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Big 10 Championship Game Preview

by ASA, Inc.

Friday, Dec 18, 2020

BIG 10 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME Ohio State vs Northwestern – Saturday @ Lucas Oil Stadium Indianapolis CURRENT ODDS – Ohio State -20.5 / TOTAL 57  OHIO STATE (5-0 SU / 3-2 ATS) - The Buckeyes picked up another unplanned bye week when their rivalry game vs Michigan was cancelled.  It’s their 3rd week off this season.  The Big 10 originally decided that in order for a team to be eligible for the Championship game, they must play at least 6 games.  The schools revisited that plan last week and tweaked it so Ohio State, who is 5-0, can play on Saturday.  In their most recent game the Bucks were hit hard by the conference covid protocol as they had 20+ players out @ Michigan State, including 3 starting offensive linemen.  It didn’t matter as they crushed the Spartans 52-12.  Despite starting 3 freshmen back ups on the offensive line, OSU was able to rush for 322 yards on 6.7 YPC.  The only time OSU was really threatened this year was their home game vs Indiana.  They won that game 42-35 but led 28-7 at half and let the Hoosiers back in it.  Their other relatively close game was a 12 point win over Rutgers.  Same scenario in that game with the Bucks leading 35-3 at half, pulling their foot off the gas, and letting Rutgers cut into the lead.  The Buckeyes were 3-2 ATS this year and those were the 2 games they did not cover even though it looked like they may at halftime.  How dominant were the Buckeyes this year?  Their total minutes played this year was 300 (5 games) and they trailed for a grand total of 5 minutes this season.  That was the first game of the season vs Nebraska when the Huskers scored on their opening drive to take a 7-0 lead.  The offense is arguably the best in the nation.  They rank 1st in the Big 10 in total offense (6th nationally) and 1st in the conference in scoring (4th nationally).  Their defensive weakness is vs the pass.  They rank dead last in the Big 10 in pass defense and 111th nationally.  The Buckeyes caught a nice break on their week off when Florida lost to LSU.  That loss most likely puts OSU in College Football’s Final 4 with a win here.  It sounds like the Bucks will have most if not all of the players back who missed the MSU game because of their covid situation.  Something we’ll have to keep an eye on as the week progresses.    NORTHWESTERN (6-1 SU / 5-1-1 ATS) – While Ohio State had last week off, Northwestern was playing their year end rivalry game vs Illinois.  The Cats closed out the regular season with one of their best offensive performances of the season rolling up 493 total yards in their 28-10 win and cover.  The excitement of a big offensive day may need to be tempered a bit as Illinois now ranks dead last in the Big 10 in total defense.  QB Ramsey completed only 7 passes the entire game but the Wildcats ran for 411 yards on 58 carries.  It was the first time in 17 years they rushed for more than 400 yards in a single game.  That’s been Northwestern’s game plan for much of the season.  Run the ball, eat clock, and let their defense and special teams win games for them.  They’ve done that well this season as the 6-1 Wildcats have scored 21 point or less in half of their wins this season (3).  The defense has allowed 20 points or less in 5 of their 6 games this year.  They rank 12th in the Big 10 in total offense and 3rd in total defense (#1 in scoring defense).  They’ve run the ball more often than any other team in the conference averaging 44 carries per game.  The problem is, they aren’t great at running the ball.  They average just 3.9 YPC and that’s with their huge effort on Saturday vs the Illini.  Prior to that game they were averaging only 3.1 YPC on the season.  The Wildcats will more than likely have to change their offensive game plan entering Saturday’s game vs OSU.  The Bucks allow just 95 YPG on the ground but can be taken advantage of through the air as we mentioned above.  It they are able to pull the upset here, much of it will probably fall on QB Ramsey’s shoulders.  He’s rarely been asked to light it up through the air as the Cats average just 180 YPG passing which is 13th in the conference and 106th nationally.  While NW hasn’t asked him to be the main cog in the offense, Ramsey has proven he can carry the load in the past as he threw for 6,500 yards and 42 TD’s in his 3 years @ Indiana prior to coming to Northwestern.   OHIO STATE BIG 10 STATS (conference ranking in parentheses) Scoring Offense 46.6 (1st) / Defense 23.3 (5th)Total Offense 532.4 (1st) / Defense 363.8 (6th)Yards Per Play Offense 7.3 (1st) / Defense 5.6 (10th)Rush Offense 251 (1st) / Defense 95 (2nd)Rushing YP Carry Offense 5.5 (1st) / Defense 3.4 (3rd)Pass Offense 281.4 (2nd) / Defense 268.8 (14th)Pass YP Attempt Offense 10.3 (1st) / Defense 7.2 (8th)  NORTHWESTERN BIG 10 STATS (conference ranking in parentheses) Scoring Offense 25.3 (9th) / Defense 14.6 (1st)Total Offense 351.4 (12th) / Defense 313.9 (3rd)Yards Per Play Offense 4.7 (13th) / Defense 4.5 (2nd)Rush Offense 170.6 (7th) / Defense 121.9 (4th)Rushing YP Carry 3.9 (9th) / Defense 3.8 (6th)Pass Offense 180.9 (13th) / 192 Defense (2nd)Pass YP Attempt Offense 6.0 (13th) / Defense 5.0 (1st)  STATS vs COMMON OPPONENTS – 2 common opponents this season Ohio State (-21.5) vs Michigan State – 52-12 Win / +260 total yard advantage / +241 rushing advantage / +19 passing advantage / -1 turnover margin Northwestern (-13.5) vs Michigan State – 20-29 Loss / -77 total yard disadvantage / -132 rushing disadvantage / +55 passing advantage / +0 turnover margin Ohio State (-28) vs Nebraska – 52-17 Win / +121 total yard advantage / +5 rushing advantage / +116 passing advantage / -1 turnover margin Northwestern (-4) vs Nebraska – 21-13 Win / -125 total yard disadvantage / -76 rushing disadvantage / -49 passing disadvantage / -2 turnover margin  THE 5 MOST RECENT MEETINGS 2019 - Ohio State 52, Northwestern 3 (OSU +281 total yard advantage)2018 – BT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME - Ohio State 45, Northwestern 24 (OSU +189 total yard advantage)2016 – Ohio State 24, Northwestern 20 (OSU +25 total yard advantage)2013 – Ohio State 40, Northwestern 30 (OSU +14 total yard advantage)2008 – Ohio State 45, Northwestern 10 (OSU +147 total yard advantage)  POINTSPREAD NUGGET – These 2 Big Ten foes have faced off 27 times since 1980.  The Buckeyes are 26-1 SU & 17-9 ATS in those games including covering 7 of the last 8 meetings.  OSU has scored at least 40 points in 16 of those 27 meetings including 7 of the last 8.  These two have met 7 times since 2006 and the OVER has cashed in 6 of those games with an average of 60.2 total points scored.    

