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Our College basketball picks finished the season strong at EveryEdge and today we preview the big game between No. 2 Kansas Jayhawks and the top seeded favorites, Kentucky

 


Kentucky is 77-1 straight-up under Coach Calipari when holding opponents to 67 points or fewer

 

The Wildcats were circled in as this year’s March Madness bracket champs more than any other team and through the first five rounds Kentucky was 3-2 ATS with a 10.6-point average margin of victory. Only one of their wins was by fewer than 6.5 points, which is where most online sportsbooks are offering the line as of Monday morning.

 

Kentucky was in full control during their Final Four game against Louisville, carrying a 35-28 win onto the second-half where they eventually won by eight points; good enough for the majority of Cardinals backers who were getting +8.5 or more points.

 

Kansas allows an average of just 61.6 points per game (PPG) and that has whittled the NCAA odds for the total down to 138 from an opening price of 140.5.

 

CHALK OPTIONS

The Wildcats are only 16-22 ATS in their past 38 lined games and we’ve had to use creative basketball betting to capitalize on this team during the tournament. Saturday we tabbed the “Under” vs. Louisville and against Indiana; our posted play was on the Wildcats and Hoosiers “Over” 67.5 in the first-half.

 

Kentucky led that game 50-47 at the break and it was the most first-half points they’ve scored during the tournament but there has been two constants: Having the lead and scoring more than 35 points

Wildcat Scoring – First-half

Led 35-28 vs. Louisville
Led 42-22 vs. Baylor
Led 50-47 vs. Indiana
Led 38-27 vs. Iowa State
Led 45-26 vs. Western Kentucky

 

That’s an average lead of 12 points per game, outscoring opponents 42-30. Including the regular season, Kentucky has first-half averages of 37.7 to 28.5 and the early line for this game is Wildcats -3.5 (even) with a total of 63.5.

NCAA PICKS

Each of these teams has top caliber defense and with Kansas’ scoring averages (35.6-29.0), we think the oddsmaker has done a good job on that first-half total. Team totals for the first-half are Wildcats (33) and Kansas (30.5) and with all its offensive talent, our top play is on the Wildcats staying true to form.
Pick: Take Kentucky Team Total “Over” 33 first-half points

 

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March Madness Record: 6-2 ATS………………………….. Follow Everyedge on Twitter!

March Madness continues Saturday as the top college basketball teams in the country hit New Orleans for the Final Four. We setup the first game on the card between Louisville and top seeded Kentucky, looking to improve on our 5-2 ATS record in tournament betting

 


The past seven Final Four favorites of 4-plus points who scored 80 points or more in the Elite 8 have a 1-6 ATS record

 

Winners of the Big East championship, Louisville is making its first appearance in the Final Four since 2005. Their 50-44 SU/ATS win over Cincinnati set a record for the lowest scoring final in Big East history and through the first four games of the NCAA tournament; the Cardinals have kept the trend alive.

 

Louisville fought its way out of the West with 1 over and 3 unders, extending their March Over/Under record to 4 overs, 15 unders and 1 push since 2009. The low scoring games have slowed down the total for today’s game and as of early Saturday, most online sportsbooks show a 1.5 point decrease from the opening line of 138.5.

 

GAME PLAN
Current NCAA odds show a total of 137 with Kentucky listed as a 9-point favorite. The Wildcats have covered three in row and are winning straight-up by an average of 12 points per game with the same formula they’ve used all season. Louisville is going to need to play an almost perfect game to pull an upset and it will come down the Cardinals defense.

 

If Louisville can mix coverages, force Kentucky into difficult shooting situations early and haul in their share of defensive rebounds, the Cardinals gameplan should keep the score within single digits. Louisville ranked seventh overall this season with an average of 8.9 turnovers and they have played their share of close games. Getting plus-9 points or more, we have a strong lean to the dog but our official play is on the total.

 

OVER/UNDER NOTEBOOK
On a neutral court with a total between 130 and 139.5, Kentucky has played 1 over and 9 unders the past two years and this season alone, regardless of location, they show 4 overs, 14 unders and a push in that range.

