Forget all those other year-end lists. They won’t help you beat the NCAAB betting lines. Try this list of the most fadeworthy teams in college basketball instead.
Please forgive the Grinchitude, but to be perfectly frank, I don’t give a rat’s patootie about year-end lists. I really used to enjoy looking back at the year that was in news and entertainment, but then again, I also really used to enjoy news and entertainment. Then two things happened. One, I got old and cranky. Two, soulless bean counters took over our popular culture and decided that hoodwinking meatheads and 15-year-old girls was the profitable thing to do.
Let them eat cake. If there’s anything (besides my baby) that makes my heart grow three sizes these days, it’s the Internet. I can pay attention to whatever I want, in larger and larger amounts. I’ve never heard one single note of a Justin Bieber song, but I know Ken Pomeroy like a brother. So let’s get on with it: Here are my Top 5 overvalued teams against the college basketball lines. Happy Holidays to you and yours.
1. Pittsburgh Panthers (11-1 SU, 3-7 ATS)
There are three things I’m looking for in this list: Lots of SU wins, lots of ATS losses, and a program big enough to bring in plenty of college hoops action. Pittsburgh nails the triple. Sitting just outside of the national rankings, the Panthers are actually No. 9 on Pomeroy’s efficiency-based rankings, so you could make the argument that they’re undervalued. But the NCAAB lines are coating them in chalk; Pittsburgh has dropped the cash in six straight games, five of them as a double-digit favorite.
2. Saint Louis Billikens (11-2 SU, 3-7 ATS)
The Atlantic-10 is practically unrecognizable now that Xavier is gone. It’s entirely possible Saint Louis will win the conference again this year will all those senior starters returning; Pomeroy has them at No. 25 in overall efficiency, three spots behind UMass and eight ahead of the preseason A-10 favorites from VCU. However, the Billikens are 1-5 ATS in their last six games. If you sold high on Saint Louis, you’re looking pretty good so far for your college basketball picks.
3. Providence Friars (10-2 SU, 4-7 ATS)
Nobody can complain about the Big East being bloated anymore. Providence is still here after spending most of the new millennium near the bottom of the conference; the Friars have some upward mobility after reaching the NIT quarterfinals last year, but they failed to beat the NCAAB odds in each of their last five games. Pomeroy has the Friars at No. 71 in overall efficiency, which is only good enough for eighth in the Big East. Too bad Ricky Ledo (now in the D-League) was ruled academically ineligible.
4. Purdue Boilermakers (9-3 SU, 3-6 ATS)
Oh dear. The Boilermakers developed a solid reputation as a defensive juggernaut during the late Aughts, fuelled by the Big Three of E’Twaun Moore, JuJuan Johnson and Robbie Hummel. But those days are long gone. Purdue fell below .500 in the Big Ten last year, and there doesn’t seem to be enough talent in the cupboard to get over the hump in 2014. Beating up on non-con cupcakes just makes the Boilers look better than they are; Pomeroy has them pegged at No. 88 in overall efficiency, playing against the No. 322-ranked strength of schedule in Division I.
5. Boise State Broncos (8-2 SU, 1-4 ATS)
You may have seen the Broncos in action on the Worldwide Leader a couple of weeks ago when they lost 70-55 to Kentucky (–11 at home). They’re going after back-to-back invitations to the Big Dance, and they’re scoring 86.4 points per game, which ranks No. 10 in the nation. But Boise State’s defense (No. 130 in efficiency) leaves a lot to be desired, and the Broncos were on a 0-4 ATS mini-slump going into their very long road trip to Hawai’i. Watch out for those $1 Mai Tais.