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Ness Notes: Friday, Dec 18

by Larry Ness

Friday, Dec 18, 2020

This column will be available Monday through Friday (posted no later than 1:00 ET), EXCLUSIVELY at BigAl.com. I like to call it my daily 'random thoughts' on the sports betting world, although I'll pass along that my therapist refers to it as "thoughtful commentary."Thursday Night NFL: Las Vegas lost starting QB Derek Carr to a left groin injury suffered on a scramble late in the first quarter but Marcus Mariota, the No. 2 overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans, was outstanding in his Raiders' debut. He completed 17 of 28 passes for 226 yards (one TD / one INT) plus ran for a game-high 88 yards and a TD on nine carries. However, the Raiders' offense was NOT the problem last night. In the end, the Las Vegas D could not stop LA rookie QB Justin Herbert. Herbert barely stretched the ball into the end zone on a third-and-goal dive off left tackle with 1:29 remaining in overtime as the visiting Chargers won 30-27. Las Vegas lost for the FOURTH time in its last five games and its postseason hopes have all but 'expired.' The LA win snapped a NINE-game division losing streak with their second consecutive victory. Just as notable, Herbert (22 of 32 for 314 yards with 2 TDs and 0 INTs) tied the NFL rookie record for TD passes in a season. With two games remaining in 2020 he has 27, tying him with the Cleveland Browns' Baker Mayfield, who set the mark in 2018. That's not all. His 314-yard effort was his SEVENTH 300-yard game (or more), setting a rookie record. Philip Rivers is having a good year with the 9-4 Colts but it would be hard to argue against the premise that the Chargers have found a 'franchise' QB!CBB: We finally got a ranked vs ranked matchup on Thursday, as No. 5 Kansas visited Lubbock to take on No. 14 Texas Tech. It was the Big 12 opener for both schools, the earliest Big 12 opener for either team since the conference formed 24 years ago. Kansas led 29-26 at halftime but Texas Tech seemed to have control midway through the second half when it extended the lead to 46-39. However, the Jayhawks responded with a 10-0 surge and regained the lead with 7:18 remaining. The rest of the game went back-and-forth, until Kansas went up by a point with 13 seconds left. Jalen Wilson blocked a shot on the other end of the floor right before time expired to lift the Jayhawks to a 58-57 victory. There are no top-25 matchups on Friday, with the higher ranked team checking in at 10-5 SU but just 7-8 ATS on the season. There was just one Thursday game featuring ranked vs unranked opponents, as No. 9 Creighton won 94-76 at St John's. The Bluejays led throughout but the Red Storm pulled to within 52-50 with 14:25 left. However, Creighton then went on a 22-4 run! Ranked teams are 92-13 (.876) SU but a more modest 59-44-2 (57.3%) ATS against unranked opponents Y-T-D.There are three games between ranked and unranked ones on Friday with two top-10 teams in action. No. 8 West Va (6-1) is a top-10 team for the first time since January of 2018 and is home to 1-3 Iowa St plus No. 10 Tennessee (3-0) hosts 0-7 Tenn Tech. West Va is favored by 15 1/2-points and Tennessee by 28 1/2-points. Two undefeated top-25 teams were set to host games as well. Missouri, which entered the rankings for the first time this past Monday at No. 16, was scheduled to host Prairie View A&M but it's been canceled. No. 18 San Diego St (5-0) hosts a dangerous 6-2 BYU team. Remember, the Aztecs opened last season 26-0. The Aztecs have won the teams' last four meetings, including a road win last November. San Diego St is favored by 7 1/2-points.CFB's Championship Game weekend: COVID  strikes again! Coastal Carolina was coming off a 5-7 season but the Chanticleers are the lone FBS team to win 11 games so far in 2020 (11-0) and became the first SBC school to crack the AP top-10 this past Sunday at No. 9. Coastal was ranked No. 12 in the CFP rankings and with a win in the SBC title, had a reasonable chance to become the Group of 5's highest ranked IF, Tulsa could win at No. 9 Cincinnati (8-0) in the AAC title game. However, Saturday’s title game between Coastal Carolina and No. 19 Louisiana (9-1) has been canceled because an entire position group at Coastal Carolina had been exposed to a teammate who tested positive for COVID-19 and would be unable to play the game. I guess it's still possible a Cincy home loss to Tulsa would allow Coastal to leapfrog the Bearcats but that's less likely than if the Chanticleers had beaten ULL. It's also a blow to ULL, which beat now-No. 6 Iowa State to begin the season with its only loss coming in a 30-27 defeat to Coastal back on Oct 14. It becomes the first (and hopefully the ONLY) title game to be canceled. "Fingers crossed."There are THREE conference title games scheduled for Friday, the MAC, C-USA and the Pac-12. 5-0 Buffalo is No. 23 in the AP poll but unranked in the CFP standings and will take on 5-1 Ball State at Ford Field for the MAC title (7:30 ET). Buffalo is in the title game for the second time in three years after losing to Northern Illinois in 2018. Buffalo last won it in 2008 and Ball State’s last championship was in 1996. The Bulls are favored by 13 1/2-points. When the pandemic-delayed Pac-12 Conference football season started, Oregon (AP preseason No. 9) and USC (AP preseason No. 17) were the favorites to reach the title game. Both schools were only able to play five games but while USC went 5-0, Oregon finished 3-2, second in the Pac-12's North Division behind Washington (3-1). The Ducks were scheduled to play Washington at home on Dec 12 but a COVID-19 spike in the Huskies' program caused Washington to cancel that game. That left Oregon 'out in the cold,' with the Huskies set to play the Trojans on Friday night. However, the COVID situation in Seattle did NOT improve, so lo and behold, the Ducks will replace the Huskies in the championship game at LA's Memorial Coliseum (8:00 ET). USC is favored by three points. UAB is back in the C-USA championship game for the THIRD straight year, becoming the first C-USA program to accomplish such a feat. The Blazers won 27-25 at MTSU in 2018 and then lost last year at FAU, 49-6. UAB will again be the road team in 2020, as it travels to Huntington, West Va to take on Marshall's Thundering Herd at 7:00 ET. The Blazers are 5-3 on the season, with their 3-1 conference record being good enough to win the West. UAB lost 37-34 (2 OTs) at La Tech on Oct 31 but didn't play again until its 21-16 win at Rice on Dec 12, clinching the school's third straight division title. Marshall knows MORE than a little about Rice, as the Thundering Herd (which also saw games canceled due to COVID issues) was 7-0 when it hosted Rice on Dec 5 and shockingly lost 20-0 as a 24 1/2-point favorite. Marshall won the East with a 4-1 conference mark. Marshall has played in two previous C-USA title games, losing to Rice (there's that team again!) in 2013 but winning the following season against La Tech. Marshall is favored by points 4 1/2-points.With the cancelation of the ULL/Coastal Carolina game, that leaves SIX conference championship games on tap for Saturday, including FOUR of the Power-5 conferences. In order of start times, it's 6-1 Northwestern vs 5-0 Ohio St in the Big Ten at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and 7-2 Oklahoma vs 8-2 Iowa State in the Big 12 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, both kicking at 12 noon ET. In the ACC it's 9-1 Clemson and 10-0 Notre Dame set for 4:00 ET at Bank of America stadium in Charlotte and the SEC title game will feature 10-0 Alabama vs 8-2 Florida at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta (8:00 ET). Wrapping up, 5-1 Boise State (-6.5) and 6-0 San Jose St meet at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas for the MWC title (4:15 ET) and note that Boise St has won all 14 lifetime meetings with San Jose St.  6-1 Tulsa will play 8-0 Cincinnati (-14.5) on its home field (Nippert Stadium, where the Bearcats have won 19 straight) at 8:00 ET for the ACC title.Power 5 championship games: The Buckeyes have had THREE of their last five games postponed due to COVID-19 issues but got a waiver to play in the championship game since it did not meet the original minimum six-game requirement to be eligible. Ohio State (No. 3 AP and No. 4 CFP) is playing for its FOURTH straight Big Ten title win and a "W" on Saturday would surely 'lock them into' a 'Final Four' spot. Ohio St is favored by 20 points. Speaking of streaks, Oklahoma has won FIVE consecutive Big 12 championships and will be eager for some revenge from its 37-30 loss at Iowa St back on Oct 3. The Cyclones are in their first-ever Big 12 title game and haven't won a football conference title since 1912, playing in the MVC. Iowa St has never won a conference title outright, having tied Nebraska back in 1912. The Sooners are favored by six points. In the ACC, No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 3 Clemson (CFP rankings) square off in a much-anticipated rematch of Notre Dame's 47-40 double overtime win which was played back on Nov 7 in South Bend. It's hard to imagine BOTH schools won't make the 'Final Four' if Clemson wins but if Notre Dame wins, will Clemson be left out? Clemson is bidding for not only its SIXTH consecutive ACC title but also its SIXTH straight trip to the CFP as well. The Tigers are favored by 10 1/2-points. No. 1 Alabama (AP and CFP) is trying to secure a return to the College Football Playoff after missing out last season for the first time since the four-team postseason format began in 2014. The Crimson Tide may qualify even with a loss, since no other team in the SEC has fewer than two defeats. Florida likely squandered its chance to get into the playoff with a stunning setback to LSU last weekend, but the Gators are still in position to claim their first SEC title since 2008. This will be the 10th time the teams have met in the SEC championship game, with Alabama holding a 5-4 edge. However, the Crimson Tide have won the last SIX meetings against the Gators and Florida coach Dan Mullen is 0-9 in his career against Alabama's Nick Saban. Alabama is favored by 17 points.The final CFP rankings will be released Sunday at 12 noon ET and I will cover the 'fallout' in Monday's Notes.Good luck...Larry