 

- Since 1997, Louisville and Kentucky have combined to play 3 overs and 11 unders

 

NCAA PICKS
Coach Rick Pitino (44-13 SU, 33-21-3 ATS) and Kentucky HC John Calipari (36-13 SU, 26-22-1 ATS) have impressive March Madness betting resumes and these teams met on New Year’s Eve (69-62 Wildcats win), so the strategy will play a big role. When facing common opponents this season, the two teams combined for an average of 134.5 total points per game and with the recent history on our side, betting under looks like the value play in this contest.
Pick: Take the Under

 

Get Final Four NCAA Odds here and for more on this game, stop by the EveryEdge Forum

 

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The first of four No. 1 seeds advanced yesterday and tonight, two more will try and live up to expectations including the Kentucky Wildcats vs. Indiana Hoosiers

 


The Wildcats (7) and Hoosiers (5) share a combined 12 National Championship titles

 

Kentucky is 1-4 ATS in its past four games including a 1-1 ATS split in the first two rounds of March Madness betting. Their margins of victory were by 15 and 16 points but the pointspread vs. Western Kentucky was a typical No. 1 vs. No. 16 style (26.5 points).

 

Online sportsbooks opened the Wildcats at -8.5 vs. fourth seeded Indiana and the current NCAA odds shows Kentucky at -9.5.

 

Indiana is 7-2 ATS this season in nine games as a dog and one of those wins was Dec. 10, when the Hoosiers handed the Wildcats their only regular season loss, 73-72 as a 5.5-point dog. It was a buzzer beating three-pointer by Christian Watford and the Hoosiers will need their perimeter shooting to be at the top of its game tonight.

 

Kentucky shot 56-percent from the floor in wins over Western Kentucky and Iowa State with little assistance from the bench. It was foul trouble that helped limit Anthony Davis in the loss at Assembly Hall and the Hoosiers took full advantage, going 14 of 17 from the line.

 

The Wildcats discipline has improved dramatically as the team matured through the back-half of the season and No. 1 seeds are 33-8 straight-up in Sweet 16 betting the past 11 years, but Kentucky has sent many a bettor to the poorhouse this season thanks to these inflated lines.

 

NCAA PICKS
Favorites off back-to-back blowout wins in this round (15-plus points) are on a 12-4 ATS hot streak but the Wildcats are on a 14-21 ATS run in lined games. There is a lot to support Kentucky advancing to the next round but rather than lay the points, we are backing another first-half play.
Pick: Take the “Over” 67.5 in the first-half

 

For more March Madness betting, picks and handicapping tips, stop by the EveryEdge Forum.

 

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We breakdown the first set of Sweet 16 matchups with our top basketball picks and ‘leans’ for all four Thursday night games

 


Michigan State will try and improve on its recent 6-1 ATS March Madness record

 

No. 4 Wisconsin tips things off at 7:15 pm ET vs. the top seeded Syracuse Orange and sportsbooks favor Syracuse -3 but that’s down from an opening line of -4.5.

 

Syracuse (33-2 SU) won the Big East regular season title but without Fab Melo it’s going to be tough getting past Wisconsin straight-up, let alone covering by more than three points. The Orange is 1-1 ATS in the March Madness tournament but just 2-7 ATS in their past nine and 5-11 ATS since January 14.

 

Wisconsin has a 5-2 ATS record in its past seven and after losing its past two regional semi-finals, look for the Badgers to take advantage of the situation.
Pick: Take Wisconsin, with a lean to the “Over” 120

 

No. 6 CINCINNATI vs. No. 2 OHIO STATE
Most online sportsbooks opened the Buckeyes at -7 and the dog is getting upwards of 78-percent action according to one sports betting site, yet the line has spent time at -7.5 and even -8 points. Strange line movement and that’s a bit of a caution flag, especially for a Buckeyes team who are 5-9 ATS as single-digit chalk this season.

 

The Bearcats are on a 10-3 ATS run in their past 13 and coming off an impressive win over Florida State but No. 2 seeds in the Sweet 16 have a 13-5 ATS record in March Madness vs. opponents off an upset win.
Lean: Ohio State

 

No. 7 FLORIDA vs. No. 3 MARQUETTE
Florida’s first two wins in the March tourney were by 26 and 34 points but the current line at Pinnacle (Marquette -1.5) suggests a much closer game on-deck. Florida HC Billy Donovan’s record in the NCAA tourney from the Sweet 16 out (12-3 SU, 11-4 ATS) is earning this team a tip of respect but favorites have dominated this region with a 9-3 ATS record and we like the Golden Eagles to advance.
Pick: Take Marquette

 

No. 4 LOUISVILLE vs. No. 1 MICHIGAN STATE
The Cardinals and Spartans renew acquaintances for the first time since the 2009 Midwest Regional Final and Michigan State is favored by -5 points with a full game total of 125. This marks the first time since all four No. 1 seeds have made it to the Sweet 16 and we lean to the favorite in this matchup but our top play looks at the first-half total.

