NCAA Basketball fans love to bet the main stream teams like Duke, UNC, Kansas, Kentucky. This Method is not profitable, but it is o.k. around tourney time, when you can get a decent spread. The teams you want to concentrate on are lesser known teams or up and coming Mid-Majors, that are solid on both sides of the ball, with a good coach in a weak division.
The teams that are the favorites in the betting odds to win it all are the usual suspects this year; UNC, Ohio st, Kentucky and of course the Duke Blue Devils. The NCAA season is approaching fast and the top five teams ATS, will surprise the average fan and NCAA basketball bettor! The #1 team ATS was George Mason with a record of 27-7 W/L, 23-9 ATS, followed by #2 Michigan, 22-8 ATS 21-14 W/L, Oakland 23-10-1 ATS, W/L 25-10, St Peter's ATS 20-8, 20-14 W/L, U Conn. ATS 23-12 and a W//L 32-9. The smaller teams like George Mason, and especially Oakland, dominate the competition in their leagues and these are the types of team you want to focus on and look for when betting on NCAA basketball.
George Mason Patriots
George Mason is losing their best player in Cam Long and third leading scorer in Luke Hancock who is transferring to Louisville. The Patriots do have three talented seniors who will lead them into action this season. The first of the bunch is second leading scorer from last year forward 6'6 Ryan Pearson 14.2 points, forward 6'9 Mike Morrison who avg 6.8 points and guard Andre Cornelius 5'10 who avg. 9.5 points. The Patriots also have six sophomores and three freshmen, who will have to step up and help in the scoring department.
The head coach Jim Larranaga who was the coach of the Patriots for 14 years and named C.A.A.coach of the year last season, took off for greener pastures in Miami, so the Patriots brought in recently fired Paul Hewitt from Georgia Tech. A new head coach means a new system will be in place for the Patriots and with so many sophomores just getting down Larranaga's old system, that might cause some early season growing pains. The Patriots are favored to win their conference again this year, despite losing their coach and Luke Hancock, but it's too early and the jury will be out with Hewitt now running the helm in the beginning of the season.
Michigan is far removed from their dominance of the days of the Fab 5, when last year started the Wolverine's were picked to finish at the bottom of the Big 10. The Wolverines had one of the youngest rosters in the country (19th), with no seniors on their team. Michigan also had the 16th toughest schedule in the country last year, and after a dismal 1-6 start in the Big 10, they won 8 of their next 11 games. The young Wolverines over came all the NCAA basketball odds stacked against them and finished the season with a 21-14 record, resulting in a tie for fourth in the Big 10.
The Wolverines are a team to watch in this up-coming season, they are a little soft in the middle, but have young talent over-all. Michigan did lose their leading scorer in Darius Morris (15 pts /gm) to the NBA draft, but return the rest of the young team. Tim Hardaway Jr. emerged toward the end of last season and had flashes of brilliance, like when he dropped 31 points on Purdue, plus Zack Novak will be an outside threat from 3-point land for the Wolverines in 2011-12.
The one thing the Wolverines will need to compete in the Big 10 is a presence down low at the center position. The sophomore C/F Jordan Morgan who led the Big 10 in field goal percentage with a 66.1 accuracy in conference games, will need some help to battle the stiff competition of centers in the Big 10. The two players that could help out more next season are sophomores, 6'9 forward Jon Horford (Al Horford's little brother), and 6'9 forward Evan Smotrycz. John Horford came of the bench last year playing in 27 games, but was slowed by injuries toward the end of the season, and Evan Smotrycz will surprise some people this year. The Wolverines will miss Morris since he was responsible for scoring half of the teams points, but that leaves plenty of possessions and scoring opportunities for a few players to step up and score.
Oakland Golden Grizzlies
Oakland Golden Grizzlies come in at #3 on the list of the best team ATS for last year. Oakland lost a couple of players going into next year, the star of the team center Keith Benson (#1) who averaged 17.9 points, Will Hudson (#3) who was third on the team in scoring with 12.6 points a game and Larry Wright who averaged 9.8 points a game. The team was one of the highest scoring teams in all of Division 1 Basketball, which might save them next year, since they still have 53.2 % of their scoring returning from last year. Reggie Hamilton a senior this year finished the season strong, by dropping 25 points on Texas and finished as the #2 scorer on the team with 17.4 points. Hamilton will be joined by now sophomore Travis Bader who shot 45.8% from beyond the arch and led the summit league for freshmen with 92 three made, Drew Valentine who hit double figures 15 times last season. Coach Greg Kampe has won back to back titles in the Summit league for the Golden Grizzlies and it looks like their dominance might continue next season.
Saint Peters Peacocks
#4 St. Peters made a nice run toward the end of the season. Their coach John Dunne rode his four seniors and a top 20 defense, to wins over defending champs Fair field, then a win over Iona to win the league tournament and a NCAA tourney bid. The Peacocks did lose their four top players in the four seniors who graduated and might lose coach Dunne to Monmouth. The final verdict is, don't go near the Peacocks next year, as it will be a rebuilding year once again for Coach Dunne if he even stays. One hit wonders were the Peacocks last year.
#5 Uconn will be without star Kemba Walker and the 23.5 points a game he scored, as he left for the NBA. Coach Calhoun, after a ton of off season negative allegations, is thinking about retirement but still hasn't let on what he will do. Jeremy Lamb and Alex Oriaki will be the leaders of next years team and will have a lot of more possessions to score now that Kemba is gone. Jamal Coombs McDaniel will transfer after getting caught with some weed on campus, this opens up a scholarship for the team. The open scholarship will help, considering that the team lost a total of three going into this year, one for illegally recruiting Nate Miles and the other two for poor academics. Newcomer recruit Ryan Boatright is a small point guard (165lb), but has a lot of confidence and great handle with the ball. Ryan Boatright will be thrown right into the mix of things, as a starter most likely, with Jamal Coombs McDaniel and Kemba leaving Stores Conn. The Huskies might not win the National Championship this year, but they will most likely get Calhoun Back, and have a few players stepping up who can perform like Kemba did last year.
The teams that are listed here are lot better to bet during the season, since the lines makers in Vegas screw up and give soft spreads for their games. Days like Saturday are when there are a ton of games and you can find a lot of soft spreads. I will continue to study up on the approaching season and try to find those hidden gems that make us money! Happy hunting with your teams and be sure to Check out my Wizardofbeantown thread.