NCAAM Pick December 12, 2020 – Clemson Tigers at Alabama Crimson Tide

Yesterday we found a juicy spot where we got to back an underrated home dog, playing against an overrated road favorite, and I got to fade the public while doing it. Each of those three plays are some of my favorites, and combined, they gave us an outrageously high-value spot. The game in question was between the home team Southern Illinois Salukis and the road team Murray State Racers.

The Salukis are criminally underrated this year, and I see them as a potential NCAA tournament team in the Missouri Valley Conference. For Murray State, the Racers are also going to contend for their league title in the OVC, but they have had a lot of struggles on the road in the last two years, including a bad loss at 196th ranked Middle Tennessee earlier this year.

It didn’t make a ton of sense for the Salukis to be large home dogs, but the public sure felt that Murray State was the play, as they moved the line three and a half points towards the Racers. That allowed us to jump on the other side, back the home dogs, and all we needed was for Southern Illinois not to get blown out at home, and we were going to cash our ticket.

Not only did Southern Illinois not get blown out, they won the game outright! The Salukis led throughout and knocked off Murray State, 70-66. The game was competitive, but at the end of the day, our cover was never really in jeopardy at any point. This was simply another case of the public being so sure they had a lock on their hands, and as usual, getting it so wrong.

Home court advantage hasn’t been quite the same this year with the lack of fans in the stands, but home teams are always going to perform better than expected, even when they don’t have students cheering them on. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will take a look at a very similar spot, where I feel we can back an underrated dog profitably, when we head to Atlanta where the Alabama Crimson Tide host the Clemson Tigers.

Today’s Game

  • Clemson Tigers (4-0) at Alabama Crimson Tide (3-1)
  • State Farm Arena, Atlanta
  • 4:00 PM PST
  • TV: ACCN

The Alabama Crimson Tide square off against the Clemson Tigers in Atlanta, Georgia, in a non-conference matchup between two teams vying for NCAA tournament at-large bids this year. The Tigers have been one of the more surprising teams in the nation this year as they have jumped out to a 4-0 start, despite playing a fairly tough schedule. The Tigers already have three top-100 wins in the non-conference and are hoping to pad their resume with a fourth tonight before playing their first ACC league game next week against Virginia Tech.

For Alabama, the Crimson Tide are also playing well at 3-1 and they are coming off of their best win of the season in their last game, against a quality Providence Friars team. The Tide are projected to finish in the middle of the pack in an SEC that is absolutely loaded with talent, and head coach Nate Oats is hoping to take them to their first NCAA tournament since taking over the team last year.


  • Clemson Tigers (-2.5)
  • Alabama Crimson Tide (+2.5)
Money line:

  • Clemson Tigers (-135)
  • Alabama Crimson Tide (+115)
Total Points:

  • Over 145 (-110)
  • Under 145 (-110)

Clemson Tigers (4-0)

It is easy to look at this Clemson record, and say wow, did everyone get it wrong about Clemson this year? Coming into the season, not many expected the Tigers to compete at the top of the ACC, but after a strong start, many are wondering if they just might challenge teams like Duke, Virginia, and North Carolina, all teams that have early-season losses on their resumes, in the ACC. But I have a strange feeling that the Tigers went from underrated to overrated way too quickly, and I am not so sure this team is as good as people are saying they are right now.

Kenpom will tell you that Mississippi State, Purdue, and Maryland are all quality victories for Clemson, against teams in the top-80. And while those are all solid programs with good coaches, I am going to be honest here, I don’t think any of those teams are making the NCAA tournament this year. All three of those teams were gutted in the offseason, and they are going to be way down.

Something tells me the public is looking at the names on the front of the jerseys for Maryland, Purdue, and Mississippi State and not realizing that the names on the back have changed. There usually isn’t a ton of value trying to project an entire season’s worth of basketball results, but I think on Selection Sunday, the Tigers are going to be nervously waiting to hear their name, as these wins aren’t going to hold up all year long.

Alabama Crimson Tide (3-1)

I really like this Alabama Crimson Tide team. Nate Oats is one of my favorite under the radar coaches in the country, and I think Alabama isn’t getting nearly the love that they deserve right now. In my preseason breakdown of the SEC, I mentioned that the Crimson Tide showed a ton of value as a longshot play to win the league, and after seeing them knock off a tougher than most people think Providence team, I haven’t seen much that has changed my mind on Alabama.

Oats brought in a fringe top-10 recruiting class and transferred in Jahvon Quinerly from Villanova to give the Tide a huge boost in talent. Quinerly was one of the most sought after guards in the country when he was a five-star recruit coming out of high school, but never got many minutes for the Wildcats as he wasn’t a great fit in Jay Wright’s offense. Now that he is with Alabama, he is looking a lot like the guy we all thought he was in high school, as he is averaging 15 points and 3 assists a game.

Who Do I Like?

This line opened up with Alabama -2-points. But since the books posted the number, just about everybody has been hammering on Clemson. This line has moved two and a half points towards the Tigers, flipping the odds and making the Tigers -2.5-point favorites.

I can see why the public would like Clemson in this matchup, as they do have the better record, and they are more accomplished early in the season. But as I mentioned above, I think that each of those seemingly quality victories for Clemson are going to look worse and worse by the day as those teams are shells of their former selves.

Alabama does have a loss to Stanford, but I see the Cardinals as an NCAA tournament team that will finish in the top half of the PAC-12 this year. That’s not going to be a loss that haunts them on Selection Sunday.

The Bet

This game is basically a coin flip. If I had to lean one way on an outright winner, I would back ‘Bama, as I think they have the more talented roster and the better coach. I’m not sure I was ever going to want to lay wood on the Tide, though, as this game is sure to be hard-fought and tightly contested. But thanks to the betting public, I won’t have to lay points to back Alabama, as I can get the Tide and nearly a full possession’s worth of points. And that is just what I am going to do.

My college hoops betting strategy has been a fairly simple one this year. I let the public move the numbers, jump on the other side, and expect them to get it wrong. And more times than not, they indeed do get it wrong, and we get paid.

This simple strategy has us at a 58% winning percentage this season and double-digit ROI. We will fire up the free money machine again tonight and back the Alabama Crimson Tide, getting +2.5-points as they upset Clemson!

The Bet: Alabama Crimson Tide +2.5

My Pick
Alabama Crimson Tide +2.5
Jason Gray / Author

Jason is a true Las Vegas insider as he has called the sports betting capital of the world his home for sixteen years. Jason started out his career in gaming by running the biggest poker tournaments in the world and managing some of the biggest sportsbooks on the strip. Jason has transitioned out of casino operations and has been covering sports betting for the sports geek for just over two years. His main focus is on baseball, college basketball, and the NFL