 

Michigan State cruised past Long Island but they were threatened by Saint Louis and we are looking for an exceptionally strong defensive gameplan early against the Cardinals. The current first-half line is 57.5 or 58 and we see these teams coming up well shy.
Pick: Take the first-half Under

 

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The first day of March Madness is in the books and Friday’s card is loaded with more NCAA betting options, starting with the NC State Wolfpack vs. San Diego State


The Wolfpack had a 4.2-point scoring advantage away from home this season

 

NC State is the 11th seed in a somewhat soft Midwest region but online sportsbooks opened the Wolfpack at -1.5 and they slowly crept to -2 and then -2.5. 64-percent of the sports betting crowd still support the favorite at this price and one book suggested the moneyline (NC State -140) has become a highly popular play.

 

The Wolfpack slumped during the back-half of February before going on a four-game win streak that ended vs. North Carolina in the ACC semi-finals. It was their 13th consecutive loss to the Tar Heels and NC State actually led 34-31 at the half but Tyler Zeller was too much to contain.

 

CJ Leslie put up 22 points vs. North Carolina and he’s upped the stakes with a 17.0 point per game (PPG) average since Feb. 18. Leslie has five double-doubles during that eight-game span and he could cause big problems for the Aztecs.

 

Jamaal Franklin is a beast for San Diego but a lack of depth could pose problems in a loser goes home type of battle. NC State is 12-3 ATS away from home this season and 5-1 ATS in neutral court games, outscoring opponents 72.5 to 69.2.

 

NCAA PICKS
When a higher seed (numerically) is favored, they are 8-3-1 ATS since 2010 and although the bus is getting full, we think the Wolfpack have the tools to win this game by at least a three-point margin.
Pick: Take NC State

 

Check all March Madness Odds

We’ve sorted through the first round matchups for this year’s NCAA basketball tournament with odds and ATS angles to find a side play from the Jackrabbits and Bears


The Bears bounced back from their past three losses with wins by a 9.3 PPG average (3-0 ATS)

 

March Madness picks are at the top of everyone’s priority list in sports betting and we’ll start the journey with a first round play from South Dakota State vs. Baylor.

The current NCAA odds show Baylor -7.5 and 140 and the Jackrabbits come into the tournament riding an eight-game win streak straight-up where they covered the spread at a 6-2 ATS clip. South Dakota State was pushed to overtime in its Summit League final against Western Illinois and Griffan Callahan was the hero in a 52-50 win.

South Dakota State was a 10-point favorite and this is their first-ever tournament berth. The 52 points scored in that victory was also the lowest Summit winning tally in 30 years and Baylor comes into this matchup on run of four-straight overs.

Opponents during that streak are ranked eighth (Iowa St, Kansas St) and second (Kansas, Missouri) and the Jackrabbits could have a hard time keeping up. In the past five years, No. 3 vs. No. 14 seed matchups produced a record of just 7 overs to 13 unders.

South Dakota State ranks fourth among March Madness participants for ATS cover margins at plus-6.2 points but Baylor’s two most recent victories were by margins of eight and nine points straight-up.

NCAA PICKS
Single-digit dogs can be dangerous in Round 1/2 but the Summit’s produced a 0-9 record in tourney play since 2003 and eight of the losses were by double-digits. No. 3 seeds have a strong 25-6-1 ATS record in the opener and Big 12’s are 22-14-1 ATS against non-majors.
Pick: Take Baylor

 

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The Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State Buckeyes meet at 4 pm ET with a ticket to the Big Ten championship game on the line

Trey Burke had a season-high 30 points in the Wolverines’ overtime win vs. Minnesota

 

Michigan had a bye through the first round and was taken to overtime by a live Minnesota team on Friday. The Wolverines ended up winning 73-69 straight-up but missed the cover as a 5.5-point favorite and that’s given some fuel to this matchup vs. the Buckeyes.

 

Today’s college basketball odds show Ohio State -7.5 with a total of 126.5 and a couple of sports betting shops have tested the water at -8 and 127.

 

Ohio State was the No. 3 seed in the bracket and made short work of Purdue 88-71 in the second round, setting them up for this first-half system from Greg Dempson Sports that is 7-0 ATS during the 2011-12 season.

 

NCAA SYSTEM

Play against neutral court favorites in the first-half when they are coming off a double-digit win and facing a conference rival off a straight-up win where they failed to cover.

 

In the past five seasons this profile has cashed at an 83-percent rate (39-8 ATS) and more recently, it is on a 25-6 ATS run (81-percent). The average first half line was -3.2 and the average scoring differential was less than a point.

