Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Picking The Lines: First Round

I have a few things I'll be posting on over the next few weeks. As always I'll be posting observations of the Tournament, and soon I'll be getting started on my 2010-11 previews. I expect to have my complete 2010-11 previews done within the next four weeks. But in addition I'll also throw up my picks on the lines for all 63 games. I haven't done this in years past, so people who have been asking me "What's your record on picking the bracket" will really have nothing to go back on. So to steal that old joke: all predictions guaranteed or your money back!

I'm not going to do in-depth breakdowns of any of these games. If you want to see my in-depth previews, please go here. Here we go:

BYU (-5) over Florida: I'm picking BYU to make the Final Four, and Florida is arguably the worst team in the Tournament. And keep in mind that because BYU is the best free throw shooting team the Tournament has seen in years then even if they're only up by a point or two with 60 seconds to go they'll open the lead up with free throws.

Old Dominion (+2.5) over Notre Dame: Everybody's jumped on the Notre Dame bandwagon, so bet against it. I have ODU winning this game outright.

Robert Morris (+18.5) over Villanova: Villanova will win this game easily, but that line is rather high for a team that has played teams outside the RPI 150 nine times all season, and only won by 19 or more in four of nine games, and two of those four came in conference against teams they'd respect more than a Robert Morris team that actually has an RPI of 125th. I like Nova to win this one by 10-15 points.

Vanderbilt (-3) over Murray State: This is a close game that can easily be an upset, but with a spread that small you've got to bet on this being a 50-50 game, and I don't think it's that close. If the spread was 6 then I'd tell you to go with Murray State.

Kansas State (-16) over North Texas: Unlike Villanova, Kansas State has blown away inferior teams all season long, by wide margins. And North Texas is a very weak team. And you know that Frank Martin will have his kids fired up for this game. This should be a blowout.

Baylor (-10.5) over Sam Houston State: There will be money on Sam Houston State because they played Kentucky close, but that game was a fluke game where they were shooting out of their minds. And they lost to the only other RPI Top 100 team they played (Wright State) by 40.

Saint Mary's (+2) over Richmond: I'm picking Saint Mary's to win this game straight up.

UTEP (+2.5) over Butler: I'm picking UTEP to win this game straight up.

East Tennessee State (+20) over Kentucky: I don't feel really good about this pick because Kentucky could come out fired up and win this game by 50. But a young Kentucky team could also come out thinking about the girls in the crowd, and East Tennessee State is a dangerous 16 seed.

Northern Iowa (+1) over UNLV: I'm picking Northern Iowa to win straight up.

Washington (+1.5) over Marquette: I'm picking Washington to win straight up.

Georgetown (-13.5) over Ohio: Ohio is a very underrated team, but they haven't seen anything like what Georgetown brings. Against any of the other 3 seeds I'd be fine taking Ohio and 13.5 points.

Kansas (-26) over Lehigh: It's a really high spread and I'd advice not betting on this game at all, but Lehigh is so bad and Kansas is so good that you'll feel like an idiot as soon as they get out to an 18-2 lead.

Texas (-5) over Wake Forest: Texas could lose this game, but there's a high enough chance that this is a blowout that I'd give the points.

Montana (+9) over New Mexico: Montana is a gritty team, and New Mexico is a horrible 3 seed (both Sagarin and Pomeroy view them as right around the 40th best team in the nation). This could be a potential upset.

Tennessee (-3) over San Diego State: You've got to believe San Diego State will win outright to pick a line that small.

West Virginia (-17.5) over Morgan State: West Virginia played seven RPI 100+ teams out of conference, and beat six of them by 18 or more points. They should take care of business here.

Minnesota (Pk) over Xavier: I'm picking Minnesota to win straight up.

Temple (-4) over Cornell: Too much hype for Cornell.

Purdue (-4) over Siena: With a line that small you need to pick Siena straight up to bet on them here.

Missouri (+1) over Clemson: I'm picking Missouri to win straight up.

Pittsburgh (-10.5) over Oakland: Oakland has played five games against teams in the RPI Top 75, and against none of them have they lost by anywhere close to 10 points.

Wisconsin (-10) over Wofford: That's a pretty big line, but I always think that with a line this low you've got to think the underdog has at least a chance of winning the game, and Wofford doesn't.

Texas A&M (-3) over Utah State: Texas A&M has taken care of business all season long against inferior teams, and has struggled against elite teams. Bet on them against bad teams, and bet against them against elite teams.

Florida State (-1.5) over Gonzaga: This could be a blowout. I don't see any way Gonzaga wins.

Oklahoma State (-1.5) over Georgia Tech: You need to believe Georgia Tech is winning straight up.

New Mexico State (+13) over Michigan State: Michigan State should win this game, but they haven't been blowing anybody out this year. They could easily win this one by 6-9 points.

Arkansas Pine-Bluff (+26.5) over Duke: On first glance this seems like we should bet on Duke because of the way that they've blown out inferior teams this year. But that line is awful high, and Duke lines are always skewed because so many casual betters will bet on Duke, so the safe play when you're unsure about a line is to go against Duke.

Vermont (+17.5) over Syracuse: This could be surprisingly close if Onuaku doesn't play.

Ohio State (-17) over UCSB: Ohio State is on a roll and has been blowing out teams left and right.

Maryland (-9.5) over Houston: Houston is just happy to be here, and is not nearly as good as Maryland.

California (-1) over Louisville: I like California to win this one fairly easily.


Anonymous said...

New Mexico is going to crush Montana today. Your really should watch some Mountain West Basketball. The only horrible thing is your predictions. Mountain West will be 4-0 in the 1st round of play. Don't be afraid to think outside the PAC 10 and SCC. The 2 worst divisions in college basketball.

Jeff said...

Um, I picked a Mountain West team to the Final Four. I'm not sure how I can be a Mountain West hater...

Anonymous said...

You've also given props to SDSU. 1st post=fail.

JonL. said...

1st off, really hate anonymous posts. Hard to respond as you dont know if they are repeaters or not. LOL

Anyways, good analysis Jeff. From the looks of things, BYU is having a harder time then I though with Florida. Thought they would pull away by a bit more.

Jeff said...

I've actually been watching less of the BYU/Florida game than any of the other games, but from the bit I saw BYU just looked awful, and just very tight. I think they just need to get this first win under their belt to get comfortable.

The fact that BYU can look this bad and still has a little lead is a good sign.

JonL. said...

Yeah, your probably right. Actually the best, to me, is the ND-OD game. Going to come down the wire. And finally Villa is asserting itself.

Anonymous said...

I put BYU in the Final Four. You better be right!

Jeff said...

BYU has been awful today. Horrible offensive rebounding, stupid turnovers... all the things they haven't done all year. They must be really tight.

On the plus side, my Robert Morris +18.5 pick is looking pretty good right now.

JonL. said...

Boy, BYU has dodged 2 bullets. Can they FINALLY put something together here in the end??

OD stuns with 1st upset of tourney!

And Vill has pulled back even. They have a chance!

Anonymous said...

ETSU over UK? Seriously? And now you're predicting Wake over UK as well. UK will easily see final 4, without a doubt. Wall, Cousins, and Bledsoe cannot be stopped on the other side of the court, and they will run Wake's defense thin. I cannot see Wake beating UK in any manner.

Jeff said...

These are gambling lines. You didn't really think I picked East Tennessee State to beat Kentucky, did you?

I don't think Wake Forest is winning either. Please read what I actually am writing next to these picks.