Saturday's Tip Sheet
February 21, 2014
By David Schwab
This Saturday’s slate in men’s college basketball is loaded with a number of crucial conference showdowns between teams in dogged pursuit of a regular season title, but for this betting tip sheet we have zeroed in on a key battle in both the AAC and the Big Ten. Both games have a high noon tip with Louisville facing Cincinnati in the AAC and Wisconsin on the road against Iowa in the Big Ten.
No. 11 Louisville Cardinals at No. 7 Cincinnati Bearcats (CBS, 12:00 p.m. ET)
The defending national champs were clear favorites to win the newly-formed AAC this season, but heading into this showdown the Cardinals find themselves a game and a half in back of Cincinnati in the standings with a straight-up record of 11-2. Making things even more interesting is the fact that one of those two losses was a 69-66 setback against the Bearcats on Jan. 30 as nine-point home favorites. Louisville has won its last five games since then and it has covered in its last four to improve to 14-10 against the spread.
Russ Smith leads the Cardinals with 17.8 points per game, but this offense is deep with scorers with four other players averaging at least 10 PPG. Overall, they are ranked 11th in the nation in scoring with 83.0 PPG and shooting a healthy 48 percent from the field. Defensively, Louisville is holding teams to 61.6 points a game.
The Bearcats’ lone loss in the AAC this season against 13 SU wins was a 76-55 meltdown to No. 22 Memphis as four-point road underdogs on Feb. 8. They are 24-3 SU overall and that was their first loss since mid-December.
Cincinnati has not been the best bet in conference play with a 5-8-1 record ATS. It has failed to cover in five of its last seven outings and the total has stayed UNDER in nine of 13 conference games with a posted line.
Cincinnati is at the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to scoring with an average of just 69.7 PPG and it has failed to even reach this number in seven of its last 10 games. It does have a bona fide star in Sean Kilpatrick, who leads the team in both points (20.2) and assists (2.6). The Bearcats’ strongest suit remains a defense that is ranked fourth in the nation in points allowed (57.4).
The opening line for Saturday’s showdown has the Cardinals favored over Cincinnati by three points on the road.
The Bearcats hold a 4-2 edge both SU and ATS in the last six games of this series. The total went OVER the 131.5-point closing line in the first meeting this season after staying UNDER in the previous six games.
No. 16 Wisconsin Badgers at No. 15 Iowa Hawkeyes (ESPN2, 12:00 p.m. ET)
Wisconsin kept its Big Ten regular season title hopes alive with a huge 75-62 victory over No. 20 Michigan this past Sunday as a four-point road underdog. It is now 8-5 SU in conference play and 2 ½ games in back of Michigan State in the standings. The Badgers’ current winning streak stands at four games after suffering through an extended 1-5 SU slide in their previous six outings. Over the course of this 10-game stretch they have gone a costly 3-7 ATS. The total has stayed UNDER in five of their last seven games.
The Badgers have picked-up the pace on offense during its current winning streak with 75 points or more in three of the four games. Frank Kaminsky came up big against the Wolverines with 25 points and 11 rebounds. He is averaging 13 PPG while shooting 54.4 percent from the field and 41 percent from 3-point range. Wisconsin has also tightened things up on defense by holding teams to an average 60.9 points over its last seven games.
The Hawkeyes are two games out of the lead in the Big Ten with a SU record of 8-4. It has been a bumpy ride over their last seven outings with a record of 4-3 both SU and ATS. Iowa started the new year with a 75-71 loss to the Badgers as a 6 ½-point road underdog and the total went OVER the 137-point line. There are some lingering personnel concerns this time around with Melsahn Basabe and Gabriel Olaseni listed as day-to-day due to the flu and Anthony Clemons 'questionable' with an injured ankle.
As long as Roy Devyn Marble and Aaron White are in the starting lineup the Hawkeyes should be just fine. Marble leads the team in scoring with 16.4 PPG and White is chipping-in another 13.2 points while pulling down 6.6 rebounds. Iowa remains the seventh-highest scoring team in the nation with an average of 83.6 PPG and it is ranked third in rebounds with 43 a game. Defensively, it is giving-up 67.2 points to its opponents.
The Hawkeyes come into this matchup listed as five-point home favorites to even the season series at a game apiece.
The home team has won seven of the last nine meetings SU, but Iowa has covered in the last six games. The total in this series has gone OVER in the last five meetings.
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