Top 10 - Stock Watch
December 24, 2013
By Greg Smith
Editor's Note: Greg Smith's college basketball selections can be purchased daily on VegasInsider.com. Click to win!
We are getting closer to the nuts and bolts of the NCAA basketball season…conference play. Since we are in the holiday season and few games are played until next year, this will be the last Stock Watch report of 2013. Therefore, I will be giving my Buy and Sell report on the team’s first week of January (start of conference schedule).
Remember, we are looking at whether a team can cover the spread in their coming games. Not necessarily win.
Listed below are the first 10 schools ranked in the latest installment of the AP Top 25
1) Arizona (12-0 SU, 9-3 ATS) - BUY
The Wildcats are looking very sharp. Their defense has been stellar these past weeks. They rank 7th in overall defense and are keeping their opponent at 37% from the field. They play Washington and Washington State at home to kickoff their PAC-12 season. If you think the Wildcats are looking unbeatable, try playing them at home. Good Luck to the Cougs and Huskies.
2) Syracuse (11-0 SU, 4-3 ATS) - HOLD
The Orange have just not been that impressive to me thus far. They will have their hands full with Nova next week. Luckily, they are playing at home. The Cuse win this match-up, but any spread higher than 7 could be hard for them to cover.
3) Ohio State (12-0 SU, 5-6 ATS) - BUY
I still don’t know how the Buckeyes were able to beat Notre Dame last week, but when you have that kind of experience and talent, anything is believable. With Purdue and Nebraska on the horizon, Ohio State should remain a solid No. 3 team. I would buy on this talented team. Comebacks, like the one we saw over the Irish, will have huge dividends come conference play.
4) Wisconsin (12-0 SU, 8-4 ATS) - BUY
Wisconsin has had plenty of rest and is now ready to head into conference play. They play Prairie View A&M first, but then play Northwestern and Iowa. I’m very optimistic on the Badgers this year, I am however, a little disturbed with their bench play, but it shouldn’t be a huge factor early in January. I’m buying this fast and physical Bo Ryan team to handle their next 3 games soundly.
5) Michigan State (10-1 SU, 4-4-2 ATS) - HOLD
I was big on the Spartans last week over Texas and it held true. Now I am going to hold on this team and make sure they can handle the next few games. I’m mostly concerned with Indiana. I want to see Tom Izzo and company handle back-to-back road conference games. I know they are talented enough (hell the coach alone is talented), but for some reason, they have been playing to their competition lately…which is not an Izzo trait. Let’s wait and see.
6) Louisville: (11-1 SU, 6-4 ATS) - SELL
Let’s make this one simple. I don’t think Louisville can beat Kentucky on the road. I think they are overrated and I will continue to sell this team and until I see something different.
7) Oklahoma State (11-1 SU, 4-4 ATS) - SELL
I was disappointed with their play against Colorado last week. It should have been an easy cover, but the Cowboys let them hang around and only won by five. Because this is such a high-scoring offense, I believe oddsmakers are going to make you chase a higher spread than normal; therefore I am going to sell. Of course they’ll win the games, but covering is a different story.
8) Villanova (11-0 SU, 8-1 ATS) – HOLD
As I said in the Syracuse stockwatch, ‘Nova will play the Orang tough. If by some weird chance this spread opens at 7 or higher I would jump in with both feet and take the Wildcats, but I think it will be somewhere around four points. Hold on Villanova unless the spread permits.
9) Duke (9-2 SU, 6-5 ATS) - SELL
Duke is ranked 203 in overall defense. No wonder their ATS record is just barely .500. Sorry Coach K, but I’m selling until you can turn those numbers around. That kind of defense won’t cut it in the ACC.
10) Wichita State (12-0 SU, 7-1-1 ATS) - HOLD
Hey Shockers! Who the hell have you played? The more they play and beat sub-par teams the more the spread will be to move against them, giving the bettor great value for a perfect trap game. But for now…just hold tight.
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