College basketball takes center stage on Monday night, with a big battle in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and there are some noteworthy NBA and NHL games, too. Covers checks in on the action and line movement for a quartet of contests, with insights from Will Bernanke, lead analyst for CG Analytics in Las Vegas.
No. 4 Virginia Cavaliers at No. 8 North Carolina Tar Heels – Open: +1; Move: Pick; Move: -1; Move: -1.5; Move: -1; Move: -1.5; Move: -1
Virginia jumps out of the frying pan and into the fire, facing a college hoops blueblood for the second straight game. On Saturday night, the Cavaliers (20-2 SU, 16-6 ATS) went off as 2.5-point home favorites against Duke, but fell short 81-71.
North Carolina has won seven in a row and 11 of its last 12 outings, going 9-3 ATS in that stretch. However, the Tar Heels (19-4 SU, 14-7-2 ATS) barely got by Miami on Saturday, winning 88-85 in overtime as healthy 16-point home faves.
“Ticket count is fairly even, but two times more money on North Carolina,” Bernanke said of pointspread action at CG books, including at The Cosmopolitan and the Venetian on the Vegas Strip. “As of now, we need Virginia.”
Toronto returns home after winning all three games on a road trip over the past week. The Raptors (41-16 SU, 26-31 ATS) finished with a 104-99 victory over the New York Knicks, failing to cash as 13.5-point favorites.
Brooklyn quietly worked its way into the Eastern Conference playoff picture, but enters this 7:30 p.m. ET matchup on a 2-5 SU skid. The Nets (29-28 SU, 31-26 ATS) got thumped at Chicago 125-106 laying 8 points Friday.
“Ticket count is even, but money is 75 percent Nets,” Bernanke said. “Raptors money should come in closer to tipoff.”
Oklahoma City heads into this 8 p.m. ET meeting coming off an improbable victory. On Saturday at Houston, the Thunder (36-19 SU, 32-23 ATS) trailed 70-48 at halftime, but tied the game at 90 after three quarters and went on to a 117-112 victory as 2.5-point underdogs.
Portland followed a 6-1 SU and ATS streak by losing two of its last three SU and ATS. The Trail Blazers (33-22 SU, 30-25 ATS) were 3-point road favorites against Dallas on Sunday, but scored just nine fourth-quarter points and lost outright 102-101.
“Ticket count is 60 percent on Oklahoma City, while money is 76 percent on Portland,” Bernanke said. “Pros are on the Blazers, and the public is on the Thunder.”
Philadelphia is red-hot over its last 10 games, racking up nine wins, with the lone loss coming in a shootout. The Flyers (25-23-6-1) thumped Anaheim 6-2 as heavy -232 favorites Saturday.
On the flip side, Pittsburgh enters this 7 p.m. ET clash as a loser of four in row and six of its last eight. The Penguins (28-20-5-2) got into an offensive slugfest with league-leading Tampa Bay on Saturday, falling short 5-4 as sizable +157 road pups.
Despite the dichotomy in recent form for these rivals, bettors like Pittsburgh.
“Ticket count is fairly even, but 75 percent of cash is on the Penguins,” Bernanke said.
Patrick Everson is a Las Vegas-based senior writer for Covers. Follow him on Twitter: @Covers_Vegas.