ACC Tournament 1st Round: Best Two NCAA Basketball Picks For Today

Kevin Stott

Tuesday, March 8, 2016 3:45 PM UTC

Tuesday, Mar. 8, 2016 3:45 PM UTC

Let’s take a quick look at the numbers, trends and general overall feel for both of these ACC Tournament openers and offer up NCAA basketball picks for both.

ACC Tournament: 1st Round Preview, Game 1—Odds Overview
North Carolina State vs. Wake Forest [Tuesday 17:00] (ESPN2, WatchESPN, ACC Network, Directv 209 (US), 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT): The Atlantic Coast Conference begins on Tuesday at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC with this 1st Round matchup between the #12 and #13 seeds—basically a play-in game—Wake Forest (11-19, 2-16 ACC) and Cat Barber and North Carolina State (15-15, 5-13 ACC). The winner of this game will face Grayson Allen and #5 Duke (22-9, 11-7 ACC) on Wednesday afternoon in the Second Round of play (ESPN, 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT). NCAA basketball odds makers have opened North Carolina State up as 4½- (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) to 5-point favorites (The Greek) favorites over Wake Forest with the Total (Points) for this game opening up at 153½ (Bookmaker). The Money Line (Winner) odds see NC State as -225 favorites with Wake Forest priced at +175 on the takeback (Coral). British bookmaker Ladbrokes has #12-seed NC State currently listed at 100/1 odds to win the ACC Tournament with #13-seed Wake Forest 150/1 odds.


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Previous Meetings This Season, Series Recent Trends, Injuries, Players to Watch, Pick 
When these two teams met in Raleigh on Feb. 13, North Carolina State won 99-88 as Anthony “Cat” Barber had a career-high 38 points (10-20 FG, 19-20 FT) as the Wolfpack rolled and covered the 8-point spread as the game flew Over the posted 151 Total. Hosts NC State (13-15-0 ATS, 17-11-0 O/U) held a 46-44 Halftime lead over the Demon Deacons and then used a 53-44 2nd Half to win the game (and cover the Point Spread). Maverick Rowan had 20 points and Caleb Martin had 18 points off the Bench for Head Coach Mark Gottfried and the Wolfpack who shot 50% (29-58) from the Field in the contest. Wake Forest (12-15-1 ATS, 12-16-0 O/U) and Head Coach Danny Manning were led in scoring by Codi Miller-McIntyre (24 points), Bryant Crawford (16 points) and Devin Thomas (15 points) but for the Demon Deacons to win and pull off the upset here on Tuesday, they’ll have to do better than they did in Raleigh on their 3-Point (8-25, 32%) and FT (18-27, 67%) attempts. In the first meeting between the two schools in Winston-Salem (Jan. 10), Wake Forest earned it first ACC win of the season in a 77-74 victory as Thomas (20 points, 11 rebounds), Mitoglou (15 points) and Crawford (17 points) all had big games for the hosts and found a way to beat the Wolfpack at Home for the 4th consecutive season. Winning this one in DC will be a completely differet story.

In the L10 meetings in this series, NC State is 6-4 ATS (7-3 SU) while the Over is 7-3 in those games. The Over has W5 straight in this series and with the Over 10-2 ATS in the Wolfpack’s L12 overall ATS, looking at the Over in this game, especially in a do-or-die situation following a 99-88 scoreline in the last meeting, is advised. The Wolfpack have fared very well ATS in this series over the last decade or so, with NC State going and impressive 21-8 ATS in the L29 meetings (72.4%)—and that’s probably the best (Side ATS) Trend to apply to these game. Wake Forest has no Injuries reported heading in while North Carolina State G Terry Henderson (Ankle) is Out Indefinitely.
Expect the Bench and Rebounding numbers to be close here and Barber could again end up being the difference for North Carolina State (74.8 AF-73.9 AA), but don’t expect the Wolfpack Guard to get to the Free Throw line 20 times here. Wake Forest (74.1 AF-79.2 AA) will rely heavily on Thomas (15.7 ppg), Miller-McIntyre, All-ACC Freshman Crawford (4.4 apg), the rebounding of Konstantinos Mitoglou and the Bench production, especially Rondale Watson and John Collins and the Demon Deacons can definitely win this game. But Wake Forest (Ken Pomeroy Ranking #128, .5790 Pythagorean Win Percentage) has L3 straight and L14 of 16 SU and will need to try to keep Barber (23.4 ppg, 4.3 apg) in check. Easier typed than done. Besides Barber, North Carolina State (Ken Pomeroy Ranking #87, .7117 Pythagorean Win Percentage) will rely on 6-8, 240-pound sophomore F Abdul Malik-Abu (12.9 ppg, 8.7 rpg) down low and (no Laugh-In) Rowan (12.5 ppg) and Martin (11.5 ppg) for scoring. And that seems to be the big thing here: There will be many scorers on the court. And, both meetings this season went Over, the L5 in the series have gone Over, NC State Overs are 10-2 ATS the L12 and this is an elimination Tournament game and the last ACC one of the season for one of these two teams. So, a fast pace can be expected in the 1st Half and an even faster one in the 2nd Half although it is the first game of the day, of the Tourney and has a Noon (ET) tip-off. In the two ACC meetings this season, there were 52 (combined) points scored in the 1st Half in the first meeting (Winston-Salem) and 90 points in the second meeting (Raleigh), while in the 2nd Half there were 99 points scored in the first meeting and 97 points scored in the second meeting. So, 54 more (combined) points were scored in the 2nd Halves of the two games. Because of the situation and all of the scorers who will be on the court for both sides, backing the Over (153½, Bookmaker) seems like the logical NCAA basketball pick here.

