Last night’s early parlay play should have worked perfectly. Liberty did exactly what it does, whacking another ASUN opponent by double digits in the Vines Center. The rest of that league can’t wait for the Flames to get out of the conference and move to C-USA. Merrimack did the same, locking down Stonehill for a game that produced a combined 99 points.
But North Florida…so close and yet so far.
In retrospect, I should have seen it coming, as Thomas and I were discussing the final seconds while waiting to make our picks on the Gabacho Borracho U.S. Soccer Talk Podcast. I had North Florida +1.5 and the Ospreys led 66-65, meaning Florida Gulf Coast could score and I could still win. All I needed to avoid was a 3-pointer.
And you know where this is going. After trying to drive the lane, Gulf Coast spotted an open 3 in the corner. Banked-in triple from the side; Gulf Coast goes ahead 68-66. North Florida misses twice on the final possession. Ospreys lose by 2 and my parlay collapses.
One point short of a +596 cash. And that’s the way it goes sometimes. All you can do is trust your numbers as best as you can and do what you can to maximize success. We’ll try again today; here are my plays for February 10.
SCHALKE UNDER 0.5 GOALS, +175
Schalke’s offense has done next to nothing all season long. The Miners have scored just 14 goals in 19 matches, and they’ve played out two scoreless draws in their past two matches. Over their past 11 matches, they’ve been shut out seven times. That should lead to another blank, which might play well with Wolfsburg to win to nil at +240. I’m a bit skittish about taking Wolfsburg because the Wolves have dropped two straight, but a scoreless Schalke looks like a solid probability. I’m also intrigued by a 1-0 correct score play at +675, as this looks like a low-scoring affair.
TORINO DOUBLE CHANCE, +105
Torino has been a thorn in AC Milan’s side — before Milan started to fall apart. The Rossoneri has dropped three straight and haven’t won in five matches, falling out of the top four. Now they face Torino, which has lost just once in eight matches. The Bulls sit seventh now and already beat Milan 2-1 earlier this year, their third straight result against the Rossoneri. With AC Milan really struggling and facing a team that has their number, this play offers plenty of value. A point would be huge for Torino, and I think they get it.
DAYTON -5, -110
Dayton’s got a chance to make this a big week. The Flyers can move into first place with a win here, and they’re 12-1 at home on the season. Saint Louis doesn’t have the defense to keep Dayton’s shooters from hitting, and the Flyers’ strong defense should make life difficult for the Billikens’ middling attack. Saint Louis is at its best in the mid-range game, while Dayton prefers to get the ball inside. The inside game is a lot harder to stop, especially with these teams equals on the boards. Dayton’s home record should carry the day.
XAVIER -7, -110
A trap building, Hinkle Fieldhouse is not. Butler has hosted four of the top six Big East sides to date in Indianapolis (Connecticut, Providence, Creighton and Seton Hall, with Xavier and Marquette still to come). None of the four were even close. Connecticut won by 22, Providence by 20, Creighton by 21 and Seton Hall by 21. The Bulldogs have beaten the lesser Big East teams at home (Villanova, DePaul and St. John’s), but against strong teams, it’s been one-way traffic.
Xavier certainly qualifies. The Musketeers have one ugly road loss at DePaul and a blowout at Creighton, but they’re 5-2 in true road games on the year even with those. Xavier excels at taking and making good shots, and Butler’s defense isn’t up to par. The Muskies should roll in Indy.
MARIST-ST. PETER’S UNDER 122.5, -110
If you’re a regular reader, you know I love myself a good Haslametrics dud. Marist and St. Peter’s shouldn’t produce too many points. Both teams play slow-paced, neither shoots the ball well and both can play decent defense for their level. There’s one thing that worries me here: nobody sends opponents to the line more often than St. Peter’s. The Peacocks make teams work for shots (fifth in the nation), but too often, that includes a foul. As we know, foul shots are deadly to unders. But these teams played out a 61-57 game in Poughkeepsie, and I doubt whistles will be worse in Jersey City. This game should stay in the high 50s for each team.