Denver darlings
of Vegas wiseguys

Jan 30, 2007 12:22 AM

Air Force is nationally ranked and at 19-3 overall. Denver is 3-18. Right now in Las Vegas, we’ll take Denver.

The Pioneers are in the Sun Belt Conference, which is a story unto itself. Another time, perhaps. More relevant is the nice 7-0-1 run against the spread. Nobody is talking Denver basketball, but for sure some of the Vegas wiseguys are studying the numbers and making money.

This past Saturday, the Pioneers lost 77-67 at home to Western Kentucky and managed to push as a 10-point underdog. This week Denver visits Middle Tennessee State on Thursday and returns home for a Sunday rematch with Arkansas State. Denver lost to State on the road by 15 as a 13½ point dog.

As for Air Force, the linesmakers continue to pad the numbers. That’s a subject we first mentioned a couple of weeks ago and nothing has changed. The pattern continued last Saturday at Provo, where always tough BYU pulled off a mild upset. The Falcons fell by 9 as a 2½-point underdog, only the second time all year AF was not favored.

The first time was at Stanford, where the Falcons won by a stunning 34 points as a 4½ point dog. The Cardinal have gone 11-4 ATS since that debacle. Meanwhile, the Falcons are just 1-7 ATS in the last eight and have seen UNLV creep closer for the Mountain West Conference lead.

Colorado State is biding its time to the MWC tournament, which is its only way into the NCAAs this season. The Rams are a very respectable 14-5 overall and 8-1 at home. State is 6-2 ATS in its last eight starts and lost to Air Force by just six in the first matchup. But the only significant nonconference victory for the Rams came against Big 12 member Kansas State.

The Rams also beat in-state rival Colorado, but the Rams are suffering through a brutal 5-12 campaign. The Buffaloes are no better against the spread, posting a 5-11 mark overall and 3-9 ATS in the past 12 outings. Colorado did manage to cover against perennial national power Kansas last Saturday in a 23-point loss. So, don’t get too excited.

With roughly a month left before the conference tournaments, Air Force is the only lock among Colorado schools to make it to the Big Dance. But in Vegas books, we recommend betting for Denver and against the Falcons until the lines are readjusted.