Big Ten Teams to Watch ; Betting Lessons Learned in NFL

Teams to Watch – Big Ten

By Jim Feist

A Big 10 representative hasn’t won college basketball ‘s national championship since 2000 (Michigan State), but Indiana got to the title game in 2002, as did Illinois (2005), Ohio
State (2007), Michigan State (2009) and Michigan (2013), so they’ve been knocking on the door.

Will 2015 be the year that the conference breaks through?

Here’s a look at some of the best of the Big 10 with the March tournaments on the horizon.

(Straight Up-Against the Spread Records through 2/8/15)

Wisconsin (21-2, 12-10): Bo Ryan’s club is often about slowing the pace down, but not this season. The Badgers are Top 50 in the country in scoring and Top 20 in field goal shooting
because of a powerful frontcourt. Wisconsin has 7-foot junior Frank Kaminsky (17 ppg, 8 rpg), 6-8 junior Sam Dekker (12.5 ppg) and 6-7 soph Nigel Hayes up front.

The backcourt lost talented senior guard Traevon Jackson. You have to wonder if this team has really been tested, facing only one Top 10 team….and losing at home 80-70 to Duke. They
have tough road games remaining at Maryland and Ohio State.

Maryland (19-5, 7-12): The Terrapins have been a force all season, which included an impressive double overtime win at Michigan State. The Maryland offense revolves around a one-two
punch of 6-2 freshman G Melo Trimble (16 ppg, 4 rpg, 3 apg) and 6-8 junior Jake Layman (14.7 ppg, 7 rpg). Maryland had only allowed one opponent to shoot better than 50 percent from
the field through the first 18 games in a 76-65 loss to then-No. 7 Virginia on Dec. 3.

However, the last few weeks they’ve struggled, allowing Northwestern to shoot 54% and Indiana 60%, the latter an 89-70 defeat. They squeaked by Northwestern, 68-67, as -11.5 chalk.
Maryland is on a 9-2-1 run ‘under’ the total on the road.

Ohio State (18-6, 7-11): The Buckeyes have enjoyed a great season with an offense ranked in the Top 20 in scoring and assists, plus one of the best in the nation in shooting over 50%.
The offense pours in 80 ppg behind 6-5 freshman D’Angelo Russell (19.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg), 6-7 soph Marc Loving (11.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg) and 6-7 senior Sam Thompson (10 ppg).

Ohio State struggled early in key non-conference games, losing to Louisville (64-55) and to North Carolina (82-74). But they have looked better in Big 10 play, stuffing Indiana (82-70)
and Maryland (80-56) in back-to-back showdown contests. The victory over the Hoosiers was a revenge game, losing 69-66 at Indiana last month. They allowed Indiana 52% shooting,
including 12-25 from long range (48%), but OSU shot 62%. Ohio State finished with 26 points off of Indiana turnovers running their attacking, pressing defense. The Buckeyes are 1-8-1
ATS in their last 10 road games.

Michigan State (15-8, 11-12): You need frontcourt muscle in the Big 10 and the Spartans have it with 6-6 senior Branden Dawson (12 ppg, 10 rpg) and 6-9 Matt Costello. They were
expected to take a step back this season after losing their best backcourt players, but 6-5 junior Denzel Valentine (14 ppg, 6 rpg) has stepped up. They play tough defense for head
coach Tom Izzo, losing 61-56 to Kansas allowing 37% shooting and 3-of-14 from long range. Michigan State took No. 12 Maryland to double overtime before losing 68-66 by a basket and
lost in OT at Notre Dame by a point (79-78). They are the type of well coached, physical defense you don’t want to face in March.

Indiana (17-7, 11-12): Tom Crean’s team is running-and-gunning again, Top 20 in points scored while shooting 48% as a group led by 6-4 freshman James Blackmon Jr. (16.5 ppg, 5 rpg).
Indiana is not a big group up front with 6-7 sophomore Troy Williams (13 ppg) and you have to wonder if the lack of rebounding and defense is taking a toll.

