Dave’s Free Play, Sunday 1/26/14

  • January 26, 2014

When it rains, it pours. Yesterday was one of those days as far as several big name teams getting very lucky against the number was concerned. It started very early with VCU coming back from being just about out of it at La Salle and then winning by eight in double overtime. It ended the same way as San Diego State gave up a tying three at the horn in regulation and then found a way to win by five in overtime. Villanova managed to pull off the same trick when they stormed past Marquette in overtime by nine points.

It’s not unusual for a favorite to get lucky and cover in overtime, but when it happens three times in one day, and all with very popular public team, that’s definitely rare. But this was just one of those days where the chalk reigned. In fact, had you plunked down a bet on every favorite on the Saturday board, you’d have picked up a massive profit for the day.

If this is sounding like a buildup to an excuse for a bad day, think again. I was one mostly favorites myself on Saturday and came away with another tidy college profit in the process. Overall, I went 4-2-1 in the colleges (o-1 NBA) so no complaints here. But I did manage to find the one favorite that won in overtime and didn’t cover as Wyoming won by only two against Nevada. And the two dogs I played also went 0-1-1. So I guess I picked a good day to be chalk heavy myself, even though it wasn’t on any of the marquee games.

The last week has been an illustration of what a positive grind is all about. I haven’t had any monster days, but I’ve also avoided any red ink days, aside from a split on Wednesday. +840 on the last eight days overall reads just fine, and the college ledger for the season is right around +23 units net.

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The Saturday free play on Wyoming looked like it might get lucky in overtime. The Cowboys grabbed a three-point lead and seemed to be taking command, but a bad traveling call sent Larry Shyatt into a frenzy and he drew a tech. The Cowboys ended up winning by a deuce on a late Larry Nance hook but they failed to cover the spot. I’ll switch to underdog mode for today’s comp.

01/26 05:00 PM  CB   (847) UTAH (848) ARIZONA

Take: (847) UTAH +15.5

When trying to build a case for one side against another, it’s usual form to extol the virtues of the side you’re on while picking apart the weaknesses of the team being faded. I think I’ll pass on that formula here and just focus on why I like the underdog in the Utah-Arizona game.

The Wildcats are the top rated team in the nation. Aside from some shaky free throw shooting, there’s just nothing to find fault with on this team. Arizona does everything well at both ends of the court, and their chemistry on the court is as strong as on any team I’ve seen all season.

But there’s also a lot to like about Utah. Larry Krystkowiak took over a program in some pretty dire straits, and it’s more than a little impressive to see how quickly he’s gotten them back to respectability. They’re sitting at 14-5 and when you break down the results, they’re apparently not a fluke that has just been sneaking up on teams.

The Utes are literally just a handful of buckets away from being 19-0. The four-point loss the other night at Arizona State was their largest of the season. The five defeats have been by a combined total of 13 points and they’re getting more than that from Arizona today.

I’m certainly not calling for an upset in this game. Arizona is playing at an exceptionally high level and Utah probably can’t beat them. But based on their body of work, it’s also tough to see the gritty Utes getting crushed. They’ve been undervalued all season and with the number as high as it is, that might well be the case again today. I’ll side with Utah plus the points.