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Archive for the ‘NCAAB’ Category

Focus Shifting to College Hoops

Monday, January 10th, 2011

By Ron Jumper

Now that the college football season is over, it is time to turn our full attention to the hardwood. Not the NBA so much right now, as the NBA playoffs are when there is the most money to be made. I’m talking about college basketball, from the big boys down to the low majors. This is the time of year when lines are ripe for the picking. I’m going to go over a new system I’ve developed and give out some teams to keep on an eye on that the books may not be properly valuing.

As with all handicappers, developing systems can often sound quirky and even crazy but there is usually a method to the madness. With that in mind, here goes:

Zig-Zag Contrarian System
Most have heard of the Zig-Zag NBA playoff betting system and you’ve probably also heard of contrarian betting. If you haven’t, zig-zag theory is basically betting the rhythm of the NBA playoffs from game to game instead of the matchup so that, if Team A wins game 1, you take Team B in game 2. Contrarian betting is simply going against the majority on the simple premise the public generally loses so why not just do the opposite.

For my theory, I combine those two into a system that only requires two steps. Step one, pick teams that are traditionally “public” teams but also typically have a losing ATS record or are drastically overvalued this season due to results from the previous season. Michigan State was the first team that came to mind, as they finished 15-21 ATS last season despite typically being a popular/good team. As for teams who I think are simply overvalued, I’m going with Pitt and Syracuse. Part of the lack of value is also due to their style of play and lack of 3-point shooting, as they tend to not blow out teams as bad as they should this season (Pitt has historically won games ugly under Jamie Dixon). So now I have my three teams who have a combined 15-24 ATS record this season thus far.

For step two, simply fade these three teams after an ATS win in their next game. If you had done that all season long, you would be 12-3 ATS. That is a rock solid 80% clip. Basically, that means these three teams have only won back-to-back times against the spread three times all season long. For example, back on 11/12 Michigan State covered 20-point spread against Eastern Michigan but failed to cover the 17-point spread in their next outing against South Carolina. Simply wait patiently until one of these three teams cover and bet the other way their next game. Can’t get much simpler than that…

Smart Bets

Here is a list of teams to keep an eye on, as they have performed admirably thus far this season:

Purdue (10-3 ATS)
The Boilermakers have yet to get that much national attention, so cash in while you can. JaJuan Johnson is becoming a consistent force to be reckoned with inside and E’Twaun Moore is a big scorer on the perimeter.

Cincinnati (7-4 ATS)
The Bearcats have been a pleasant surprise to most, but I always HATED Lance Stephenson’s game. With Yancy Gates inside and Dion Dixon outside, plus a nice assortment of role players (7 guys average between 5.9 and 12.6 points), Mick Cronin has a nice squad trying to gain respect in the Big East.

Dayton (8-3 ATS)
Staying in Ohio, the Flyers are quietly putting together a very good season. After a bad loss early to Cincy, they have responded. Christ Wright and Chris Johnson form one of the nations best duos no one has heard of.

Tulane (6-0 ATS)
Probably the best kept secret in all of college basketball. New head coach Ed Conroy has installed his version of the Princeton offense and has a great mix of interchangeable parts to properly utilize the system (4 of top 5 scorers are between 6’5 and 6’7).

Temple (10-4 ATS)
The Owls continue to win under head coach Fran Dunphy, who has this squad playing great defense (held opponents under 60 points in 9 of 14 games).

Drexel (9-3 ATS)
The Dragons are playing great and deserve our attention, but so does the CAA as a whole. Who would have thought this was a RPI Top 10 conference?

Smart Fades

Mississippi State (1-10 ATS)
It has been a total mess since the end of last season…

Saint Louis (2-9 ATS)
Get well soon, Rick Majerus.

San Diego (2-12 ATS)
Same town as Aztecs, not quite the same results…

Arizona State (2-11 ATS)
Basically either they don’t win or they win UGLY!