 

NCAA PICKS

The first-half line at Pinnacle Sports is Ohio State -4 and in the past seven meetings, the Buckeyes have only led by more than four points once. Our March Madness picks started off strong with plays from the first round of the Big Ten tourney and we’ll try and keep that going with today’s play on the dog.

Pick: Take Michigan +4 in the first-half

 

Check updated NCAA Odds and stop by the Every Edge forum for more winning picks

The Big Ten basketball tournament begins Thursday with four first round matchups including Indiana vs. Penn State

 

Cody Zeller scored 15-plus points in eight of his past 10 games

 

Iowa and Illinois get underway at 11:30 am ET, playing for the right to face No. 1 Michigan State (24-7). Early lines favor the Fighting Illini (-2, O/U 136.5) and they’ve won five-straight in this series SU/ATS but Illinois was 1-8 SU/ATS down the stretch.

 

The one win was convincing one, 65-54 over these Hawkeyes (Feb. 26) when Illinois jumped to an 11-point lead at the break. Iowa’s leading scorer, Matt Gatens, put up 22 points in the loss and he’s averaged 23.6 points per game (PPG) in his last five but he needs help. With a big game from Aaron White, today’s first upset comes early.

Pick: Take Iowa

 

No. 5 Indiana vs. No. 12 Penn State goes at 1:55 pm ET and the Hoosiers are grabbing big support from the sports betting public early. NCAA odds favor Indiana -13.5 and they handled the Nittany Lions 73-54 as a 15-point home fave in January but the Hoosiers are just 1-4 ATS in their past four neutral site games.

 

Not much chance of straight-up upset here but consider the total (O/U 137) or perhaps a first-half play on the Hoosiers as a better option. Indiana has scored 42.3 first-half PPG in its past three, outscoring opponents by 13.3 points.

 

No. 7 Northwestern (-2.5) has cashed seven of its past 10 tickets against the spread (7-2-1) including a 4-1-1 run to finish. Sportsbooks offer the total against No. 10 Minnesota at 130 and although the Wildcats played 2 overs and 4 unders to finish, they have a 6-1 O/U record this season in lined games with a posted total below 130.

 

With Michigan on-deck, this game sets up as a one and done for either squad and with the way Northwestern finished, scoring 70-plus in six of its past 10 (71.3 average), this is a good spot to bet the “Over”.

Pick: Take the Over

 

No. 6 Purdue and No. 11 Nebraska wrap up first round Big Ten betting around 8 pm ET and the Boilermakers currently sit as a -9.5 point favorite but this line is expected to hit double-digits by tip-off.

 

Nebraska stumbled to the finish in its inaugural season with win over slumping Illinois as the only bright spot from February onward. They were just 4-14 SU in conference play and though the defense hung around, the offense averaged less than 61 points per contest. Purdue scored 74-plus in its final four and 72.0 PPG on the season and we lean to the favorite but getting in early is critical.

 

Check all the updated NCAA odds here and for more picks, stop by the Every Edge forum

LSU is on their way to the BCS Championship game…win or lose today. At least that’s what I believe. Does that mean the Tigers are ripe to be upset today in the SEC Championship game? Nope.

 

Les Miles and crew are intent on finishing this season undefeated and while I say they’ll go the BCS Title game win or lose, why open the door to potentially being shutout.

 

Georgia, without any hope of a BCS Championship invite regardless of the final score today, are motivated by a Sugar Bowl invite and the pleasure of ruining the Tigers’ perfect season.

 

It’s going to be a pretty tough task. LSU have yet to flinch on the big stage this year, staring down seven ranked teams and most impressively, beating three programs that were ranked #2 or higher when they faced off. This includes last week’s dismantling of #3 ranked Arkansas 41-17.

 

Georgia is a solid team, on a 10-game winning streak. But perusing their schedule the last 10 games, I don’t see anything that prepares them for what they’ll face today. Auburn? Not even close. Georgia Tech? Please.

 

The Bulldogs lost to Boise State and South Carolina to start the season. I think those losses, despite coming almost three months ago, are indicative of where this team fits…good, but not capable of a big step up in class.

 

LSU is the biggest step up in class.

 

Pick: Look for the LSU defense and offense as well to wear the Bulldogs down as the game moves on. This Tiger D won’t have trouble with the Bulldog running game, or their play-action that comes off that running game. In fact, with trouble getting anything going on the ground, Georgia’s play-action will be neutered.

 

The play is on LSU -13.

 

Good luck.