By Jim Hurley
Let’s just say that things rarely go as planned when it comes to the world of College Basketball:
Just the other day we tuned in a well-respected radio voice who proclaimed he could only see “8 or 9 teams that could win it all” this year, but now less than a month removed from Selection Sunday we dare say that list should be much longer.
In fact, while #1 Syracuse and #3 Wichita State head into tonight’s action unbeaten we believe that neither should be confused with the 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers just yet and it wouldn’t really surprise us if neither made it all the way to this year’s Final Four (and remember both of ‘em made it that far a year ago before...
Monday, February 17, 2014 at 7:00 PM
Even though it’s only mid-February, the NCAA Tournament is starting to loom large over the college basketball landscape. And, for THE KING OF UPSETS WAYNE ALLYN ROOT, that means great opportunities to go against high profile favorites who have taken their eye off the ball during the conference grind.
It’s a sweet spot for my underdog heavy approach every year, particularly for those of you who like to bet on the moneyline to earn additional profit. This is when Dance-bound teams start to lose outright in games they wouldn’t even have had to sweat and peak excitement and intensity earlier in the season.
SUPERPOWERS GET STUNNED
Whenever a great team takes its foot off the gas, they’re liable to get temporarily passed by slower cars. This is what happens in mid-February, late February, and even sometimes in early March in the conference tournaments when teams start to think there’s no reason to play hard until the Dance. Elite teams who have been...
Monday, February 17, 2014 at 3:31 PM
Hey, you know that we're on the "back half" of the month of February when you start getting more and more TV sightings of ESPN's Joe Lunardi - a/k/a/ "Joey Brackets" - who knows plenty ... but doesn't know it all!
The ESPN folks love to tell you how Lunardi accurately forecasts 98 percent (or something like that) of the NCAA Tournament field but what the all-sports network fails to say is that right up until that very last moment before Selection Sunday he's got teams switching columns left-and-right when it comes to "Last 4 In" and "Last 4 Out".
Darn, it even makes us dizzy with these 11th-hour predictions!
The bottom line is this 2013-14 College Hoops Season may be trickier for the bracket boy than in recent seasons and the $64,000 question we have right now is what's more important:
A .500-type team from a major power conference that's hot (see St. John's) or perhaps do the NCAA Tournament Committee folks put more stock in a mid-major team that's dominated matters inside its...
Monday, February 17, 2014 at 2:00 PM
The NBA returns from its All-Star Break this week, amidst a season of turmoil that is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before in any sport. Sure, sometimes a few teams are less than emphatic about trying to win because they’re worried about draft position. But, the mess we have this season in the NBA is something else.
*You have bad teams who aren’t trying
*You have bad teams who are trying but can’t play consistently well anyway
*You have teams who were supposed to be good who turned out bad
*You have teams who were supposed to be bad that turned out good
I know a lot of old-school bettors here in Las Vegas who gave up on the NBA long ago. They couldn’t watch the games. They questioned the night-to-night motivation of millionaire players who seemed more focused on living the high life rather than winning championships. (By the way, some of that high life was happening right here in Las Vegas, so those old-schoolers had firsthand knowledge!). This...
Sunday, February 16, 2014 at 7:00 PM
In recent weeks here in our series of February college basketball tutorials, we’ve talked about key boxscore statistics, and how to stay on top of developments with Power Ratings. Today we’re going to talk about additional weapons in the handicapping arsenal…trends and angles.
For the uninitiated, these are pointspread records above and beyond the basics of the boxscore that may reflect additional contributing factors for determine a game’s result. There are all sorts of qualifiers in this category. Some quick examples:
*Teams who have either good or bad ATS records at home or on the road
*Teams who have either good or bad ATS records as underdogs or favorites
*Head coaches who have certain records that follow them around to different jobs
*Classes of teams who show tendencies in certain situations (West Coast teams in bad body clock games)
Trends and angles certainly have their place in handicapping. Each particular bettor must determine now much weight...
Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 10:14 AM
The NBA's 2013-14 season is surely all about transition: After all, following 30 years - exactly - on the job, David Stern has said bye-bye as the Commish and Adam Silver is running the show these days while the face of the game is changing too with Oklahoma City mega-star Kevin Durant the "top dog" these days over that Mount Rushmore guy named LeBron James.
Deal with it, King!
Okay, so James still has a stranglehold on the championship trophy having won the past two years with the Miami Heat but might we be crowning a new champ come June? Hmmm.
First things first and that means - of course - our annual Jim Sez NBA Mid-Term Report Card Grades and we'll get to them in a moment but first a key reminder ...
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will keep on piling up the profits all this week/month with lots of NBA and NCAA Basketball winners right here online or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 - so go ahead and win with all the...
Friday, February 14, 2014 at 9:55 AM
Here's a quickie question to come your way: Just how far can a buzzer-beating win really carry your team?
The Syracuse Orange - still the numero uno team in the land following Wednesday's thrilling 58-56 win at 1 ½-point favorite Pittsburgh - would like to know after freshman point guard Tyler Ennis drilled that 35-plus foot running jumper with no ticks left on the clock to keep the 'Cuse perfect at 24-and-oh.
Hey, we still want to know why Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon - never one to be confused with John Wooden, you know! - called a time out with Syracuse down to no timeouts in the bag and needing to go the length of the floor with just 4.4 seconds left in the game.
Dixon's brain cramp saved the Orange who set up the winning play as Jim Boeheim's crew managed to get Ennis the ball cleanly off the inbounds pass and the kid did the rest while hurling up the winning shot despite getting double-teamed at/around half court.
Let's just say we believe this buzzer-beating loss...
Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 7:00 PM
You may know that WAYNE ALLYN ROOT attended an Ivy League school, and still has many information connections back East. I was born and raised in New York as a true S.O.B. (son of a butcher!). I love betting the Ivy League for all of the following reasons:
*The games add options to quiet Friday Night schedules
*The Saturday turnarounds are often overlooked by oddsmakers
*Individual teams tend to have very distinct tendencies that aren’t reflected in the line
*Some teams handle back-to-backs better than others
If you follow college hoops closely, you know that the Ivy League plays on Friday and Saturday nights. Academics are so hard at these schools that the term “student-athlete” really does apply. Games are stacked at the end of the week so they don’t disrupt schoolwork. That scheduling though, does disrupt basketball! It’s tough for any team to consistently thrive in that schedule. And, even bad teams can occasionally rise up and hit some treys...
Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 2:00 PM
You often hear TV pundits talk about how “freshman become sophomores” when the tournaments arrive, as a full season experience really kicks in and young stars start to perform at an even higher level. I think it was Al Maguire who first talked about this many years ago when NBC had the tournament. Well, I’ve noticed in recent seasons that this is actually happening much EARLIER than it used to. In fact, it’s starting to happen NOW in the 2013-2014 season.
Why is this happening? College freshmen these days are so much more experienced than they used to be that it’s hard to fully express. They’ve been playing AAU ball since they were very young. Many have been playing year-round basketball since middle school. It doesn’t take a full regular season of college hoops to turn a freshman into a sophomore any more. Not the caliber of athlete who’s capable of getting minutes at the college level. The modern world moves faster. Sports bettors...
Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 12:10 AM
Selection Sunday is set for March 16th - so there's plenty of time ahead to figure out who the real "bubble teams" are when it comes to this year's NCAA Tournament, right?
Sure there is but why not get the ball really rollin' here with a discussion about the top five "bubble teams" and our early list may surprise you more than just a little bit.
Okay, so mid-way through the month of March and here's what we got in terms of NCAA Tournament "bubble teams":
TENNESSEE (15-9, 6-5 SEC) - Every time we seem to say a "nice" thing about the Tennessee Volunteers, they go ahead and stub their toe! The latest example came in Tuesday's 67-58 home loss against two-point favorite Florida - no doubt the Vols needed a "signature" win and they led at halftime 34-33 while shooting a blistering 62 percent in the opening half but the Gators' grabby defense really did in Cuonzo Martin's club in the second half and so weaknesses such as ball-handling and poor free-throw shooting were exposed (see...
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 7:00 PM
This weekend’s NBA All-Star Break creates a schedule opening that should allow each and every one of you reading this to create accurate Power Ratings that you can use and update throughout the rest of the pro basketball season. Earlier this week we talked about how to make college basketball ratings. Now, we turn to the NBA!
Full season stats won’t change from Friday through Monday. That gives you plenty of time to grab, study, and learn from the data of games played to this point in the 2013-14 campaign. Here are some shortcuts you can use to get up to speed quickly.
USE UP-TO-DATE MARGIN AVERAGES AS A STARTING POINT
As we mentioned with “conference only” handicapping in college basketball, margin averages vs. comparable schedules show you the point scale very quickly. A team that’s +6 on average is a bucket better than a team that’s +4. They’re a full 12 points better than a team that’s -6. Most standings pages now show...
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 12:12 PM
OUR NCAA BASKETBALL MID-WEEK UPDATE –
IT’S TIME TO PREVIEW WEDNESDAY/THURSDAY ACTION
IN PITTSBURGH, CHAPEL HILL AND MADISON TOO …
PLUS NBA NEWS & NOTES:NOW THAT THE PISTONS HAVE AXED MO CHEEKS,WE WONDER ALOUD ABOUT WHO’S NEXT ON THE NBA HEAD COACH FIRING LINE
By Jim Hurley
Don’t know if you noticed but if you check out this week’s Associated Press Top 25 poll then you’ll see that seven different conferences/leagues represent the top seven spots in the weekly poll:
The ACC (Syracuse), Pac-12 (Arizona), SEC (Florida), Missouri Valley (Wichita State), Mountain West (San Diego State), Big East (Villanova) and Big 12 (Kansas) snag those first seven spots and might we add that following #8 Duke there’s representation from the Big 10 (Michigan State) and the American Athletic (Cincinnati), and so that just goes to show you the modern-day state of college basketball – there’s powerhouse teams literally...
Monday, February 10, 2014 at 7:00 PM
As we approach mid-February, it’s time for Las Vegas sports bettors to really focus on finding the most dangerous underdogs in college basketball. This is the true SWEET SPOT for bettors who like making upset calls and cashing in extra profits on the moneyline. Even if you’re just taking the points…we’re right in the middle of one of the best betting periods on the yearly calendar.
I can’t give you specific teams that I’ll be focusing on over the next several days. I need to protect that information for my clients. But, I can tell you the TYPES of teams that make for great underdogs…particularly during a month when many elite favorites start thinking too early about the postseason. Find teams who meet the parameters below, and you’ll be in great position to make score after score in the coming days.
When you get to March, many of these teams will break your heart because “live by the three, die...
Monday, February 10, 2014 at 5:37 PM
The battle rages among college basketball fans and bettors as to whether undefeated Wichita State (25-0) is as good as its record, with the critics saying the Shockers play in a conference weakened by the loss of Creighton, have played a weak schedule and would not be undefeated if they played in one of the major conferences such as the Big Ten, Big 12, the American Athletic Conference or the PAC-12. All those things are true but they do not tell the truth.
Wichita State gained major player status last season when it went to the NCAA Final Four where the Shockers lost to eventual champion Louisville by four points, 72-68. The year before they won the NIT championship-and now they are 25-0 looking at a regular season record of 31-0.
The case for Wichita State's standing among the elite of college basketball has been earned, is well deserved and is by no means an accident. This is a team built by one of the true geniuses of college basketball coach-Gregg Marshall who arrived in...
Monday, February 10, 2014 at 2:00 PM
As I was watching one of the TV doubleheaders the other night, it occurred to me that this might be the WORST year ever for media coverage in college basketball. Many of the “superpowers” who were supposed to run roughshod over the sport have been relative disappointments. Quite a few teams have surged up to make very strong cases as at least Elite Eight contenders in the Big Dance. The word “sleeper” may not have any meaning this season because there are so many good teams that anybody can get hot from this point forward.
