Last week’s Cats continued to play good basketball in relationship to the point spread, so the top five remain on the list. It was a different story with the Rats, thanks in part to Pepperdine and Santa Clara.
Virginia (22-1 SU, 15-4-1 ATS) went 2-0 SU and 1-1 ATS in Week 13, pushing ATS as 10-point home favorites against Louisville in a 74-64 win, then easily covering ATS as 6½-point favorites at Syracuse in a 59-44 triumph. The ACC’s Cavaliers (No. 2 KenPom.com ranking) still rank behind Villanova (22-1 SU, 15-7-1 ATS) in the latest Associated Press rankings.
Next up for Virginia (+5.7 ppg vs. ATS; 9/1 to win 2018 NCAA championship, Heritage) is a big ACC clash Wednesday at Florida State (17-6 SU, 13-6-2 ATS) in what seems like a bad spot for the Cavaliers with your NCAAB picks. Virginia then hosts Virginia Tech (16-7 SU, 11-8 ATS) on Saturday in what could be a tough test for the ACC leaders and presumed winners.2. Auburn 16-5-0 ATS (Last week: No. 4)
Coach Bruce Pearl and Auburn (21-2 SU, 16-5-0 ATS) go from not making our Top 5 to No. 4 and now No. 2 after another 2-0 SU/ATS week. The SEC's Tigers (No. 8 KenPom.com) defeated Ole Miss 79-70, covering ATS as 5-point road chalks, and beat Vanderbilt 93-81 to covering ATS by the smallest possible margin in most sports (a half-point) as 11½-point home chalks.
Auburn hosts Texas A&M (15-8 SU, 9-11-0 ATS) on Wednesday, followed by a Saturday affair at Georgia (13-9 SU, 10-9-0 ATS), so this could be a challenging week for the Tigers (+4.9 ppg vs. ATS).3. Nebraska 17-6-0 ATS (Last week: No. 2)
Big Ten Conference school Nebraska (17-8 SU, 17-6-0 ATS, +4.7 ppg vs. ATS) falls a spot despite not playing in Week 13, by virtue of Auburn’s 2-0 SU/ATS week. The Cornhuskers (+5.2 ppg vs. ATS) have a five-game ATS win streak (W3 SU) and are a profit-taking 13-1 ATS their L14.
Next up for Nebraska (No. 61 KenPom.com) is Tuesday's date at Minnesota (14-11 SU, 10-14-0 ATS) in what looks like a good spot to back the upstart Huskers. who opened as 1½-point underdogs (145½) at BetOnline.4. East Tennessee State 15-5-1 (Last week: No. 5)
A 2-0-0 ATS week (2-0 SU) vaults Southern Conference member and former Top Cat ETSU (21-4 SU, 15-5-1 ATS) up a notch. The Buccaneers won both of their Week 13 games by 20 points -- 96-76 against Samford and 81-61 against Chattanooga, improving to a hey-how-ya-doin’ 14-3-1 ATS their L18 lined games.
The Buccaneers (+5.0 ppg vs. ATS; No. 67 KenPom.com), who have a 15-game SU win streak, begin a three-game SoCon road trip Saturday at VMI (7-15 SU, 7-8-0 ATS).5. Montana 15-5-1 (Last week: No. 3)
Montana (18-5 SU, 15-5-1 ATS) stays in the Top 5 despite a 1-1 ATS week (2-0 SU), finally suffering an ATS loss after a glamorous 14-0-1 ATS run. Montana beat Northern Colorado 88-79 and got the bread and butter as 2-point road chalks, giving the Grizzlies (11-0 Big Sky) 15 straight games (14-0-1 ATS) without costing backers a cent based on closing lines. Montana then beat North Dakota 72-67 but failed to cover the 10½ points.
Next up for the Grizzlies (+3.1 ppg vs. ATS) are Big Sky home games, Thursday against Portland State and Saturday against Sacramento State. Montana (No. 79 KenPom.com) covered ATS and went over the total in its previous meetings with those teams.
The five ATS Cats this week — the same five as last week — were a very profitable 78-25-3 ATS (75.8 percent) combined entering Tuesday's action.
Free NCAAB Feed The Cats Saturday Pick: ETSU over VMI
College Basketball: Top 5 ATS Rats Rankings (Week 14)1. Vanderbilt 5-15-0 ATS (Last week: No. 1)
Vanderbilt (7-12 SU, 5-15-0 ATS) remains Rata Número Uno despite actually winning ATS in four of its L5. Why? Because nobody has a worse ATS record. In Week 13, the Commodores lost 83-81 in overtime at Kentucky but easily covered as 9½-point road dogs, then lost at Auburn 93-81 as 11½-point underdogs.
