Today’s Hot Plays
Professional Handicapper Kelso Sturgeon
Kelso Sturgeon’s DEAN’S LIST
It’s what happens when Kelso Sturgeon joins forces with the smartest oddsmakers in Las Vegas and the offshores to find games so certain to win, everyone is "Bet Your Limit!"
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I’m talking about a kind of CONSENSUS pick where ALL the very brightest minds zero in on THE ONE game that MUST win! AND THEY KNOW! As oddsmakers, tracking the computer boys, the wise guy action, the early and late moves, they HAVE to make sharp lines... Too many mistakes and they are OUT! They have to be sure their house is on the right side of the money.
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An Exciting College Basketball Weekend Ahead
We’re coming down the stretch of the college basketball regular season and this weekend has an exciting slate of TV games. I’m handicapping all of these games thoroughly and will be prepared with an excellent package of betting opportunities. I strongly encourage you to join me in the moneymaking In the meantime, here are some of the noteworthy games and factors for all of us to be thinking about regarding the best college basketball games of Saturday and Sunday…
Florida-Kentucky (2 PM ET, CBS)
I touched on Florida yesterday and this game is a key litmus test of their national championship-readiness. It’s also vital for Kentucky. The Wildcats’ last notable game was against these same Gators and Kentucky took an 88-66 beatdown. Since then, John Calipari’s team has rolled through relatively pedestrian competition. This battle for first place in the SEC will also tell us if that first game was an aberration or a clear sign of Wildcat weakness.
Creighton-Villanova (3 PM ET, Fox)
In mid-January it looked like this might be a big game for bragging rights in the Big East. But while Villanova has continued to look like a defending national champion, Creighton has been in a funk. They’ve lost five of their last nine and are currently projected as a 6-seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Bluejays don’t necessarily need to win this game on the road, but we need to see a credible showing in order to have any confidence betting them in tournament play.
Duke-Miami (4 PM ET, CBS)
The recent surge by Duke has been well-documented in the mainstream college basketball media and this game will put the Blue Devils to the test. The Hurricanes promise to be a feisty home team—currently projected as an NCAA Tournament 8-seed, they could use that one big resume-building win to seal the deal. This would certainly qualify. Duke needs to be ready.
Purdue-Michigan (4 PM ET, ESPN2)
Both teams are interesting darkhorse possibilities. Michigan is projected for the 9-line and have shown the ability to beat good teams, as an earlier home win over Wisconsin attests. If the Wolverines can beat the other co-leader of the Big Ten, they’ll be an interesting play in the conference and NCAA Tournaments. As for Purdue, they have one of the best players in the country in Caleb Swanigan, an array of three-point shooters and are a 35-1 shot to win it all. Let’s see how they handle the road against a competitive team with a lot to play for.
UCLA-Arizona (8:15 PM ET, ESPN)
The focal point of the prime-time schedule, there’s going to be some tremendous athletes on the floor for this one. Arizona is looking to close in on a Pac-12 title and give themselves a shot at a 1-seed for March Madness. UCLA is currently projected for the 4-line and with Lonzo Ball, they have talent no one wants to mess with. A win in Tucson sends a loud and clear message to the rest of the country.
Wisconsin-Michigan State (Sunday, 4 PM ET, CBS)
The dynamic here is the same as the other Big Ten battle in Ann Arbor we discussed above. Michigan State is going to be an attractive betting underdog because of Tom Izzo’s excellent pedigree, but we need to see some kind of evidence they’re prepared to beat good teams this year. Wisconsin is tied with Purdue for the lead in the Big Ten and has legitimate hopes of being a dark horse in the race for the Final Four. But we need to see them come up with a tough road win here.
How Good Are The Florida Gators?
The Florida Gators are coming on strong after an 81-66 thumping of South Carolina last night. The Gators have won nine in a row and are set up for a big game at Kentucky on Saturday (2 PM ET, CBS) where they will meet for the lead in the SEC race and to move up in the fight for NCAA Tournament seed position. More importantly, Florida is still a potential value bet in the race for the national championship.
Florida is priced at 28-1 to win the NCAA title in Phoenix on April 3. They’re at an interesting spot on the board right now. That price essentially makes them the #11 team in the country according to the futures market. The 10th-best team (a tie between Arizona, Louisville and Oregon) are all 14-1. So Florida is more or less behind the arbitrary cutoff point, where a big gulf separates the favorites from the darkhorses.
It’s safe to say that dynamic changes in a hurry if the Gators win in Rupp Arena on Saturday, so important evaluations have to be made by college basketball bettors right now. Here’s what Florida has going for them…
*The statistical rankings at the respected website KenPom, say Florida the fourth-best team in the country. If you think KenPom is even in the ballpark that makes the Gators a value bet at 28-1.
*While it’s easy to dismiss the caliber of competition in the SEC, Florida’s schedule strength ranks 16th in the country. They stepped out in non-conference games and challenged themselves with Duke, Gonzaga and Florida State. And keep in mind that ranking is going to go up after a road game in Lexington.
*Florida plays defense, ranking fourth in the country in defensive efficiency. That defense was on display last night, as they held South Carolina to 39 percent shooting from the field and pulled away in the second half.
Thus, we’re talking about a team that respected computer models think highly of, that is battle-tested and is excellent on the defensive end. All that’s a good reason to jump on a 28-1 price. But there’s a flip side…
*It’s one thing to play good teams and another to beat them—Florida lost to Duke, Gonzaga and Florida State. The most impressive part of the Gators’ resume is an 88-66 thumping of Kentucky at home on February 4. We still need to find out though, if that was more about Wildcat shortcomings or Gator strengths. Saturday will give us answers, but again, value may be lost if you wait until that result is in.
*Florida lacks a clear playmaker. Chris Chiozza is the leading assist man on the team and he’s seventh in terms of minutes played per game. College basketball, especially in the NCAA Tournament is driven by guards who control tempo.
*Michael White, in his second year since stepping in for Billy Donovan, is an unknown commodity as a head coach. Especially in the NCAA Tournament, where he’ll make his first appearance this March.
What way do you play it? I have to reserve my recommendations for clients, but I’ll tell you one thing—I’ll be monitoring the results from Lexington very closely.Notice: Undefined offset: 1 in /var/www/kelsosportshandicapping.com/www/public/index.html.php on line 62 Notice: Undefined offset: 2 in /var/www/kelsosportshandicapping.com/www/public/index.html.php on line 62 Notice: Undefined offset: 3 in /var/www/kelsosportshandicapping.com/www/public/index.html.php on line 62
No. 11 Kentucky, No. 13 Florida battle for first place
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- With only three regular-season games left, first place in the Southeastern Conference is on the line Saturday when No. 11 Kentucky hosts No. 13 Florida at 2 p.m. at Rupp Arena.
Raptors G Lowry misses game with wrist injury
TORONTO -- All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry was scratched from the Toronto Raptors game against the Boston Celtics Friday night with an injury to his right wrist.