Spot bets are a classic handicapping practice that have proven profitable no matter what sport you’re betting. Whether it’s a team looking past this week’s opponent, one coming off a hard-fought victory, or a rough patch of schedule, bettors can find value picking their spots.
Gonzaga has long held a warm place in the hearts of college hoops bettors as the "little team that could". The Bulldogs, perennial Cinderellas in the NCAA tournament, are no longer long shots and enter this year’s Big Dance as one of the four top-seeded evil step sisters. It’s been a long climb to the top for the Zags and could be an even further fall if they get caught looking down the bracket.
Gonzaga opens against No. 16 Southern University out of the SWAC Thursday and oddsmakers have tabbed the Bulldogs as 21.5-point favorites.
Being a hefty fave is nothing new to Mark Few’s crew but going deep in the tournament is. Gonzaga has made it out of the first weekend only once in its last six NCAAs and is 4-7 ATS in that span. Southern has a history of tournament magic as well, knocking off No. 4 Georgia Tech as a No. 13 seed in the 1993 NCAA tournament. Chances are, bettors won't see the first No. 16-over-No. 1 upset but they want to be careful when giving all those points.
The Oklahoma City Thunder test their playoff mettle with big conference clashes against the Denver Nuggets Tuesday - who have won 12 in a row - and the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday, two teams fighting for position in the Western standings. The Thunder have lost just once in their last nine outings heading into the Denver game, posting a 6-3 ATS mark in that stretch.
Following Wednesday’s road trip to Memphis, OKC turns the intensity down to a low hum with a trip to face the Orlando Magic Friday. These two teams tangled just last week, with the Thunder failing to cover the 17-point spread in a 117-104 win over Orlando at home. The Magic are stellar as double-digit dogs this season, boasting a 10-1 ATS record.
When it rains it pours for the Vancouver Canucks, who have three wins in their last 10 outings heading into Tuesday’s home date with the St. Louis Blues. The Canucks’ recent skid has dropped them to seventh in the Western Conference – just two points ahead of the ninth-placed Phoenix Coyotes. Vancouver, which lost to the Minnesota Wild Monday, won’t get a chance to lick those wounds with a frantic schedule on tap this week.
The Canucks play five games in seven days, traveling to Phoenix, Los Angeles and Colorado before the end of the week. Sunday’s game against the Avalanche could be extremely taxing, coming from a sea-level contest versus the Kings Saturday to the thin-air of the Pepsi Center. Vancouver has just one win in its last five road games.