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NCAA Friday Night Football: USC/Oregon Preview

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Dec 18, 2020

Oregon plays at USC in the Pac-12 Championship Game on Fox at 8 PM ET in a game put together on Monday of this week after Washington had to pull out of the game due to their continued COVID outbreak.Oregon had planned to play the Huskies last weekend in what would have been the de-facto play-in game to represent the Pac-12 North Division in this contest. When that game got canceled because of Washington's COVID issues, the Ducks thought they had missed their chance to play for the conference championship. Oregon opened their season with three straight victories against Stanford, Washington State, and UCLA. But the Ducks have stumbled with two straight upset losses at Oregon State and then at California on December 5th by a 21-17 score. Turnovers have made the difference in both games as Oregon turned the ball over five times in those two games without a takeaway. After ranking fifth in the nation last year with a +16 net turnover margin, the Ducks are tied for 123rd in the country this season with a -1.40 net turnover margin per game. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Tyler Shough leads an Oregon offense that scores 34.2 points-per-game while averaging 467.0 yards-per-game. Those numbers rank 27th and 21st in the FBS. Shough is completing 63.6% of his passes for 1389 yards with 11 touchdown passes and four interceptions. USC won the Pac-12 South Division by winning all five of their regular-season games. The Trojans rallied from a 28-10 deficit in the third quarter by outscoring UCLA by a 20-3 margin in the fourth quarter to eke out a 43-38 dramatic victory. Quarterback Kedon Slovis completed 30 of 47 passes for 344 yards with five touchdown passes and two interceptions in the win. The sophomore is completing 70.3% of his passes for 1601 yards with 15 touchdown passes and four interceptions. USC is scoring 35.2 points-per-game while averaging 428.4 yards-per-game, which ranks 23rd and 28th in the nation. After enduring a -10 net turnover margin last year, the Trojans have turned that around this season by averaging a +1.4 net turnover margin per game, tied for fourth-best in the nation. USC will be without their top running back tonight with Vavae Malepeai doubtful with a sprained knee. Malepeai rushed for 110 yards against UCLA last week.Both of these teams have been vulnerable on defense. The Trojans allow 25.0 points-per-game along with 396.6 yards-per-game, which rank 41st and 56th in the nation. The Ducks give up 28.0 points-per-game and 419.8 yards-per-game, which is 59th and 75th in the FBS.The Pac-12 Championship Game's initial site at a neutral field in Las Vegas changed because of COVID concerns. The Trojans host this game at their Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. USC ranks a distant 13th in the latest college football playoff rankings. Yet a victory against Oregon tonight to continue their unbeaten season might put the Trojans in play in the minds of the committee if chaos reigns in the Saturday games. BetAnySports lists USC as a 3-point favorite with the total set at 64.5.

