College Basketball Power 6 Conference Betting News and Notes
Conference play is in full swing, folks! As we turn the page to a new chapter in the college hoops season, we spotlight a few trends to keep an eye on across the Power 6.
Hurricanes and Cardinals on the mend – Despite sporting a goose egg in the win column, Miami is quietly boasting a 3-1 record against the number in league play. The Canes are still battered and bruised, with Chris Lykes still ailing and Kam McGusty in and out of the lineup the past two games. Both the Canes and the Cardinals, 2-0 against the number in ACC games themselves, figure to improve quickly as key cogs return to the rotation over the coming weeks.
Blood Blues Bleeding – Duke and North Carolina continue to struggle, each victims of key injury disruptions so far this year. The disjointed rotations on both sides has put a serious dent in the offensive production, which explains the 3-12 combined record on the UNDER for Duke and North Carolina so far this season.
Clemson Clampdown – The Tigers hold claim to the best ATS record in the ACC (6-3-1 ATS), buoyed by one of the nation’s stingiest defensive units. Brad Brownell’s reputation as a defensive whisperer precedes him but the offense is showing flashes of competence as well. Led by a mismatch nightmare in Aamir Simms, Clemson is far from a fraud.
OVERS on Ice – The points explosion in the Big Ten pushed OVERS to a ridiculous 52-28 record in the non-conference. Yet, since league play began, regression has set in – as of Saturday, Big Ten OVERS were 14-13 in intra-conference tilts, an indication that the familiarity across the league is favoring the defensive side of the ball.
Indiana and Penn State Punch Back – Tne of the league’s 14 teams finished in the green from an ATS perspective during the non-conference, with only Indiana and Penn State falling below the .500 mark. However, the Nittany Lions are now 2-1 against the number since league play commenced and the Hoosiers are a late game meltdown against Illinois away from being 3-1 ATS. Keep an eye on both Indiana and Penn State as the year matures, both of whom are perceived to be middle to bottom tier Big Ten caliber teams by the market and could pose enticing ‘buy low’ opportunities.
Michigan Men – The Wolverines have officially seized the front page of the Big Ten headlines, racing out to a 4-1 ATS record in conference, covering the spread by an average of 7 points a game. Hunter Dickinson is emerging as the next great Big Ten big man, while the abundance of length and size on the perimeter is posing major challenges for league foes to scheme against. Watch out for Franz Wagner, who’s shifted into overdrive the last few games – Wagner tallied 14, 19 and 20 points in each of his last three games, a sign that a potential break out is in the cards.
OVERS Heat Up – While the Big Ten OVER surge cools, the Big 12 OVERS are boiling. OVER are 10-4 so far this year, fueled by a slew of offensive improvements (see Oklahoma State, Texas, West Virginia, Kansas State, TCU and Kansas). Per Kenpom.com’s conference summary page, the Big 12 boasts the 3rd highest scoring efficiency in the country, with teams scoring at a blistering 1.06 points per possession in conference games.
The Cellar Uprising – The consensus bottom three teams in the conference, TCU, Iowa State, and Kansas State, aren’t going quietly into the night. In league games, these three are a combined 8-4 against the number. In the wake of dreadful non-conference performances, Iowa State has been especially impressive, losing to West Virginia, Baylor and Texas by 5, 11 and 8 points, respectively on the road.
Here Come the Huskies – Throw out the two opening game sleepwalks against Central Connecticut and Hartford. Against real competition, Dan Hurley’s Huskies have played like the real deal. An overtime loss to Creighton is the only blemish on UConn’s resume, which features a dominate home victory over DePaul and furious second half comeback at Marquette. If Akok Akok returns to form in expedited fashion – his timetable is imminent – the Huskies could separate themselves as the clear cut third best team in the conference. Keep an eye on James Bouknight’s elbow, which limited the breakout star in the second half rally against the Golden Eagles
Butler Bounces Back – By hook or by crook, the pesky Bulldogs have battled their way to a 2-3 league record after another Georgetown second half collapse Wednesday night. Aaron Thompson’s return is a revelation for LaVall Jordan and company, a true floor general in every sense of the word. Meanwhile, freshmen Myles Tate and Chuck Harris are on the rise, while Jair Bolden’s continues to bloom into a reliable shot maker. Buoyed by a dependable frontline tandem of Bryce Nze and Bryce Golden, the Bulldogs may be another buy low candidate going forward.
Injury Bug Bites Hard – The elite in the west coast’s flagship conference are all ailing with key injuries at the moment. Oregon (Will Richardson), UCLA (Chris Smith) and Stanford (Daejon Davis and Bryce Wills) are nowhere near full strength, which could part the seas for a wide open Pac-12 title race.
Time for the Rising Sun Devils – Fresh out of a COVID pause, the Sun Devils are looking to right the ship after a disappointing non-conference showing. The silver lining of the pause was added time for Marcus Bagley to rest and recover, a pivotal swingman and top-50 recruit.
Wazzu On the Move – While DJ Rodman and Ryan Rapp, two starters, remain on the shelf, the recent return of Tony Miller should buoy the offense and reinforce an already stellar defense – the Cougars currently boasts the nation’s 3rd best defensive effective field goal percentage defense. This underclassman laden team could yield big returns over the coming weeks, especially after a brutal overtime loss to Arizona last Saturday.
The Tide Rising – Nate Oats’ highly anticipated Year 2 got off to a rocky start but the Crimson Tide have been firing on all cylinders since the calendar turned to 2021. Alabama is 3-0 against the number in conference so far, shattering the spread by an average of 16 points a game. The early volatility was heavily tied to feast-or-famine guard Jahvon Quinerly, who has the propensity to look dominant one night and lost the next. Despite Quinerly’s roller coaster ride, the Tide are getting contributions up up and down the rotation, including unsung heroes Joshua Primo and Keon Ellis.
Stark Vegas Beats Vegas – Yes, the Bulldogs are quietly sneaking up the SEC totem pole. Keyed by a two-pronged attack in DJ Stewart and Iverson Molinar, MSU is 6-3 against the number over their last nine contests. A lights out shooting performance from unsuspecting assassin Dontaie Allen spoiled what should’ve been an outright win (and cover) against Kentucky, which remains the lone stain on the Bulldogs’ recent resume. Stewart and Molinar are bound to be household names eventually – for now, they remain undetected in the betting markets.
Follow BettorIQ contributor and Three Man Weave’s Matt Cox @matty_cox.