If you were giving respect to what the media was telling you back in November and December, then you probably lost a fortune in January and the first part of February. Therefore…if you’re giving respect to what the media is telling you NOW, then it’s going to cost you down the stretch and in the tournaments. Don’t listen to the media!
Why do all the pundits, many of whom are former head coaches, do such a bad job...
Monday, February 10, 2014 at 8:53 AM
THE “REAL” WINNERS AND LOSERS THIS PAST COLLEGE BASKETBALL WEEKEND (AND WE, OF COURSE, WEIGH IN ON THE MARCUS SMART SITUATION)
PLUS A LOOK AT TOP MONDAY/TUESDAY NIGHT TILTS INCLUDING #8 KANSAS AT KANSAS STATE AND#3 FLORIDA AT TENNESSEE
By Jim Hurley
Sometimes it takes a few moments (or longer) to really/truly sort through the rubble of a College Basketball weekend:
Okay, so everyone knows that the Big 10 likes of Iowa and Wisconsin scored had-to-have-it wins this past Saturday/Sunday, respectively, and it’s no secret that double-digit wins by SMU, Tennessee and Maryland helped to raise the profiles of those particular teams who have NCAA Tournament visions dancing in their heads these cold winter days/night.
Still – we’re sorting through the rubble, remember – there were some distinct “winners” and “losers” this past hoops weekend and so let’s take a few moments to analyze/dissect who they were...
Sunday, February 09, 2014 at 7:00 PM
Our series of February college basketball handicapping tutorials continues this week with a discussion of Power Ratings. Last week we talked about boxscore stats you should be studying if you’re serious about winning, and how to use "conference only" stats to prepare a power scale. Today, we dig further into the Power Rating approach that gives you a projected line for every game.
What are Power Ratings? They’re simply a set of numbers that express the “point difference” between two teams. Different places have different scales. Some handicappers prefer to go from low to high (a team rated at 10 is 10 points better than a team rated at 20). Other handicappers prefer to go from high to low (a team rated 80 is 10 points better than a team rated at 70). Individuals have a lot of discretion for how they build a scale they’re comfortable with. The important thing is that your scale ultimately expresses THE POINT DIFFERENCE between two teams.
Saturday, February 08, 2014 at 10:43 AM
Trust us ...By the end of this weekend we'll already be quite tired of hearing about Sochi, and security and these Winter Olympics.
What you really want to do on this February weekend is concentrate on the college kids:
There's a slew of monster games on the weekend docket - in yesterday's Jim Sez we offered up game previews of #10 Michigan at #17 Iowa along with West Virginia at #8 Kansas but keep in mind there's other great games on the Saturday sked including the likes of #7 Cincinnati - fresh off that gallant 63-58 win against Connecticut - at SMU, #4 Wichita State at Northern Iowa and #23 Gonzaga at #24 Memphis.
Who needs to watch hour-after-hour of "downhill slaloms" from Russia when you can feast your orbs on a couple of dozen TV tilts in the world of college hard-court action? We'll get to a couple of Sunday game previews in just a few moments but let's go 'round the College Basketball landscape and touch on some hot topics ...
Shhh, let's keep it quiet but did...
Friday, February 07, 2014 at 1:29 PM
50-Unit MAAC Game Of Year Wins Tonight
Following Underdog Cal-Santa Barbara (+4.5) Upset
Win Over Hawaii In Big West Game Of Year
Beating Your Bookmaker In College Basketball
Is Grounded In Numbers And What They Mean
By Kelso Sturgeon
The daily battle to beat one’s bookmaker in college basketball begins with the number and the numbers, understanding what they all mean. In the NBA, who knows as former NBA Coach Jeff Van Gundy alleges teams in the Eastern Conference are purposely throwing games while keeping it hidden from the public.
Meantime, I am pleased to report I won my 50-unit Big West Conference Game of the Year last night as underdog Cal-Santa Barbara (+4.5) knocked off Hawaii, 75-64—a victory that was built on an understanding of the...
Friday, February 07, 2014 at 12:00 AM
THE COLLEGE HOOPS WEEKEND REPORT –
WE DIAL UP PREVIEWS FOR A COUPLE OF
KEY SATURDAY SHOWDOWNS
INCLUDING #10 MICHIGAN AT #17 IOWA
PLUS WE GIVE YOU AN OVERVIEW OF WHAT’S REALLY
IMPORTANT BEFORE WE GET TO THIS “MARCH MADNESS” STUFF
By Jim Hurley
Here’s a quickie memo to all the TV/radio and other media folks who have blitzed College Basketball fans with this thought that March Madness is “right around the corner.”
Hey, can we play out this month of February already?
True, the college hoops world truly revolves around the month of March – we know that! -- but think about all the things that really must be decided between now and March 1st and there’s plenty of juicy topics on the table.
Okay, so while we’re at it, how about an overview of what strikes us as important in the college hoops world these next few February weeks/weekends:
It begins with the current unbeaten teams – that’s Syracuse...
Thursday, February 06, 2014 at 7:00 PM
The NBA has been tricky this season for a lot of sports bettors and handicappers. That’s when WAYNE ALLYN ROOT is at his most dangerous. If teams are inconsistent, then Las Vegas oddsmakers lack confidence in their numbers. If YOU can figure out what’s causing the inconsistency, you’ll know when to zig, and you’ll know when to zag.
THE KING OF UPSETS isn’t going to give away all of his secrets for finding live underdogs in pro hoops at the moment. And, I’m not going to reference specific teams because I have to protect that information or my clients. But, I will give you some general guidelines for finding the best underdogs that have the most upset potential on any given night.
TAKE FRESH DOGS VS. TIRED FAVORITES
This has always been a great approach in the NBA. And, it’s even better this year when motivation is lacking in so many circles. Tired favorites have no reason to bring peak intensity right now because the playoffs are...
Thursday, February 06, 2014 at 2:00 PM
We’re at a point in the college basketball season where a lot of “streaks” start to develop. The media tends to focus on winning streaks and losing streaks because it gives them something to talk about during the broadcasts. Here in Las Vegas, sports bettors are more focused on looking at streaks against the spread. Teams who have covered or failed to cover at least three in a row.
