The opening lines have been released. The four columns in the grid below are as follows from left to right: Away Team, Home Team, Spread Prediction, and Actual Opening Spread. The items with an asterisk in column 4 are the spreads I missed by more than 1.5 points. Below the grid are my picks. The picks are largely based on the logic I provided in the first part of this article which was posted Thursday morning.
|Syracuse||Clemson||Clemson -4||Clemson -5|
|Notre Dame||Pittsburgh||Pittsburgh -2.5||Pittsburgh -2|
|Butler||Providence||Providence -1.5||Providence -2.5|
|Villanova||Seton Hall||Villanova -1.5||Villanova -2.5|
|TCU||Texas||Texas -7||Texas -6|
|Florida State||Wake Forest||Florida State -12||Florida State -11|
|Georgia||South Carolina||South Carolina -7.5||South Carolina -6|
|NC State||Boston College||NC State -3||NC State -2.5|
|Texas Tech||Iowa State||EVEN||EVEN|
|Baylor||Kansas||Kansas -7.5||Kansas -7.5|
|Florida||Kentucky||Kentucky -10||Kentucky -10|
|Texas A&M||Mississippi St||Mississippi St -12.5||Mississippi St -12|
|Georgetown||Marquette||Marquette -11.5||Marquette -10|
|Purdue||Northwestern||Purdue -7.5||Purdue -6.5|
|Oregon St||Washington St||Oregon St -5||Oregon St -5.5|
|Arizona St||Arizona||Arizona -1.5||Arizona -1|
|UNLV||Colorado St||Colorado St -3.5||Colorado St -3|
|West Virginia||Oklahoma St||Oklahoma St -4.5||Oklahoma St -4.5|
|UCF||Temple||UCF -1.5||*Temple -1|
|Louisville||Virginia||Virginia -14||Virginia -12.5|
|USC||Colorado||Colorado -5||Colorado -6.5|
|St. John’s||Xavier||Xavier -3||Xavier -2.5|
|Alabama||Arkansas||Arkansas -4.5||Arkansas -3.5|
|Oklahoma||Kansas St||Kansas St -6||Kansas St -6.5|
|Duke||North Carolina||North Carolina -3.5||North Carolina -3|
|New Mexico||Wyoming||New Mexico -5.5||New Mexico -5|
|Air Force||Boise St||Boise St -9||Boise St -9.5|
|San Jose St||Fresno St||Fresno St -24||Fresno St -23|
|UCLA||Utah||Utah -2.5||*Utah -4.5|
|DePaul||Creighton||Creighton -8.5||Creighton -7.5|
|Michigan||Michigan St||Michigan St -5||Michigan St -4|
|Vanderbilt||LSU||LSU -17.5||*LSU -14|
|Wichita St||Tulane||Wichita St -10||Wichita St -9|
|Tulsa||Memphis||Memphis -8||Memphis -8|
|Oregon||Washington||Washington -5.5||Washington -4.5|
|San Diego St||Nevada||Nevada -15||Nevada -13.5|
I said I can predict 90% to within 1.5 points. I predicted 35/38 for 92%. Are you not entertained?! I wish I had gotten more wrong and there were more games to key on, but let’s focus on the three I missed.
Note: All opening line data was obtained from www.vegasinsider.com.
UCF @ Temple – This is easily the bet of the day. The pure numbers favor UCF by 1.5 points, yet Temple opened at -1. UCF just won at #8 Houston and at home to #20 Cincinnati. Before those two gigantic resume-building wins, UCF was very much on the bubble. They are now feeling great that they’ve all but punched a ticket to the big dance. Temple, on the other hand, has work left to do. Top bracketologist Dave Ommen has Temple has his second to last team in the bracket right now. It’s the last game before the conference tournament for Temple and a great chance to notch a HUGE win against a team that is likely feeling overconfident. Also to Temple’s credit, they played UCF tough in a 78-73 loss in the only other meeting between the two teams this season. This tells me the potential matchup nightmare in UCF center 7’6” Tacko Fall didn’t affect the Owls in round 1. Take Temple -1, and bet it hard!
Pick: Temple -1
UCLA @ Utah – This is a fair line. I may have undercompensated for the altitude factor. For those who don’t know, Utah has a larger than normal home court advantage due to the fact that Salt Lake City sits an average of 4,327 feet above sea level. That being said, I still like Utah in this matchup. Utah has already beaten UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. Take Utah -4.5.
Pick: Utah -4.5
Vanderbilt @ LSU – This missed prediction has a huge * next to it. In the expanse of time between my prediction and the opening line, LSU head coach Will Wade was suspended indefinitely for his alleged participation in an effort to pay a player or players to come to LSU. This line being 3.5 points lower than my 17.5 prediction no doubt reflects this suspension. It’s anyone’s guess how LSU will respond. It’s also anyone’s guess how Vanderbilt will play. The Commodores (9-21) have been horribly inconsistent this season and just horrible in general. Don’t touch this line with a 10 foot pole. If you’re really feeling gambly, take Vanderbilt +14, but it’s only a lean.
I wish I had more for you. Hopefully in the future the predictions are less accurate and there’s more to capitalize on. Pound Temple -1. Splash Utah -4.5. Enjoy the last full Saturday slate of games before conference tournaments and March Madness are in full swing.