Texas Tech (2-9 ATS)
Over/Under at 6.5 for calls Pat makes weekly crying for Daddy (Bob Knight) to come back.

Oklahoma (2-7 ATS)
Put this bunch in a UAPB jersey and no one could tell…

Final Four Free Picks

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

By Ron Jumper

National Championship:

I cashed in both Duke and Butler on Saturday night, so I’m feeling good about tonight’s matchup. While everyone else is trying to hype this game up, I’m afraid it will be quite boring to watch. However, as I’ve always said when it comes to handicapping, boring is good.

Duke (-7) covers vs. Butler
Truthfully, there isn’t a lot I can say you haven’t already heard. I get tired of beating hit over the head with the same stuff so I won’t do the same thing to my readers. Bottom line, Duke is too explosive. Forget all the David vs. Goliath crap. Duke has been scoring in the 70s and I don’t think Butler can keep up in a track meet. Also, this is what Duke basketball is all about. They don’t lose these games, history is on their side. Butler has had a magical run that I hope gets Brad Stevens paid, but they are not only outmatched but they are not at full strength with Shelvin Mack and Matt Howard nicked up. I hate Duke as much as anyone, but they roll tonight.


Final Four Picks

To be honest, I don’t really even know what to say about this group of Final Four teams. My bracket looks like I gave a 7 year old on adderall a red marker, thus my damaged ego simply won’t allow me to call myself a Bracketologist (or in my case Jumpologist) anymore. That being said, it wasn’t completely unforeseeable. There were some opportunities to read between the lines. Let me explain.

After Northern Iowa upset Kansas, I had a good feeling about Michigan State because of not only Tom Izzo but the fact that the Panthers would have had a week to read their press clippings. Truthfully, if UNI had played Michigan State the day after beating Kansas they likely would have won because of this and the fact the Spartans were still reeling from losing Kalin Lucas in the Maryland game. However, the Spartans had a week to regroup and come up with a new gameplan. Against Tennessee, I think it was a similar situation for the Spartans, except that in this case they took advantage of the Vols lack of discipline and outside shooting. Coach Izzo is a master at maximizing his strengths and limiting those of his opponent. If a team has a fatal flaw, his teams find a way to exploit it and emerge victorious.

As far as Butler, isn’t it amazing how they were losing by 6 at halftime to UTEP and were within a last second stop from losing to Murray State? All that being said, as bad as my bracket ended up I did mention that I was concerned about Syracuse playing a lot of good 3-point shooting teams along the way in their region. As we know, a 2-3 zone can be susceptible to hot outside shooting.

Although truthfully, I would say the biggest reason Butler was able to beat them was because of the play of Wesley Johnson. Whether you think he didn’t show up or Willie Veasley shut him down is your own call, but my eyes tell me that Johnson allowed himself to be shut down and didn’t make a big enough effort to assert himself despite being the best athlete on the floor at all times. Case in point, ignore the fact Johnson finished with 17 points because he only took 10 shots. Of the 6 shots he made, 4 were layups in transition which leaves 2 for 6 shooting in the actual flow of the offense. The Orange were struggling in the half court and needed their leader to step up, only to have him hide away from the ball and allow himself to be a non-factor until it was too late. Put it this way, I’d think twice before I drafted him in the top 5 and was counting on him developing into my franchise player. Guys either have that tenacious, competitive mentality or they don’t.

(On a side note, I’m the official leader of the “Why isn’t James Anderson an OBVIOUS lottery pick?” club. Just thought I should let everyone know so in a couple years when Evan Turner is doing his best Gerald Henderson impression on the Timberwolves bench I’ll be here to scream from the rooftops I told you so.)