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NFL Week 14: News, Results and Insights

by Wayne Root

Friday, Dec 18, 2020

Highlights, Questions and Comments  Philadelphia owes him $62M: In five seasons under Coach Doug Pederson, the Eagles are 11-3 in games not started by Carson Wentz (including the playoffs) and 35-33-1 with Wentz starting. Hard choices can be costly.  Drew Brees to start or wait?? Taysom Hill passed for a career-high 291 yards, but he also threw an interception and lost a fumble. With 11 cracked ribs, let him heal.  We knew he’d be a great one!! Washington’s rookie defensive end Chase Young put on a show with six tackles, a sack, two passes defended, two quarterback hits and a 47-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown. Defense Defense Defense.  Strong case for MVP: Derrick Henry is leading the N.F.L. with 1,532 yards rushing this season — just 8 short of the total he led the N.F.L. with last year — and he has run for 100 or more yards in his last nine road games. Honor a running back that fee want to even tackle head on.  NFC-East picks up interest!! The severity of Alex Smith’s injury was not immediately announced. With the Giants losing last week, combined with wins by Washington, Philadelphia and Dallas, things stayed interesting in the N.F.C. East, which is making up for its lack of quality by having all four teams in the division race with three games remaining.  Vikings kicking themselves? Dan Bailey missed an extra-point attempt in the first quarter and proceeded to miss field-goal attempts of 36, 54 and 46 yards, with each sailing wide right. Vikings kicker is having a mental meltdown?  Bailey also missed two extra points and a 51-yard field-goal attempt last week, making him 1 of 4 on extra points and 2 of 6 on field goals.  Throw out the game stats!! Tampa Bay had the ball for less than 21 of the game’s 60 minutes, while Minnesota had the game’s leading passer, leading rusher and leading receiver. Final score: Bucs 26--Vikings 14I’m baaaaack Chicago fans!! Mitchell Trubisky had a terrific game against the Houston Texans, completing 24 of 33 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns. Chicago managed to keep the Bears very much alive in the race for the N.F.C.’s third wild card.Could they finish 0-3; or 1-2?? Green Bay controls its own destiny as far as a first-round bye is concerned, and the Packers will close their season with winnable games against Carolina, Tennessee (in Green Bay) and Chicago. Need linebackers in a hurry!! The Steelers looked lost trying to slow down quarterback Josh Allen, receiver Stefon Diggs and the Bills’ offense, losting, 26-15. As a result, the Steelers will go into Week 15 trailing Kansas City for the top spot in the AFC. Defense is leaking fast.  Tom Brady’s Christmas wish!!Tampa Bay improved to 8-5, and is on its way to its first playoff appearance since 2007.  Brady has his offense set for a playoff run! The next John Elway?? Drew Lock finished the day with a career-high four passing touchdowns leading the Broncos to an unlikely win over Carolina. The Buffalo Bills are complete now. Stefon Diggs had 10 catches for 130 yards and a touchdown. He is the first player this season to reach 100 receptions. It’ll be Allen to Diggs in the playoffs. 

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Big Al's Daily Angle: NCAA Basketball and NCAA Football Preview

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Dec 18, 2020

The Friday sports card features another afternoon and evening slate in college basketball and four college football games. The planned Purdue/Indiana game in college football got canceled because of COVID issues.The first of three conference championship games in college football kicks off at 7 PM ET in Conference USA. Marshall hosts the game with their 7-1 record. The Thundering Herd lost their first game of the season in their last game on December 5th in a 20-0 upset loss at home to Rice as a 24.5-point favorite. Marshall might have been rusty playing for the first time in a month, given COVID cancellations. Redshirt freshman Grant Wells entered that game with 16 touchdown passes with only four interceptions, but he got picked off five times. UAB snapped a two-game losing streak last Saturday in a 21-16 win at Rice as a 7-point favorite. The Blazers raised their record to a 5-3 mark with that victory. Head coach Bill Clark leads his team into their third straight appearance in the Conference USA championship game. Marshall is a 4.5-point favorite with the total set at 43.5 (all odds from BetOnline). The CBS Sports Network has the broadcast.The Mid-American Conference championship game is at 7:30 PM ET on a neutral field at Ford Field in Detroit. Ball State rallied from a 20-13 halftime deficit at home last week to upset Western Michigan by a 30-27 score as a 2.5-point underdog to earn their spot in this game. After losing at Miami (OH) in their opening game, the Cardinals have rattled off five straight victories. Buffalo remained unbeaten in their five games this season with their 56-7 victory over Akron as a 33-point favorite last Saturday. The Bulls lead the nation with a 51.8 points-per-game scoring average. Buffalo is a 13-point favorite with an over/under of 67.5. This game is on ESPN.Nebraska plays at Rutgers at 7:30 PM ET. The Cornhuskers are 6.5-point road favorites with a total of 54.The Pac-12 championship game takes place at 8 PM ET. Washington won the North Division but pulled out of the game early in the week due to their inability to field a team given COVID. Oregon takes their spot as the North Division representative with their 3-2 record. The Ducks have lost their last two games after being upset at California on December 5th as a 9-point favorite. USC rallied from a 21-10 halftime deficit at UCLA last Saturday night by outscoring the Bruins by a 20-3 margin in the fourth quarter to pull out a 43-38 victory. The Trojans are 5-0 on the season with an outside chance of making it into the college football playoff with a win and then plenty of help on Saturday. USC hosts this game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as a 3-point favorite with a total of 63.5.The college basketball card tips off 3 PM ET with Gardner Webb hosting VMI as a 5-point favorite with an over/under of 142.5.Three games are on national television on Friday. At 5 PM ET, San Diego State hosts BYU in a Mountain West Conference clash on the CBS Sports Network. The Cougars raised their record to a 6-2 mark after an 82-64 win against Utah as a 1-point favorite. San Diego State remained unbeaten in their five games with their 80-68 upset win at Arizona State as a 2-point underdog. The Aztecs rank 18th in the nation in the Associated Press poll. San Diego State is a 7-point favorite with a total of 137.5.Davidson plays at Rhode Island at 7 PM ET on ESPNU. The Wildcats are 3-3 after getting upset against Charlotte on Tuesday by a 63-52 score as a 10.5-point favorite. Rhode Island has dropped to 3-4 on the season with their second straight loss on Sunday in a 65-58 loss at Western Kentucky as a 5.5-point underdog. The nightcap on ESPNU is at 9 PM ET, with West Virginia hosting Iowa State. The Mountaineers raised their record to a 6-1 mark on Sunday with their 87-71 win at home against Richmond. Iowa State has lost three straight games for a disappointing 1-3 start to the season after getting upset on Tuesday at home to Kansas State by a 74-65 score as a 7.5-point favorite. West Virginia is a 15.5-point favorite with the over/under at 146.