Vanderbilt (No. 91 KenPom.com) hosts Georgia (13-9 SU, 10-9-0 ATS) on Wednesday before playing at Arkansas (15-8 SU, 10-13-0 ATS) on Saturday. Even with a 4-1-0 ATS spurt, the Commodores (-3.5 ppg vs. ATS) are a deplorable 5-21-0 ATS L26 dating to last year.2. Pepperdine 6-16-1 ATS (Last week: No. 4)
West Coast Conference member Pepperdine (4-20 SU, 6-16-1 ATS) goes from not being ranked to No. 4 to No. 2 after the Waves surfed to a perfectly un-perfect 0-2 SU/ATS week. They lost at Portland 85-76 in OT, and at home to Pacific 81-72, both times as 3½-point underdogs.
The Waves (-3.5 ppg vs. ATS) host San Diego (15-9 SU, 9-9-1 ATS) on Thursday, then crash into Loyola-Marymount (7-16 SU, 10-8-2 ATS) on Saturday. San Diego is on a 3-0-1 ATS run. Pepperdine (No. 315 KenPom.com) has L4 in a row ATS and is 6-2 "over" in their L8 totals.3. Charlotte 5-13-0 ATS (Last week: Not ranked)
Conference USA side Charlotte (5-16 SU, 5-13-0 ATS) went 1-1 ATS last week (0-2 SU), losing its fourth consecutive game ATS at UAB 76-64 (UAB -11½) before rebounding with an ATS cover in a 78-73 loss as a 14½-point underdogs at Middle Tennessee State.
Next up for Charlotte (-2.8 ppg vs. ATS) are C-USA road dates, Wednesday at Louisiana Tech (14-10 SU, 8-12-0 ATS) and Saturday at Southern Miss (12-12 SU, 10-9-0 ATS). The latter could be a tough test for Charlotte despite their 16-point victory over the Golden Eagles in their previous meeting last season.4. Fordham 5-12-1 ATS (Last week: No. 4)
Fordham (7-15 SU, 5-12-1 ATS) lost ATS and SU in its only Week 13 game, 73-50 at Saint Louis (SLU -11), so we will leave them in the No. 4 spot. The Rams (No. 280 KenPom.com) have gone a fade-worthy 15-28-2 ATS since 2016 (34.9 percent).
Fordham (-3.2 ppg vs. ATS) hosts George Mason (10-12 SU, 11-12-0 ATS) on Wednesday, followed by a trip to Duquesne (15-9 SU, 10-6 ATS) on Saturday. Last month, the Rams failed to cover ATS against Duquesne in a 23-point loss. We shall bet Duquesne on Saturday and eat red licorice and prawns on Sunday. Or shame.5. Santa Clara 6-15-1 ATS (Last week: Not ranked)
Santa Clara (8-16 SU, 6-15-1 ATS) jumps in at No. 5 after an 0-2 ATS week, losing to Pacific 63-48 as 2-point home underdogs, then free falling 70-59 against San Francisco also as 2-point home dogs on Steve Nash T-Shirt Giveaway Night. It was the sixth consecutive "under" game for West Coast Conference member Santa Clara. Nostradamus once said something about the Broncos losing to Santa Clara big on Steve Nash T-Shirt Giveaway Night, but time and humans translated his words to something about “Santa Claus” and “Corned Beef Hash,” and we all missed a nice opportunity to cash from the reputed French seer.
Next up for the Broncos (No. 275 KenPom.com) is Thursday's game at BYU (18-7 SU, 10-11-1 ATS), a fine opportunity to fade these Rats; BYU won 84-50 at Santa Clara on Jan. 13, covering ATS. Santa Clara also plays San Diego (15-9 SU, 9-9-1 ATS) on Saturday, so if there’s a team you might want to fade twice in Week 14, it’s Welcome Back To The Mother-Flipping Rathouse, Santa Clara.
This week's five ranked Rats were a paltry 27-71-3 ATS (27.6 percent) entering Tuesday night's schedule.
Free NCAAB Fade The Rats Thursday Picks: San Diego over Pepperdine; BYU over Santa Clara
Free NCAAB Fade The Rats Saturday Pick: Duquesne over Fordham