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Predicted Final Score: NC State 84  Wake Forest 81
NCAA Basketball Pick: Over 149½
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline


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ACC Tournament: 1st Round Preview, Game 2—Odds Overview
Florida State vs. Boston College [Tuesday 19:00] (ESPN2, WatchESPN, ACC Network, Directv 209 (US), 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT): Eleventh-seed Florida State (18-12, 8-10 ACC) meets #14-seed Boston College (7-24, 0-18 ACC) in Tuesday’s second game at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC, with the winner of this game facing #6-seed Virginia Tech (18-13, 10-8 ACC) on Wednesday night (ESPN2, Watch ESPN, ACC Network, 9 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT) in the 2nd Round of ACC Tournament play. Oddsmakers have made Florida State big 13-point favorites (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) over Boston College here with the Total (Points) for this game opening up at 136½ (Bookmaker). The Money Line (Winner) odds see Florida State as monster -1,400 favorites with Boston College priced at +800 on the takeback (Betway). British bookmaker Ladbrokes has #14-seed Boston College listed at 250/1 odds to win the ACC Tournament with #11-seed Florida State 66/1 odds.


Previous Meetings This Season, Recent Series Trends, Injuries, Players to Watch, Pick 
When these two teams met earlier this year in Boston (Jan. 16), Florida State won and pushed ATS as 10-point chalks while the Total went Under 139. In the win, the Seminoles were led by Malik Beasley (22 points), Dwayne Bacon (12 points, 14 rebounds), Jarquez Smith (13 points, 9 rebounds) in a game played in front of just 2,074 fans in attendance and a game in which the visitors and winners from the Sunshine State shot just 23-for-59 (39%) from the Field and only 5-for-17 (29.4%) from 3-Point Land. So how did the Seminoles Head Coach Leonard Hamilton win by double digits? Rebounds, rebounds, rebounds. And Boston College being Boston College, of course. FSU went 21-for-25 from the Free Throw line while the Eagles went an embarrassing 2-for-9 (22%) from the charity stripe. Eli Carter led Boston College with 16 points while Jerome Robinson had 15 points in a game in which “only” losing by 10 ended a 6-game ACC Losing Streak of games by 21.8 ppg and all by at least 14 points. The Eagle has landed, but apparently not for Boston College Head Coach Jim Christian and his squad.

In the L10 meetings in this series, the Seminoles are 5-4-1 ATS while the Under is a strong 7-3, winning 2 straight although just barely—by 5 and 2 points. So, two 3’s in one game and a 3 in the other and we’d be looking at 5 straight Overs in this series, showing how Trends and numbers can often be deceiving and often need a deep dive handicap. And showing how Underish this series is, no team has scored more than 74 points in the L10 meetings. The Under is 41-19-2 in the L62 Florida State neutral site games, 8-3 ATS in the L11 meetings in this series, 10-4 ATS in the L14 BC games vs. ACC and 17-6 ATS in the L23 Eagles games overall—and the Eagles are a distinct Under team at 8-18 O/U—while the Over is 7-3 in the L10 Seminoles games overall. Boston College has L18 in a row, and expect the Seminoles to try to basically win this one in the 1st Half, meaning (trying to) get out to a big double-digit lead by Halftime. The score at Halftime in Beantown earlier this year was FSU 37, BC 32.

The Seminoles (77.5 AF-73.3 AA) are 5-2-1 ATS in the L8 meetings and have W4 SU against relatively new ACC member Boston College (61.1 AF-69.9 AA) which once dribbled basketballs in the Big East and a school which has gone a combined 0-26 in the ACC this year in NCAAF and NCAAB. Ooops. Can we go back? The two big things here should be FSU’s Rebounding and Expectations with the Seminoles holding an 18-rebound edge in that meeting in Massachusetts (46-28) and a 16-6 margin on the Offensive glass in that game and not wanting to be the team that falls to winless (0-18) Boston College (9-16-1 ATS) in front of everyone in the Conference Tournament on the big stage. That Fear should propel Florida State (11-14-1 ATS) and with a core of Bacon (15.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg), Malik Beasley (15.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg), Xavier Rathan-Mayes (11.8 ppg), Devon Bookert (9.3 ppg), 22-year-old Slovakian Boris Bojanovsky (6.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and Smith, getting off to that fast start and controlling the Glass should just be a matter of sheer will and a 20-point blowout here by the Seminoles is a distinct possibility.

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Predicted Final Score: Florida State 79  Boston College 60
NCAA Basketball Pick: Florida State -12
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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