College Basketball: Big East, ACC in Betting Spotlight

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
Published on:
Jan/13/2010

Four ranked teams from two of the premier conferences will showcase their talents this Wednesday.

In the Big East, No. 16 Pittsburgh hits the road to No. 15 Connecticut, with the Panthers looking to stay unbeaten in conference play. Later, 12th ranked North Carolina visits 24th ranked Clemson, a test of wills for teams trying to steady recent developments.

For sports bettors, this is a very busy Hump Day. Read on for brief looks at both of these key games, then head over to the LIVE ODDS, BETTING TRENDS and TEAM STATISTICS pages on Sportsbook.com for more on Wednesday's college hoops betting board.

Panthers on the prowl

It wasn't supposed to be this way. Pittsburgh (13-2, 6-5-2 ATS) lost too much talent from a season ago and had too many gaping holes to be considered nothing more than a team that would finish fifth to eighth in the Big East.

Instead, Jamie Dixon of Pitt is the mid-season favorite for national coach of the year with what he's done in the Steel City. The emergence of Ashton Gibbs and the return of Gilbert Brown and Jermaine Dixon have seen the Panthers take off, and with another conference upset, would stay tied with Villanova for the top spot.

Pitt has always been able to play with physical teams and is 22-7 ATS versus clubs who average 40 or more rebounds per game.

Connecticut (11-4, 5-7-1 ATS) needs a positive experience after giving away a 19-point lead at Georgetown and falling 72-69 this past Saturday.

"It's the most heartbreaking loss this year. It's not even close," coach Jim Calhoun said. "We took our 20 minutes of work, threw it away and said, ‘OK, now let's play an even game.'"

Turnovers were the detriment for the Huskies, committing 15 in all. Coach Calhoun will try to get his guards to value the possession of the ball more, since UConn is 9-0 (4-4 ATS) when they commit 13 or less turnovers.

Connecticut is a six-point favorite at Sportsbook.com and is on a run of 17-5 ATS as a home favorite of six points or less or pick. The Huskies are among the best defensive teams in the country holding teams to 37.2 percent shooting and will have to contain Pittsburgh.

The Panthers magic formula for winning is shooting over 40 percent, as they are 12-0 and 5-4-2 ATS.

This Big East battle starts at 7pm ET on ESPN2 with Connecticut 6-2 and 4-4 ATS in last eight meetings at home.

ACC foes on the mend

North Carolina (12-4, 6-8 ATS) was stunned last week at College of Charleston, 82-79, but came back and beat Virginia Tech by 14 in the next outing. Clemson was duped at Duke, losing by 21 points and rebounded with 72-56 win over Boston College as nine-point favorites. Each ACC team will look to continue its winning ways this evening.

One of UNC coach Roy Williams' axioms is that he doesn't play favorites. If one of his players is playing great and the other average, the one giving the better effort will start and use up the majority of minutes, that's his belief.

Normally by now, Williams is into a comfortable starting five with the other roles having been defined, but not this year, as many players have taken two steps forward and one back. The Tar Heels are 40-25 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record over the last three seasons.

You can't help but be impressed with the job Oliver Purnell has done at Clemson (13-5, 8-5 ATS). In the past, losing as many quality players as this past year would have spelled rebuilding on the South Carolina campus, but not these days.

Purnell has imported a continual flow of players like freshman Noel Johnson and Devin Booker, meshing with established players like Trevor Booker and Demontez Stitt. Purnell, realizing he has 10 players that are similar ability-wise, opened up competition for starting spots, to keep guys hungry.

That depth figures to help the Tigers, who are 11-2 ATS at home against teams making 45 percent of their shots or better.

Clemson will seek to improve upon a 4-6 SU and 5-5 ATS mark at Littlejohn Coliseum vs. the Heels, and is a four-point favorite to do so. The Tigers are 6-0 ATS at home versus good three-point shooting teams making 37 percent or more of their attempts over the last three seasons.

This is the 9pm ET clash on ESPN and North Carolina is 3-11 ATS off a win against a conference win since last season.

The StatFox Power Lines for these games show Connecticut by 3, Clemson by 3

Carrie Stroup, Gambling911.com Senior Reporter

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