Timing is a major component for handicapping sporting events. Fortunately, we saw Villanova totally focused for its national TV showdown with previously unbeaten Kansas the day before the NFC title game in Philly.
I’m sure most would agree that Nova is not 21 points better than the Jayhawks, who suffered their worst point total loss in the Bill Self administration. But, that’s the nature of the game.
Santa Clara also thrilled us with the money line upset victory at Pepperdine, two days after the Waves faced Saint Mary’s — the West Coast Conference’s flavor of the season. Gonzaga, which lost its second WCC game at San Francisco, still rules the roost. However, there are more land mines on the way to the league title than ever before.
Illinois and Boston College are the only remaining undefeated teams remaining, but it wouldn’t surprise us if both were knocked off this week. More on that later.
For now, we will rejoice in a nice 2-0 Saturday that helps ease the pain of last week’s missed free throw that cost us the Providence cover at Syracuse. Handicapping is, truly, a "what have you done for me lately" occupation.
Again, the oddsmakers did a fine job on the whole regarding the huge Saturday card.
Underdogs held a 45-38 edge against the spread on the regular Las Vegas rotation. The favorites rallied for a 12-7 ATS edge on the added board.
Bottom line: No discernable trends. Pick games individually based on how you feel about them. We’ll try our best to help you beat the house and lift our percentages at the same time.
Tuesday, Jan. 25
Illinois at Wisconsin:The Badgers are extremely tough at home and they’ll have to be against the nation’s No. 1 team. We don’t believe any team will go unbeaten during the regular season and the Illini barely escaped Iowa at home in overtime. Timing is great for Badgers with the whole country watching. WISCONSIN.
Wednesday, Jan. 26
Wisc-Milwaukee at Purdue: Gene Keady is feeling the pain of a tough season at Purdue. The Boilers won’t be up for the Wisconsin branch school, which is fully capable of pulling the outright upset win. WIS-MIL
Marq at Louisville: Marquette is on a two-game losing skid. Louisville is a runaway train right now. LOUISVILLE.
Virginia at Virginia Tech: The Hokies at home should get the job done against an overrated Virginia bunch. VA TECH.
Thursday, Jan. 27
San Fran at Santa Clara:We’ve had great luck betting the Broncos and have no intention of getting off the ship. Besides SF may be strutting after shocking Gonzaga. SANTA CLARA.
Saturday, Jan. 29
Minn at Illinois: Returning to Champaign regardless of what happens at Wisconsin will be the right tonic for Illini. Minnesota is far better at home. ILLINOIS.
Syracuse at Pittsburgh: The Panthers hit the wall for a couple of weeks, but the physical style could throw the visiting Orange off just enough. Remember, it’s upset Saturday. PITT.
Georgetown at BC: You don’t hear much about the Hoyas these days, but they play a lot of close games. BC looks ripe for that first loss after a sensational start. GEORGETOWN.
Fairfield at Manhattan: I’ll not take Manhattan in a clash of two quality "middleweights. FAIRFIELD.
Last week: 3-2
Season: 13-9-1 (59.1%)