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2020 NCAA Basketball: An Early Look at Winning Trends

by Al McMordie

Friday, Dec 18, 2020

The 2020 College Basketball season is almost a month old, so it's a great time to take a look at the season's developing trends.There have been 735 games played with point spreads.  And unlike, say, the NFL, where the underdogs have shined, there has not been a difference in performance between the underdogs and the favorites.  Nor has there been a significant difference between home teams and road teams.Let's take a look at the early numbers.Favorites:  353-363-19 ATSUnderdogs:  363-353-19 ATSHome Teams:  301-286-14 ATSAway Teams:  286-301-14 ATSHome Favorites:  230-227-12 ATSAway Favorites: 59-71-2 ATSNeutral Court Favorites: 64-65-5 ATSHome Underdogs:  71-59-2 ATSAway Underdogs: 227-230-12 ATSNeutral Court Underdogs:  65-64-5 ATSOf course, the best handicappers go beneath the surface to analyze the best situations.  Here are some of the better situations that have delivered the $$$ so far in 2020.Teams off back-to-back losses vs. foes off a win:  64-43-3 ATS, including 35-19-1 ATS off 3+ lossesTeams off 3+ wins vs. foes off a loss:  26-36-2 ATSUnderdogs off back-to-back ATS wins:  22-44-1 ATS, including 10-31-1 ATS vs. foes not off a SU/ATS winUnderdogs off back-to-back ATS losses:  58-40-5 ATS, including 50-29-4 ATS vs. foes not off a SU/ATS lossRoad teams off upset wins:  27-11-1 ATS, including 16-2-1 ATS off a double-digit winTeams off back-to-back upset wins:  7-1 ATSTeams off back-to-back upset defeats:  6-4 ATSSame-season revenge:  17-9 ATSUnrested vs. rested:  26-14-3 ATSGood luck, as always....Al McMordie

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NCAA Saturday Night Football: Alabama/Florida Preview

by Big Al Staff

Friday, Dec 18, 2020

Alabama plays Florida for the SEC Championship on CBS at 8 PM ET. The neutral field site for this game is the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Alabama is the top-ranked team in the college football playoff rankings with a 10-0 record. They closed out their regular season schedule last Saturday with a 52-3 victory at Arkansas. The Crimson Tide is third in the nation by scoring 49.5 points-per-game, and their 537.7 yards-per-game average is fifth in the FBS. The 'Bama defense is holding their opponents to 16.8 points-per-game and 340.1 yards-per-game, ranking 11th and 27th in the country.Florida endured a tough-luck 37-34 upset loss at home to LSU last week as a 24-point favorite. The Gators outgained the Tigers by a 609 to 418 margin. Yet the defending national champions scored on a 68-yard interception return for a touchdown and then later given a reprieve from a failed third-down conversion late in the game by a Florida personal foul stemming from one of their players throwing an LSU to celebrate the defensive stop. The ensuing 15-yard penalty kept the Tigers’ drive alive, which ended with a 57-yard field goal that decided the game.The Gators have an 8-2 record, with their second loss being by three points to Texas A&M. Florida’s signature victory was their 44-28 win against Georgia. They are 12th in the nation by scoring 41.2 points-per-game, and their 513.5 yards-per-game mark is eighth in the country. The Gators allow their opponents to score 26.3 points-per-game along with 384.7 yards-per-game. A subplot to this game is the battle between the Heisman Trophy contenders opposing at quarterback. Alabama’s Mac Jones is completing 76.4% of his passes for 3321 yards with 27 touchdown passes and only three interceptions. Kyle Trask is completing 70.2% of his passes for Florida for 3717 yards with 40 touchdown passes and just five interceptions.This game will have significant ramifications for the college football semifinals on January 1st. An Alabama victory ensures them a spot in the playoff and the likely top seed, which brackets them against the final fourth-seeded team. It remains possible that the playoff committee would still rank the Crimson Tide no lower than fourth even with a loss in this game, although with controversy. The Clemson-Notre Dame loser could be on the outside of the top-four, and the Tide has a 52-24 win over Texas A&M that currently ranks fifth. Florida ranks seventh, but their two losses likely mean finishing in the top-four even with an upset victory would be a bridge too far. Yet an Ohio State loss in the Big Ten championship game and an Aggies loss to Tennessee could make things interesting if the Gators win this game.The last time these two teams played was in the SEC championship game in 2016. The Crimson Tide won that game handily by a 54-16 score. Jim McElwain was the Gators coach that season. In his third season as the Florida head coach, Dan Mullen will be looking to stymie Nick Saban this time. Alabama is a 17-point favorite at BookMaker, with the total set at 74.5.

