February 27, 2018
By Brian Edwards
Editor's note: Brian Edwards has won three straight games and is 15-9 (62.5%, +5.61 Units) since Feb. 19. He owns a 38-24-1 record (61.3%, +12.4 Units) on his guaranteed plays since Dec. 8, so don't miss out on tonight's pay-if-it-wins-only selection!
**Miami at North Carolina**
-- North Carolina (22-7 straight up, 16-11 against the spread) has been downright nasty at home this year, producing a 12- SU record and a 10-3 ATS mark.
-- As of early this morning, most books had North Carolina installed as a 10.5-point favorite.
-- UNC has won six straight games but saw its 5-0 ATS surge snapped in this past Wednesday’s 78-74 win over Syracuse as a 4.5-point road favorite. The Tar Heels led 74-66 with less than five minutes remaining until the ‘Cuse went on an 8-0 run to pull even. They scored the game’s final four points in last two minutes, but their backers were left disappointed by the Orange’s backdoor cover by one-half point.
-- In the win at the Carrier Dome, Theo Pinson paces UNC with 23 points, seven assists, six rebounds and three steals. Joel Berry II added 18 points and four assists compared to merely one turnover, while Sterling Manley finished with 12 points and six boards in only 17 minutes of playing time in a reserve role.
-- UNC junior forward Luke Maye leads UNC in scoring (18.0 points per game), rebounding (10.2 RPG), field-goal percentage (51.3%), 3-point shooting accuracy (46.7%) and blocked shots (1.2 BPG). Berry is averaging 17.7 PPG and has an 88/49 assist-to-turnover ratio, while Cameron Johnson (12.7 PPG) has a 42/19 assist-to-turnover ratio and is making 90.0 percent of his free-throw attempts. Kenny Williams (11.3 PPG) paces the Tar Heels in steals (1.1 SPG) and has drained 41.0 percent of his treys.
-- Roy Williams’s squad is ranked 10th in the latest Top 25 from the Associated Press) and is fifth in the RPI Rankings. UNC is 5-3 versus the RPI Top 25, 9-5 against the Top 50 and 15-6 vs. the Top 100. The Tar Heels have home wins over the likes of Michigan, Clemson, Duke and Notre Dame. They also have road victories at Tennessee, at N.C. State, at Louisville, at Syracuse, at Davidson, at Stanford and at Notre Dame, in addition to neutral-court wins over Arkansas and Ohio State.
-- Miami (20-8 SU, 10-13 ATS) has compiled a 7-4 record both SU and ATS in 11 road assignments.
-- Miami is still without sophomore guard Bruce Brown, who is hoping to return sometime in March after sustaining a fracture in his foot. Brown, one of the Hurricanes’ best defenders, was averaging 11.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists per game and 1.3 steals per game.
-- Miami is No. 28 in the RPI Rankings with its 1-3 record against the Top 25, a 4-5 mark versus the Top 50 and a 7-7 ledger against the Top 100. The Hurricanes have home wins over Louisville, FSU and Boston College, in addition to a neutral-court scalp of Middle Tennessee. They have road victories at N.C. State, at Virginia Tech and at Notre Dame.
-- Miami is mired in a 2-8 ATS slump, but the Hurricanes have won seven of its past 11 games. They snapped a three-game losing streak with last week’s 77-74 win at Notre Dame as 4.5-point underdogs. UM won a 79-78 decision over Boston College on Saturday as a 6.5-point home ‘chalk.’ Dewan Huell led the way with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Chris Lykes had 15 points in a reserve role.
-- The ‘over’ is 17-11 overall for UNC, 10-3 in its home outings. The ‘over’ is 6-2 for the Tar Heels’ in their last eight contests.
-- The ‘over’ is on a 10-4 run for UM to improve to 12-11 overall and 6-5 in its road games.
-- Tip-off is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
**Boise State at San Diego State**
-- As of early this morning, most spots had San Diego State listed as a four-point favorite.
