College Basketball Betting: What Have You Done for Me Lately?
As the season moves into its final stage it’s easy to overlook how certain teams have fared recently when only looking at overall ATS records or current analytical standings. Drake, for instance, still boasts a sterling 17-4 mark against the number, but the Dogs are just 4-4 ATS over their last eight games. Oddsmakers have tendencies to over or under-inflate market values based primarily on results from the first few months of the season. In this write-up, I zoom in on a handful of squads who are currently performing better or worse than their overall performance would expect.
The Bulls were one of the favorites to cut down the nets in the MAC in the preseason and were my top-ranked team in the league heading into the year. Buffalo is arguably the most athletic and talented team in the MAC, but early season results didn’t reflect that. A 1-4 start ATS in November and December had many knocking the Bulls down their power ratings – those who kept Buffalo inflated, however, are now reaping the benefits. Buffalo is currently 3-0 against the number in February, dismantling its last three opponents by 20, 24, and 22 points. Jim Whitesell clearly has his team firing all cylinders and all signs point to the Bulls still being a factor in the MAC race. Per Bart Torvik, Buffalo is the 9th best team in the country in the month of February thus far.
Ole Miss Rebels
Mississippi was one of my favorite teams to fade in February – in my opinion the Rebels’ soft strength of schedule in the non-con over-inflated their defensive rankings and thus their overall mark in analytical metrics. In January Ole Miss was 3-6 ATS and looked to be SOL for a decent finish in the SEC and a ticket to the NCAA Tournament. Kermit Davis’s squad flipped a switch in February. The Rebels are 4-0 straight-up and against the number in Cupid’s month with wins over Tennessee, Auburn, Missouri, and South Carolina. Vastly improved offense has led the way and now Ole Miss sits on the precipice of a Big Dance berth.
Illinois Chicago Flames
The Weave was big on the Flames preseason with the arrival of new head coach Luke Yaklich, a John Beilein disciple who we hold in very high regard. Early season results supported our theory that a change on the bench would do wonders for UIC, and the market would fail to capture just how good this team could be. Starting in late January, though, things took a turn. After a 6-5 start against the number UIC is just 1-7 ATS in its last 8 games. The Flames have fallen over 40 spots in KenPom and Bart Torvik ranks them 302nd in the month of February. Yikes.
Southern Illinois Salukis
A 5-0 ATS and straight-up start to the season had many whispering about SIU possibly being a real contender in the Valley race. The Salukis took down the likes of Murray State and Butler behind hot shooting and stellar play from their burgeoning backcourt. Since then SIU has come crashing back down to Earth. SIU is just 4-9-1 against the number after its hot start, part of which can be attributed to the loss of Marcus Domask, arguably its best player. With Domask’s future situation still uncertain, fading the Salukis going forward seems like a profitable endeavor.
Follow BettorIQ contributor Ky McKeon @Ky_3MW.