Portland State finally got an ATS loss in Week 8, while Vanderbilt finally won one for its backers at the betting windows. Let's look at our latest Top 5 Cats and Rats ATS rankings and offer up a pick for Tuesday as 2018 comes in like a lamb.
Despite losing its first game to the betting number in Week 8, Portland State (10-4 SU, 10-1 ATS) stays on top by virtue of its +8.1 ppg average compared to the point spread. Portland State’s time atop our list might be coming to an end with Big Sky Conference play underway and the Vikings (No. 143 Pomeroy ranking, down seven spots from last week) having lost Saturday at Sacramento State, 80-75 as 8½-point road dogs.
Next up for the Vikings (9-1 ATS on road) are two tough Big Sky road dates, at Eastern Washington (6-9 SU, 6-6 ATS) on Thursday and at Idaho (10-5 SU, 6-5 ATS) on Saturday. Portland State is averaging a healthy 92.3 ppg (No. 3 scoring offense in D-I behind Oklahoma and Duke). The Vikings lost SU and ATS to Eastern Washington (130-124) and Idaho (89-72) in their previous meetings last season in games that went over the posted totals.2. South Alabama 10-1-0 ATS (Last week: No. 3)
South Alabama (8-6 SU, 10-1-0 ATS) moved up a spot again after a 2-0 week SU and ATS. South Alabama beat Georgia State as 5½-point home underdogs, followed by another upset against Georgia Southern as 7-point home underdogs. Anyone backing South Alabama on the Moneyline on those two Sun Belt Conference endeavors seems like a genius, as the Jaguars continue to play above the oddsmakers' numbers (+5.9 ppg vs ATS).
South Alabama (No. 213 Pomeroy, up 335 spots) plays at Texas State (8-7 SU, 3-4-1 ATS) on Thursday and at Texas-Arlington (9-6 SU, 7-5 ATS) on Saturday in conference matchups the Jaguars lost ATS in the previous meetings that went over the total. South Alabama’s lone ATS loss this season was 87-58 at Florida International, where the Jaguars (4-1 ATS on road) were 2-point road favorites.3. Central Michigan 7-1-0 ATS (Last week: No. 5)
Central Michigan (11-2 SU, 7-1-0 ATS) closed out the 2017 calendar year by beating Lawrence Tech (4,154 students) 91-73 in a non-lined game in which the Chippewas led 61-36 at halftime and then coasted.
CMU (+7.9 ppg vs. ATS) tips off Mid-American Conference play Tuesday as a 2½-point home chalk (149½, Bookmaker) against Ohio University (7-5 SU, 3-3-1 ATS). The Chippewas then hit the road Saturday at Kent State (6-7 SU, 3-5 ATS). CMU lost SU and ATS in OT, 116-113, in its previous game at Kent.4. William & Mary 6-1-0 (Last week: Not ranked)
William & Mary (8-4 SU, 6-1-0 ATS) squeezes onto the ATS Cats list by virtue of its one ATS loss, 97-62 at Ohio State on Dec. 9 as 17½-point road underdogs. Time will tell if the Tribe (+3.8 ppg vs. ATS) are good enough against the betting number to hang as ATS covers against Hofstra, TCU, George Mason, Marshall, Old Dominion and Central Florida. This week will reveal much about William & Mary (No. 191 Pomeroy), which went 11-13-1 ATS last season.
The Tribe have two Colonial Athletic Association road games this week: at James Madison on Tuesday (JM -2½, 158½, BookMaker) in a matchup W&M lost SU and ATS in OT in the last meeting, and at Delaware (8-6 SU, 3-4-1 ATS) on Friday in a matchup the Tribe won last year. Sharp-shooting William & Mary ranks No. 1 in 3-point field-goal percentage (46.3%), No. 3 in free-throw percentage (80.1%) and No. 4 in field-goal percentage (51.7%).5. Arizona State 10-2-1 ATS (Last week: Not ranked)
Arizona State (12-1 SU, 10-2-1-0 ATS) jumps back into our Top 5 after winning its backers money 10 times before New Year’s Day (the five ATS Rats on our list had a combined six wins ATS). Last week the Sun Devils lost to Arizona 84-78, pushing ATS as closing 6-point road underdogs (163) in Pac-12 Conference play.
Next on the menu for Arizona State (No. 18 Pomeroy) are Pac-12 road games against Colorado on Thursday, and against Utah on Sunday. Both previous matchups went over the total.
This week's Top 5 Cats were a combined 43-6-1 ATS (87.8 percent) heading into Tuesday night’s action.
