Top 5 College Basketball ATS Cats & Rats: Two Big Sky Teams Off to Combined 17-0 Start

Arizona State Sun Devils NCAAB

Kevin Stott

Tuesday, December 19, 2017 4:05 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017 4:05 PM UTC

Let’s see who else makes the Cats cut and the Rats cut in weekly Tuesday morning NCAA Basketball ATS rankings and offer up a Tuesday night picks for our avid and brainy basketball readership.

1—Portland State 9-0-0 ATS (Last Week: #1)

Big Sky side Portland State remains our top-ranked NCAA Basketball moneymaker at the betting windows at sportsbooks after playing two games in the last week and covering its only lined one against Pac-12 heavyweights Oregon at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene last Wednesday night, 95-84 in a game which saw the Ducks close as 13½-point Favorites. The Vikings (8-0 ATS on Road) also did a rain dance on Division III school Linford’s heads, winning 116-71 in a non-lined game at Home at the Stott Center against the private, Liberal Arts college in Portland as Deontae North had 27 points as the Vikings turned 27 Wildcats TO’s into 33 points in the easy victory.

Next up on the NCAA Basketball schedule this week for for Bryce Canda two more Road games and dates with the Pac-12’s Cal on Thursday night and a its first game in Big Sky Conference play on Saturday at Sacramento State (2-8 SU, 5-3 ATS).

In Regular Season Big Sky Conference play in 2016/17, the Hornets went 2-0 ATS against Portland State, winning 80-77 in OT in this spot at Home in Sactown, as 1½-point Favorites (155) and losing by 76 at the Stott Center on Jan. 7, 2017, 83-67, but covering ATS by a bucket as 9-point Road Underdogs. A deeper handicapping dive reveals that Sacramento State has covered 4 straight games vs. Portland State, winning 70-60 and ousting the Vikings from the Big Sky Conference Tournament two seasons ago (SAC ST -3½) and winning outright, 73-60 as 2½-point Road Underdogs at the Stott Center on Feb. 28, 2015. Logic says the time has come for Portland State to clean Sacramento State’s teeth in that Big Sky Conference Home opener this coming weekend.

2—Southern Utah 8-0-0 ATS (Last Week: #2)

Another unbeaten against the Point Spread Big Sky member, Southern Utah, only played one time last week and were facing fellow ATS Cat, Central Michigan, in a game from the Centrum Arena in Cedar City on Saturday which saw the Chippewas go in as 2½-point Road Favorites only to see the host Thunderbirds win the game outright, 86-80. On Tuesday, Southern Utah will travel to Iowa City to play Big Ten side Iowa in a game which currently sees the Hawkeyes as big 18½-point Home Favorites on Tuesday night and a game that can be seen on the Big Ten Network.

With Jadon Cohee, Jamal Aytes, James McGee, Ivan Madunic and the Thunderbirds having done so well so far ATS for 2nd-year Head Coach Todd Simon, the lean would be to taking the 18½ points in such a meaningless game until one sees Southern Utah ranks 247th in Rebounding and a paltry 119th in 3-Point Shooting. That will be the first meeting between Iowa and Southern Utah, with the Thunderbirds Schedule showing they are then off until a Home Big Sky Conference game against Montana State on Wednesday, Dec. 28.

3—Arizona State 9-1-0 ATS (Last Week: Not ranked)

Last week’s #3-, #4- and #5-ranked teams all went from being unbeaten ATS to incurring their first ATS Loss, so this spot will go the best team with just one ATS Loss and the most ATS Wins. And that school at this point in Time is... Arizona State, a team which unlike Portland State, has won the vast majority of its betting money at Home in the friendly confines of the Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe. Last week, 3rd-year Head Coach Bobby Hurley and the Sun Devils defeated Vanderbilt at Home in the Valley of The Sun, 76-64, barely covering ATS as 11½-point Favorites (155½) on Sunday, so the Sun Devils presence on this rankings has all come down to 1 little point they got. Life’s all about the smallest things. Just ask the NFL's Steelers or Raiders.

Next up on the hardwood slate for the Sun Devils, two more Home games and first-time meetings with Big Southside Longwood on Tuesday and Pacific on Friday in suburban Phoenix. Offshore sportsbooks opened the now #5-ranked Sun Devils as massive 39-point Home chalks, with the Wiseguys fading ASU at open and moving the Point Spread down to 37½.

4—South Alabama 7-1-0 ATS (Last Week: Not ranked)

Sun Belt Conference members South Alabama (6-5 SU, 7-1-0 ATS) slide onto our list and the #4 spot after the Jaguars covered ATS at Home this past Saturday at the Mitchell Center in Mobile, Alabama against Eastern Illinois, winning 63-52 (EIU -1, 131½). The Jaguars lone ATS Loss to date came at Florida International where South Alabama were 2-point Road Favorites and got crunched outright, 87-58 by FIU (128½) in a game which ended up being only off 31 points compared to the closing Point Spread.

The next test for South Alabama, a Non-Conference date against Tulane (7-3 SU, 3-3 ATS) in New Orleans on Thursday night followed by eight days off for the Holidays before the Jaguars resume play with their first Sun Belt Conference game of the Regular Season at Home in Mobile against a tough Georgia Southern (7-4 SU, 5-2 ATS) team.

5—Central Michigan 6-1-0 ATS (Last Week: #5)

Mid-American Conference side Central Michigan stay in the Top 5 by virtue of losing to a Cat (Southern Utah) which hadn’t (and still hasn’t) lost ATS in Southern Utah, as the Chippewas went in as 2½-point Road Favorites and saw the Big Sky’s Thunderbirds win the game outright, 86-80 (156½) from the Centrum Arena up the road in Cedar City on Saturday. Next up on the schedule for Central Michigan, a date at UMKC on Tuesday night followed by a Friday night game vs. SIU-Edwardsville at Home at McGuirk Arena in Mount Pleasant, Michigan on Friday night. Great Alaska and Central Michigan (+7.7 ppg vs ATS) will close out the 2017 calendar year with a Home game against mighty Lawrence Tech on Friday, Dec. 29 —the NAIA’s version of the Blue Devils who are located in the Detroit suburb of Southfield.

