In our pick yesterday, I thanked the betting public for always being on the wrong side of the action and moving an opening number that was a sharp one, to a closing number, that had a ton of value. We got to back the Iowa State Cyclones, getting +6.5-points as home dogs, against a West Virginia team that had lost six out of their previous seven games and had been awful on the road all season long.
The opening line was Iowa State -4, and those extra two and a half points were the difference as the Mountaineers won this game 77-71, and we covered by half of a point, that we probably didn’t deserve. A half of a point that we only got because the public never realizes that too much of a good thing isn’t a good thing.
— WVU Basketball (@WVUhoops) March 4, 2020
In reality, we probably should have covered the -4-points as well, as this game was tied up at sixty points apiece with just over five minutes left in the game and was still just a two-point game with sixteen seconds left on the clock. But that is why those extra couple of points add so much value, they are insurance if the ball doesn’t bounce your way late.
The loss was just another in a long line of disappointments this year for Iowa State as they continue to play out the stick of a very frustrating season in Ames. For West Virginia, they had to have the win, and they delivered, although it wasn’t overly pretty. But at this point of the year, wins are wins, and the Mountaineers picked up the much-needed W. For today’s daily betting pick, we will head to the ACC, as the Miami Hurricanes host the Virginia Cavaliers.
- Virginia Cavaliers (21-7) at Miami Hurricanes (14-14)
- Watsco Center, Coral Gables
- 6:00 PM PST
- TV: ACCN
The Miami Hurricanes host the Virginia Cavaliers tonight in an ACC league game between two teams headed in opposite directions. After coming into the season with dreams of competing towards the top of the ACC and making a trip to the NCAA tournament, the Hurricanes have disappointed, as they are just 6-12 in league play and 14-14 overall. The Hurricanes haven’t beaten a team ranked better the 95th on kenpom since December and are hoping to protect their home floor tonight against a surging Virginia team.
March basketball baby…
IT’S HERE. pic.twitter.com/bYi5k4B2vg
— Canes Hoops (@CanesHoops) March 4, 2020
For Virginia, the Cavaliers have won nine out of their last ten games, including six straight. They are coming off of a thrilling victory over conference kingpin Duke in their last game and are just one game back of three teams for the regular-season ACC title. The Hoos have won three consecutive road games in conference play and need to make that four straight tonight to keep pace with Duke, Florida State, and Louisville for the league title.
Tony Bennet’s team has been coasting under the radar for much of the season. His team is used to getting a lot of national spotlight after winning the national championship last season, but after a sluggish start to the year that saw them lose to teams like Purdue, South Carolina, and Boston College, the media took their attention elsewhere. But after knocking off Duke last week, the media is taking a second look at his team and liking what they see.
As is always the case for a Tony Bennet coached team, this Cavaliers team plays elite defense and a very slow pace. They reduce the number of possessions by each team to one of the lowest totals in the nation, and they make you work for every point. They held Syracuse, James Madison, and Virginia Tech to final scores in the thirties, and poor Maine managed just twenty-six points against this stingy defense.
That strong D has led Virginia to signature wins over Duke, Florida State, North Carolina, Arizona State, Vermont, and Syracuse this year. And while an ACC title is likely out of their reach with just one week left in the regular season, the Cavs still have a lot to play for as Joe Lunardi currently has them slated as a nine seed, much different from the top line seeds they have grown accustomed to getting in Charlottesville.
There just isn’t a lot of good things that can be said about this Miami Hurricanes team this season. They have a total of two decent wins, and those came early in the season against Illinois and Clemson, two teams that would likely blow them out now if they played again. All twelve of their other wins have come against teams at, or below, the top-100 on kenpom.
I guess the one nice thing you can say about Miami is that they are decent at home. Eight of their wins have come here at the Watsco Center. But they do have home losses to NC State, Florida State, Duke, and Louisville. A win over Virginia tonight would be the best win of the season for Miami.
Who Do I Like?
As bad as Miami has been, they really only lose to good teams at home. But that being said, this Virginia team is a good one. Virginia has wins over three of the four teams that have beaten Miami in Coral Gables, and while you don’t want to go too far down that rabbit hole, it does tell us that Virginia is on the same level as the teams that have been able to win at Miami this year.
And while Virginia is clearly the superior team in this matchup, that line is likely to be in play all night and make us sweat. When you look at Virginia’s wins on the road this year in league play, this team has a knack for winning close games.
They beat Virginia Tech by three, Pittsburgh by three, North Carolina by two, Wake Forrest by two, and Georgia Tech by five. They have been able to win too many of these close games to call them lucky, but you don’t want to find yourself laying a bunch of wood on Virginia on the road right now.
This line opened up at Virginia -1.5-points. Some books are still at that opening number, while others have adjusted up to -2, and I even see a couple of books posting -2.5’s. As you always should be doing anyway, you might have to line shop a bit to get the right number in this one. We saw last night how important it is to get every single point you can get, so don’t catch yourself settling for a mediocre number.
If you can find Virginia -1.5, and they are still out there, lock it up now before it shifts. If you see it at Virginia -2, and that is the best you can get it at, I still think it has value. But if the line gets up to -3 or even more, I would stay away. The public loves to push a number harder than they should, don’t get caught on the wrong side of that tonight. Give me the Virginia Cavaliers laying a point and a half tonight in Miami!