One of the more enduring college basketball handicapping scenarios is looking for opportunities to fade big home favorites on ‘Senior Day’. The thinking is that the upperclassmen will be distracted by the whole affair and not in the frame of mind to play basketball. At the very least, having a crowd of people gloating over how great you are doesn’t get you properly prepared to go out and compete against a hungry opponent.
This looks like a good opportunity to put that theory into practice. We’ve spent the second half of the college basketball regular season looking for spots to bet against Virginia Tech simply because we don’t think that they’re as good as their straight up record suggests. For the most part, it’s been successful. The Hokies have been a wretched pointspread team during the ACC season and enter this matchup on a 5-9-1 run against the number. Miami is definitely not a world beater but they do show up and compete on most nights covering six of their last nine games.
Everything about the Hokies ATS situational breakdown says ‘overrated’–at least against the pointspread. They’re 13-2 SU at home but just 8-7 ATS. They’re 5-5 SU away but 3-6-1 ATS. They’re 11-6 in ACC play but 6-10-1 against the number. They’re 12-1 SU as a home favorite but just 7-6 ATS. The Hokies were hammered at Florida State on Tuesday night losing 73-64 and failing to cover as +5 underdogs. Their ‘letdown mode’ following their 2/26 win over Duke might continue until the ACC tournament begins. Due to the loss to Florida State and a win over Duke they’re more or less locked into the 5th seed heading into ACC tournament play.
Virginia Tech had no trouble beating the ‘canes in Miami on January 30–they won 82-70 covering as a -8 road underdog. Of course they shot 58.8% from the field that night or else it would have been a much closer game. Hard to expect them to repeat that sort of torrid shooting. The team lacks depth and is very likely to ‘phone in’ this game as they look ahead to the ACC tournament and the NCAA tournament after that. The fact that the Hokies have already beaten Miami earlier this season increases that risk.
Miami is a tough team to figure. They’ve struggled in ACC play but so do a lot of other decent teams. They’ve been excellent at home (11-5 SU) but are 0-9 on the road this season. They’re also winless against ranked teams. Both could serve as motivational tools for a quality coach like Jim Larranaga in this spot. Miami might not have the offensive guns to get the outright win but we just need them to be competitive and that is something that they’re definitely capable of doing.