Nebraska Joins the Fun and Virginia is No. 1 Among Cats & Rats

Kevin Stott

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 6:40 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018 6:40 PM UTC

Nebraska isn’t shucking around after upsetting Wisconsin on Monday night, but it's Virginia that sits in the top spot on our NCAA Basketball Cats and Rats ATS rankings.

College Basketball: NCAAB Week 13 Top 5 ATS Cats1. Virginia 14-4-0 (Last week: No. 4)

It was another extremely impressive week for second-ranked Virginia (19-1 SU, 14-4-0 ATS), which went 2-0 SU and ATS. They crushed Clemson 61-36 to cover as 9½-point home chalks, then beat Duke 65-63 as 3½-point road underdogs. Virginia played its fifth straight "under" and 13th in its L15. The Cavaliers (No. 2 KenPom.com ranking, up one spot from last week) pretty much put the ACC race on lockdown, improving to 9-0 SU. But above all that for the red-hot Cavaliers is the inside track to a potential No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

The Cavaliers lead the nation in scoring defense (52.1 ppg), 4.1 ppg better than No. 2 Cincinnati (56.2 ppg). Next up for Virginia is a big ACC showdown Wednesday against Louisville at home, followed by Saturday's game at Syracuse.

2. Nebraska 17-6-0 ATS (Last week: Not ranked)

Aw, shucks. Nebraska (17-8 SU, 17-6-0 ATS, +4.7 ppg vs. ATS) joined the Cats party by virtue of being +10 games above .500 in lined games as well as its W4 ATS win streak and profitable 13-1 ATS mark the L14. Last week Nebraska (No. 61 KenPom.com) won SU and ATS twice, beating Rutgers 60-54 as 2½-point road dogs, then clobbering Iowa 98-84 to cover ATS as 4½-point home stalks.

The Huskers were 4-point road underdogs Monday at Wisconsin and proved their worthiness with a 74-63 upset victory. Next up for Nebraska is a Feb. 6 game at Minnesota (14-9 SU, 9-13-0 ATS) in what might be a good spot to back the visitors with your NCAAB picks -- if we can remember to do so by the time it gets here.

3. Montana 14-4-1 (Last week: No. 3)

Montana (16-5 SU, 14-4-1 ATS) just refuses to lose, both SU and ATS, although the Grizzlies did have a funky route to their 2-0 SU and 1-0-1 ATS result last week. All was cool when the non-hibernating Griz (+3.4 ppg vs. ATS) clawed up Southern Utah 71-47 to cover ATS as 17½-point home favorites. Then they escaped with a funky "push" as closing 18-point home chalks (bet down from -21) against Northern Arizona in which saw Montana led 31-24 at halftime, start the second half with a 28-7 surge to go up by 28, then give up the ATS ghost down that oft-meaningless stretch for players but oh-so-meaningful stretch for bettors, with the Lumberjacks scoring with 2 seconds left to prove to us all, once again, that all we are is dust in the wind.

Next on the Big Sky schedule for the Grizzlies (No. 73 Pomeroy, up five) are games at Northern Colorado (14-8 SU, 12-6-1 ATS) on Thursday, and at North Dakota (7-17 SU, 7-11-0 ATS) on Saturday. Montana beat North Dakota 109-79 a few weeks ago.

4. Auburn 14-5-0 ATS (Last week: Not ranked)

Auburn (12-9 SU, 14-5-0 ATS) has sat calmly in the winning ATS waters like a medium-sized shark waiting for the others to finish feeding, and a big fish whose time to eat has come. Last week the Tigers went 2-0 SU/ATS, routing Missouri 91-73 as small 1½-point road underdogs, and beating LSU 95-70 for another resounding win over the ATS as 10½-point home favorites So, is Auburn worth a futures shot at 85/1 (Heritage)? I can think of dumber things to do with $10 or $20.

5. East Tennessee State 13-5-1 (Last week: No. 3)

Another 1-1-0 ATS week (2-0 SU) has dropped former Top Cat East Tennessee State University (19-4 SU, 13-5-1 ATS) another notch. They beat Mercer 84-75 but lost ATS by a half-point, then won SU/ATS at Wofford 75-62 as 4½-point road underdogs.​​​​​ The Buccaneers (No. 57 KenPom.com) won Monday at Citadel 73-71 as 15½- to 16-point favorites for their 13th straight win SU. On Friday, ETSU hosts Samford (7-15 SU, 6-10-0 ATS). Even with back-to-back 1-1 ATS weeks, the Buccaneers are still an impressive 12-3-1 ATS their L16 lined games.

