William & Mary Claims Top Cat Spot in College Hoops

Kevin Stott

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 5:28 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018 5:28 PM UTC

William & Mary is our new No. 1 and Virginia cracked the list of our Top 5 ATS Cats, but who should college basketball bettors be looking at this week? We offer a hopefully Fab Five of picks.

College Basketball: Top 5 ATS Cats1. William & Mary 9-1-0 (Last week: No. 4)

The sharp-shooters from the Colonial Athletic Association, William & Mary (11-4 SU, 9-1-0 ATS) moves up to the No. 1 spot in our weekly ATS rankings after a rare 3-0 SU/ATS week — all on the road — in which the Tribe (+8.3 ppg vs. ATS) beat James Madison, Delaware, and Drexel. Head Coach Tony Shaver and upstart William & Mary (No. 153 Pomeroy ranking, up 48 spots from last week) made it five in a row ATS.

In Week 10 action, the Tribe resume CAA play Thursday with a rematch against James Madison (4-13 SU, 6-9 ATS) at home, followed by Saturday's home game against Towson (12-5 SU, 7-5 ATS) in a matchup William & Mary pushed ATS as 4-point favorites in the last meeting in February (W&M 83, Towson 79).

2. Portland State 11-2-0 ATS (Last week: No. 1)

Big Sky Conference school Portland State (11-5 SU, 11-2 ATS) finally falls from its lofty perch as Top ATS Cat after going 1-1 SU/ATS in Week 9. The Vikings lost SU/ATS at Eastern Washington, then won SU/ATS against Idaho. Next up on the Big Sky slate for Portland State (+7.1 ppg vs ATS) are home games against Montana State (11-6 SU, 7-8 ATS) on Thursday, and against Montana (11-5 SU, 10-4 ATS) on Saturday.

Portland State (10-2 ATS on road, 1-0 ATS at home) has made the NCAA Tournament two times (2008, 2009) — the same years the Vikings won the Big Sky — and logic dictates that only one school from the conference will make the Big Dance. Portland State (No. 137 Pomeroy ranking, up 6 spots) averages a robust 89.9 ppg.

3. South Alabama 11-2-0 ATS (Last week: No. 2)

South Alabama (8-6 SU, 10-1-0 ATS) drops to No. 3 after going 0-2 SU and 1-1 ATS last week, losing at Texas State but covering, then losing SU and ATS at UT-Arlington as big 12½-point road underdogs in Sun Belt Conference play. South Alabama (No. 211 Pomeroy ranking, up 2 spots) is a non-lined game against tiny National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association Division II Trinity Baptist on Tuesday at home.

The Jaguars resume Sun Belt play Saturday against Troy State (7-10 SU, 6-8 ATS). In their last meeting in February 2017, South Alabama covered ATS in a game that went under the total. South Alabama’s previous ATS loss before last week was at Florida International on December 2.

4. Virginia 10-2-0 (Last week: Not ranked)

Once again, the Atlantic Coast Conference's Virginia Cavaliers (14-1 SU, 10-2 ATS) have vaulted themselves into national prominence. Last week UVA beat Virginia Tech on the road, 78-52, covering ATS as 3½-point road favorites, then knocked off North Carolina, 61-49, covering ATS as 4½-point home chalks.

This week Virginia (No. 3 Pomeroy ranking) will hosts Syracuse (12-4 SU, 6-8 ATS) on Tuesday, followed by another tough ACC date Sunday at home against N.C. State. Virginia ranks No. 1 in the nation in Division I in scoring defense (52.5 ppg) and No. 2 in defensive field-goal percentage (35.9 percent.

5. East Tennessee State 9-2-1 (Last week: Not ranked)

This Southern Conference team always seems to field a pretty good squad, and with Head Coach Steve Forbes and East Tennessee State (12-4 SU, 9-2-1 ATS) off to another nice start, the Buccaneers are a team to start paying more attention to both on the hardwood and at the sporting books. Last week, ETSU went 2-0 AU/ATS, winning and covering road games against Samford and Tennessee-Chattanooga. ETSU has played consecutive overs but has been streaky in the totals market all season.

ETSU (No. 61 Pomeroy ranking) plays UNC Greensboro on Thursday night, then VMI (5-9 SU, 3-4 ATS) on Saturday. VMI has lost four straight first-half bets.