Because I want to help you learn to handicap the right way. I want to say the following things about “streak” handicapping.
GENERALLY SPEAKING, DON’T USE IT!
You regulars know that I’m much more focused on PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS, as well as THE MOTIVATION FACTOR when handicapping sports. The nuances of motivation make it very difficult for college basketball teams to put together streaks against the spread. Every good team has a flat game eventually. Every bad team has a game that gets their juices flowing every so often. Too many sports bettors,...
Thursday, February 06, 2014 at 9:22 AM
THE COLLEGE B-BALL UPDATE: WE CHECK OUT THURSDAY'S KEY CLASHES AS #22 UCONN BATTLES #7 CINCINNATI AND OREGON INVADES #2 ARIZONA ...
THE NBA NOTEBOOK: COUNT THE CAVS, KNICKS AS THE LEAGUE'S BIGGEST BUSTS IN 2013-14 SEASON
Quickie quiz: What College Basketball conference currently has four teams inside the Associated Press' Top 25 including last year's national champion?
Your answer is the American Athletic Conference - or AAC to those hip folks who are quick to disagree with famed numbers-cruncher Jeff Sagarin who has the AAC rated as the eighth-best league in the land behind the likes of the Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12, Big East, ACC, SEC and the Atlantic-10.
Okay, so maybe defending national champ Louisville ain't what they used to be a year ago - although Sagarin does have the U of L Cardinals rated a very decent 16th nationally - but the fact of the matter is the likes of Cincinnati, SMU, Memphis and Connecticut has the newfangled league rated higher in our Jim Sez book...
Wednesday, February 05, 2014 at 7:00 PM
We’re now deep enough into conference play in college basketball that you can use “conference only” stats to get very good reads on all the teams. Data is often polluted (and sometimes extremely polluted) in November and December because teams play such varied schedules. Once you’re head-to-head against your conference rivals, your true colors show. For better or worse.
In conference play:
*Everybody plays roughly the same schedule strength
*Everybody has a similar mix of home games and road games
*Everybody has similar travel challenges
*Everybody has similar letdown/lookahead type challenges
*Everybody’s getting tired from the drain of the season
Through the first three or four games, there can still be pollution. But, now that we’re WELL into conference action, the stats MATTER. Here’s what YOU should be doing about that.
USE CONFERENCE ONLY MARGINS TO BUILD A POWER SCALE
Since everybody is facing similar challenges, the...
Wednesday, February 05, 2014 at 12:00 AM
THE COLLEGE HOOPS REPORT –CHECKING OUT WEDNESDAY’S TOP TILTS PLUS A LOOK AT A PAIR OF SLEEPER TEAMS TO WATCH …
AND WE LOOK AHEAD TO THE NFL ’14 SEASON WHILE EXAMINING THE WIN-IT-ALL ODDS PLUS MORE
By Jim Hurley
Don’t look now but two of the country’s top five teams in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 rankings hail from the so-called non-power conferences … so could we see either/both #4 Wichita State and/or #5 San Diego State at this year’s Final Four in the Lone Star State?
Hey, Wichita State made it to the Final Four last year after one of the great NCAA Tournament runs in recent memory as those Shockers beat Pittsburgh, Gonzaga, LaSalle and Ohio State before coughing up a 12-point lead en route to that 72-68 national semifinal loss to eventual national champion Louisville.
San Diego State?
Well, the Aztecs had high hopes to go deep into last year’s tourney, but a Round of 32 stunner loss to...
Tuesday, February 04, 2014 at 3:56 PM
Worst Super Bowl Ever Destroys Bettors
And Lines Pockets Of Vegas Bookmakers
Denver Bettors Can Get Enough Of Broncos
And Make Them 9-2 Favorites To Win Next Year
50-Unit College Game Of Week Wins Tonight
5-1 Last 6 NBA Plays…Another 25-Unit Winner Tonight
By Kelso Sturgeon
Please permit me to pause a moment and reflect on Sunday’s Super Bowl and offer a surprising peek into the future. First, without even a split-second hesitation Super Bowl XLVIII was not only the worst championship game in NFL history it was one of the worst played game of any genre of football I have ever witnessed.
Don’t misunderstand me. I took great delight in winning a 300-unit play on the underdog Seattle Seahawks (+2.5) who mangled the favored Denver Broncos,...
Monday, February 03, 2014 at 7:00 PM
Wherever you live in this great nation of ours, there’s a college basketball conference near you that you can MASTER. Out here in Las Vegas, I’ve had great success over the years in the Mountain West (home of UNLV and now Nevada-Reno), the Pac 12, the West Coast Conference, and the Big West. Even though oddsmakers should have a great feel for these relatively local leagues, the guys behind the line spend too much time with their Power Ratings and not enough doing real research.
And, if that’s happening in the Mountain West of the Pac 12, you know it’s also happening where you live. Do you think oddsmakers really know what’s going on in the Colonial, or the Sun Belt, or even the lower half of the fading Conference USA?
*If you live in the Northeast, you’ll know the Big East, the Atlantic 10, and possibly a few more leagues better than the oddsmakers will. I went to an Ivy League school and I love betting Ivy League basketball.
*If you live in the...
Monday, February 03, 2014 at 2:00 PM
We’ve reached the point in the college basketball season where many games on the nightly card are going to be “revenge” games that are rematches from earlier in the season. Many Las Vegas bettors make the mistake of either putting too much value on revenge, or too little, depending on the situation. The Dean of Sports Handicapping is here today to tell you the RIGHT way to bet revenge in college hoops.
ONLY BET ON TEAMS CAPABLE OF EXTRACTING REVENGE
There are a lot of bad teams in college basketball who spend most of the second half of the season in “revenge” spots because they lose all the time. Revenge is meaningless for bad teams because they’re not capable of doing anything about it…and there’s no emotional boost because they’re perpetually in that state anyway. Don’t waste time trying to take flyers on big ugly underdogs because revenge might come into play. Sure, these teams will cover spread here and there....
