Saturday's Tip Sheet
January 18, 2014
By David Schwab
At the end of the last season the Big East was fractured in two while at the same time getting picked apart by the ACC. The result was the formation of the Catholic 7 which added three more teams and retained the Big East name. The remaining schools that did not find a new home stayed together to form the American Athletic Conference with the addition of a few teams from Conference USA. For this Saturday’s betting tip sheet, we decided to focus our attention on a key matchup in each of these two new-look conferences.
No. 20 Creighton Bluejays at. Providence Friars (FOX Sports 1, 8:00 p.m. ET)
Creighton came to the Big East from the Missouri Valley Conference and it has made itself right at home with a perfect 5-0 straight-up start in conference play that is part of a current 10-game winning streak. What has made this run even more impressive is the fact that the Bluejays have won nine of the 10 games by double digits en route to a highly profitable 9-1 mark against the spread.
This is a solid all-around team with 82.6 points, 37.5 rebounds and 19.1 assists a game while shooting 49.1 percent from the field, but at the center of it all is senior forward Doug McDermott. Touted by many as the best college basketball player in the nation, he is averaging 25.2 points and pulling down 7.2 rebounds while shooting 49.5 percent from the field and 43.3 percent from 3-point range.
Providence hammered Georgetown by 18 points on Jan. 8 in a game that closed as a PICK and this past Thursday it squeezed-out an 84-83 double overtime victory over St. John’s as a four-point road underdog. This mini run evened the Friars’ mark to 2-2 SU in conference play as part of an overall record of 12-5. They are 7-9 ATS overall and the total has stayed UNDER in 10 of the 16 games.
The player to watch for Providence in this matchup is Bryce Cotton. He came close to posting a triple-double against St. John’s with 21 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. The team is averaging 72.5 points a game, but it is ranked near the bottom of Division I shooting the ball with a field goal percentage of just 41.0 percent. Things do not get much better from 3-point range (32.5 percent), but the Friars are hitting 80.1 percent from the free throw line.
The Bluejays have been opened as six-point road favorites for Saturday night’s game.
These two last met all the way back in 2000 with Creighton covering as an eight-point road favorite in a 63-51 win. It comes into this game 17-5 ATS in its last 22 games while Providence is just 3-7 ATS in its last 10 outings.
No. 18 Louisville Cardinals at Connecticut Huskies (ESPNU, 9:00 p.m. ET)
The defending national champs improved to 4-1 SU in conference play with a 91-52 romp over Houston this past Thursday night and while the Cardinals easily covered the 19-point closing line, it was just the second time in their last six games they won ATS. Louisville is 15-3 SU overall with an 8-8 record ATS. It is 2-4 ATS on the road and the total has gone OVER in three of four road games with a posted line.
The Cardinals are averaging 83.4 points a game while shooting 47.1 percent from the field. Russ Smith has led the way with 18.1 points while hitting 45.3 percent of his shots from the floor and he also leads the team in assists with 4.9. One injury concern for Saturday night is guard Chris Jones, who did not play against the Cougars with a strained oblique. However, Wayne Blackshear filled the void with a game-high 23 points and seven rebounds.
The Huskies have gone 5-2 SU in their last seven games but they are just 3-3-1 ATS during that same stretch. Overall, they are 14-3 SU with a 2-2 record in the AAC. Their record ATS is 7-8 with a 5-3 mark ATS in eight previous home games. The total has stayed UNDER in six of seven home games with a posted line, but it has gone OVER in five of their last six contests.
Shabazz Napier leads a trio of players scoring in double figures with an average of 16.1 points a game while adding another 6.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists. He is the Huskies best outside scoring threat; hitting 42.9 percent of his shots from 3-point range. DeAndre Daniels is chipping in 13.4 points and 5.3 rebounds and Ryan Boatright rounds things out with 12.4 points a game. Connecticut is averaging 75.4 points while shooting 46.8 percent from the field.
Louisville has been opened as a slight one-point road favorite over the Huskies in this AAC matchup.
Head-to-head when both teams were still members of the Big East, Louisville won six of the last seven meetings both SU and ATS and it has a highly profitable 5-0-1 record ATS in its last six trips to Connecticut.
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