Peace in the Middle East.
LeBron James winning an NBA title.
An Eminem song that doesn’t make you want to jam an ice pick into your ear canal.
Hey, let’s face it, some things just aren’t meant to be. And I think it might be time to add “me and a positive bankroll” to the list.
To recap last week, I went 6-9 with my basketball selections, which at first glance is as impressive as a surgeon claiming six of his 15 procedures were successful. However, I went 3-for-3 with my biggest plays, which allowed me to clear $338, which pushed my bankroll to … $6,955.
Yep, $45 short of break-even. I’ll spare you the details on how a couple of losers were thisclose to being winners. Or how if I had just stuck with my three main plays I’d be operating in the black for the first time. All that matters is I’m now 54 weeks into this deal and I’m still underwater. The only bright spot is I’ve upgraded from scuba gear to a snorkel. Maybe this is the week I trade that snorkel in for an inflatable lounge chair.
On to this week’s picks (all point spreads are projected):
$330 (to win $300) on SAN DIEGO STATE (-12) at Air Force (Feb. 19): Two things I never thought I’d see in college basketball: a white kid from upstate New York named Jimmer going to BYU and becoming a legit national player of the year candidate, and my alma mater (San Diego State) ranked in the Top 10. Sure enough, both are realities this year.
My Aztecs, who check in at No. 6 this week, improved to 25-1 overall and 12-1 away from home with last week’s 63-57 victory at UNLV. It was the fifth straight win for San Diego State since losing to Jimmer Fredette and BYU 71-58 on Jan. 26, and in those five contests the Aztecs allowed 57, 54, 53, 53 and 57 points. I bring up those numbers for two reasons: 1) SDSU ranks ninth nationally in scoring defense (58.5 ppg allowed); and 2) Air Force has scored 55, 42, 48, 34 and 44 in the last five meetings with the Aztecs, who won all five games (4-1 against the spread) including two resounding victories in Colorado Springs (61-44 and 61-42).
Finally, check out the results of the Falcons’ last two home games: 90-52 loss to BYU; 75-61 loss to New Mexico.
$110 (to win $100) on Virginia Commonwealth (+9) at Wichita State (Feb. 18): Wichita State delivered one of my six winners last week, going to Northern Iowa and rolling to an 18-point victory. No surprise there, as it was the Shockers’ eighth straight road win, the last seven by double digits (all against Missouri Valley Conference rivals). However, now Wichita returns home, where it has lost three of its last five games. And while the Shockers entered this week 7-2 against the spread on the road this season, they’ve covered in just four of 10 at home.
Meanwhile, VCU comes into this “Bracket Buster” contest having won six of its last seven as a visitor (all within the Colonial Athletic Association). And even though the Rams have dropped four consecutive nonconference games away from home, they were competitive in three of the defeats (68-65 loss at Alabama-Birmingham; 60-59 loss at South Florida; 77-72 neutral-site loss to Tennessee).
$110 (to win $100) on WASHINGTON STATE (-5) at Arizona State (Feb. 19): It’s 10 straight Pac-10 losses and counting for Arizona State coming into this week, including a 78-61 setback at Washington State a month ago. The Sun Devils are also 0-for-5 in conference home games, and at 7-14-1 ATS, Arizona State entered this week with one of the worst point-spread records in all of college hoops. In other words, betting on Arizona State is akin to giving all three Kardashian sisters a no-limit credit card (not a very wise investment).
Best of the Rest: Feb. 19 – George Mason (-2) at Northern Iowa ($44); West Virginia-Notre Dame UNDER ($44); North Carolina (-13½) vs. Boston College ($33); Providence (+3) vs. Cincinnati ($33). Feb. 20 – Maryland (-9) vs. North Carolina State ($44); Clemson (+4) at Miami ($33); Penn State (+13) at Wisconsin ($33).