Sunday, February 02, 2014 at 7:00 PM
We’re going to do some college basketball tutorials in the month of February to help get all newcomers to this site up to speed with handicapping priorities heading into March Madness. We love that so many of you have been with us since the beginning, when JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK first went online many years ago. But, every season brings in new Las Vegas bettors who love to GET THE MONEY!
You regulars know that NETWORK is based on an exclusive “team handicapping” approach that tries to cover all the bases from every possible angle. JIM HURLEY has on-site sources, computer programmers, trend historians, Wise Guy connections offshore and in Las Vegas, and a team of stat-based handicappers who crunch all the numbers. We were doing analytics before it became a big deal! These tutorials will largely be based on the work of the stat department…what they study, and what they send forward to the computer guys for their simulations.
Here are what we consider to...
Sunday, February 02, 2014 at 12:36 PM
I am pleased to report all systems are go for me to win my second straight 400-unit bet on the Super Bowl, and that includes a decent weather forecast. The Denver Broncos are main the favorite - a -2.5 in Las Vegas and mostly a -2.0 in the offshore books. The total can be found at 47.5 and 48.0.
First of all, nothing has changed my mind about believing one could make a solid case for both the Broncos (15-3) and the Seattle Seahawks (15-3) to win this game and it is against this context I found six hidden edges I am confident will permit me to take down all the money with another winning 400-unit play.
300 Units on the side.
50 Units on the total.
50-Unit side/total parlay at odds of 13-5.
You can get my 400-unit Super Bowl Play on this website and toll free at 1-888-777-4155 for just $75, charged to your major credit card.
As for the weather, the forecast calls for a 16% chance of rain at the start of the game, increasing to 71% around 9:30 tonight. The...
Saturday, February 01, 2014 at 1:08 PM
LAS VEGAS - We've seen how the NFL paints the dirty little secret, the one that may not be so dirty after all.
By the end of this weekend, sports books in this town expect to surpass a handle of $100 million on Super Bowl Sunday, making it the single-greatest day in sports gambling history. A seminal moment for the gaming industry and another awkward pause for the NFL's billion-dollar industry.
While commissioner Roger Goodell has spent years publicly keeping sports wagering at arm's length, its impact on the game is undeniable.
"If they wanted to stop gambling, they'd stop the injury report," says legendary Vegas oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro. "They'd also not have as lucrative a television deal."
Or if the NFL wanted to stop gambling, they'd demand television partners eliminate the betting line from all graphics -- or lose rights to the games. Yet there it is, day after day on the ESPN crawl on the bottom of your living room flat screen, screaming at you, pulling you in.
Saturday, February 01, 2014 at 12:00 AM
SUPER BOWL XLVIII PROPS –WHAT TO WATCH FOR IN SUNDAY’S BIG GAME …THE ALL-TIME SUPER BOWL STANDINGS …
PLUS WHAT’S ON THE MENU FOR SUPER BOWL APPETIZERS AS WE PREVIEW A PAIR OF SUNDAY’S COLLEGE B-BALL TILTS
By Jim Hurley
You know one of the oldest sayings in mankind …
“There’s more than one way to skin a cat.”
Well, that holds true when it comes to wagering a bob or two on Super Bowl Sunday when the Seattle Seahawks battle the Denver Broncos.
Okay, so you already know that Jim Hurley will have the Sides & Totals Winners of Super Bowl XLVIII when you check with us on game-day morning right here online at www.vegassportsmasters.com or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-888-777-4155, but may we also suggest a few other wagering options for the big game?
Here goes with our “top props” for Super Bowl XLVIII …
1 – GO OVER 218 PASSING YARDS WITH SEATTLE QB RUSSELL WILSON...
Friday, January 31, 2014 at 11:34 AM
IT’S OUR SUPER BOWL XLVIII PREVIEW –WE EXAMINE/ANALYZE SUNDAY’S GAME BETWEEN THE SEAHAWKS VS. THE BRONCOS
PLUS THERE’S TEAM CHARTS, POINT-SPREAD NOTES AND LOTS MORE IN TODAY’S JIM SEZ COLUMN!
By Jim Hurley
Now here’s a question that we’ve asked ourselves for years come each and every Super Bowl (and this year – maybe more than ever – it’s a really tough one to answer):
What is the single-most dominant unit that’ll be on the field come Sunday night in New Jersey?
Okay, so you go back to the 1985 Chicago Bears or the 2000 Baltimore Ravens and the question was easily answered back then … dee-fense, dee-fense!
Maybe you knew it was a no-brainer question, too when it came to the Super Bowls following the 1989 season with the San Francisco 49ers or think back just a couple of years ago with the 2010 Green Bay Packers – a dominant offense was the obvious answer in those particular cases and...
Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 1:00 PM
It can be very difficult to pin down exactly what the sharps are betting in the Super Bowl each year because Wise Guy action is dwarfed by public action in raw dollars. Plus, given the tendency of sharps to fade the squares (the public), Wise Guy money often saves one last salvo for the game day hours leading right up to the Super Bowl.
We’ve talked with multiple sources on both sides of the line repeatedly since the matchup of Seattle vs. Denver was locked way back on Championship Sunday. Here’s what we’re confident of at publication time…
SUNDAY 6:30 P.M. ET: SEATTLE VS. DENVER
Sharps preferring Denver have already bet. They got in early when the first numbers went up around pick-em. Those who were very confident of Denver beating New England in the AFC Championship game were betting “the AFC” as an underdog vs. “the NFC” in early-bird options even before Championship Sunday.
Those who like Denver, are in...
Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 11:43 AM
Volume 17, Issue 24 Games of Jan. 29-Feb. 3
SPECIAL SUPER BOWL XLVIII ISSUE
I Am Going For My 2nd Straight 400-Unit Super Bowl Win This Sunday…
300 Units On Winner...50 Units On Total…50-Unit Side/Total Parlay
800-Unit 5-Day Super Bowl Package Marches On!
