CLEMSON TIGERS AT VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES (MARCH 4, 7 P.M. ET)
The Clemson Tigers catapulted their way into the NCAA tournament discussion with an upset win over Florida State on Saturday, knocking off the No. 6 Seminoles 70-69 as 3-point home underdogs and picking up their third win over an opponent ranked inside the Top 6 in the country.
Clemson has two more games remaining in the ACC regular season, including Wednesday’s trip to Blacksburg to face Virginia Tech. The Tigers are ripe for a letdown after the huge home win over FSU, taking on a Hokies program that beat Clemson 67-60 in the first game of the season way back in November.
Virginia Tech has run the gauntlet in the ACC, playing three straight games against the likes of Louisville (on the road), Virginia (at home) and Duke (on the road). The Hokies have lost four in a row SU and ATS and have only one win in their last 10 contests, dragging a 1-9 ATS mark along with them. Books will pile the points on VT at home but will it be enough to cover against a Tigers team coming down from a huge high?
INDIANA PACERS AT MILWAUKEE BUCKS (MARCH 4, 7 P.M. ET)
The NBA schedule makers have really outdone themselves this week, giving basketball bettors a number of marquee matchups, including a possible NBA Finals preview between the Bucks and Lakers in L.A. on Friday night. No. 1 in East vs. No. 1 in West. Giannis vs. LeBron. Oh my gawd – gimmie, gimmie, gimmie.
But before we get that nuclear non-conference collision, Milwaukee must first host the scrappy Pacers Tuesday night. Indiana is playing some great basketball, riding a four-game winning streak into this matchup with the Bucks. The Pacers hope star guard Victor Oladipo is good to go after sitting out the road win over San Antonio with knee swelling on Monday.
Milwaukee lost to Indiana already this month, falling 118-111 to the Pacers as a 1.5-point road underdog on February 12 – a game Giannis Antetokounmpo missed due to the birth of his child. The Bucks back into this contest off a loss to Miami and could get caught looking ahead to LeBron and the Lakers on Wednesday night.
CAROLINA HURRICANES AT PHILADELPHIA FLYERS (MARCH 5, 7 P.M. ET)
The Flyers face one hell of a situational handicapping spot on Thursday when they play the second game of back-to-back nights at home versus Carolina – fresh off a massive divisional rivalry at Washington on Wednesday. That’s a tasty sandwich spot for NHL bettors to sink their teeth into.
Philadelphia is one of the hottest teams in the NHL right now, brining a six-game winning streak into that showdown with the Capitals – granted two of those wins came over Columbus as well as two victories over the New York Rangers. The Flyers trail Washington by three points in the Metropolitan Division and currently sit fourth in the Eastern Conference.
Philadelphia has struggled in the second game of back-to-back contests this season, with a 5-7 mark in those zero-rest spots and needing added time (overtime/shootout) to get three of those victories. The Flyers have been outscored by an average final of 3.8-3 during those games and face a Carolina team that has been off since February 29 and is thirsty to end a three-game losing slide Thursday night.
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.