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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

 

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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

 

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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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