Broncos Remain 2.5-Point Favorite In Las Vegas
But Heavy Highroller Action Offshore Left Line There -2.0
Favorites Stand 26-19-2 In Super Bowl History,
But Dogs Have Won Last 2
and 4 of Last 6
Straight Up and Stand 5-1 ATS In Those Games
By Kelso Sturgeon
I could write a book about personal Super Bowl experiences, but two stand out in my mind—last year’s historic 400-unit win with the underdog...
Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 7:00 AM
If you’ve been reading our big game previews all through the regular season and the NFL playoffs, you know that we have a true Clash of Titans set for the first cold weather Super Bowl this Sunday at the Meadowlands. The favored Denver Broncos have one of the best offenses in league history (quarterback Peyton Manning threw 55 touchdown passes with only 10 interceptions!). The underdog Seattle Seahawks have a defense that could well be the best of the modern era…an era that’s seen its share of truly elite defenses.
The key indicator stats have been painting an accurate picture all season. Let’s see what they say about SUNDAY’S SUPER BOWL SHOWDOWN! (Note that all stats are from the regular season, a format we’ve always used in playoff previews because the January schedules may not balance out)
Won-Lost Records (strength of schedule)
Seattle: 13-3 (#6 schedule in USA today)
Denver: 13-3 (#24 schedule in USA Today)
You know both teams...
Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 12:10 AM
So, what exactly is the "script" that Super Bowl XLVIII gonna follow this Sunday evening?
Are the Denver Broncos - a 2 ½-point betting favorite at this very moment - going to cap off a glorious gridiron season with MVP-to-be QB Peyton Manning chuckin' a few touchdown passes ... or are the Seattle Seahawks gonna hunker down on "D" and give the wild fans in the great northwest their first-ever Super Bowl crown?
Well, we are - finally - just a mere few days away from finding out what gives in the final football game this season and let's just say come Super Bowl time you often expect the unexpected ... just check out a batch of things that have happened in the prior 47 Super Bowl tilts, okay?
Still, in today's Jim Sez Super Bowl-flavored column we wanted to dig a little bit deeper into some of the key factors and strategies here for SB XLVIII and so let's have at it!
THE SUPER BOWL XLVIII REPORT - KEY FACTORS/STRATEGIES
1 - WHAT INFLUENCE WILL THE WEATHER REALLY HAVE ON SB...
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 3:32 PM
It's coming up all roses for just about everybody for Sunday's Super Bowl XLVIII. NFL officials, the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks, started breathing easier today when the National Weather Service said the game will be played with temperatures in the 30s and with no precipitation and not under doom's day weather as had been raises as a possibility - wind, rain, snow, sleet, bitter cold.
So serious had been the possibilities for terrible weather for the game, the NFL brass had back-up plans to move it to Monday or Tuesday if necessary. The official forecast for the championship game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, is for a high temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius) with no precipitation.
And everybody said, "amen" and "thank you Lord", including the bookmakers of the world who had seen business drop to a trickle because of the uncertainty of the weather. Now it's full speed ahead and Nevada books are back to their prediction the state's...
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 1:00 PM
There’s a school of thought that says the Super Bowl is very hard to predict because “everything is known” about both teams. There are no secrets. It’s easy for oddsmakers to put “the right number” on the game, which takes away any potential betting value.
Well, destroying “schools of thought” is what my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping is all about! The Dean of Sports Handicapping wants to keep you from listening to wives’ tales so you can focus on making smart choices in the single biggest betting event in all of sports.
And, the fact that the Super Bowl IS the single biggest betting event in all of sports provides our first edge.
SUPER BOWL POINTSPREADS CAN BE WARPED BY PUBLIC MONEY
Sportsbooks have to protect themselves from disaster, while trying to position themselves to make a big profit. The fact that so much “dumb money” is hitting the board makes it easier for smart people to...
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 12:00 AM
THE SUPER BOWL XLVIII COUNTDOWN IS ON –
AND WE ROLL OUT OUR DAY-BY-DAY JIM SEZ ANALYSIS
WITH A LOOK AT WHEN THE SEAHAWKS HAVE THE FOOTBALL …
PLUS OUR COLLEGE HOOPS REPORT CHECKS OUT A PAIR OF KEY WEDNESDAY TILTS INCLUDING #1 ARIZONA AT STANFORD
By Jim Hurley
You’ve no doubt noticed that the totals price on Super Bowl XLVIII has pretty much stayed put at 47 or 47 ½ points ever since the price opened up some 10 or 11 days ago.
Doesn’t that surprise you when you consider all this talk about foul weather at MetLife Stadium this Sunday evening?
Shouldn’t we have seen the totals price come down a bit?
Maybe the betting public simply wants to sit tight and see what the eventual game-day forecast is gonna be or maybe it’s just that nobody out there really thinks the high-octane Denver Broncos – who averaged nearly 38 points per game this past regular season – is gonna be slowed down by Mother Nature and/or...
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 7:00 PM
The Kansas Jayhawks have managed to survive unscathed six games into a tough Big 12 slate. And, it has been tough! Kansas has drawn all the top contenders except Texas (who they visit Saturday), and are already dealing with a revenge-minded stalwart from Iowa State Wednesday Night. You can watch that rematch on ESPNU.
Many pundits are eyeing Kansas as a serious national championship threat. But, they almost stubbed their toe in a recent home game against Oklahoma State. Can the Cylcones score an upset, as they try to make THEIR case for more national respect? Let’s see what the numbers have to say…
Iowa State: #20 in Pomeroy, #10 in Sagarin
Kansas: #9 in Pomeroy, #7 in Sagarin
College basketball guru Ken Pomeroy and USA Today computer whiz Jeff Sagarin both see Kansas as a top 10 team. Should the Jayhawks continue to own the strong and deep Big 12, they could make a run at a top four computer ranking with both. There’s some...