On the other side of the bracket, my sleeper Final Four pick was Baylor but the referees late in that game decided that was a bad idea and Duke should win. I hate to sound like sour grapes but how else do you explain a close game within a point or two either way magically exploding to double figures seemingly with the blink of an eye? In fact, Baylor was up two with 4:37 remaining on the clock when Quincy Acy drove the baseline, made the bucket, and appeared to get fouled by Brian Zoubek only for it to be wiped away by a ridiculous charging call. Instead of potentially going up 5, Duke now had the ball down just a bucket. From then on, after being a physical game for the first 35 minutes, Duke wasn’t allowed to be touched and lived at the foul line because of invisible hand checks and a terrible technical foul on Quincy Acy after both teams had bodied up and woofed at each other. It was just depressing to watch, realizing that Baylor wasn’t allowed to win no matter what they did. On the other side, if you can’t beat ’em join ‘em. I’ll be riding the Duke bandwagon the rest of the dance because I have Vega… I mean Karma on my side.

Which leads me to…

Final Four Picks:

Butler (-1) covers vs. Michigan State
I like the home court advantage here and also feel like Butler lacks the weaknesses Izzo usually is able to find and exploit. The one weakness I would say Butler has is a lack of size, but the Spartans could have the same said about them as well. Thus, I expect Gordon Hayward to establish himself as a star on the national stage and for Shelvin Mack to make some timely, clutch baskets. As for Michigan State, it all evens out because they benefited last year from getting a virtual home game in the Final Four when it was held in Detroit. Funny how things work out sometimes…

Duke (-2) covers vs. West Virginia
Before I try to analyze the game, I must mention in a game that is expected to be close and can go either way I’m amazed at how many times it magically all seems to go Duke’s way. Thus, unless you just LOVE West Virginia here, the ultimate tiebreaker has to be the Duke Favoritism Law that has held true since I was a wee little lad in elementary school. Regardless, I don’t see the Mountaineers shooting 10 of 23 (43.5%) from 3-point range again. They haven’t shot like that all season, considering they were tied for 197th in the country in 3-point field goal percentage at 33.6% in the regular season. I’ll cringe at every bad call against West Virginia, but your money should be on Duke here.

Free NCAA Tournament Picks

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

By Ron Jumper

Sunday March 28, 2010:

Baylor +5


Saturday March 27, 2010:

Kentucky -4


Friday March 26, 2010:

Baylor -5
Purdue +8.5


Thursday March 25, 2010:

Syracuse -6
West Virginia -4
Xavier +5
Cornell +9


Sunday March 21, 2010:
Another winning day yesterday, so I’m hoping to close out the opening weekend strong today. I had UNI +11.5 but it was bad for my bracket that they not only covered but won straight up. Now, I’m going to need some help to stay in the hunt to win my bracket pools. Basically, it would really help if Kentucky would also lose early. Anyways, is this the most absurd bracket ever? I think it has to be pretty close so far, with the upsets racking up by the minute. I’ve got four plays I’m looking at here. Enjoy!

Gonzaga (+7) covers vs. Syracuse
The Zags looked great against Florida State and ‘Cuse may be without Arinze Onuaku, so I’m expecting yet another dogfight. For my bracket’s sake, I’m hoping this isn’t an upset but I wouldn’t be surprised. If the Bulldogs shoot well, they can cause a lot of problems in that 2-3 matchup zone Jim Boeheim is famous for.

Cornell (+4.5) covers vs. Wisconsin
Cornell just looked like the far superior team after each team’s opening game, as the Big Red beat a very good Temple team. On the other side, Wofford is a much better opponent than their reputation suggests, being from a solid Southern Conference but they are by no means as good as Temple. In the end, I like Cornell to win straight up so the points are great value.

Xavier (+1) covers vs. Pitt
I feel great about the Musketeers here, as they are quietly playing very well. Pitt has had a great year, one in which they weren’t expected to even make the dance (granted, I had them in my pre-season Jumpology but the other experts didn’t). I know the seeds say this is an upset, but I would argue otherwise.

Texas A&M (-1.5) covers vs. Purdue
For the Aggies, they’ve been another team that has not gotten the recognition they deserve this season. With Robbie Hummel out for the Boilermakers, I like for Purdue to fall short against a very solid club. The offensive balance of Texas A&M along with their defensive abilities makes them a tough out for anyone down the road.