-- San Diego State (22-6 SU, 14-12-1 ATS) has been outstanding at home, posting an 11-2 SU record and a 9-2 ATS mark. The Aztecs have produced a 2-1 record both SU and ATS in three games as single-digit home ‘chalk.’
-- San Diego State didn't have 6’10” senior power forward Malik Pope for Saturday's win at San Jose State after he was suspended indefinitely this past weekend. Pope is alleged to have received $1,400 of impermissible benefits, according to media reports in relation to the federal investigation into corruption in college basketball. Pope did practice yesterday, however, and a report from this morning's San Diego Union Tribune indicated Pope was 'questionable' tonight. He is averaging 12.7 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots per game.
-- SDSU has won four consecutive contests while going 3-1 ATS. The Aztecs won all four games by double-digit margins, but they failed to cover the spread as 13.5-point favorites in Saturday’s 71-59 win at San Jose State. This was a brutal beat for SDSU’s betting supporters, as it led by 15 and purposefully ran out the shot clock without attempting a shot to give the Spartans the ball back with 3.8 seconds remaining. But San Jose State inbounded and – check this out – its player dribbled to the top of the key and attempted a trey as if it were a free throw without jumping. He was left uncontested and, of course, the meaningless shot went in to give San Jose State an improbable backdoor cover. Jalen McDaniels was the catalyst with 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots, while Max Montana contributed 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting from 3-point land in only 19 minutes off the bench. Trey Kell finished with six points, six rebounds, three steals and nine assists compared to merely one turnover.
-- Devin Watson (12.5 PPG) is the Aztecs’ second-leading scorer who has handed out a team-best 3.9 APG while hitting 37.4 percent of his treys. Matt Mitchell (11.0 PPG) is making 37.1 percent of his 3’s.
-- SDSU is ranked No. 107 in the RPI, going 0-1 versus the Top 25, 1-3 against the Top 50 and 3-6 vs. the Top 100. The Aztecs have home wins over Gonzaga and Wyoming, in addition to a neutral-court scalp of Georgia.
-- Boise State (22-6 SU, 14-12 ATS) is No. 46 in the RPI with a 0-2 record against the RPI Top 25, a 1-2 ledger versus the Top 50 and a 4-4 mark against the Top 100. BSU’s best wins are a home win over Loyola-Chicago (by 34!), a neutral-court victory over Illinois State (by 18) and road wins at Oregon and at Fresno State.
--Since seeing its four-game winning streak snapped in back-to-back defeats at Utah St. and vs. Nevada, Boise State has responded with back-to-back victories in blowout fashion. First, Christian Sengfelder scored 17 points to lead the Broncos to a 76-52 home win over Air Force as 14-point favorites. Then this past Saturday in Ft. Collins, BSU raced out to a 21-point halftime lead and coasted to an 87-54 triumph as a 7.5-point road favorite. Hutchison dropped 27 points on the Rams thanks to 10-of-18 shooting from the field and 4-of-7 makes from downtown. Justinian Jessup added 16 points, six rebounds and three steals, while Zach Haney finished with 13 points and seven boards.
-- Boise State is 6-4 SU and 5-4-1 ATS in 10 road assignments. The Broncos are 3-1-1 ATS with three outright victories in five games as road underdogs.
-- Leon Rice’s team is led by Hutchison, the senior forward who paces BSU in scoring (19.9 PPG), assists (3.5 APG), rebounding (7.6 RPG) and steals (1.5 SPG). Jessup (11.6 PPG, 4.9 RPG) has drained 46.2 percent of his 3’s and is second on the team in steals (38). Sengfelder, a grad transfer from Fordham, is averaging 11.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.
