Let's Get Emotional In Our Money Line Parlay!

Saturday, March 3, 2018 3:24 PM UTC

Saturday, Mar. 3, 2018 3:24 PM UTC

Emotions are running high with tournament time looming and they create some profitable betting situations. Let's take advantage with a parlay. Syracuse, K-State and Oregon are more than reasonable selections.

Free NCAAB Pick: Parlay Syracuse, K-State and Oregon ML
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

Syracuse (18-12 SU, 12-16 ATS) hosts No. 18 Clemson (22-7 SU, 15-11 ATS) at 2 ET. The Orange are favored by less than a basket.

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Syracuse must seem like an awful betting choice after losing three straight games. But the books make a lot of their money because bettors tend to assume continuity without asking themselves whether the reasons that created that continuity (in Cuse's case, a losing streak) are still relevant. The first loss came against a top-ranked UNC team. The Orange showed amazing guts in front of the Orange faithful by coming back in order take the game down to the wire and cover. But the Orange were quite gutless in their last two games, both on the road. Against Boston College, they were often standing around on offense, expecting somebody else to make a play, and repeatedly committing careless turnovers.

Expect the same kind of urgency that was evident in Cuse vs North Carolina at home in front of an electric crowd that, on just an average day, creates the 49th-best home court advantage according to KenPom. This is Cuse's last home game of the season. More importantly, Syracuse is a bubble team and badly needs to win against a ranked opponent.

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Let's finish the @Cuse_MBB regular season strong #OrangeNation and make it the nation's biggest crowd of the year!

🎟️ https://t.co/MoH4gZFjI1 pic.twitter.com/Z7uP94v2WO

— Syracuse Athletics (@Cuse) March 3, 2018

But just because a team needs a win more urgently doesn't make it an automatic bet. Oddsmakers seem to think that something else suggests a Syracuse win today because, despite KenPom having Syracuse lose by 1, they opened the Orange as 1.5 point favorites, possibly begging for Clemson money.

That "something else" is Syracuse's match-up advantage. The Tigers have the ACC's fifth-highest proportion of three-point attempts and the third-highest point distribution from three. Three-point shooting teams tend to struggle in the Carrier Dome which has a uniquely difficult structure that messes with the opposing shooter's perception of the basket. The most notorious example of this is when Duke shot 10-for-33 last year in an upset in the Dome. This season, when Virginia Tech was the top three-point shooting team, they lost by double digits at Cuse. Likewise, Cuse beat Boston College, which attempts the second-highest proportion of threes, by 18 at home, and Wake Forest, the ACC's fourth-best three-point shooting team by efficiency, by 8 at home.

Clemson won't succeed inside, either. The Tigers rank outside ACC's top ten in two-point and blocks allowed percentage and half-court offense and will struggle against Cuse's variety of solid rim defenders, two of which (forward Marek Dolezaj and center Paschal Chukwu) rank in the top 300 in block percentage, and contribute to Cuse ranking first in block percentage and fourth in two-point percentage allowed.

Kansas State (20-10 SU, 12-15 ATS) hosts Baylor (12-12 SU, 16-9 ATS) today at 2 ET. The Wildcats are small favorites.

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Baylor was on the outside of the bubble looking in before achieving a crucial blowout win vs Oklahoma in its final home game on Tuesday. In order to upset K-State, the Bears will have to avoid a let-down in order to do something that they haven't done well anyways, beat a good team on the road. They are 1-7 SU on the road against teams in KenPom's top 50. The Wildcats need a big win today and their fans will provide an extra difficult environment.

The teams that have won at K-State share a crucial aspect in common: strong half-court defense. Texas Tech and Kansas have the best and second-best half-court defenses, respectively. The other team that won at K-State is West Virginia which, with its high-pressure defense, tends to prevent the opposing offense from setting up its half-court offense in the first place. Baylor's half-court defense ranks tenth in the Big 12. Its poor half-court defense is a major reason K-State scored a historic 90 points at Baylor and a major reason why the Bears match-up poorly against K-State.

K-State half-court offense ranks sixth in the competitive Big 12 because of the variety of its playmakers. Not only does it have two reliable guards in Kamau Stokes, who ranks 130th in assist rate, and Barry Brown, who ranks 411th in the category. But they also have bigs who can distribute the ball in order to create plays. Dean Wade ranks 470th in assist rate. Wade is even more significant as a scorer and is second on the team with 16.4 points per game. He ranks in the top 300 in both two-point and three-point shooting percentage. Turnovers will provide another big venue for K-State’s scoring. The Wildcats are the Big 12’s highest-ranked team in forcing turnovers, while Baylor ranks tenth in turnover percentage allowed. Turnovers will also be important to prevent Baylor from establishing the rhythm on offense that K-State’s half-court offense will achieve.

K-State has won and covered its last three against Baylor and will make it four today.

Washington (20-10 SU, 14-14-1 ATS) hosts Oregon (19-11 SU, 15-14 ATS) today at 4:30 ET to conclude our parlay. The Ducks opened as 2.5 point road favorites despite KenPom having them lose by one. Let’s not fall into the trap.

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The Ducks tend to bring it against tournament-caliber teams. They suffered a let-down at Wazzou after beating both Arizonas at home. But their road resume includes a win at Arizona State and covers at Arizona and USC. They lost the cover at UCLA in overtime. Expect a Ducks squad that is highly motivated to bounce back today against a team which they know they can beat.

If the Huskies’ defense fails to be disruptive and cause turnovers, it’s in trouble because their half-court defense ranks tenth. Oregon is well-constructed to pick apart UW’s zone defense, ranking in the top five in percentage of turnovers allowed, two-point percentage and half-court offense. They displayed this ability when the teams met on Feb. 8, a 65-40 Oregon win and cover, where the Ducks committed only eleven turnovers and converted over half of their two-pointers.

The new-look Ducks have been improving throughout conference play. Their half-court offense is led by Payton Pritchard, who ranks 174th in assist rate and 6th in the conference in the category. Forward Troy Brown and center Paul White rank 11th and 14th, respectively, in the Pac 12 in two-point percentage. Power forward MiKyle McIntosh was quiet at Wazzou but tends to be loud in big games. He averaged 20 points in the four-game stretch against USC, UCLA and the Arizonas with a KenPom offensive rating of over 110 in three of them.

While the Ducks have the weapons to exploit UW’s defense, UW’s offense can’t say the same. The Ducks’ weakness on defense is in guarding the perimeter, where it allows the fourth-highest distribution of points. But UW ranks 10th in three-point shooting percentage and lacks a starter who converts even 37% of his threes.

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