Would love it if some of you expert European cappers could register and post at a North American based forum as well...thanks
Gonzaga Bulldogs +2.5
This is the first Round game of this tournament pitting two very good teams and after flying over here on the weekend, the legs and stamina will most likely be non-existant tonight. However, both teams have done this before and this is not the first time either has had to fly so far and play on such short rest. Gonzaga is coming off a rather lacklustre game versus Idaho but it was more of warmup and I expect a lot more from them today. This is a very early game in Hawaii and the Bulldogs should be more awake. Morrison is the kind of player who brings so much energy to a team that he will have the guys around him playing their tails off. Both teams can beat you up on the boards but I see Gonzaga having the slight edge here today with their athletic ability and size. Gonzaga has to make sure Maryland's big boys don't win the battle of the offensive boards. Gonzaga is going to come out shooting the three ball and they will also come out a lot stronger in the post. They went to the line only 12 times against Idaho but you won't see that again. This line opened at a Pk and we were handed a gift when someone pounded the shit out of Maryland. Gonzaga is 16-5 ATS in their last 21 as a neutral court underdog, while Maryland is 1-9 ATS away from home in their last 10 coming off a home win.
Virginia Tech Hokies -12.5
Wow...can you say thank you very much? I know why this line is so low...it's because VT's top player Coleman Collins is probably not playing tonight but it really won't matter. Sophomore Deron Washington is going to take control of this game tonight and along with the help of Dowdell and Gordon, will shoot the lights right out of Marshall. The Hokies have already played 4 games this season and are in the full swing of things. Marshall on the other hand is coming off a 91-81 loss to Evansville and they will simply not match up well with the Hokies. The Thundering Herd allow way too many points per game and don't score enough to keep up with other teams. VT on the other hand has allowed only 56.0 points per game so far and have scored 81.0 points per game themselves. Virginia Tech is 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games when playing their second game at home in 7 days.
Rider-Drexel 'Under' 137
Does this total not come off as being exploded to anyone else? This is definitely not the same Rider team as last season and you won't see them averaging 70 or more points a night. The best example of that was in their opener where they scored only 54 points against Bucknell and lost. Rider rely way too much on the three point ball and if you look at some of the shooters on this team, they just don't have what it takes to nail them on a consistant basis. Both teams are horrendous FT shooting teams which makes all the difference in the world when you are trying to avoid more points at the end of the game. Both teams shoot below 70% from the line and both teams average less FG attempts than the NCAA average. This is going to be a slow-paced game with a lot of misses. The 'Under' is 8-2 for Drexel in their last 10 games coming off a non-conference game. Rider is very capable of holding opponents to below 60 points a night but they will have to give up some offense in order to do that...seems like they are interested. Slop fest it is.
Appalachian State Mountaineers +2
The VCU Rams have four starters returning from last year's squad and they have the best player in the CAA in Nick Georges. However, that doesn't mean anything because they still can't beat decent teams. The Rams lost an exhibition match to Virginia Union on November 10 (Virginia Union lost 9 players from last year and are a Division II team). Appalachian State are coming off a 75-65 win in their opener over Little Rock Arkansas and are a team that went 13-1 at home last season. By now you get the message...the wrong team is favored in this one and the Mountaineers should win this game. DJ Thompson really set the tone in the opener with 26 points and it appears he will be the leader on this team. Like I said, this is not an easy place to win games as a road team, let alone as a road favorite like this. Appalachian State is 9-2 ATS in their last 11 home games and I see them winning again.
Evansville-Loyola Chicago 'Under' 142
At first glance, this looks like one of those games that is going to soar right over the total and hit maybe 160 points. It might, but I don't see that happening since Loyola-Chicago's goal tonight is going to be to hold their opponents to under 70 points. They managed to do it in their opener and they can very possibly do it again. This reminds me of the meeting between these two teams last year when everyone thought it would be a shootout but both teams played it close and the total stayed under 135. The only way Evansville will score more than 70 points is if they go to the FT line 40 times again like they did against Marshall. That is not happening because Loyola has the athletic ability to stop Evansville and stay away from the heavy foul action. Evansville committed 20 turnovers against Marshall which is not a good sign if you like high-scoring games. Both teams have struggled with the ball and I see much of the same tonight. The 'Under' is 9-2 in Evansville's last 11 games coming off a win. Mark this down as a squeeker.
Old Dominion Monarchs +1
I just grabbed this line earlier this morning and this is a line on the big time move. Everyone knows the name Wisconsin but nobody knows the name Old Dominion. Squares are pounding Wisky but the line is moving the wrong way. Anyways, Old Dominion is not the small school team you all think they are. They are coming off a big win over Georgia and they kicked the crap out of Fordham the other night. Wisconsin on the other hand recorded a blowout win over Norfolk State and squeeked by EKU on Saturday. Now it's back home for the Badgers and although the crowd will be booming, they just don't have the talent to keep up with ODU. The Monarchs are as pesky as it gets on defense, averaging 10.0 steals per game in their first two and holding opponents to only 33.9% shooting. Wisconsin on the other hand have a bunch of available scorers but playing defense is an issue and opponents are shooting a whopping 46.8% against them. Norfolk shot that well? ODU is also a very good FT shooting team which matters in close games like this. I love the way ODU pressures opponents and forces mistakes. Sure it leaves them vulnerable for defensive rebounding but it's worth the risk and the Monarchs will win this game. The Monarchs are 13-2 ATS in their last 15 coming off an UNDER if you are a fan of trends.
San Diego Toreros +8.5
What the hell is a Torero you say? I don't know guys...really. What I do know is that this team can ball and they proved that with some big time wins last year. They even kept things close with Gonzaga in March and I see them kicking their season off with a bang tonight. Santa Barbara is coming off an impressive 82-59 win over San Francisco but to be honest, that's not saying too much. San Diego hit 11 three pointers in their opener against Campbell and last time I checked Santa Barbara doesn't exactly do a good job defending the long ball. I have learned over the years the San Diego fights for every ball and baskets don't always come easy against them. The Toreros have about 5-6 guys who can kill you with the three and that will be very important in case they go down early to a very good USBC team. The public likes Santa Barbara but in a high-scoring game, I don't see the Toreros getting killed. They are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 after allowing 80+ points which tells me that they are well coached. Give me the doggie upset here.
Long Beach State 49ers +11.5
Oooooh...I have been waiting for this line since last week and I am so happy to see it. The 49ers are always underestimated by oddsmakers and this is going to be a classic example. Sure Long Beach got demolished by UNLV in their opener but there is no way those guys come out and killed again in this one. California is not a UNLV and it showed in their opening game loss to Eastern Michigan. The 49ers are pure old school street ball players and they love shooting the three ball. You all know that California was killed by the three ball in their opener (allowed 9 long bombs) and unless they get their act together tonight, the same will happen again. Long Beach State is not going to committ another 20+ turnovers like last game and as long as they are careful with the ball, they should keep this one interesting for a while before Cal and their talent pulls away. The 49ers are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 coming off a non-conference game. I like the 49ers to control the boards tonight and if they can manage to force a few turnovers here and there, they will have enough to keep this within single digits. This is an in-state rivalry in the making and I see the 49ers showing some balls tonight. Boom Boom baby!