February 23, 2018
By Brian Edwards
Editor's note: Brian Edwards owns a 36-22-1 record (62.1%, +12.5 Units) on his guaranteed plays since Dec. 8, so don't miss out on tonight's pay-if-it-wins-only selection!
**Harvard at Princeton**
-- When these bitter rivals collided Feb. 9 at Lavietes Pavilion in Boston, Harvard (14-11 straight up, 11-9-1 against the spread) raced out to a 35-20 halftime lead and coasted to a 66-51 win as a 1.5-point home favorite. Christian Juzang led the Crimson with 20 points, five rebounds, four assists and one steal. Seth Towns was limited to 24 minutes of playing time before fouling out, but he still got into double figures with 13 points. Richmond Aririguzoh scored a team-best nine points for the Tigers.
-- As of early this morning, most books had this Ivy League showdown listed as a pick ‘em. A few offshore shops had Princeton (11-14 SU, 7-14 ATS) installed as a one-point ‘chalk’ with a total of 130.
-- Princeton has been an immense disappointment this year, but it can still right the ship and salvage the season with a strong finish in the last four games of the regular season. The top four teams in the Ivy League make the conference’s tournament, and the Tigers are one of six schools vying for the final two spots. Harvard and Penn are atop the loop’s standing with identical 9-1 records. Yale is in third place at 5-5, while Brown, Cornell and Columbia have 4-6 conference ledgers. Princeton is 3-7 against Ivy League foes.
-- Princeton has lost six straight games both SU and ATS, including a pair of losses in overtime(s). Four of the defeats have come by double-digit margins, however. Mitch Henderson’s squad lost 107-101 at Cornell last Friday in three overtimes, and then it took a woodshed beating by an 85-60 score Saturday at Columbia. Amir Bell had 12 points, eight rebounds, three steals, one blocked shots and three assists without a turnover.
-- Princeton is No. 217 in the RPI Rankings, posting just one win over an RPI Top 150 opponent. The Tigers won 103-93 at Southern Cal. In other notable non-conference contests, the Tigers lost 85-75 at Butler and went down in neutral-court games vs. Middle Tennessee (69-67) and Miami (80-52).
-- Harvard is No. 136 in the RPI with only one victory over an RPI Top-150 foe. Tommy Amaker’s squad has a home win over Penn (#138) but lost both of its games to the Top 50 (vs. Saint Mary’s and at Kentucky).
-- Harvard brings a five-game winning streak to New Jersey. The Crimson has a 3-1 spread record in its past four contests, taking the money in Saturday’s 64-49 win over Yale as a 4.5-point home favorite. Chris Lewis led the winners with 18 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots, while Seth Towns added 14 points, seven rebounds and a pair of steals. Juzang had 13 points and eight assists.
-- Harvard has lost outright in nine of 14 road games, going 7-6 ATS.
-- Harvard star guard Bryce Aiken is ‘questionable’ tonight due to a knee injury that’s had him sidelined for the past five games. The Ivy League’s 2017 Rookie of the Year is averaging 14.1 PPG. Towns averages a team-best 15.8 points and 5.0 RPG while making 44.3 percent of his treys. Lewis (12.2 PPG, 5.5 RPG) has a team-high 44 blocked shots and is shooting at a 60.0 percent clip from the field.
-- Princeton is 6-4 SU and 3-4 ATS at home this season.
-- The ‘under’ is 11-10 overall for Princeton, 4-3 in its home games.
-- The ‘under’ is 14-7 overall for Harvard, 9-4 in its home games.
-- The ‘under’ has cashed tickets at 10-4 clip in the past 14 games of this rivalry.
-- Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPNU.
**Ohio State at Indiana**
-- As of early this morning, most books had Ohio State (23-7 SU, 15-13 ATS) listed as a 1.5-point road favorite.
-- Ohio St. has compiled a 5-2 record both SU and ATS in seven true road assignments.
-- These old-school rivals squared off in Columbus on Jan. 30 with Ohio State collecting a 71-56 win as a 10-point home ‘chalk.’ The 127 combined points darted ‘under’ the 139.5-point total. Jae’Sean Tate led OSU with 16 points and six rebounds, while Keita Bates-Diop stuffed the box scored 13 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and four blocked shots. The Buckeyes limited IU’s Robert Johnson to merely two points, though we should credit him for four assists without a turnover. Juwan Morgan had 15 points and six boards for the Hoosiers.
