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College Basketball Gambling Primer: Feb. 29, Great Day To Win A Conference Title

YTD: 112-113-5 (Finally back-to-back winning days in 2020. Let's stay hot in the lab before conference tournament week) 

Picks

Providence +7

Notre Dame -1.5

Syracuse -4

Virginia +4

Florida -1

UCLA +3

Iowa -4

St. Francis (PA) +1

Note: This is just an A+ college basketball Saturday considering we have conference tournaments starting this week. We have teams out here either trying to win a conference regular season outright, improve seeding or force this conference race to go next week. That's what we're going to be trying to find here to play. Either way giddy up, because we don't have that much time with college hoops left. 

Providence at Villanova (-7/137) 

A couple things here. First, Collin Gillespie is banged up with a deep thigh bruise and questionable to go today. If that's the case that's a MASSIVE loss for Nova. The Nova offense is predicated on his ability to create by getting in the lane and then opening it up for others. Without him, you're relying more on Justin Moore to be that guy and really putting a heavy load on Saddiq Bey. Second, Providence is desperate here. They need to win to be on the right side of the bubble. Nova is also 0-4 ATS at home recently. We're going to take the points with the team that's been playing really well. 

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Pick: Providence +7

Notre Dame at Wake Forest (+1.5/149) 

I know I always scream about staying away from small road favorites, but very few times is it when the home team is coming off the biggest win in 3 years, if not longer. Notre Dame still has an outside shot to make the NCAA Tournament, but a loss at Wake pretty much sets that back. Wake is average at defending the 3pt line, which is how ND wants to beat you. I know it's on the road, but we'll play the spot here. 

Pick: Notre Dame -1.5

North Carolina at Syracuse (-4/147.5) 

Syracuse is going to run that 2-3 zone and UNC can't shoot. Not exactly the best recipe when going to the dome. The only fear here is that Syracuse is a terrible defensive rebounding team and UNC actually gets offensive rebounds at a high rate. That said, this place is still massive and Cuse fans will still show up. UNC is one of the most inconsistent teams in the country and it almost feels like that win over NC State will have them prime for a let down spot instead of building on it. I can't believe I'm saying this too - but Syracuse has a real advantage from the 3pt line. 

Pick: Syracuse -4

Duke at Virginia (+4/124.5) 

Duke coming off a loss should be an auto bet right? Well, what if they are traveling to a team that is playing as well as anyone in the country right now? Because that's what's happening here and Virginia, for as much of a mess as they were all year, has started to figure it out a bit. They've won 8 of the last 10 and have played like the 31st best team in the country during that stretch - not 50ish which is where they are in the metrics. Ultimately it comes down to the fact that Virginia is going to run the Pack Line defense, throw a couple big bodies on Vernon Carey and force Duke to make shots. Duke struggles to do that. 

Pick: Virginia +4

Florida at Tennessee (+1/130.5) 

I know, another small road favorite, but we're playing spots here. Florida is playing like we expected them to. They are finally figuring out the offense and Tennessee, well, they aren't great. Florida should really be able to force turnovers with that halfcourt zone they run and the jumping man. Not to mention, it's not like Thompson-Boling has been amazing this year. Tennessee has 5 losses at home already. Florida needs a win here to stay in the top-4 of the SEC, which is a double bye. 

Pick: Florida -1

Arizona at UCLA (+3/136) 

Did you know UCLA has won 10 of 12? Did you know they beat Arizona by 13 on the road? How about the fact that UCLA has a legit chance to win the Pac-12? Because all of this is true and it's crazy considering they were heading into conference play at 7-6 with a loss to Cal State Fullerton. If UCLA wins at home today and at USC, they are Pac-12 champs. There's also nothing Mick Cronin wants to do more than beat Sean Miller. This is an underrated coaching rivalry that goes back to UC/Xavier days. Oh, Josh Green isn't playing for Arizona either. That's pretty important. 

Pick: UCLA +3

Penn State at Iowa (-4/152) 

While I think the Big 10 home court thing has fallen as the year has gone on, this is a time to play it. Iowa is back home playing a Penn State team that stole a win over Rutgers after blowing a lead. The main reason here I like Iowa though? We saw these two play at the Palestra earlier this season and Penn State didn't really have anyone that can stop Luka Garza. I thought Mike Watkins would be able to, but Garza just ate him up. 

Pick: Iowa -4

St. Francis (PA) at Robert Morris (-1/142)

Strictly a spot play here. If St. Francis wants to win the NEC (share it with Merrimack) they need to beat a team they beat by 15 at home a week and a half ago. They have the best player on the floor in Keith Braxton. A loss here creates a tie in 2nd with RMU and an outright title for Merrimack. That's strictly the play here. 

Pick: St. Francis (PA) +1