Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:30 PM EST.
7:00 PM EST. This is the first weekend without football in a really long time and that takes a football hungry market out of its routine. It’s no coincidence that the underdogs went on a run of 17 covers in 18 tries over three days this past week in the NBA because this is the time of year when favorites and popular teams have trouble covering because the lines are almost always inflated due to the market shift to other sports. The market will now try to familiarize itself with college basketball teams before Selection Sunday in roughly eight weeks. This game falls right into our wheelhouse, as the Hawks of St. Joe’s are a well-known mid-major from the A-10 with plenty of market credibility and lots of tournament appearances while Penn is an Ivy-League school not named Princeton, Harvard or Cornell (Big Red). St. Joe’s is a team that won the Atlantic-10 just two years ago. They were decimated by injuries last year so it was an off-year but we’re seeing a lot of the same struggles. The Hawks will now step out-of-conference on the road no less in this traditional Big-Five showdown and it’s a very big deal. It’s also worth noting that the Hawks are 0-2 in Big Five play while Penn is 0-3, which adds even more appeal to the better known school. The Big Five incidentally spans over three decades and is a group of NCAA Division I basketball schools who compete for the Philadelphia city championship. The Big 5 consists of the University of Pennsylvania, La Salle, Saint Joseph's, Temple and Villanova.
Every year in at the Big Dance, the Ivy League representative causes misery for much higher ranked programs. That representative this year could very well be the Quakers this year. Penn already has beaten Princeton this year, which is a major deal, as it is the first time in four years that they have done so. Penn’s balance is perhaps its biggest strength. The Quakers' two bigs – sophomore forward AJ Brodeur and a much-improved Max Rothschild – demand extra attention. When teams’ commit numbers down low the rest of the floor opens up for the guards. Penn forces teams to pick their poison: either defend Ryan Betley and the guards and risk a big game from the bigs, or focus on stopping Brodeur and Rothschild and risk the opposite. Early in the season, Rothschild did not have as much success alleviating pressure from Betley and Brodeur. Now that he has established himself as a legitimate offensive threat, with both his size and increasingly with his vision, the Quakers have become a very scary team to play against. We also love that Penn is coming off a nine-point loss to Temple but call it bad-luck, as Temple scored the last 12 points to win it. Penn simply went cold from the floor, which can happen to anyone but their defense will always keep them in games and we frankly do not see where the Hawks have any advantages here.
Open an account today at Pinnacle Sports and take advantage of their -104 style pricing on sides and totals, which is 60% better than other sportsbooks.
#628 PENNSYLVANIA +100 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.00)