Saturday March 20, 2010:
So far so good, as it was a winning Friday for yours truly. My bracket has a lot riding on today’s games, with both BYU and Baylor being my sleepers. Regardless, I’ve got some plays I feel pretty good about. Enjoy!

Butler -4.5
Northern Iowa +11.5
Baylor -4
Washington -1.5
BYU +4.5


Friday March 19, 2010:
Thursday offered a wild day that likely destroyed a lot of brackets, with both Georgetown and Vanderbilt going down. I had Murray State winning on my bracket and I’m not that worried about the Hoyas losing because EVERYONE picked them to advance pretty far. There were other upsets (at least by seed), with Old Dominion, Washington, and St. Mary’s pulling off upsets as well. I really don’t consider a 9 over an 8 to be an upset but whatever. I will say an “I told you so” is needed, look at how bad the Big East did Thursday. They were terrible! Georgetown, Marquette, and Notre Dame all lost, while Villanova needed overtime to survive Robert Morris. The committee overvalued this conference and the results thus far are very telling.

6 Xavier (+1) covers vs. 11 Minnesota
The Musketeers are a very good team and, while the Gophers are two, I think they are tired from that exhausting conference tournament run they had to have just to get in.

4 Purdue (–4.5) covers vs. 13 Siena
While they’ll be without Robbie Hummel, JaJuan Johnson will be a matchup problem for the Saints inside. I like Purdue to win soundly here.

5 Texas A&M (–3) covers vs. 12 Utah State
Despite the fact I hope Texas A&M wins by 50 because Utah State shouldn’t be in, this really seems like a good matchup for Mark Turgeon’s club. I like Donald Sloan and the inside game to be too much.

8 Gonzaga (+1.5) covers vs. 9 Florida State
The Bulldogs are too well coached and fundamentally sound to let the athleticism of FSU bother them.

7 Oklahoma State (–1.5) covers vs. 10 Georgia Tech
I always take great guards over size. The Cowboys have James Anderson and the Yellow Jackets have Derrick Favors, but I like experience and backcourt play to be the difference.

9 Louisville (+1) over 8 Cal
Cal seems like a mess, as they just suspended a starter for the game. That can never be a good sign. On the other side, I’ll take Rick Pitino to advance.


Thursday March 18, 2010:

Now, I’ve gone through all the Jumpology and posted by bracket, but it is time to post some picks! I’ll be adding picks each day of the opening weekend right here for free as usual. Enjoy!

7 BYU (-5) over 10 Florida
The Cougars were 29-5 in the regular season and have an amazing cast of 3-point shooters, led by Jimmer Fredette. On the other side, I didn’t even have the Gators making the dance. They slumped down the stretch, going 4-6 in their last 10. This seems like a game BYU should win.

3 Baylor (-10.5) covers vs. 14 Sam Houston State
The Bears are the superior team here and this should be a rout. I like the veteran backcourt of Tweety Carter and LaceDarius Dunn, along with all rangy athletes on this Baylor roster.

9 Northern Iowa (+1) covers vs. 8 UNLV
I felt like the Panthers were robbed in terms of the seed they deserved, being that they went 28-4 and ran through the MVC. On the other side, UNLV is a solid team but I like the size of the Panthers inside with Jordan Eglseder and Adam Koch. Expect UNI to survive and advance.

1 Kansas (-25.5) covers vs. 16 Lehigh
The Jayhawks are going to blow out the Mountain Hawks. This won’t be close, I mean only 3 Lehigh games have even been important enough for oddsmakers to post a line…

3 New Mexico (-9) covers vs. 14 Montana
The Lobos are very good and the only reason this line isn’t bigger is because no one knows about them. Montana is okay, but they were fortunate to even get in. They were down by 20 to Weber State at halftime before Anthony Johnson exploded for 42 points and carried the Grizzlies to a win. I expect Darington Hobson to lock up Johnson and for New Mexico to roll.


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