Saturday's Early Tips
January 24, 2014
By David Schwab
A true sign of a championship-caliber college basketball team is the ability to win the tough games on the road. We have zeroed-in on three such matchups for this Saturday's betting tip sheet.
Two of the three road teams we are tracking (No. 2 Syracuse and No. 4 Villanova) are a combined 7-1 straight-up on the road this season while No. 10 Iowa comes into Saturday's showdown against Northwestern with a 1-3 SU mark away from home. Regardless of what has happened in the past, all three of these teams will be tested in what has the potential to be a trap game in their pursuit of a regular season title in their respective conference.
No. 10 Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Northwestern Wildcats (Big Ten Network, 12 p.m.)
Iowa is coming off a 75-67 road loss to No. 21 Michigan this past Wednesday as a three-point underdog to fall to 15-4 straight-up on the year and 4-2 in Big Ten play. It has also lost to Iowa State and Wisconsin on the road this season, but still managed to cover in both of those losses. The Hawkeyes are 11-6 against the spread and the total has gone OVER in 11 of 16 games this year.
Roy Devyn Marble and Aaron White have combined for 30.4 points, 10 rebounds and 5.5 assists and Iowa as a team is averaging 86 points a game. It is shooting 47.6 percent from the field and 37.6 percent from 3-point range.
The Wildcats have strung together a pair of victories both SU and ATS over Indiana and Purdue in their last two outings after dropping four of their first five conference games. They are an even 10-10 SU overall with a costly 7-12 record ATS. The total has stayed UNDER in 13 of those 19 games.
If Northwestern has any shot at pulling off the upset it will be on the shoulders of Drew Crawford and Jershon Cobb. Crawford leads the team with 15.3 points and 7.0 rebounds while Cobb is chipping in 11.5 points and 2.3 assists. The Wildcats are averaging 62 points and shooting just 39.5 percent from the field.
Iowa has been opened as a 10-point road favorite in this Big Ten conference clash.
Head-to-head in this matchup, the favorite has covered in four of the last five meetings and the total has gone OVER in seven of the last 10 games.
No. 2 Syracuse Orange vs. Miami Hurricanes (CBS, 1 p.m.)
Syracuse remains one of just three Division I teams with a perfect mark on the year. Heading into Saturday's contest it is 18-0 SU with a 9-4-1 record ATS. The Orange have gone 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven games and the total has stayed UNDER in their last six contests.
The Orange are ranked 175th in the nation in scoring with 72 points a game, but when you have a defense that is holding teams to 58.2 points you do not have to put up a ton a points to win games. CJ Fair is one of four players scoring in double figures with a team-high 16.8 points and he is second in rebounds with 5.8 a game.
It will be a tall task for Miami to get the SU win in this game after losing four of its first six conference games. It is 10-8 SU overall with a 6-8 record ATS. The Hurricanes have covered in four of their last six games and the total has stayed UNDER in their last five outings.
This is another team that has made its living playing defense by holding teams to an average of 59 points, but its offense is ranked near the bottom of Division I with just 61.5 points a game. The Hurricanes are shooting 41.8 percent from the field and 31.5 percent from 3-point range. Rion Brown is the leading scorer with 13.4 points a game.
The Orange come into their second game of the season against Miami as 6 ½-point road favorites.
Syracuse struggled to get by the Hurricanes the first time they met in a 49-44 grinder as a 13-point home favorite. It actually trailed Miami by six points midway through the second half. The total for that game was set at 123 and it still stayed way UNDER.
No. 4 Villanova Wildcats vs. Marquette Golden Eagles (FOX Sports 1, 2 p.m.)
The Wildcats ran off 16 SU victories in their first 17 games but they are coming off a 96-68 beatdown at the hands of Creighton this past Monday as 6 ½-point home favorites. Despite this disappointing performance Villanova has been a good team to wager on with a 12-4 record ATS. It has also been a solid play on the total line with the total going OVER in 12 of 16 games.
Overall, the Wildcats are averaging 80.6 points a game led by JayVaughn Pinkston (15.3) and James Bell (14.2). Villanova is shooting 45.7 percent from the field and 34.9 percent from 3-point range. Josh Hart remains the team's best pure shooter; hitting 57 percent from the floor and 43.8 percent from beyond the arc.
Marquette has alternated wins and losses in its nine games and it is coming off a thrilling 80-72 overtime victory against Georgetown this past Monday as a three-point road underdog. The net result of this up and down stretch of games is an overall SU record of 11-8 with a 3-3 mark in Big East play. It is 7-10 ATS and the total has stayed UNDER in five of its last seven contests.
The duo of Davante Gardner and Jamil Wilson have provided a good deal of the production for the Golden Eagles with a combined 25.8 points, 11.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists. The team, as a whole, is averaging 71 points while shooting 44.5 percent from the field and just 30.4 percent from 3-point range.
Villanova has been opened as a 2 ½-point road favorite for this Big East clash. Past betting trends in this matchup weigh heavily against the Wildcats with a 4-10 ATS mark in the last 14 meetings, but the road team is 7-1 ATS in the last eight games. The total has gone OVER in nine of the last 12 games in this series.
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