College Basketball Picks: Manhattan Jaspers vs. Louisville Cardinals

Manhattan Jaspers at Louisville Cardinals
Sunday, 11/11/12, 4:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN3
Opening Point Spread:  Louisville -16.5
Current Betting Line:  Louisville -18
Opening Total:  N/A
Current Total:  N/A
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Louisville Cardinals are expected to be one of the better teams in college basketball this year

Manhattan opens the 2012-13 campaign with a two-game road series, as it gets ready for its second year under head coach Steve Masiello, who spent six years on the Louisville bench under Rick Pitino.  The Jaspers made the biggest turnaround in the nation with a 15-win improvement from the previous season.  The program went from six wins to 21 and earned a postseason bid for the first time since 2006.  Manhattan is 7-1 ATS as a road underdog of 12.5 or more points the last two years.

The Jaspers return 81.2 percent of their scoring offense from last season, as they placed a league-best four players on the Preseason All-MAAC Teams.  Manhattan’s offense will be directed by point guard Michael Alvarado, who was a Third Team All-MAAC selection in averaging 8.5 points and 3.2 assists.  The program’s 10 road wins were tied for 14th most in the nation a year ago.

Louisville has won 17 of its last 19 season openers, including eight straight, as it returns 61 percent of its scoring from a squad that finished the 2011-12 campaign with a 30-10 record.  The Cardinals have won 20 or more games in each of the past 10 seasons, with Pitino getting set for his 12th year.  He has compiled a dominating 23-3 record in opening games collectively at his four collegiate coaching stops.  Louisville is 7-6 ATS as a home favorite of 12.5 or more points since 2010.

The Cardinals have a solid option at point guard as well, with Peyton Siva being named to numerous All-America teams, as he sits just 176 points from reaching 1,000 points for his career.  Louisville’s goal from an offensive standpoint will be reaching the 80-point mark, as it has compiled a 117-7 record when doing so under Pitino’s direction.  Center Gorgui Dieng is a player to watch on both ends of the court, as he will likely average a double-double this year, considering he scored 9.1 points and grabbed 9.1 rebounds per game a season ago.

Sports bettors will likely back the Jaspers due to their 6-1 ATS mark in non-conference action, while the Cardinals are 89-95 ATS in that situation.

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