-- BSU has beaten San Diego State in five of the past seven head-to-head meetings, going 4-3 ATS in the process. The Broncos knocked off San Diego State, 83-80 but failed to cover as four-point home favorites on Jan. 13. The 163 combined points catapulted ‘over’ the 144-point tally. Hutchison scored a career-high 44 points in front of 10,874 fans at Taco Bell Arena. He had eight rebounds and buried 15-of-21 FGAs and 7-of-10 launches from long distance. Lexus Williams added 16 points for BSU. Watson finished with 19 points and eight assists in the losing effort, while Pope finished with 18 points and nine rebounds.
-- The ‘under’ is on a 6-1 run for the Aztecs to improve to 12-12-1 overall and 7-4 in their home contests.
-- The ‘under’ has cashed in five consecutive BSU games overall and six straight road assignments. The ‘under’ is 16-10-1 overall for the Broncos, 7-2 in their 10 road outings.
-- The CBS Sports Network will have the telecast at 11:00 p.m. Eastern.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- Without the nation’s second-leading shot blocker Mo Bamba, Texas lost an 80-70 decision at Kansas last night. However, the Longhorns took the cash as 12-point underdogs. My only Monday play in college hoops was the ‘over’ for Texas at KU. That was a winner with the 150 combined points jumping ‘over ‘the 141.5-point total. Shaka Smart’s team also covered second-half wagers as a four-point underdog after trailing by 13 at intermission (+17 adjusted).
-- Northwestern’s Vic Law has been downgraded to ‘doubtful’ for Thursday’s second-round Big Ten Tournament showdown against Penn St. Law, who averages 12.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game, is dealing with a foot injury. The Wildcats’ Bryant McIntosh (12.0 PPG, 5.1 APG) is listed as ‘questionable ‘with a shoulder injury, while PSU’s Mike Watkins is ‘questionable’ with a leg injury. Watkins averages 12.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots per game for the Nittany Lions.
-- Mississippi State has won 18 of 19 home games outright, posting an 8-6 spread record. The Bulldogs are hosting Tennessee tonight and they were 1.5-point favorites early this morning. The Volunteers are 7-4 SU and 8-3 ATS on the road. Ben Howland’s team was in the ‘First Four Out’ of Joe Lunardi’s latest edition of ‘Bracketology’ that was released on ESPN.com Monday morning. These teams will collide at The Hump in Starkville at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on the SEC Network.
-- Florida has won six in a row at Coleman Coliseum and hasn’t tasted defeat at Alabama since 2006. That UF loss was its last of ’06 as it won out and went on to win the school’s first national title in men’s hoops. Mike White’s team allowed a double-digit lead to get away when it was outscored 41-17 in the second half of a 68-50 home loss to Alabama on Feb. 3. The Crimson Tide crushed UF on the glass with a 37-24 rebounding advantage. Collin Sexton was the catalyst for Avery Johnson’s team, producing 17 points, eight rebounds, six assists, two steals and one blocked shot. The ‘under’ is on a 7-1 run for the Gators, who snapped a three-game losing streak with Saturday’s 72-66 win over Auburn as 2.5-point home favorites. The ‘under’ is 18-10 overall for ‘Bama, which has lost three in a row both SU and ATS. Nevertheless, the Tide was favored by 2.5 points early this morning. Tip-off is slated for 7:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
-- Missouri plays at Vanderbilt tonight on ESPN2 at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Most spots had the game as a pick ‘em this a.m. The ‘over’ is on a 9-3 run for the Commodores, who are in a 1-4 ATS slump.
-- Arkansas will host Auburn tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on the SEC Network. The Razorbacks, fresh off a crucial comeback win at Alabama, was favored by two this morning. Mike Anderson’s team is 5-1 both SU and ATS in its past six contests. Meanwhile, Auburn has dropped two it last three both SU and ATS. When these teams met on The Plains on Jan. 6, Bruce Pearl’s squad won 88-77 as a 4.5-point home ‘chalk.’ The 165 combined points dipped ‘under’ the 167.5-point total.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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