Top 5 College Basketball ATS Rats1. UNC Wilmington 0-9-1 ATS (Last week: No. 2)
UNC Wilmington (3-10 SU, 0-9-1 ATS) move from Room No. 2 of The Rat Hotel to Room No. 1 (next to the ice machine) after the Seahawks (-10.4 ppg vs. ATS) were demolished at home by UNC Greensboro in a non-lined game on Dec. 28, followed by an ATS loss as 1½-point home chalks against Delaware on Dec. 30.
The Seahawks are 2½-point home favorites (151½, Bookmaker) when they return to action Tuesday against Drexel (6-6 SU, 4-8-1 ATS) in a Colonial Athletic Association Conference matchup. The Dragons are 8-5 ATS since 1997 at Wilmington and 2-0 the last two meetings. So, puff the Magic Dragons on Tuesday night. Why not? We are writing about UNCW not covering ATS, after all. The Seahawks (No. 279 Pomeroy, down 10 spots) then head to Towson State on Friday.2. SIU Edwardsville 1-10-0 ATS (Last week: No. 5)
Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends; we’re so glad you could attend. Come inside, come inside, where it’s warm and toasty, and where Ohio Valley Conference member SIU Edwardsville (4-9 SU, 1-10-0 ATS) checks in at the No. 2 spot after a sad holiday week of two SU and ATS losses. SIU Edwardsville (No. 223 Pomeroy) started a nasty four-game OVC road trip with losses at Austin Peay and Murray State.
This week in OVC play for the Cougars (-6.4 ppg vs. ATS) is a game at Eastern Kentucky (6-9 SU, 3-7 ATS) on Thursday in what looks like a good spot to fade the visitors, followed by another tough road dribbleat Morehead State (4-9 SU, 4-4 ATS) on Saturday. The next home game for SIU Edwardsville is Jan. 11 against Belmont (10-5 SU, 7-4-2 ATS).3. Vanderbilt 1-8-1 ATS (Last week: No. 1)
Vanderbilt (5-8 SU, 1-8-1 ATS) moves down two spots after actually winning ATS, getting 9½ points at Florida in an 81-74 loss Saturday in a game that went over the posted 142 total. The Commodores (-6.8 ppg v.s ATS) have another Southeastern Conference brawl Tuesday at home against Alabama (9-4 SU, 5-6-1 ATS). Offshore sportsbooks have this one lined as a pick 'em (149½) in what might be a good spot to back Vanderbilt, which is 9-1 SU in the last 10 home meetings vs. the Crimson Tide (over 7-1 L8 at Vandy).
The Commodores then play Saturday at South Carolina (9-4 SU, 5-6-1 ATS). Vandy beat the host Gamecocks 71-62 on Feb. 18, 2017, in a game that went under the closing total.4. Santa Clara 2-10-0 ATS (Last week: No. 3)
Santa Clara (3-9 SU, 2-10-0 ATS) remains ratty, just a little less so after a 1-1 ATS week in which the Broncos (10-3 ppg vs. ATS) won at home SU and ATS against Pepperdine, before losing SU and ATS at Gonzaga 101-52. In that one the Broncos were getting 23½ points but needed 50 to cover (145). A cigar, but not close.
Santa Clara (No. 260 Pomeroy) resumes West Coast Conference play at Loyola Marymount (5-8 SU, 5-5 ATS) on Thursday in a spot the Lions won and got the money in the last meeting. Santa Clara returns home Saturday against Portland (8-6 SU, 5-4 ATS) in a spot where backing the Pilots might make sense. Santa Clara’s solo money-making win for betting backers came at home against Northern Arizona on Nov. 30, 89-57 as 11½-point home faves5. Eastern Illinois 2-9-0 ATS (Last week: Not ranked)
Eastern Illinois (4-9 SU, 2-9-0 ATS) has edged out Providence for the No. 5 Rats spot, with my pet lynx Louis Smudge making the final call, deducing that the Panthers' metric (-4.7 ppg vs. ATS) was more telling than Providence's (-1.7 ppg vs. ATS). Cat logic? Perhaps the little lynx is a Panther hater?
Eastern Illinois (No. 258 Pomeroy), a member of the Ohio Valley Conference's West Division, lost twice last week -- 80-62 at Murray State as 11½-point road underdogs, and by 16 points at Austin Peay as 5½-point road underdogs. Next up for Eastern Illinois is a game Thursday at Morehead State (4-9 SU, 4-4 ATS) in what might be a good spot to back the hosts, followed by another conference road game against Eastern Kentucky (6-9 SU, 3-7 ATS), where the Panthers got the money in the last meeting, winning 74-60 on Jan. 7, 2017.
The five D-I Rats in this week's rankings were a combined 6-46-1 ATS in their 53 lined games (11.5 percent) heading into Tuesday’s schedule.
Free NCAAB Fade the Rat Pick: Drexel +2½ over UNCWBest Line Offered: Bookmaker