Bet Oregon To Cover ATS With Your NCAA Basketball Picks vs. Saint Joseph's

Jason Lake

Saturday, March 19, 2016 10:45 PM UTC

Saturday, Mar. 19, 2016 10:45 PM UTC

If the No. 1 Oregon Ducks keep playing like this, they'll win the whole Tournament. But can they beat the NCAA Basketball odds Sunday night versus the No. 8 Saints Joseph's Hawks?

Jason's 2015-16 record as of Mar. 18: 23-13 ATS, 1-4 Totals

Yea, verily, the No. 1 Oregon Ducks did smite No. 16 Holy Cross in the opening round of March Madness. And the chalkeaters did feast off the land, with Oregon prevailing 91-52 as a 22.5-point favorite. Gotta admit, if those NCAA Tournament odds had been available when we picked the Ducks, we may have gone in the other direction. Just as well, because that was an ass-kicking of biblical proportions.

We're also quite content with our decision to take the No. 8 Saint Joseph's Hawks (+3.5 on the closing line) in their first-round matchup against the No. 9 Cincinnati Bearcats. Final score: St. Joe's 78, Cincinnati 76. Now we move on to Sunday's second-round tilt (9:40 p.m. ET, TBS) between the Hawks and Ducks. Which of these fine feathered creatures belongs in our NCAA Tournament picks? Really, please tell us. My gut feeling is that it's a toss-up with Oregon laying 6.5 points at press time.


The Conference of Champions
Good thing we have some statheads who have nothing better to do than solve the world's basketball problems:

FiveThirtyEight (Elo): Oregon –8.5 to –9
Sports-Reference (SRS): Oregon –6.33

Well, Sports-Reference seems to agree with us. Which is a bit strange; we've grown accustomed to seeing them lean heavily toward the chalk. But they've got Oregon (29-6 SU, 20-12 ATS) ranked No. 18 overall in Division I according to Simple Rating System. Ken Pomeroy has the Ducks at No. 9 overall (No. 7 offense, No. 49 defense), as does Nate Silver's crew at FiveThirtyEight.

One thing that's not strange: The betting value is with the favorites in this round. St. Joe's (28-7 SU, 23-10-1 ATS) did a fine job against the Bearcats, an at-large team from the not-so-major American Athletic Conference. The Ducks were the Pac-12 champions this year. They've won nine straight games at 6-3 ATS. Nobody had to play more than 26 minutes in that win over Holy Cross. Freshness counts, even in college.


Glass Joe
This isn't a very good matchup for the Hawks on paper, either. They rank No. 7 in the nation in defensive rebounding by volume, but they don't clean windows at the offensive end (No. 150), nor do they steal (No. 179). If they did, maybe they'd generate the extra possessions they need against the Ducks, who don't grab very many defensive boards (No. 107).

I'm having some trouble digging up the consensus numbers for Sunday's NCAA Tournament game, but a tour of the Interwebs suggests the Ducks are getting most of the action from early bettors. Consider it a sign from above. We'll put Oregon in our second-round picks to wrap up the West Region, and we'll see you in the Sweet Sixteen.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Oregon –6.5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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