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 1:00 PM
Normally the term “shocker” applies to a big upset. This Sunday’s Super Bowl doesn’t have that possibility because the line is within arm’s reach of pick-em. It wouldn’t be a surprise if current underdog Seattle won outright. They would have been the betting favorite a couple of weeks ago based on the preliminary estimates.
In this case I’m talking about a SHOCK THE SYSTEM result. One that has bettors, fans, and everyone in the mainstream media scratching their heads because they didn’t see this coming. I’m talking about a SHOCKING BLOWOUT.
What could cause a SHOCKER in the Super Bowl? These are the most likely factors:
Most blowouts in the NFL these days are triggered by turnovers. One offense self-destructs, and the other team picks up a lot of cheap points. Obviously, both of these offenses have enough talent to cash in any opportunities they get. That means the impact of any turnover that happens could...
Monday, January 27, 2014 at 7:00 PM
There are so many top notch teams in the Big 10 this year that every night seems to bring a big game. Hopefully you watched Michigan’s upset of Michigan State this past Saturday Night. Tuesday, the Spartans try to bounce back on the road against a very tough Iowa side.
A couple of weeks ago, TV pundits were suggesting Iowa might be the best team in the conference. Those who were arguing were suggesting it was Michigan State. Both have lost since, and neither wants to take another hit Tuesday!
Let’s run the matchup through JIM HURLEY’S key indicator information…
Michigan State: #12 in Pomeroy, #2 in Sagarin
Iowa: #4 in Pomeroy, #3 in Sagarin
Look at that! College basketball guru Ken Pomeroy has dropped Michigan State all the way down to #12 off their loss to Michigan. USA Today computer whiz Jeff Sagarin still has them at #2 in the nation. Both guys have Iowa as Final Four caliber at the moment. That’s an amazing story in...
Monday, January 27, 2014 at 8:54 AM
WE BEGIN OUR DAY-BY-DAY JIM SEZ ANALYSIS WITH A LOOK AT WHEN THE BRONCOS HAVE THE FOOTBALL ...
PLUS OUR COLLEGE HOOPS NOTEBOOK INCLUDES THE TOP TILTS TONIGHT (THAT'S #18 DUKE AT #20 PITTSBURGH) AND TOMORROW (#14 KENTUCKY AT LSU)
By Jim Hurley:
The Super Bowl teams have touched down in New Jersey - and they've already answered a gazillion questions (many of them either silly or stupid, or both) and we haven't even yet hit Tuesday's always circus-like Media Day ... egads!
No doubt that when the AFC champion Denver Broncos and the NFC champion Seattle Seahawks landed at Newark International Airport on Sunday afternoon/evening, respectively, they found out all about the rugged weather that everyone's been talking about for the past week or so.
Snow flurries and chilling cold greeted the Broncos right 'round 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday and bone-chattering temps greeted the Seahawks around 7 p.m. ET and yet the weather folks claim it will "warm up" to about 35 degrees on Super Bowl Sunday...
Sunday, January 26, 2014 at 5:00 PM
Because it’s been an underplayed story so far this season, the first REAL debut of the superconference era is Monday Night on ESPN’s Big Monday when traditional ACC power Duke visits former Big East power Pittsburgh. The TV network has already been hyping this game to the gills. And, they’re already getting a head start on doing that for Saturday’s Duke/Syracuse game that was purposely set the night before the Super Bowl for maximum exposure. The “new look” ACC is truly in the spotlight!
Will Duke send a message to the newcomers about what they can expect in the race to the title? Or, will it be the newcomers sending a message about how the Big East has always been better than the ACC? So far, the standings bear out what the Big East has been saying all these years:
Not only are Syracuse and Pittsburgh at the top…but Pitt’s only loss was to Syracuse! The...
Sunday, January 26, 2014 at 1:50 PM
200-Unit College Basketball Game Of Year Wins As Washington (-3.5) Beats Oregon State 87-81 And Another 200-Unit Play Wins Wednesday
By Kelso Sturgeon
It's nice to report I won my 200-unit College Basketball Game of the Year Saturday as Washington (-3.5) knocked off Oregon State, 87-81, and it is nice to report this Wednesday night I am kicking off my special six-day Super Bowl Package with another 200-unit winner. While Washington got off to a slow start and had to come from behind to win, my Wednesday night releases so outclasses its opponent, it should roar from the opening tipoffs.
And we will be on the way to my second straight 400-unit Super Bowl win-300 units on the side, 50 units on the total and 50 units on another side/total parlay at odds of 13-5. The Super Bowl program offers big-game plays every single day through next Monday night when it concludes with a 75-unit 2-team college parlay.
As always the price is right--$150 for more than 1,000 units of...
Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 5:00 PM
The California Golden Bears started Pac 12 play with a flourish. They beat Stanford on the road as a 6-point underdog, then did the same thing to Oregon. They were 5-0 straight up and ATS in league play to get things started. Then, DISASTER! They were stunned at USC Wednesday Night in a lookahead to Sunday’s huge game at UCLA. Was Cinderella’s coach turning back into a pumpkin? Or, was that a head coach who couldn’t keep his players focused?!
We’ll soon now as Cal plays their toughest Pac 12 road game to date against the Bruins. If you’ve only been casually following college hoops until football ends, you may have forgotten that Steve Alford is now the head man at UCLA. He has his team in the top 25 of the computers. But, they sure aren’t playng Steve Alford basketball.
Let’s go through JIM HURLEY’S indicator stats to see how things might play out in the best TV game on the Sunday schedule in terms of computer rankings....
Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 10:00 AM
Longtime bettors know that there’s often a lot of betting value in fading the big name championship contenders. They’re always priced very high because the market assumes “the best” from this kind of team every time they take the floor. Also, the public prefers betting on championship teams led by superstars, which means they lines are even higher than they should be anyway.
*You can grind out value over time
*You can find occasional SHOCKERS that pay off big on the moneyline
Hey, I’m THE KING OF UPSETS, so I’m always on the lookout for this kind of situation. Right now, the Miami Heat are having serious trouble playing to their market expectations.
MIAMI HEAT AGAINST THE SPREAD
18-25 ATS for the season (42% success rate, 58% fade rate!)
