College Basketball Picks: Butler Bulldogs vs. Massachusetts Minutemen

Butler Bulldogs at Massachusetts Minutemen
Thursday, 3/7/13, 7:00 PM EST, TV:  NBC Sports Network
Opening Point Spread:  Massachusetts -1
Current Betting Line:  Massachusetts -1
Opening Total:  144
Current Total:  143
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

America East Tournament Preview
The Butler Bulldogs are 0-3-1 ATS in their last four road games

Butler has dropped back-to-back games, including a 84-52 blowout loss to the VCU Rams as eight-point road underdogs last Saturday, while going UNDER the total for the third time in four contests.  The Bulldogs still have an opportunity to claim one of the first round byes in the upcoming Atlantic 10 Conference tournament, but will likely need a win here and in their regular season finale on March 9.  Offensively, the team has three probable starters averaging in double figures, with senior guard Rotnei Clarke leading the way in scoring 16.5 points per game.  Butler is 0-3-1 ATS in its last four road games, which can’t be ignored when making your college basketball picks against the spread.

The Bulldogs turned the ball over a season-high 23 times against the Rams, which led to a 34-2 disparity in fast-break points.  Butler is ranked first in the conference and 10th nationally in out-rebounding opponents by an average margin of plus-7.6, as they’ve won the battle on the glass in 12 of their last 13 games.

Massachusetts has won and covered the spread in its last two games, including a surprising 77-72 victory over the Xavier Musketeers as four-point road underdogs last Saturday, while going OVER the total for the fifth time in six contests.  The Minutemen are averaging 73.9 points per game on 43.4 percent shooting this season, which is important to consider when looking over the betting totals on the college basketball odds page.  Massachusetts is 4-1 ATS in its last five home games.

The Minutemen rank 98th in the nation in having 202 steals thus far during the 2012-13 campaign, but are still a long way off from the school record of 326 that they tallied last year.  Massachusetts will be celebrating the the careers of seniors Freddie Riley and Terrell Vinson before the game, as each of them have scored at least 945 points during their time on campus.  Vinson currently ranks 24th in school history in points scored.  In the past seven games, the team is averaging just under 80 points per game on 47 percent shooting, which includes hitting 41 percent of its tried from beyond the arc.

Sports bettors will likely play the total in this affair, as the OVER is 8-2 in the Minutemen’s last 10 home games versus a team with a winning road record.

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