College Basketball Betting Odds: Duke -5.5, Total 151.5
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim came under fire this past week for some comments he made about Duke's freshman forward Jalen Johnson, who had decided to opt out of the rest of the season to prep for the NBA draft.
“That guy was hurting them so they actually are much better now without him......They’ve had two monster wins since he’s opted out and they’re playing good basketball."
Since the media is very Duke-centric, there was a knee-jerk reaction. And perhaps Boeheim was being a little harsh. But he may not be all that wrong.
Duke has been on a three-game winning streak, lifting themselves above the .500 mark, and that was punctuated on Saturday with a heart-stopping 66-65 win over Virginia, which, in effect, is the reigning national champion.
Jaemyn Brakefield has only recently become a bigger part of the rotation, and the 6-8 freshman forward came up huge against Virginia, with eleven points, five rebounds and four blocks.
The real hot hand, however, has come from Matthew Hurt, the 6-9, 235-pound sophomore who's bolstered his All-ACC credentials with 68 points over the last three games, while shooting an insane 14 of 19 from beyond the three-point arc.
So what you worry about right now is whether the Blue Devils will have a letdown after that big win.
You might have that same concern about the Orange too.
Syracuse comes in on a high note as well, having come back from a 20-point deficit to beat Notre Dame on Saturday. So it looks as if both squads may have to come back down to earth for this quick turnaround game.
It would be fair to say that neither team has clinched a spot in the NCAA Tournament, although Duke probably has more work to do.
What you would like to see from a team like Syracuse is that they are making strides defensively, with that matchup zone, as the season comes down the stretch. But that hasn't necessarily been the case. In fact, none of their defensive performances over these last eight games (of which they've won six) can be considered anything extraordinary.
Duke's shooting has been more consistent, and like many of Syracuse's opponents, they have a real chance to gain an edge on the offensive glass. Would Coach K twist the knife in a little on the abrasive Boeheim?
College Basketball Betting Odds: Pick'em, Total 125.5
Neither of these teams is going anywhere. But it is a fascinating game to look at nonetheless.
New Mexico doesn't have to take a road trip for this one. The Lobos are not allowed to play at home right now, due to COVID-19 concerns, so they just faced Wyoming in a two-game set on the Falcons' home floor in Colorado Springs. They are, by now, accustomed to the altitude. Or are they fatigued by it?
When you look at New Mexico, you figure they should have a huge edge on the boards. They have actually been a pretty good offensive rebounding team (among the top 50 in the country) and Air Force just doesn't hit the boards effectively at either end of the floor. They aren't getting a lot of second chances, from where we sit. The Lobos may have the best player on the floor (Makauch Malauch, who had 30 of their 67 points against Wyoming Friday), and the best big men as well (Valdir Manuel, who's averaging 1.5 blocks per game).
But Air Force unquestionably has the shooting edge. They will throw up three-pointers without shame (that's almost 47% of their attempts). New Mexico's defensive scheme will allow teams to shoot triples, and they aren't all that good at defending them (yielding over 35%). So the Falcons can make the pure math work in their favor.
And even more so when you consider that New Mexico has been just a horrible shooting team. They are just above 40%, and are outside of the nation's top 325 teams, whether it's outside or inside the arc. They don't have one starter who is 50% from two-point range. And they are below 60% from the line.
They just suffered two losses to Wyoming, which is similar to Air Force in a number of ways. On Friday, they used a press to come back from 27 down against the Cowboys, cutting it to two, but ran out of gas. The coach (Paul Weir) doesn't really like to press other teams, because they'll get tired. Go figure.
Charles Jay is unlike most analysts associated with
handicapping and the gaming industry, in that he also has had extensive
experience in the so-called "mainstream" media as well.
He has been involved with professional sports industry for
almost two decades, working in all capacities, as a matchmaker, booking agent,
manager, and also as an editorial consultant on USA Network's "Tuesday Night
Fights," which, for a time, carried "Charles Jay's Line" on
upcoming fights. As a broadcaster, he has called world title fights around the
world for various outlets, and has served as a color commentator for Sunshine
Network and Prime Network.
His radio experience includes being the host of numerous
programs, including "Sportswatch with Charles Jay" on KDWN in Las
Vegas, "Total Action" on WAXY 790 in Miami, and "Charles Jay's
Winning Edge", syndicated into 55 markets by the American Radio Networks,
and he's done podcasts on all subjects related to sports, gaming and popular
Working within the casino industry, he has a special events
consultant for Casino Magic in Mississippi, as that venue established itself in
the early 1990s as a hotbed of boxing activity in particular. Prior to this, he
had been engaged as a casino gaming columnist for, among others, Casino Player,
Card Player and Sports Form (now known as Gaming Today), specializing in
blackjack. And later on, his investigative series on boxing, entitled
"Operation Cleanup," won him much critical acclaim, including the
2003 "Dignity" Award, in the category of "Best Sports
Writer," as bestowed by the Retired Boxers Foundation, a non-profit
organization dedicated to rendering assistance to ex-fighters in need.
In 2006 he established a content services division of his
company, which has eventually evolved in JayWords, and he is arguably the
world's most prolific sports & gaming writer, with over 20,000 articles to
his credit, the vast majority of which have been sports handicapping pieces. So
you might say he has analyzed as many sporting events as anyone alive during
this period. He has also brought some interest with his so-called
"gimmick" odds on special events, including the Academy Awards, the
NFL Draft, and the Super Bowl, for which he posted dozens and dozens of
different odds propositions with various sportsbooks.
This renaissance man is a winner of the Retired Boxers Foundation's "Dignity Award" and a member of the Florida Boxing Hall of Fame; graduate of the University of
Miami (Florida) who currently resides in the South Florida area.