5-12 ATS their last 17 games (29% the past month)
2-6 ATS their last eight games (25% the past two weeks)
The Heat were basically break even right before Christmas, but have really hit a brick wall...
Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 9:36 AM
Maybe the Senior Bowl on Saturday and/or the NFL Pro Bowl on Sunday will satisfy your hunger for football this weekend as we all sit patiently and await Super Bowl XLVIII at what could be a snowy MetLife Stadium on the first Sunday in February … hey, bring your mittens!
As you’ve seen, the Las Vegas pointspread has pretty much stayed put this week at the Denver Broncos minus 2 ½ points over the Seattle Seahawks (it opened in most places at Broncos minus a point) and maybe you were lucky/smart enough to play the Broncos or the Seahawks at the better-than the 2-to-1 odds to win it all at the very start of these NFL Playoffs.
Also, take note that the totals price of 47 points is right around where it opened – at 47 ½ -- but once we all get the “seven-day forecast” on Monday we could see some major movement on that particular price front – in fact, you can bank on that happening!
In any event, we’ll have to skip competitive...
Saturday, January 25, 2014 at 7:00 AM
ESPN knew they would at least be locked into a high profile rivalry game when they scheduled Michigan at Michigan State for their GameDay spotlight. Instead, they lucked into one of the biggest college basketball games in all of January! Two national powers who are still UNDEFEATED in the toughest league in the land will square off in a game that will certainly have a March Madness feel to it.
*Michigan reached the finals of the Big Dance last year. They’re currently once again in championship form after some early season toe-stubbings against quality opponents like Arizona, Duke, and Iowa State. In Big 10 action, they’ve won as road underdogs over Minnesota and Wisconsin. Then, their last time out, they handled Iowa…a team many pundits were insisting was actually the best in the league (maybe not!).
*Michigan State was on the short list before the season began of potential Final Four teams. They’re still there! They’ve only lost one game all season, a...
Friday, January 24, 2014 at 7:00 PM
As the SEC still tries to work its way back to relevance as a major conference…rather than just a glorified Conference USA that happens to have Kentucky and Florida in it…it’s important to monitor how the second rung of teams fares when taking on the Wildcats or the Gators. Tennessee is getting a lot of respect from the computers this year, because they win big when they win. But, the Vols couldn’t last the full 40 minutes at Kentucky last weekend. Can they spring a big upset in Gainesville Saturday?
Let’s see what the math and the computer assessments are saying about the most attractive of the mid-afternoon TV matchups…
There’s no shame in losing at Kentucky, particularly when you covered the spread (barely). But, the other Tennessee loss was at home against Texas A&M. That was pretty embarrassing. Tennessee at its best can go toe-to-toe for long stretches against anybody....
Friday, January 24, 2014 at 5:00 PM
One of the trickiest things about handicapping college basketball is determining the point value of key injuries. Some players look like they’re worth several points (Colorado has struggled vs. quality since losing Spencer Dinwiddie). Other players, no matter how talented, don’t actually have much of an impact on results when they’re out of the lineup because of quality depth. A player’s “worth” often isn’t actually based on his own value, but on the value of his replacement.
We’re currently seeing several teams dealing with at least minor injuries in college basketball. Here are some quick guidelines for those of you studying the coursework in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping.
*Point guard injuries can be devastating!
This is like losing your quarterback in pro or college football. You have to have a firm hand guiding the offense. Losing a star point guard and having him replaced by an inexperienced...
Friday, January 24, 2014 at 3:00 PM
Duke passed an important test earlier this week with a road win at Miami. The other Florida team in the ACC is up next, as the Seminoles of Florida State come to Cameron Indoor for an early tipoff Saturday. FSU is playing much better ball than Miami right now, and will certainly be a threat to score a road upset against the Dukies.
Some quick game notes for handicappers…
Florida State: 4-2
The duo is tied for fourth place at the moment. Syracuse leads the ACC heading into a road game at Miami Saturday. Pittsburgh and Virginia are both 5-1. Note that Duke will visit Pittsburgh in a couple of days in a Big Monday telecast on ESPN. A quirk in the schedule has both of FSU’s losses coming at the hands of Virginia. Why did they play Virginia twice in the first six games?! That could be a bad sign for making a serious run at the top of the league. FSU hasn’t played a power besides Virginia yet, and is staring at a third league loss...
Friday, January 24, 2014 at 8:59 AM
You may have heard that this past 2013 NFL season there was a Super Bowl “Countdown Clock” positioned on a wall in the New York Giants locker room at MetLife Stadium.
Well, that didn’t work out as such great motivation as someone in the Giants’ organization actually removed the clock in December after the NFC East team was officially eliminated from post-season contention but be sure about this:
The countdown is on in earnest for Super Bowl XLVIII in New Jersey as we’re now less than 10 days away from football’s biggest spectacle and who knew that Denver QB Peyton Manning would be nearing the end of a brilliant career with a third Super Bowl appearance (and with a second different team) and that Seattle QB Russell Wilson would already be part of the Super Bowl mix just two years into his pro career?
Wilson – who has guided the Seahawks to 12-6 and 15-3 SU (straight-up) seasons (to say nothing of the team’s combined 24-12 against the...
Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 7:00 PM
Given the nature of Las Vegas betting interest, we’ll be devoting most NOTEBOOK coverage to “The Road to March Madness” over the next several weeks. We’ll turn peak attention to the NBA once the Dance is in the books…and certainly when the much anticipated pro playoffs get underway. But, the college schedule is so light Friday Night…and the Super Bowl is still a week away…so let’s do some catching up.
The quickest and best way to paint a thumbnail sketch is to use the combination of these two elements:
*Average Scoring Margin
*Strength of Schedule
Average scoring margin by itself can work as a virtual Power Rating because it creates a totem pole from best to worst. Strength of schedule allows you to adjust for teams who may have been playing very easy or very hard schedules. You regulars know we like using Jeff Sagarin’s strength of schedule rankings from his pages at USA Today.
Let’s start in the...