-- Chris Holtmann’s club avoided a three-game losing streak by thumping Rutgers 79-52 in Tuesday’s Big 10 showdown. Ohio State took the cash as a 14.5-point home favorite, while the 131 combined points tipped ‘over’ the 129-point total. The Buckeyes had lost their two previous games at Penn State (79-56) and at Michigan (74-62). C.J. Jackson hit 8-of-12 shots in a game-high 18-point effort, while Kaleb Wesson finished with 14 points, five rebounds and three assists.
-- Ohio State is No. 20 in the RPI Rankings and No. 16 in the latest edition of the Associated Press Top 25. The Buckeyes have posted a 3-3 record against the Top 25, a 3-5 mark versus the Top 50 and an 8-7 ledger against the Top 100. They own home wins over the likes of Michigan, Michigan St., Northeastern, Maryland, Nebraska and William & Mary, in addition to a road victory at Purdue and a neutral-court scalp of Stanford.
-- Indiana (16-13 SU, 17-12 ATS) owns a 12-5 record both SU and ATS at home. This will be IU’s third game as a home underdog. The Hoosiers are winless with a 2-1 spread record in three previous such spots.
-- Indiana saw its four-game winning streak and 5-0 ATS surge snapped in Tuesday’s 66-57 loss at Nebraska as a three-point underdog. Johnson had 16 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals in the losing effort. Justin Smith had 16 points and eight rebounds, while Morgan finished with 13 points and nine boards.
-- Morgan paces IU in scoring (16.5 PPG), rebounding (7.3 RPG) and blocked shots (1.4 BPG). Johnson is averaging 14.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.
-- Indiana is No. 106 in the RPI due to a winless record in seven games against the RPI Top 25. The Hoosiers are 3-9 against the RPI Top 100. They have notable home wins over Penn State and Maryland, a pair of bubble teams, but a neutral-court victory over Notre Dame hasn’t aged well.
-- The ‘under’ is 17-11-1 overall for the Hoosiers, 9-8 in their home outings. They’ve seen the ‘under’ go 13-3-1 in their past 17 games.
-- The ‘under’ has been a huge money maker in Ohio State games, cashing at a 20-8 overall clip. The Buckeyes have seen the ‘under’ go 4-3 in their road games.
-- Fox Sports 1 will provide the broadcast at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- Arizona star guard Allonzo Trier was declared ineligible Thursday by the NCAA for testing positive for a PED. The school is appealing the ruling. Trier missed the first 19 games of last season for a failed PED test. The junior guard from Seattle is the Pac-12’s second-leading scorer (19.6 PPG). Trier was in street clothes on the bench during the Wildcats’ 75-65 overtime win at Oregon St. last night. Gamblers taking the Beavers (+5) took a brutal beat with the home underdogs. Bettors on the ‘over’ (141) were teased when the combined score hit 140 points, while ‘under’ supporters picked up the rightful victory.
-- Purdue’s Carsen Edwards dropped 40 points on Illinois last night in a 93-86 non-covering win as a nine-point road favorite. Edwards drained 4-of-8 attempts from long distance and 14-of-16 at the FT line. Dakota Mathias finished with 18 points and eight rebounds. Leron Black had a team-best 28 points for the Illini.
-- A likely NCAA Tournament team is going to add a guaranteed lottery pick in the next week or two. Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr. was cleared to practice Thursday. The prized recruit left the Tigers’ season opener and had to have back surgery in November.
-- Houston had its five-game winning streak snapped in last night’s 91-85 loss at Memphis. Tubby Smith’s squad beat the Cougars as a six-point underdog to hook up money-line supporters with a +225 return. Jimario Rivers and Raynere Thornton scored 21 apiece for the Tigers, who have won three in a row both SU and ATS to improve to 17-11 overall. All three of those Memphis victories came from the underdog role.
-- The nation’s best ATS are Nebraska (21-7), Auburn (19-7), Virginia (17-6-1), Xavier (20-9) and Canisius (19-8-1).
-- If you took Hawaii and went to bed last night, you’ll wake up a happy camper. The Warriors covered the number in a 74-63 win over Long Beach State as 4.5-point home favorites. The 137 combined points fell ‘under’ the 148-point tally.
-- There are a pair of late televised games tonight: Western Michigan at Ball State (9:00 p.m. Eastern, ESPN2) and Manhattan at Iona (9:00 p.m., ESPNU). As of early this morning, the Gaels were favored by seven with a total of 144 points. The Cardinals were listed as five-point home ‘chalk’ vs. the Broncos, while the total was 146. Ball St. has won five games in a row and is 3-1 ATS in its last four contests. Western Michigan is mired in a 2-7-1 ATS slump.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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