We have been in the lab all day and half the night to bring you this week’s Top 5 NCAA Basketball ATS Cats and Rats -- the best and worst teams to back at the betting window. After going 4-1 with picks last week, let’s pick five more.
Eastern Tennessee State University (14-4 SU, 11-2-1 ATS) had another perfect 2-0 SU/ATS week to become Top ATS Cat. The Buccaneers beat NC-Greensboro (12-5 SU, 7-3 ATS) 68-58, covering as 8- to 8½-point home favorites in Southern Conference play. ETSU then hosted VMI (5-10 SU, 3-5 ATS) and raced to a 35-19 halftime lead — an easy first-half pick we recommended last week — in an eventual 89-48 rout.
ETSU (No. 59 Pomeroy ranking, up 2 spots from LW) has gone an extremely profitable and loss-free 10-0-1 ATS L11 and have won eight straight SU. Next up is Thursday's game against Furman (13-5 SU, 8-3-1 ATS), followed by Saturday's game against Western Carolina (9-7 SU, 6-5 ATS). ETSU (8-1 SU/ATS at home) seems to have March Madness and a Big Dance spot in mind with at 5-0 conference mark.2. Portland State 12-3-0 ATS (Last week: No. 2)
Big Sky Conference school Portland State (12-6 SU, 12-3-0 ATS) went 1-1 SU/ATS last week, easily covering ATS as 9-point home underdogs against Montana State, 93-74, then losing SU and ATS to upstart Montana, 92-89 at 1-point home dogs.
Next up are two Big Sky Road dates: Thursday at Idaho State (8-8 SU, 7-5 ATS) in a matchup Portland State failed to cover as 8-point home favorites last season, then at Weber State (10-7 SU, 6-6 ATS, 3-2 SU in Big Sky) Saturday for a matchup Portland State (No. 124 Pomeroy) covered ATS by a half-point in an OT loss.3. South Alabama 11-3-0 ATS (Last week: No. 3)
South Alabama (9-9 SU, 11-3-0 ATS) stay put at No. 3 despite losing SU and ATS to Troy 79-64 as small 2-point home underdogs. The Jaguars also won 99-34 in a non-lined game against Division II Trinity Baptist.
South Alabama (No. 215 Pomeroy, down 4) plays two Sun Belt Conference home games this week, against Coastal Carolina (7-12 SU, 5-8 ATS) on Thursday and against Appalachian State (8-11 SU, 8-7-1 ATS) on Saturday. In both cases their most recent meetings went over the total; the Jaguars have played six overs and three unders in their past nine games.4. Montana 12-4-0 (Last week: Not ranked)
Montana (13-5 SU, 12-4-0 ATS), another Big Sky member, definitely demands a spot on our list after the Grizzlies increased their ATS win streak to 11 games in conference play last week, winning and covering ATS at Sacramento State (5-13 SU, 8-7-1 ATS) 78-66 and then at Portland State 92-89. Upstart Montana (No. 92 Pomeroy) has played four consecutive overs and has nine overs in their L11 overall.
Montana (+3.2 ppg vs. ATS) plays Montana State (11-8 SU, 7-10-0 ATS) on Thursday in a matchup Montana failed to cover in the last meeting, losing 78-69 as small 1½-point road underdogs, followed by Saturday's game against former Top ATS Cat Southern Utah (7-9 SU, 8-6 ATS) in what looks like a nice spot to back the hosts, with Montana already humbling the Thunderbirds 79-49 on Dec. 30 to cover ATS as 7½-point road underdogs.5. Auburn 11-4-0 (Last week: Not ranked)
Auburn (16-1 SU, 11-4-0 ATS) went 2-0 SU/ATS against Mississippi and Mississippi State last week, beating the Rebels 85-70 and covering ATS as 12-point home favorites, then toppling the Bulldogs 76-68 as 3-point road favorites to up their ATS win streak to four. Auburn, which has played three straight unders after four consecutive overs, is priced at a high of 175/1 (5Dimes) to win the 2018 NCAA championship.
Auburn (No. 19 Pomeroy), a sparkling 10-0 SU at home (7-2 ATS), plays Wednesday at Alabama (11-6 SU, 8-7-1 ATS), a Southeastern Conference matchup the Tigers won (82-77) and covered ATS in their last meeting. Auburn then has a home game against Georgia (11-5 SU, 7-6 ATS) on Saturday.