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NCAA Basketball: Kansas/Texas Tech Preview

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Dec 17, 2020

The Thursday night game on ESPN is a heavyweight Big 12 battle between Kansas and Texas Tech, who are ranked 5th and 14th in this week’s Associated Press poll.Kansas lost their opening game of the season against number-one ranked Gonzaga by a 102-90 score. The Jayhawks have since rattled off six straight victories, including signature non-conference wins against Kentucky and Creighton. Kansas last played on Friday when they hammered Nebraska-Omaha by a 95-50 score as a 29.5-point favorite. Bill Self was on track to leading his team to a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament last March before the COVID shutdown. That team finished with a 28-3 record, but the Jayhawks lost their top two players from that group in Devon Dotson and Udoka Azubuike. Kansas still has three starters back along with a few reserves that have been bolstered by another strong freshman class led by five-star prospect Bryce Thompson who takes over for Dotson at point guard. The defense was the hallmark of last year's team as they were ranked second in adjusted efficiency according to kenpom. The Jayhawks go into this game ranked sixth in the nation by kenpom in adjusted defensive efficiency. Redshirt freshman Jalen Wilson leads the team with a 15.3 points-per-game scoring average while adding 8.7 rebounds-per-game. Junior guard Ochai Agbaji is scoring 14.1 points-per-game average and making 45.9% of his shots from 3-point range.Texas Tech has won four games in a row with their 77-57 victory over Texas A&M Corpus Christi on Saturday. That win raised the Red Raiders’ record to a 6-1 mark, with their lone loss being a 64-53 setback against Houston. This group has quickly gelled into another typical Chris Beard team in his fifth year with the program as they lead the nation in kenpom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric.After losing in the national championship game two seasons ago, Beard’s team took a step back last year with an 18-13 record. The Red Raiders have more production returning this year than they did after their superb 2018-19 season, including two starters in Kyler Edwards and Terrance Shannon that appear ready for breakout seasons. Edwards leads the team with 25 assists while contributing 11.3 points-per-game. Shannon is scoring 11.8 points-per-game and pulling down 4.87 rebounds-per-game.Beard also brought in a top-ten recruiting class along with four transfers. Mac McClung from Georgetown leads the team with a 14.1 points-per-game scoring average. Marcus Santo-Silva, a graduate transfer forward from VCU, has added 8.1 points-per-game along with 7.6 rebounds-per-game. The Red Raiders' have not been tested this season outside their loss to the Cougars. Texas Tech's most competitive victory was a 51-44 triumph over Abilene Christian as a 15-point favorite. Kansas won six of the last eight meetings between these two teams, with their most recent encounter being on March 7th when the Jayhawks won by a 66-62 score as a 3-point favorite. BetAnySports lists Texas Tech as a 3-point favorite with the total set at 135. Tipoff is at 7 PM ET.

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Ness Notes: Thursday, Dec 17

by Larry Ness

Thursday, Dec 17, 2020

This column will be available Monday through Friday (posted no later than 1:00 ET), EXCLUSIVELY at BigAl.com. I like to call it my daily 'random thoughts' on the sports betting world, although I'll pass along that my therapist refers to it as "thoughtful commentary."College hoops: There were again no games between ranked opponents on Wednesday but there were four games between ranked and unranked ones. No. 7 Villanova beat Butler 85-66 to move to 6-1,  No. 11 Texas (now 6-1) beat Sam Houston St, No. 20 Ohio St  lost at Purdue, falling to 5-1. No. 21 Duke, which opened No. 9 in the preseason poll, got a much-need 75-65 win at Notre Dame, after losing at home to Michigan St and Illinois (Blue Devils are just 3-2). Ranked teams were 3-1 SU and 2-2 ATS on Wednesday against unranked opponents.We finally get a ranked vs ranked matchup on Thursday, as No. 5 Kansas (6-1) visits Lubbock to take on No. 14 Texas Tech (6-1). It's the Big 12 opener for both schools, the earliest Big 12 opener for either team since the conference formed 24 years ago. Kansas and Texas Tech  are two of the league's FIVE ranked teams and, because of a COVID-19 cancellation, their matchup is the only opener pitting two such teams against each other. Kansas has claimed 15 of the last 16 Big 12's regular season titles but is a small underdog here, as Texas Tech is favored by (higher ranked teams are 9-5 SU but 6-8 ATS on the season). There is just one contest in which a ranked team is playing an unranked opponent. No. 9 Creighton (4-2, 0-1) blew a second-half lead Monday night to lose its Big East opener at home to Marquette 89-84, while St. John's (5-3, 0-2) suffered a 97-94 overtime setback Sunday at Georgetown. The Bluejays are favored by 7 points but note that St John's has opened 4-0 at home. Ranked teams are 91-13 (.875) SU but a more modest 58-44-2 (56.9%) ATS against unranked opponents Y-T-D.NFL Week 15 kicks off with a Thursday night game between the LA Chargers and the LV Raiders. The Chargers and Raiders are original members of the AFL, which began in 1960. The Raiders played in Oakland from 1960 through 1981, winning two Super Bowls. They moved to LA from 1982 through 1994 (won a third Super Bowl title), before returning to Oakland from 1995 through 2019. The Raiders are now based in Las Vegas. The Chargers spent their first season in LA but moved to San Diego the very next season, staying through 2016, when they moved back to LA and now share SoFi Stadium with the Rams. The Chargers do not own a Super Bowl title but the 1963 team which was 11-3 won the AFC championship game 51-10 over the Pats, was one of the best teams of the 1960s, AFL or NFL. CFL castoff Tobin Rote stepped in at QB and had one of the greatest WRs ever in Lance "Bambi" Alworth plus a RB duo that included Paul Lowe and Keith Lincoln (note: Lincoln rushed for 206 yards on 13 carries, led the team with 123 yards in receiving on seven catches and completed a pass for 20 yards). For those of you too young to have seen it, you really missed something. Suggested reading: The Lost Super Bowls 1961-65 (A Fictional Scrapbook). Spoiler alert: Sid Gillman's 1963 Chargers beat George Halas' 11-1-2 Chicago Bears in that 1963 'Super Bowl.' Fast-forwarding to 2020, the 4-9 Chargers have been eliminated from the playoffs, while the 7-6 Raiders are currently on the wrong side of the playoff 'bubble' (9th, with only seven getting in). The Chargers may just have found a franchise QB in rookie Justin Herbert (66.3% for 3,467 yards with 25 TDs and 10 INTs) and Raiders QB Derek Carr is "on pace" for the best season of his career (68.2% for 3,343 yards with 24 TDs and 7 INTs / QB rating of 102.1). Las Vegas is favored by three points (over/under is 53 1/2).Week 15 also features two Saturday games, the 10-3 Bills at the 5-8 Broncos and the 4-9 Panthers at the 10-3 Packers. The Bills sit atop the AFC East (two-game lead over the 8-5 Dolphins), looking to win the division for the first time since 1995 (Buffalo is favored by six points and the over/under is 50). The 10-3 Packers currently own the NFC's No. 1 seed (own tiebreaker over the 10-3 Saints) and are favored by  8 1/2-points (over/under is 51 1/2). Moving on to some notable Sunday games, starting at the bottom (where else?) with the 0-13 Jets and 1-12 Jags, who have lost 12 straight since a Week 1 win over the Colts.The Jets have now lost a franchise-high 13 straight and are unlikely to win Sunday in LA against the Rams, who at 9-4 are in first-place in the NFC West only because they own the tiebreaker over the 9-4 Seahawks. The Rams are favored by 17 1/2-points and the over/under is 44. The Jags will be at the Ravens, who after going an NFL-best 14-2 in 2019, are currently 8-5, with the 8-5 Dolphins owning the tiebreaker which would give Miami the 7th and final playoff berth in the AFC. The Ravens are favored by 13 points and the over/under is 47 1/2. The defending champion KC Chiefs now own the league's best record at 12-1, after the Steelers have lost two straight, after an 11-0 start. The Chiefs are in New Orleans against the 10-3 Saints, who can pretty much be assured that the Packers will beat the Panthers, meaning a loss would put them ONE game back of Green Bay for the NFC's No. 1 seed with two games left PLUS the Packers owning the tiebreaker. The Chiefs own just one-game lead over the 11-2 Steelers for the AFC's No. 1 seed, with Pittsburgh playing the 2-10-1 Bengals in Cincinnati on Monday night. KC is favored by three points and the over/under is 51 1/2. Pittsburgh is favored by 13 points and the over/under is 40. SNF features the 9-4 Browns at the 5-8 NY Giants. The Browns are currently the AFC's No. 5 seed, as Cleveland looks to make the postseason for the first time since 2007. In a 'normal' year, the Giants' would be counting the days until the end of the regular season but thanks to playing in the NFC 'Least,' New York is just one game behind first-place Washington. The Browns are favored by five points (over/under is 43 1/2) but the Giants are hopeful that 6-7 Washington will lose earlier in the day to 9-4 Seattle, as Seattle is favored by five points (over/under is 44 1/2).Friday's Notes features CFB's Championship Game weekend.Good luck...Larry 

