Virginia (-4) at Georgia Tech
Virginia has to be cautious with a Georgia Tech team looking to upset the Cavaliers and keep their ACC home winning streak alive. Georgia Tech has won 11 straight conference home games, a program record, but have gone 2-15 SU in the last 17 games versus Virginia.
The Yellow Jackets had a 17-day break in early January and are 3-3 SU since returning. Georgia Tech has averaged 71.6 points per game in the last six and scored at least 70 points in every home game this season. Georgia Tech has four starters averaging double figures in scoring and currently ranks 44th in three-point percentage (37.1%) and 79th in two-point percentage (52.4%).
According to KenPom.com, Tech has the ACC's seventh-most efficient offense and the fifth-most efficient defense in conference play.
In the first meeting, Virginia was down 11 points as the largest deficit in the second half but erased the lead to win 64-62. The Cavaliers outscored the Yellow Jackets 26-13 to extend their winning streak to seven games in this series. Virginia won 63-58 on the road last season and 81-51 at home the year prior.
Virginia coach Tony Bennett is 14-2 SU all-time versus Georgia Tech. The road team is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings and Virginia is 3-1-1 ATS in their last five road games. Georgia Tech is a blazing 5-0 ATS in their last five games as a home underdog, making this a potential upset alert for Virginia.
The Over is 5-2 in Virginia's last seven games and 4-1-1 in Georgia Tech's last six contests. Virginia's three-point defense is not a strength like prior years, ranking 198th this season with a 33.9% success rate from opponents.
Virginia's game scores and three-point defense versus past opponents:
64-57 (121) NC State went 4/14 (28.5%) from 3
64-62 (126) Georgia Tech went 9/15 (60%) from 3
80-68 (148) Notre Dame went 5/22 (22.7%) from 3
70-61 (131) Wake Forest went 10/19 (52.6%) from 3
66-57 (123) Notre Dame went 5/20 (25%) from 3
98-75 (173) Gonzaga went 10/20 (50%) from 3
Excluding Kent State (71-64) and San Francisco (61-60), two of the best three-point shooting teams Virginia has faced because they are non-Power 5 schools (Gonzaga is different), Virginia's game scores versus the previously listed teams have averaged 137.0. Without Gonzaga, which could be considered an outlier, the average is 129.8. Along with Kent State and San Francisco, these eight mentioned teams are the eight highest three-point percentage teams Virginia has faced this season. The game scores have surpassed 127 in five-of-eight games.
Virginia has averaged 65.4 points per game on the road, scoring 61 or more in four-of-five games. The road contests have ended in 110, 116, 121, 123 and 135 points, with Virginia accounting for at least 50% of the points scored outside of their only road loss (Virginia Tech 65-51).
At home, Georgia Tech is averaging 76.6 points per game in ACC play. In nine overall ACC games, Tech averages 70.2 points per game. In wins, Tech's offense has looked sharp and finished above the NCAA's points per possession average in six-of-nine games. In six losses, the offense and defense points per possession totals have fallen below the average number in all six.
Over the last six games, Tech's opponents' points per possession numbers have increased and put the Yellow Jackets defensively below the league average in five-of-six since returning from their hiatus. Virginia will need to score 60-plus points to walk away with a road win here, and I believe they can do that and then some versus this Georgia Tech defense a second time around with a significant player.
Virginia's Sam Hauser posted a career-high 23 points in his last outing versus Pitt, following up his 18 against NC State. He has scored double-digits in every game this season and did not play in the first meeting with Georgia Tech.
Hauser has missed three games this season, and in those three games, Virginia won by two (Georgia Tech), seven (Kent State OT), and 36 (William & Mary). Hauser should be the difference after a 64-62 (126) over Georgia Tech in the first meeting. He should get the Cavaliers a few more points in this matchup, with the Team Total set at 64.5 and 65.5 on most books -- I like that a lot.
When Hauser plays, Virginia averages 70.1 points per game in ACC play and 71.6 in 13 games this season. I am going to back that today. Play the Cavaliers Team Total at 64.5 for 1.5 units or 65 and beyond for 1 unit. If you do not have the Team Total offered or are late to the party, take a 1 unit bet on the Over 127. All seven of Georgia Tech's games decided by 10 or fewer points have had finished game totals of 126 or more, the 126 game, was of course, versus Virginia.
Most models I use predict this score at 127 or higher, and the only thing holding me back is if Tech fails to deliver in the second-half once again. With Hauser playing well and meeting Tech for the first time this season, I expect Virginia to go 16-2 SU in the last 18 meetings and score 65 or more points in the process.
Game Pick: Virginia Team Total Over 64.5 (1u)
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Wake Forest at Boston College (+1.5)
This matchup is all riding on one factor, who is playing for Boston College? The roster has yet to be announced after playing their previous outing against NC State with only six scholarship players, a 16-point loss. If they trot out with six players once again, you can bet I will back Wake Forest for the second time this season. If Boston College has 7-8 players, then we should revisit this conversation and switch to the Eagles - Here is why.
Wake Forest beat a Miami team down to seven players 66-54 and a Pitt team at home 76-75. When Boston College had a full roster, they beat Miami 84-62 when they had eight scholarship players. Two of Boston College's three wins have come at home this season, and Wake Forest is one of the best opportunities this team has at winning again.
Wake Forest has a full roster and just by past performances, we have seen them score 66 on Miami and NC State score 81 on a depleted Boston College team. Wake Forest should score in the ballpark of 70 points if Boston College is limited to six scholarship players once again.
This game will have to bet closer to tip as Boston College's roster is crucial for betting this matchup. In the last six meetings, the home team is 5-1 ATS and in the previous five, the favorite is a perfect 5-0 ATS.
There are a few angles to bet this game, but the simplest way to put it is this: Bet on Wake Forest ML or their Team Total Over 71.5 if Boston College has seven or fewer players. If Boston College has eight or more players eligible, the Eagles are now worth a Moneyline bet as they are the better overall team.
Game Pick: Wait for Boston College roster announcements