This week's Cats were a combined 71-24-2 ATS (74.7 percent) entering this week's action.

College Basketball: NCAAB Week 13 Top 5 ATS Rats1. Vanderbilt 4-14-0 ATS (Last week: No. 1)

Even with a profitable 2-0 ATS week and three straight covers ATS, Vanderbilt (7-12 SU, 4-14-0 ATS) remains King Rat -- simply because nobody still has a worse ATS record than this lot (4-14-0 ATS) from Dollywood. The Commodores got the money at Tennessee, losing by 5 as 10-point road dogs, then beat TCU straight up as 3-point home underdogs. The Commodores are 4-16-0 ATS in L20 dating to last season.

The Commodores (No. 92 KenPom.com) face tough tests this week, starting Tuesday at Kentucky. Then, Vandy plays Saturday at Auburn in a game probably best left alone, with the number possibly inflated a bit by the Tigers' rise in the polls. Vanderbilt (-4.3 ppg vs. ATS, +1.3 ppg vs. LW) beat Auburn 80-61 in their most recent meeting, but that was more than a year ago.

2. SIU-Edwardsville 5-14-0 ATS (Last week: No. 2)

Ohio Valley Conference member SIU-Edwardsville (7-14 SU, 5-14-0 ATS) popped off an 0-2 SU, 1-1 ATS week, losing 85-57 at Tennessee State as 7½-point underdogs, and 83-72 at Belmont but getting the money as 18½-point road chalks. SIU-Edwardsville hosts Tennessee Chattanooga on Thursday, and Jacksonville State on Saturday. The last time around, both of those matchups went "under" the total and SIU-Edwardsville (No. 326 KenPom.com) lost SU and ATS.

3. UNC-Wilmington 5-13-1 ATS (Last week: Not ranked)

UNC-Wilmington (7-15 SU, 5-13-1 ATS) returns to our Rats rankings after going 0-2 ATS (1-1 SU) last week. They beat James Madison 71-68 but failed to cover as 4½-point home favorites, then lost SU and ATS in a pick ‘em situation at home to William & Mary, 84-81. The Seahawks (-4.7 ppg vs. ATS) have two road games this week, Thursday at Hofstra (13-9 SU, 7-11-0 ATS) and Saturday at Northeastern (14-8 SU, 9-9-0 ATS).

4. Pepperdine 6-14-1 ATS (Last week: Not ranked)

One West Coast Conference school, Pepperdine (4-18 SU, 6-14-1 ATS), replaces another, Santa Clara (8-14 SU, 6-13-1 ATS), on our list after the Waves went 1-1 SU but 0-2 ATS. They won outright as 2-point home favorites vs. Loyola-Marymount, 71-70, but lost ATS by 1 point, then lost SU and ATS (+3) against Santa Clara at home, 73-59. Pepperdine (No. 308 KenPom.com) plays Thursday at Portland (8-15 SU, 10-8-0 ATS), followed by a Saturday home date with Pacific (10-13 SU, 12-9-1 ATS).

5. Fordham 5-12-0 ATS (Last week: No. 4)

Atlantic 10 side Fordham (7-14 SU, 5-12-0 ATS) lost SU and ATS to Rhode Island 78-58 (RI -15), then won SU and ATS against UMass 82-69 (UMASS -2) for a 1-1 SU/ATS week, but not good enough to leave the Rat Motel for the Mouse Hotel or even the Hamster Hostel. The Rams (No. 275 KenPom.com) will test their Rattitude this week with just one game, Saturday at Saint Louis (11-11 SU, 11-8-0 ATS). Last season Fordham (-3.2 ppg vs. ATS) won this matchup 54-40. The Rams are a fade-worthy 15-27-2 ATS since 2016 (35.7 percent).

This week's Rats were 25-66-2 ATS in 93 games (27.5 percent) entering hardwood action Tuesday.

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