They recently lost three of four, all by double digits, including a 92-78 loss at Wisconsin last Tuesday while allowing 60% shooting. The Hoosiers hit 5 of 6 on late 3-pointers to make
the score more respectable. The Badgers continually took advantage of Indiana defenders overplaying entry passes, allowing clear paths to the bucket. Can you rely so much on offense
when tourney play commences?

Purdue (15-9, 14-6): The Boilermakers have been winning and covering, on a recent 8-2 against the spread run in Big 10 play. Purdue is doing it with defense behind 7-foot junior A.J.
Hammons (11 ppg), 6-5 junior Rapheal Davis (11 ppg) and 6-7 freshman Vince Edwards. They held Indiana to 67 points and Iowa to 67 in back to back big wins, then showed no let-down by
winning at Northwestern allowing 60 points. That was part of a stretch going 8-2 ‘under’ the total against Big 10 foes.


Bettor Lessons Learned from NFL Betting in 2014

By: Glenn Greene – Exclusive to
Another NFL season in the books but what can we take with us before we totally close shop, besides never throwing a slant pass down four points on the one yard line with 30 seconds
left. No, I’m talking about bets that you’d like to have back, mistakes you’ve made, lessons learned and an opportunity you won’t likely miss again. Here’s a retrospective from the
past NFL betting season with some memories that we could all learn from when we kick off again next year.

1. Don’t put old quarterbacks into retirement too quickly, especially if their name is Tom Brady.
Although very early, many remember September 29th as the turning point of the NFL season. That’s the infamous Sunday night when the Patriots went into Kansas City and were crushed by
the Chiefs 41-14 as a -4 choice. Most don’t remember the previous Sunday the Pats barely got by the Oakland Raiders 16-9 as a -13 favorite. That led to instant stories how the Brady
era was finished and Belichick had lost control of the team. We all know how that turned out sports fans. 13-2 straight up including a Super Bowl parade and 10-5 against the spread
after that fateful loss.

2. You pay the price for being “America’s Team”.
There cannot be a better or bettor lesson in life to fully understand than the “what have you done for you me lately” theory. Them Cowboys went from being a predicted 7 to 9 win team
to being a top Super Bowl selection by mid-October. Being the USA’s favorite team and a 6-1 start will get that for you. Incredibly, Dallas was down to a 3-1 Super Bowl choice at some
Vegas and offshore sportsbooks at mid season. I believe it also had to do with being 5-2 against the spread at that time and making many very happy. The Boys then lost straight up as a
9 point favorite to Washington and then got smoked by the Eagles on Thanksgiving. They had a very good season but reality and Tony Romo’s back problems unfortunately started to set in.

3. Don’t celebrate too soon and one game does not a season make.
The Atlanta Falcons looked like a legitimate Super Bowl contender the night of Thursday, September 18th. Yup, if you can remember that far back that was the Thursday Night Football
game the Birds raced to a 56-0 lead on the hapless Tampa Bay Bucs before turning out the lights 56-14. The Falcons then showed their muscle by going on to lose five straight games
before beating, that’s right, the Tampa Bay Bucs again. Atlanta head coach Mike Smith had his bags packed on December 1st before getting the axe on the day after the season ended. For
the record the Falcons were 7-9 ATS the past season.

4. It’s not Over till it’s Over or the Total goes Over
Not likely existing is an accurate percentage breakdown on people preferring to play either favorites or underdogs in NFL games. Perhaps more interesting would be bettors wagering
Totals prefering to play “Over” versus “Under”. I would wager that more people prefer betting Over the Total in a game than selecting a game favorite. Simply because when a game total
does go over at any point, your bet is won without chance.

That being said, the oddsmakers realize this and often slant totals higher accouting for this inbalance of action, especially knowing bettors will also include teasers in wagering

The past season the Green Bay Packers and QB Aaron Rodgers defied oddsmakers virtually every week in either going over the total or threatening it. In their 18 games including playoff
appearance The Pack were 12-6 Over the Total and in their first 10 games 9-1 Over. All Green Bay game were set high from 47 to 55 O/U Totals.

But before anyone claims it was all skill and Rodgers offense, please recall how the result went over in their last game. That miracle Seattle Seahawks comeback enable the NFC
Championship into over-time. And the rest is “slant pass” history.

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