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Betting Around the Bubble

When taking a look at a slate of games, one thing that's always important to keep in mind is what potential stakes there are for the teams competing. Yes teams are obviously trying to win each game they play, but these are college kids we're talking about, so expect a little extra intensity from teams in must win situations, and maybe less so from teams with little to play for.

As a Bracketologist, I think there's a lot of value in knowing where teams currently stand when betting for or against them. With all that in mind, here are my 4 favorite plays today given what's on the line for the teams in question.

Wake Forest (+1.5) @ Virginia Tech

The Demon Deacons looked to have played themselves off the bubble with a massive win over Duke last weekend, but then gave it all away with a huge letdown loss at Notre Dame. Hangover games happen after big wins sure, but twice? And for a team in desperate need of a win? I don't think so. Look for Wake to bounce back in a big way today, covering the spread and winning outright with ease against a Hokies team with nothing left to play for.

Syracuse (-4.5) @ Louisville

The Orange are fighting for their bubble lives, and a loss to Louisville would likely end their at-large hopes for good. The good news for the Cuse? Louisville has been pretty terrible this season. The bad news? Vegas doesn't seem to think they will be today. This seems like a spot where the books are begging you to take Syracuse, but if it's a trap them I'm falling for it because I just can't see how a significantly less talented Cardinals team even comes close to upsetting SU who has so much to play for.

Utah (-8.5) vs Cal

Utah is on the outside looking in on the tournament field at the moment, and no a win over Cal isn't going to change that. But to move back into the field the Utes know they need to not only win, but win with style. I took Utah with a similar line at home against Stanford earlier this week as one of my "best bets" on my March Madness page of the site (hope you tailed) and they covered with ease. I see no reason they won't again today against an arguably even worse team.

Richmond (-3.5) vs VCU

Admittedly even with a win today the Spiders at-large chances are slim, but they do absolutely need this one to remain in the conversation. The real driving factor behind this play though ins't even their tournament chances, but instead Richmond's push to win the outright regular season A-10 title. They currently hold a one game lead over Loyola Chicago, and I can't see them letting that slip away against a team they're better than at home. Spiders win big.

Iowa (+3.5) @ Northwestern

Iowa needs to win out in the regular season to have any chance to make the dance, but today they're in a great spot traveling to play a banged up Northwestern squad with a chance for a valuable Q1 win. The Wildcats are still in a good spot regardless of today's result, and I don't see them being ready for the intensity this Hawkeyes team is going to bring being in desperate need of a victory. Iowa wins outright.


Written by - Bracket Dom

                     @BracketDom on X


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