Taking a look at Sunday's slate of NCAA Basketball games, I see some major opportunity with some really appealing games in which I disagree with the odds makers. Let's expose these games and provide the public with the betting edge in the process.
Early Game Alert
On a Sunday, you're going to run into some early games with appeal and although I try to extend the print time, I just can't pass this game up.
#15 Butler (8-1) vs. Tennessee (3-3)
Butler is Always Underestimated and Overlooked. This usually comes around tournament time as Butler was given the respect this season as a top 25 basketball team, but just the same, odds makers have made them a mere 1 point betting favorite in this game and although Tennessee has lost to against top 25 competition, they have another top 25 team staring them in the face in the form of the Butler Bulldogs and 1 point simply won't cut it.
Let's remember folks, this is a Butler team that has beaten North Carolina earlier in the season. The Bulldogs are led by the offense of Kellen Dunham ( 16.3 ppg., 47.7% from 3-point range) and the multi-talented wide body of forward Roosevelt Jones.
Although Jones isn't known to be a pure shooter, he's coming off of a strong effort in a 93-51 blowout of Kennesaw State. In this game, Jones had his best game of the season, shooting 7 of 10 from the field for 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. Look for Jones' physical style of play to take it's toll on Tennessee.
One other key to the game for Butler will be their outside shooting. This is a team that's not known for specializing in 3-point shooting, but Kellen Dunham has been quite efficient from the outside, converting on 47.7% of his 3-point attempts.
Tennessee will need to work as a cohesive unit as this is a team that averages less than 10 assists per game and hasn't scored more than 70 points in a game this season. The Vols rely heavily on their leading scorer, Josh Richardson. Richardson is coming off of a very solid effort in a win over Kansas State. A major concern for the Vols is if this game is close, Richardson is the only viable option at the free throw line.
I expect him to have a very big game on a poor offensive team in a game that should be close. That said, Butler is the far superior and more well-rounded team. The NCAA basketball odds are a gift.
NCAA Basketball Pick- Butler -1 at 5 Dimes
UNC-Wilmington (3-2) vs. #4 Louisville (8-0)
Billy Minardi Classic
Head coach, Rick Pitino, has to be licking his chops at the thought of facing the Seahawks as the Cardinals are a massive 28.5 point betting favorite in this lopsided matchup.
The only thing that concerns me in a matchup like this is that UNC-Wilmington is coming off of a 105-47 victory over the St. Andrew's Knights. Although the Knights aren't a fraction of the team that Lousiville is, any team would gain confidence defeating their opponent by 58 points. Add in the fact that the Seahawks are averaging 80.8 points per game and shooting 52.3% from the field and the 28.5 point betting spread might not look as appealing as it originally did.
The difference in this game could be the board protection. While rebounding is one of the Seahawks weaknesses, it's one of the Cardinals strengths. Obviously, level of opponent is a major factor and Lousiville already possesses victories over Ohio State and Indiana.
Look for Louisville leading scorer, Montrezl Harrell, to have a huge game here. He's a wide-bodied player that's a major force on the board and is coming off of a huge effort against Indiana in which he had 21 points and 11 rebounds on 10 of 13 shooting from the field. Louisville, just like UNC-Wilmington, is also known for their ability to score points with the likes of Terry Rozier and Chris Jones.
Louisville is the play. The only concern is garbage time because I feel that the Seahawks will be competitive for part of the game, led by the sharp-shooting of Freddie Jackson. Jackson is coming off of a 14 for 16 effort against St. Andrews for 33 points.
I'm going to look for the backdoor cover and place my NCAA basketball pick on the Seahawks.
NCAA Basketball Pick- UNC-Wilmington +28.5 at 5Dimes