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Big Al's Daily Angle: EPL, NCAA Basketball and NFL Preview

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Dec 17, 2020

The Thursday sports card features the last NFL Thursday night game for the 2020 season, along with the final matches in the English Premier League's midweek schedule and another afternoon and evening slate in college basketball.  The college basketball tips off at 2 PM ET, with Southern Illinois hosting North Dakota as a 7-point favorite with the total set at 135 (all odds from BetOnline).Three games are on national television for the Thursday college basketball card. Kansas travels to Texas Tech for a 7 PM ET tip-off on ESPN in the opening Big 12 contest for both teams. The Jayhawks have rebounded from losing to Gonzaga by a 102-90 score in their opening game to win six straight games. They last played on Friday when they defeated Nebraska-Omaha by a 95-50 score as a 29.5-point favorite. Kansas ranks fifth in the nation in the Associated Press poll this week.Texas Tech is ranked 14th in the AP poll after winning four straight games to raise their record to a 6-1 mark. The Red Raiders come off a 77-57 victory against Texas A&M Corpus Christi on Saturday as a 27-point favorite. Their lone loss was a 64-53 setback to Houston. Texas Tech is a 2-point favorite with an over/under of 133.Creighton visits St. John’s for a game at 7 PM ET on FS1. The Bluejays are ranked ninth in the AP poll despite losing two of their last three games. Creighton was upset at home in their game against Marquette on Monday by an 89-84 score as an 8-point favorite. They are 4-2 so far this season.St. John’s has lost two games in a row after their 97-94 setback at Georgetown on Sunday. The Red Storm return home with a 5-3 record on the season after playing their last two games on the road. Creighton is a 7-point road favorite with the total at 160.5.The nightcap on FS1 at 9 PM ET features Seton Hall playing at Marquette. The Pirates have won three games in a row with their 77-68 win over St. John’s on Friday as a 6-point favorite. Seton Hall brings their 4-3 record to Milwaukee to face a Golden Eagles’ team that has won three of their last four games.Marquette raised their record to a 5-2 mark on Monday with their 89-84 upset win at Creighton as an 8-point underdog. The Golden Eagles are a 4.5-point favorite with an over/under of 145.Matchweek 13 in the English Premier League concludes with two matches on Thursday that will be on the NBC Sports Network. At 1 PM ET, Aston Villa hosts Burnley as a -0.75 goal line favorite with the total at 2.5. At 3 PM ET, Manchester United visits Sheffield United as a -1.25 goal line road favorite with an over/under of 2.5.The last Thursday night game in the NFL season involves a clash between AFC West rivals with one team still fighting for the playoffs. Las Vegas has lost three of their last four games but remains alive in the AFC playoff hunt. With their 7-6 record, the Raiders are in ninth place in the AFC standings behind Miami and Baltimore with 8-5 records. Las Vegas comes off a 44-27 upset loss at home to Indianapolis last week as a 2.5-point favorite. The Raiders were held back by a  -3 net turnover margin with quarterback Derek Carr throwing two interceptions while fumbling another three times. Carr completed 31 of 45 passes for 316 yards, but his turnovers continue to hurt his team. He has 11 fumbles on the season, along with seven interceptions. These mistakes threaten to overshadow his 68.2% completion percentage that has resulted in 3343 passing yards with 27 touchdown passes.Los Angeles is playing out the string with a 4-9 record, but they did win for the third time in ten contests decided by one scoring possession last week. The Chargers pulled out a 20-17 win at home over Atlanta as a 1-point favorite. Fourth-year head coach Anthony Lynn continues to face scrutiny with clock management and special teams.Las Vegas needs to win this game to maintain their playoff hopes while the Chargers are relegated to the spoiler role and perhaps salvaging Lynn’s job for next season. The Raiders are a 3-point favorite with the total set at 53.5. NBC has the broadcast with the kickoff shortly after 8:20 PM ET.

