UTAH UTES AT CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS (SATURDAY, FEB. 29 6 P.M. ET)
Cal picked up just its third victory of the month with a sizeable shocker over Colorado Thursday night, beating the No. 20 Buffaloes 76-62 as an 8.5-point home underdog. It was the Golden Bears’ first win over a ranked opponent this season and came on the back of a strong shooting effort from beyond the arc, with Cal knocking down 9 of 20 attempts from 3-point range while Colorado scuffed its feet with a 6-of-29 shooting performance from distance.
This noteworthy win lines up the Golden Bears for a big ole letdown spot versus Utah at home this Saturday. The Utes defeated Cal easily in a 60-45 victory in Salt Lake City on February 8 and have won and covered in three straight matchups with California.
Utah has struggled – check that, downright sucked - on the road with a 1-9 SU mark and a 2-8 ATS count and given those issues, could be catching points when coming to Haas Pavilion. The Golden Bears have been a great bet at home with an 11-5 ATS mark as hosts but find themselves in a unique spot Saturday. They’re 5-6 ATS off a win this season and Thursday’s victory over Colorado was their biggest win yet.
IOWA STATE CYCLONES AT OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS (SATURDAY, FEB. 29 4 P.M. ET)
Iowa State is playing out the final three games of a challenging year in the Big 12, even more so following the loss of do-it-all guard Tyrese Haliburton, who is out for the season with a broken wrist. The Cyclones have gone 2-3 SU and ATS without their scoring, assist and steals leader in the lineup.
Iowa State has a home finale against No. 19 West Virginia on March 3 but makes its way to Stillwater first for a road game against Oklahoma State this Saturday. The Cyclones beat the Pokes 89-82 as 6-point home favorite on January 21, a game in which Haliburton scored 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including going 6 for 9 from distance.
The Cowboys have run the Big 12 gauntlet in recent weeks, taking on the likes of Kansas, Texas Tech and West Virginia over their last four games (2-2 SU and ATS). Oklahoma State is playing much more competitive basketball this month, owning a 5-2 ATS mark in February. Iowa State enters the weekend among the worst road bets in the conference at 2-7 ATS as a visitor.
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ORLANDO MAGIC AT SAN ANTONIO SPURS (SATURDAY, FEB 29 8:30 P.M. ET)
The Magic are making a quick overnight flight to Texas following Friday’s home stand against the Minnesota Timberwolves, taking on the Spurs on Saturday night. Orlando has faced a tough schedule before this back-to-back challenge, playing on the road at Brooklyn and Atlanta on Monday and Wednesday.
Not only will this showdown with San Antonio be the Magic’s third road game in their last four outings but this team is just 2-5-2 ATS when playing on zero rest this season. Heading into Friday’s game with the T-Wolves, Orlando is also dead last in the NBA with a 7-13-2 ATS record against non-conference opponents.
The Spurs will be well rested, having last played the Dallas Mavericks at home on February 26. San Antonio is mired in a two-game slump and has won just twice in the past nine contests, posting a 3-6 ATS blemish in that stretch. The Spurs are hoping to have star forward LaMarcus Aldridge back in the lineup after he’s missed time with a shoulder injury.
WHAT ARE SPOT BETS?
The bones of situational handicapping or spot betting is to not only factor in current form, injuries, and other factors like weather into researching a bet but to see how each team’s schedule could impact performance as well. You measure that against the odds for that game and determine if the spot provides any added value to follow or fade a team.
WHAT ARE THE TYPES OF SPOT BETS?
For the purpose of this article, we’ll focus on three popular methods for situational handicapping:
A team has a notable game ahead on the calendar against a top contender or hated rival but before that big matchup they must play a weaker opponent or less-weighted game. Teams can often overlook that upcoming opponent and lack focus, instead planning and looking ahead to the more important game.
A team is coming off a big matchup, most often a notable win of importance or an upset victory and runs the risk of falling flat in the following game. Teams can have a hard time finding the same intensity as the previous performance and can also get caught “fat and happy” with a sense of accomplishment coming off a big win.
While all spot bets involve scheduling in some form, the schedule spot focuses more on challenges of travel and quick turnarounds between games. Schedule spots are more prevalent in day-to-day sports like basketball, baseball and hockey – with teams playing many times per week and hitting stretches of multiple home and away contests – but still do apply to sports like football and soccer, which have larger spacing in their schedules.
Schedule spots can include teams playing on back-to-back nights, a bulk of games in a short period of time, long trips and games played in foreign time zones, as well as an extended hiatus from action, such as bye weeks in the NFL or breaks in the schedule.