Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 2:30 PM EST
San Francisco +147 over NEVADA
9:00 PM EST. Nevada has opened the year with three straight wins (3-0) while the Dons of San Francisco are 2-2, which includes a loss to UMass Lowell. In case you were not aware or don’t give a f**k, UMass Lowell resides in the same conference as juggernauts, New Hampshire and Binghamton among others. The point is that the Dons lost to a nobody and they’re just 2-2 while the Wolf Pack bring in a flawless record. Market perception is that Nevada is short-priced here and that works strongly in our favor, as the market continues to react to the results and not the product on the floor.
Nevada has beaten three weak teams in North Dakota State, Nebraska (projected to finish 12 or 13th in the 13 team Big-10) and Pacific. They barely beat Nebraska in a 69-66 victory. Nevada lost five players from last season’s squad, which includes Jalen Harris. Harris was the team’s undisputed alpha on the offensive end, endlessly creating opportunities for himself and others. His decision to forego his senior year drastically alters the potential of this year’s Nevada squad. A heavy reliance will be on Grant Sheffield and Desmond Cambridge to produce but with a step up in competition and shaky weapons around them, their shooting percentages could get ugly. The Wolf Pack are probably too limited in the shooting and creation departments to succeed but their flaws have not been exposed yet. That provides us this opportunity.
Dons HC Todd Golden and his staff gained national notoriety for their innovative use of analytics, particularly with the use of the one-and-one free throw rule, consistently choosing to play the numbers and foul foes with questionable track records at the line as a way of gaining an extra possession themselves. Sometimes it worked, others it did not, but the outside-the-box mindset is a great way to gain incremental advantages within the game. It’s not just micro decisions like that, though – Golden clearly understands the macro advantages of things like shot selection, limiting inefficient mid-range jumpers on offense and making a concerted effort to force them on the other end.
Let’s give the Dons a pass for their loss to UMass Lowell. It happens. San Fran’s other loss was to Rhode Island, which is nothing to hang one’s head over. The Dons have a win against then #4 Virginia. They also have three speedy guards and solid depth across the roster. USF will be constantly searching for incremental edges, statistical or otherwise, and anything gained in the margins will sum with a talented roster and smart staff to give the Dons a squad capable of rising all the way to 2nd in the WCC. And if anyone had the formula to steal one from Gonzaga last year, it was the Dons. We now get them today at a true bargain to win outright.
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San Francisco +147 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.94)