The Top 5 Cats in this week’s rankings were a combined 52-9-1 ATS (85.2 percent) heading into Tuesday's action.

College Basketball: Top 5 ATS Rats1. UNC Wilmington 1-11-1 ATS (Last week: No. 1)

UNC Wilmington (4-12 SU, 1-11-1 ATS) stays on top — or on the bottom, in some worlds — after the Seahawks (-8.7 ppg vs. ATS) finally won a game ATS (as well as SU), a 107-87 romp over Drexel as 3½-point home favorites. But then they lost SU/ATS at Towson and Delaware.

In their two Colonial Athletic Association games this week, the Seahawks (No. 292 Pomeroy rating, down 13 spots) play at Elon (11-6 SU, 6-8 ATS) on Thursday before returning home to face Northeastern (10-6 SU, 6-6 ATS). Those are tough tests for UNC-Wilmington and possibly two spots to fade our King Rat.

2. Vanderbilt 1-10-1 ATS (Last week: No. 3)

Second-year Head Coach Bryce Drew and Vanderbilt (6-9 SU, 1-10-1 ATS) move up from No, 3 after losing two Southeastern Conference games ATS, to Alabama and South Carolina. In the latter, Vanderbilt was a modest 3½-point road underdog and lost 71-60.

Next up for Vandy are home games tonight against Tennessee (10-4 SU, 7-5 ATS) and Saturday against Kentucky (12-3 SU, 6-8-1 ATS). In their last meetings against those opponents, Vanderbilt covered ATS in games that both went under the closing total.

3. Santa Clara 2-10-0 ATS (Last week: No. 4)

Santa Clara (3-9 SU, 2-10-0 ATS) won twice SU but split ATS last week, winning at Loyola-Marymount 65-49 as 4½-point road underdogs and beating Portland 70-6 but failing to cover as 8-point home favorites.

Santa Clara (No. 271 Pomeroy ranking, down 11) resume West Coast Conference play with two extremely hard home games, on Thursday against St. Mary’s (15-2 SU, 5-8 ATS) and Saturday against BYU (13-4 SU, 6-8 ATS).

4. Denver 3-10-0 ATS (Last week: Not ranked)

Say hello to Summit League school Denver (6-10 SU, 3-10-0 ATS), led by second-year Head Coach Rodney Billups. Denver played just once last week, losing SU and ATS to IPFW, 82-63, as 3-point home underdogs. It was the Pioneers' sixth ATS loss in seven dribbles.

Next up in conference action is Thursday's game at North Dakota State (9-7 SU, 6-4 ATS) In what looks like a good spot to back the hosts and fade these Rats. The Bison rolled to an 81-64 victory the last time the two met last season, covering ATS in a game that went over the total. Then, Denver (-8.4 ppg vs ATS) heads to face South Dakota State (14-5 SU, 9-4 ATS) on Saturday in what looks like another nice spot to bet against the Pioneers.

5. SIU-Edwardsville 1-10-0 ATS (Last week: No. 2)

It's back to No. 5 Rat after a stint at No. 2 for lovable SIU-Edwardsville (6-9 SU, 3-10-0 ATS) after a 2-0 ATS week. The Cougars (No. 314 Pomeroy ranking) had wins and ATS covers in Ohio Valley Conference play against Eastern Kentucky as 6-point road underdogs, 85-82, and at Morehead State as solid 6½-point road underdogs in a 70-65 loss.

Next up for the Cougars (-3.8 ppg vs ATS) are home games against Belmont (11-6 SU, 8-5-2 ATS) on Thursday, and versus Tennessee State (6-9 SU, 3-6 ATS) on Saturday. The only ATS cover for SIUE before last week was against IUPUI, with the Cougars winning outright as 1-point road dogs in December.

The five ranked Rats this week were a combined 8-53-0 ATS in their 61 lined games (13.1 percent) heading into Tuesday’s slate.

NCAAB Fade The Rats Thursday Picks: Belmont over SIUE; NDSU over Denver; Montana over CS Sacramento

NCAAB Fade The Rats Saturday Picks: Eastern Tennessee State first half over VMI; South Dakota State over Denver

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