Pregame

Wednesday CBB: Loyola-Chicago vs. UL Monroe

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The CBI Championship between the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers and UL Monroe Warhawks is unique as it is a best-of-three series and these teams went ‘under’ when Loyola won Game 1 in Chicago 65-58. Remeber that game had a posted total of 130 though, so this adjustment of about six points seems extreme. The home/away average splits are right around this number, with the combined average in Loyola road games of 127.0 points good enough to go ‘over’ and the average of Monroe home games of 124.3 practically on this number. However, add in that this tournament is using a 30-second shot clock plus more of a sense of desperation with potential late fouling with this being an elimination game for home-standing Monroe and you can probably bump those averages up a few points. The ‘over’ is 6-2 in Loyola’s last eight road games following three or more home games.

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Pick: ‘over’ 124

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Tuesday CBB: Stanford vs. Old Dominion

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The Stanford Cardinal seemed to be NCAA Tournament bound when they were 15-5 while playing in a major conference in the Pac-12, but they stumbled late and settled for the NIT. Still, their class edge should see them through here vs. the Old Dominion Monarchs. Stanford is still ranked 45th overall on the Pomeroy Ratings and has faced a schedule ranked 48th in SOS, with that schedule helped by beating three Pomeroy Top 100 teams in this NIT to get to this point when the Cardinal could have easily called it a season after missing out on the NCAA. Old Dominion got here by beating Charleston Southern, Illinois State and Murray State, so Stanford represents a rise in class for a team ranked 66th on Pomeroy that has tackled an SOS ranked just 202nd in the land. Stanford is 6-1 ATS in its last seven non-conference games.

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Pick: Stanford -2½

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Monday NBA: Milwaukee vs. Atlanta

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The Atlanta Hawks rested their starters in a 115-100 road loss at Charlotte Saturday, but they should all play returning home vs. the Milwaukee Bucks with the exception of Jeff Teague, who is doubtful with an ankle injury. And while the 55-18 Hawks have clinched the top seed in the East, they need a little momentum approaching the playoffs as they have not been sharp going 2-4 straight up their last six games, not even reaching 100 points in the two wins. Perhaps Atlanta can now return to its great early-season form with almost a regular lineup playing just its third home game in 11 contests. The playoff-bound Bucks meanwhile may regret trading away Brandon Knight at the deadline, as they are just 2-7 their last nine games to fall to one game below .500 overall. The Hawks are 12-1 ATS in their last 13 games vs. the Central Division.

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Pick: Hawks -7½

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Sunday CBB: Gonzaga vs. Duke

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The Gonzaga Bulldogs have shown that having the second best winning percentage in the nation with a 35-2 record is not a fluke despite hailing from the lightly regarded WCC, and we look for them to prove that further with a mild upset of the Duke Blue Devils. Not that there should have been much doubt the Bulldogs are for real based on their strong non-conference schedule where their only loss was in overtime by three points at Arizona, but there was a long interval between power-conference opponents while they dominated the WCC. That came to an end the last two games and Gonzaga responded with easy double-digit wins over Iowa and UCLA. Duke is a deserving one-seed, but the Blue Devils did not shoot well while beating Utah Friday and Gonzaga’s size should give them problems. Gonzaga is 20-7-2 ATS in its last 29 vs. teams with a winning percentage above .600.

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Pick: Gonzaga +2½

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Saturday CBB: Arizona vs. Wisconsin

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Perhaps the two biggest threats to Kentucky for the national title oppose each other in the Elite Eight when the Arizona Wildcats face the Wisconsin Badgers, and this could be a much lower scoring game than this total suggests. Just about the only criticism against the Wildcats is that they tend to play at a slower pace than they could under Coach Sean Miller, and they could be undefeated right now as their three losses have been by two, three and four points respectively after that pace allowed those opponents to hang around and rally late. That pace combined with Arizona ranking third in the country in defensive efficiency is a combination conducive to ‘unders’. And Wisconsin is ranked 347th out of 351 teams in tempo rating, so the Badgers will not be anxious to speed the Wildcats up. The ‘under’ is 5-1 in the last six Arizona games overall.

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Pick: ‘under’ 136½

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