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NFL Thursday Night Football: Chargers/Raiders Preview

by Big Al Staff

Thursday, Dec 17, 2020

The last Thursday night game in the NFL season involves a clash between AFC West rivals with one team still fighting for the playoffs. Las Vegas has lost three of their last four games but remains alive in the AFC playoff hunt. With their 7-6 record, the Raiders are in ninth place in the AFC standings behind Miami and Baltimore with 8-5 records. Las Vegas needs to pass both teams to claim the final seventh spot in the playoff bracket. Yet the tie-breaker possibilities offer hope. The Raiders own a better conference record with the Ravens, and they have the opportunity to earn a head-to-head tie-breaker with their game against the Dolphins pending next week.Las Vegas comes off a 44-27 upset loss at home to Indianapolis last week as a 2.5-point favorite. The Raiders were held back by a  -3 net turnover margin with quarterback Derek Carr throwing two interceptions while fumbling another three times. Carr completed 31 of 45 passes for 316 yards, but his turnovers continue to hurt his team. He has 11 fumbles on the season, along with seven interceptions. These mistakes threaten to overshadow his 68.2% completion percentage that has resulted in 3343 passing yards with 27 touchdown passes.The Las Vegas defense has also been an increasing concern for head coach Jon Gruden as they allowed over 200 rushing yards for the second straight week. That was the final straw for Gruden who fired defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and replaced him with defensive line coach Rod Marinelli. On a short week, there is not much he can do to fix what plagues the Raiders’ defense. Marinelli was previously the head coach of the Detroit Lions team that finished 0-16 before he later served as the defensive coordinator in Dallas. Los Angeles is playing out the string with a 4-9 record, but they did win for the third time in ten contests decided by one scoring possession last week. The Chargers pulled out a 20-17 win at home over Atlanta as a 1-point favorite. Fourth-year head coach Anthony Lynn continues to face scrutiny with clock management and special teams. This week, the controversy involved an ill-advised run play called late in the first half on the Falcons' eight-yard line. Being out of time outs, the Chargers failed to score on the drive as time expired for halftimeRookie quarterback Justin Herbert has been a bright spot. He completed 36 of 44 passes against Atlanta for 243 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Herbert is completing 66.3% of his passes for 3467 yards with 25 touchdown passes and ten interceptions. The Raiders will be without four starters in this critical game due to injuries. Safety Johnathan Abram, linebacker Nicholas Morrow, and cornerback Damon Arnette are in the concussion protocol while defensive end Clelin Ferrell deals with a shoulder. Cornerback Nevin Lawson is questionable with an illness. The Chargers have right tackle Bryan Bulaga out with his concussion issues. Linebacker Denzel Perryman and safety Nasir Adderley are doubtful with injuries. Three key players on offense are questionable, with wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams dealing with a hamstring and back while running back Austin Ekeler dealing with a quad. All three players did take part in limited practice this week. Los Angeles also has eight players either out or on their Injured Reserve list, including defensive stalwarts Derwin James and Melvin Ingram, who have been out all season.Las Vegas needs to win this game to maintain their playoff hopes while the Chargers are relegated to the spoiler role and perhaps salvaging Lynn’s job for next season. BetAnySports lists the Raiders as a 3-point favorite with the total set at 53. NBC has the broadcast with the kickoff shortly after 8:20 PM ET.

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Duke/Notre Dame Basketball Preview

by Big Al Staff

Wednesday, Dec 16, 2020

The Wednesday nightcap on ESPN features the ACC debut between the Duke Blue Devils and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.Duke has stumbled off to a 2-2 start this season. The Blue Devils have victories over Coppin State and Bellarmine while losing their high profile games to Michigan State and Illinois. Their last time Duke was on the court was against the Illini on December 8th, which ended in an 83-68 upset loss as a 3-point favorite. Both of those losses were at home at Cameron Indoor Arena, which has drawn attention for many observers that this will be a down year for head coach Mike Krzyzewski.Duke’s most significant problem has been on the offensive end of the court. The Blue Devils failed to reach 70 points in either game against the Spartans or Fighting Illini. They did not shoot better than 40% from the field against either of those opponents. Duke ranks 126th in the nation with an effective field goal percentage of 50.6%. The challenge for Krzyzewski is heightened with Jalen Johnson out for this game. He may be the most talented player on the team. The freshman has a foot injury that will keep him out a few weeks. Johnson was the top recruit from a freshman class considered Krzyzewski’s lowest-rated in the last five years. Yet for Coach K, that still means he has three remaining five-star freshman recruits available for tonight’s game. Perhaps what this Blue Devils team lacks in star power will be made up for in-depth and balance. Duke returns Wendell Moore and Michael Hurt amongst four players in the regular rotation from last year’s team that finished 25-6. Krzyzewski added a class of six freshmen that most programs would cherish. After the loss to Illinois, Coach K made headlines by declaring that his team would bypass the remainder of their non-conference schedule given COVID concerns. Alabama head coach Nate Oats criticized Krzyzewski for pulling out of games after losing twice at home. Yet those losses were against two teams ranked in the top-13 in the current AP poll. The Blue Devils currently ranks 17th in both offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency at kenpom based on their first four games.Notre Dame comes off upsetting another blue blood program in their last game on Saturday in their 64-63 upset victory against Kentucky at Rupp Arena. The Fighting Irish raced out to a 31-9 lead in the opening ten minutes of that game before holding on for the victory. Mike Brey’s team begins ACC play with an identical 2-2 record as the Blue Devils. Notre Dame’s other victory was against Detroit, while their two losses were against Michigan State and Ohio State. The Irish are led by point guard Prentiss Hubb. The 6'3 junior tops the ACC with a 21.3 points-per-game scoring average along with a 4.3 assists-per-game clip. He is joined by the 6’10 junior Nate Laszewski, who scored 21 points and added nine rebounds in the upset against the Wildcats. The stretch-four is pulling down 9.5 rebounds-per-game while making 57.1% of his shots from 3-point land. The Fighting Irish are an experienced group with four juniors and a senior in the starting lineup. Brey has assembled a roster that is the seventh-tallest in the nation. Yet they lost three of the most productive contributors from their 20-12 team last year with a .500 record in ACC play but likely needed to make a deep run in the ACC tournament to get into the NCAA Tournament. For fans of handicapping using transitive properties, Notre Dame lost on the road to Michigan State by an 80-70 score on November 28th before the Spartans defeated Duke at Cameron Indoor by a 75-69 score three days later. BookMaker lists the Blue Devils as a 2-point road favorite with the over/under set at 146. The ESPN broadcast starts at 9 PM ET.

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