Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:00 AM EST.
Sun Belt Conference - QUARTERFINALS - Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana
12:30 PM EST. This is truly the time of year that a betting public that pays very little attention to this sport until the final weekend will try and familiarize itself with who is who overnight in an attempt to get a leg up on the competition when filling out their brackets. It’s also the time of year that the media and market is looking for a Cinderella and in that regard, UL Lafayette is going to stick out with their 27-5 overall record and 16-2 conference mark. The Ragin Cajuns also had a resounding 26-point win over Texas State yesterday to set up this semi-final match with UT Arlington. Furthermore, Lafayette defeated UT Arlington not once by double digits but twice by 12 and 21 points respectively during the regular season and now they’re only being asked to spot six? Combine that with this game being in the Ragin' Cajuns backyard (UL Lafayette’s campus is just a 2-hour drive) and the price instantly becomes even more appealing. It’s also one of the first games on the board today, so it’ll attract quite a bit of attention from a market looking to get a quick start to the day. Man, does the chalk ever stick out in this one as being short priced but be thankful you’re reading this because the trap has been set. Don’t trigger it.
ULL’s results are impressive, which will give this market a false sense of security. The Ragin' Cajuns steamrolled a slew of marshmallows during the regular season to rack up 26 wins but they looked completely different when the going got tough. The Ragin' Cajuns got steamrolled (94-76) by Ole Miss early in the year. The next set of worthy competition (we use that term loosely here) came against Richmond, and Wyoming where ULL would go 1-1. It lost by nine to Wyoming and was in great danger of losing to Richmond also, as they would eventually go on to win by six. When they played Clemson, once again they got steamrolled, 89-60 before conference play would begin. What we have here is a Louisiana Lafayette team that did well in the Sun Belt but not so well against very good competition like they’ll face here.
Yesterday we mentioned that UT Arlington Coach Avery Johnson had his team on virtual cruise control during the regular season because every team plays in the conference tournament with the winner getting an automatic bid to the Big Dance. It’s a one-bid conference so ULL’s overall record or finishing first means jack other than a pennant or banner hanging in its gym. The chips are now down and we’re suggesting that it is UT Arlington and not the Ragin' Cajuns that was built to pull upsets and compete with the elite. The Mavericks beat BYU by 14. While the Ragin' Cajuns were getting whacked by Ole Miss, the Mavericks had the Crimson Tide on the ropes, eventually losing by a single point (77-76). The Mavericks also lost to then #25 Creighton by just nine while the Ragin’ Cajuns were losing to a comparable Clemson team by 29. Again, the Mavs were built for this moment with the size and the shooting chops to make life difficult for a conference favorite like the one they’ll face here and if they get in, they’re very likely going to be a pest to a major conference winner too. Take the points.
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#511 UT Arlington +6 -106 (Risking 2.12 units - To Win: 2.00)