1—Vanderbilt 0-9-0 ATS (Last Week: #1)

It will indeed be lumps of Black and Gold coal in the Christmas stockings for Head Coach Bryce Drew and Vanderbilt, after the Commodores failed to cover ATS by ½ point after a 76-64 loss as 11½-point Road Underdogs at Arizona State on Sunday, dropping Jeff Roberson (13.5 ppg) and Vandy to a sad 0-9 ATS to start the season. Next up for Vanderbilt, a couple of Christmas cookies in Houston Baptist (Wednesday) and Alcorn State (Friday)—before brutal Southeastern Conference play tips off with games at Florida (Dec. 30) and vs. Alabama (Jan. 2) in two dates that the now-slumping Commodores (0-5 ATS at Home) covered ATS last season.

2—UNC Wilmington 0-6-1 ATS (Last week: Not ranked)

Colonial Athletic Conference member UNC Wilmington (2-7 SU, 0-6-0-ATS) checks into The Rat Hotel and Room #2 this week after 1st-year Head Coach CB McGrath and the Seahawks fell to Furman at Home at Trask Coliseum in Wilmington—the original home of this chap who ironed his socks named Michael Jeffrey Jordan—by a 90-84 score in a betting result on Sunday which saw the hosts lose as 2½-point Home Dogs to fall to 0-4-1 ATS at Home.

UNCW (#210 Pomeroy Rating) will next face North Dakota State University on Thursday on a Neutral Site in the Sun Bowl Invitational at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas in unison with the border city’s annual College Bowl game, the Sun Bowl, this year between NC State and Arizona State on Friday, Dec. 29 at the aptly named Sun Bowl before taking a Holiday week off and then returning to the hardwood on Dec. 28 to host SoCon side UNC Greensboro for the first time in what could be an important game psychologically for the Seahawks (-7.8 ppg vs ATS).

3—Samford 1-6-0 ATS (Last Week: Not ranked)

Welcome to Ratville, Samford. We hope you stay is long. Have some Swiss cheese my friend, some Sharp Cheddar if you fancy or both if you’re greedy. But alas, guilt has already consumed my Soul this Holiday season, knowing that the poor Bulldogs haven’t even played a lined Home game yet. But with an ugly -11.4 ppg ATS average against the Point Spreads in their lined games, these dogs deserve it. Woof you. Let them win their way off like the rest of us slugs. And as I type like a caffeinated balding Elf desperately making toys for Santa, Samford is making a poor school named Asbury into a mincemeat pie (75-48 2H, 11:02), so this ruthless disabling of the Eagles is making my guilt dissipate (Final: SAM 99 ASB 70). I read the news today oh boy.

This Southern Conference school Samford (3-8 SU, 1-6-0 ATS) makes our cut by winning just once ATS and losing 6 times and the Bulldogs will be at Atlantic Sun Conference members Kennesaw State to play the Fighting Owls on Thursday, will then take a welcome 9-day break for the Holidays before resuming play with the start of the SoCon slate, hosting Chattanooga at Home on Dec. 30.

4—Illinois-Chicago 1-6-0 ATS (Last Week: #2)

Horizon League side Illinois-Chicago moves down by virtue of its first ATS win of the 2017/18 NCAA Basketball Regular Season, a 76-60 win over Ivy League school Dartmouth in the Windy City this past Saturday evening in a game which saw Dikembe Dixson and the host Flames UIC go in a solid 6-point Home Favorites at The Pavilion (143½). Next up on the schedule for Tai Odiase, Godwin Boahen (2.8 apg), Tarkus Ferguson, 3rd-year Head Coach Steve McClain and the Flames, a Tuesday date (tonight) against MVC school Illinois State at Normal in a game which sees Offshore sportsbooks primarily posting 10 with the Total at 144½.

The last time these two Land of Lincoln colleges played, Illinois-Chicago, the Redbirds doused the host Flames in Chicago, 72-60 on Dec. 16, 2015, covering ATS as 8½-point Road Underdogs (148) in a game in which Illinois State—who outscored UIC 44-29 in the 2nd Half—was never really covering until it really matters for us sports bettors—in the very end. The Redbirds should roll.

5—Charlotte 1-6-0 ATS (Last week: #4)

Conference USA side UNC Charlotte drops a notch to the #5 spot of our weekly ATS rankings after the 49ers won against East Carolina on Monday night as 3-point Road Underdogs to improve to 1-4 ATS on the Road. Charlotte found themselves down 31-26 at Halftime to the American Conference school, but the 49ers rallied with a huge 27-6 spurt out of the locker room to start the 2nd Half to take a 53-37 lead over the Pirates with 8:58 left to go in the game. UNCC eventually cruised to a 69-50 victory, winning its first game ATS to improve to 1-6-0 ATS in its lined games and to 4-6 SU in what could end up being an very important 30 minutes of basketball mentally in the long run for Charlotte.

Next up on the schedule for the 49ers, a game at AAC member South Florida on Thursday (Dec. 21) evening. South Florida won and covered ATS the last meeting against the 49ers, rolling 85-73 on Nov. 17, 2016. Even after Monday night’s ATS Win, the 49ers are still a money-burning 12-22-1 ATS their L35 lined games (34.3%).

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Free NCAAB Pick: Illinois State -9½ over Illinois-ChicagoBest Line Offered: at BetOnline
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