This week's Top 5 ATS Cats were 57-16-1 ATS (78.1 percent) heading into Tuesday's action.
Top 5 College Basketball ATS Rats1. Vanderbilt 1-12-1 ATS (Last week: No. 2)
Vanderbilt (6-11 SU, 1-12-1 ATS) becomes our new King ATS Rat after a money-burning 0-2 SU and ATS week, losing tough Southeastern Conference games to Tennessee and Kentucky.
Next up for the Commodores (-5.7 ppg vs. ATS), is Tuesday's game at Mississippi State. Sportsbooks have the Bulldogs lined as 4½-point home chalks with the total at 139 (Bookmaker). With the Commodores a pathetic 1-14-1 ATS their L16 overall and 2-10-3 ATS the L15 meetings against Mississippi State, saddling up the trend and riding it for a low to moderate amount seems prudent.2. Santa Clara 3-13-0 ATS (Last week: No. 3)
Santa Clara (6-12 SU, 3-13-0 ATS) moves up (or down depending how you look at it) a notch after the Broncos lost two West Coast Conference home games SU and ATS. They got trounced by St. Mary’s 81-57 as 14-point home underdogs, then were trampled by BYU 84-50 as 8-point home underdogs.
The next dose or possible pain for Santa Clara (No. 291 Pomeroy, down 20 spots) is Thursday's date at San Francisco (10-9 SU, 6-9 ATS) followed by Saturday's home game against perennial WCC powerhouse Gonzaga (16-3 SU, 9-7 ATS). The latter is a great spot to roll with the Zags — as well as in the first-half market — who trounced the Broncos a few weeks ago 101-52, failing to double up Santa Clara (-9.1 ppg vs. ATS) but easily covering ATS (+25) as 24-point home chalks.3. UNC-Wilmington 3-11-1 ATS (Last week: No. 1)
Devontae Cacok (17.5 ppg, 12.9 rpg) and Colonial Athletic Association Conference members UNC-Wilmington (5-13 SU, 3-11-1 ATS) won two games ATS last week to reward its backers at the betting windows. The Seahawks (-6.7 ppg vs. ATS, +2.0 ppg from last week) won outright as 8-point road underdogs at Elon, 80-78 in OT, then lost SU but barely covering (by ½) ATS as 4½-point home underdogs to Northeastern, 81-77 in overtime.
On Thursday, UNC-Wilmington (No. 280 Pomeroy) plays at College of Charleston (12-6 SU, 7-8-0 ATS) followed by Saturday's home game against Towson (13-6 SU, 8-6-0 ATS) in a rematch of a Jan. 5 meeting won by the Tigers 89-71. Saturday's game might be a good spot to fade the Seahawks.4. Cal-State Northridge 3-10-1 ATS (Last week: Not ranked)
Big West Conference school Cal-State Northridge (3-14 SU, 3-10-1 ATS) checks into The Rat Motel after going 1-1 SU/ATS last week, winning and covering at Cal Riverside and then losing outright and ATS to Cal Poly SLO in two games that finished under the closing totals. Cal-State Northridge (No. 340 Pomeroy) plays Wednesday at UC Riverside, then Saturday at homs against Cal Poly SLO.
The Matadors are 1-10-1 ATS in their past 12 lined games and 2-14 SU in their last 16, with their only SU wins coming against little Morgan State and San Diego Christian. Cal-State Northridge (-5.8 ppg vs. ATS) is a team to seek out (and fade) in the right spots on the NCAAB odds board; the Matadors are a fade-worthy 24-43-1 ATS (35.8 percent) since 2015.5. Fordham 3-10-0 ATS (Last week: Not ranked)
Fordham (6-11 SU, 3-10-0 ATS) lost twice SU and ATS last week, and that was enough to go from 3-8-0 ATS to 3-10-0 ATS and a dismal -7 in the ATS W/L column. The beneficiaries? St. Bonaventure, who jammed the Rams 77-61, and Davidson (9-7 SU, 7-8 ATS), who did an absolute rain dance on Fordham’s head in a squishing.
NCAAB Fade The Rats Tuesday Pick: Mississippi State -4½ -105 over Vanderbilt (Heritage)
NCAAB Feed The Cats Thursday Pick: Montana over Montana State
NCAAB Feed The Cats Saturday Picks: Montana over SUU; Gonzaga 1H over Santa Clara; Gonzaga over Santa Clara