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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at 9:00 AM

It’s a point that JIM HURLEY tries to drive home for you every college basketball season. Even the best teams have trouble playing well late in February knowing that March Madness is just around the corner.

We saw several great examples of that in Tuesday night action. Ranked teams either started slowly…finished poorly…or barely showed up at all. Here’s an all-inclusive list of results. You’ll see that only one team covered its spread!

#3 Duke (-3) lost outright at Virginia Tech 77-72. This was a natural flat spot off the emotional “rally around the flag” road win at Syracuse this past weekend. Any team is going to feel the effect of losing a talent like Zion Williamson eventually. Duke seemed a step slow much of the night, at a site Coach K. has struggled at in recent seasons. Can Duke win the NCAA’s if Zion doesn’t put on his dancing shoes?

#4 Kentucky (-15.5) only beat Arkansas 70-66 after trailing by 11 at the half. Horrible first half for a team that had been starting games very well recently. Arkansas isn’t very good this season, which is why the spread was so high. Kentucky did rally to win, but had to sweat the ending in a game that should have been a laugher. JIM HURLEY still likes Kentucky’s chances to go deep in the Dance. But, this and a recent home loss to LSU are causes for concern.

#5 North Carolina (-11) only beat Syracuse 93-85 after trailing at the half. At least the Tar Heels got within shouting distance of the spread in the final moments. Good bounce back for the Orange most of the night. Carolina surely has bragging rights this season for owning victories over both Gonzaga and Duke. Can they maintain consistency next month? Always an issue with this oft-overpriced program. 

#13 LSU (-10) won and covered at home against Texas A&M 66-55. This was the only point spread win of the night for a ranked team, and it came by just one point! At least LSU started well, pulling away to a big first half lead. A lot to like about the Tigers based on recent form. They will be a very tough out in the SEC tournament and the Dance.

#19 Wisconsin (-2.5) lost at Indiana 75-73 in double overtime. Indiana entered with just a 4-12 record in Big 10 play, having only won ONE game in recent memory! The ranked Badgers managed to “fail to cover” three times here…at the end of regulation, after the first OT, and again when the final buzzer sounded. Very few stretches through this national TV game where Wisconsin looked like it should have been a clear road favorite.

#21 Buffalo (-15) only beat Akron 77-64 after trailing at halftime to the big ugly underdog. Common theme on the night. Big favorite couldn’t even lead at the half, but eventually got the job done below market expectations. Buffalo will be a very fun team to watch in the Dance…and just might make a big headline. It’s harder for teams like this to make headlines game after game in the tournament.

#22 Iowa (+3) lost at Ohio State 90-70. Worst no-show of the night for a ranked team. Iowa keeps talking big, but then laying eggs like this every so often. One of many teams next month that could take out a power, but lose to a Cinderella even before getting that chance.

Seven games, a 1-6 ATS record for ranked teams on the Tuesday ticket. Powers are obviously thinking about what’s ahead in a couple of weeks and beyond. And, it has to be said, some are just flat overrated in terms of their distance from mid-level opposition.

It can be very tough for casual bettors to pull the trigger on underdogs facing ranked teams. They know they’ll have to sweat the whole game because great teams can explode with little notice. Blowout losses are humiliating. Last second losses are gut punches. Doesn’t feel like its worth the effort even when those dogs cover!

Look…at the very least, stop betting so many favorites! Stop assuming Kentucky (or Buffalo) is going to kill every team they face because they want to be in great form entering March. Stop thinking Duke and North Carolina are indestructible at crunch time in the ACC. Remember that power programs often post losing ATS records in the last few weeks of the regular season…then also fall earlier than expected in their conference tournaments if they’re locks for the Dance.

If you’ve been struggling with your basketball bets of late, help from a PROVEN WINNER is just a phone call or a few clicks away. You can purchase JIM HURLEY’S plays right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, please call us in the office during normal business hours at 1-888-777-4155. NETWORK has value-priced packages that take you through the NCAA Tournament, or through the NBA Playoffs that finish in June.

Intangibles are a very important part of basketball handicapping. Most real-world intangibles work AGAINST the highest profile college teams in advance of the Dance. The media won’t tell that story. You think Dick Vitale or anybody else at ESPN wants to criticize their corporate partners?!

Ideally, you’ll position yourself for 6-1 nights by thinking about value bets against ranked sides. If you don’t have the stomach for that…hopefully you can stop risking 1-6 debacles by cutting back on the number of favorites you bet.

The whole point of sports betting is to GET ALL THE MONEY. The man who’s been helping his clients do that for 30 years is JIM HURLEY!

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