My sports investment firm offers the best analysis in the sports handicapping industry. Below please find Tuesday’s college basketball Best Bet on Manhattan, who dominated South Carolina from start to finish.
Manhattan (+3) (-110) over South Carolina
Analysis: Manhattan head coach Steve Masiello returns four starters from last year’s squad that played most of the season without leading scorer George Beamon, who sustained an ankle injury four games into the season. The return of Beamon for the 2013-2014 campaign cannot be overstated as the senior swingman led the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in scoring and was a first-team all-league selection in 2011. “He’s 100 percent back and ready to go,” coach Masiello said. “He has a way about him where he can just come in and make things happen.”
Beamon leads the team in scoring this season with 20.7 points per game, while also leading the Jaspers in rebounds per game (7.3). Manhattan’s backcourt is further enhanced by the return of senior Michael Alvarado, who led the team in steals last season. Alvarado is averaging 11.0 points per game and provides invaluable leadership on the floor. Fellow guard RaShawn Stores compliments Alvarado with a level of intensity that is rarely seen these days. “They bring a New York City toughness to your team,” Masiello said. They all play with chips on their shoulders.”
Two-time MAAC defensive player of the year Rhamel Brown also returns after finishing tenth nationally in blocked shots last year. Brown was also fifth in the league in rebounding and second in field-goal percentage (.549). After averaging 11.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game last season, Brown is off to another solid start in 2013 with 9.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Coach Masiello also gushed about sophomore Shane Richards, saying over the summer that he expects Richards to be one of the most improved players in the country. Richards had a team-high 65 three-pointers last season and earned a place on the conference’s all-rookie team, while also averaging 13.0 points in the final four games.
Manhattan is 6-0 SU and 3-1 ATS on the road this season where the Jaspers are averaging 77.0 points per game on 40.2% shooting from beyond the arc. Overall, the Jaspers are averaging 76.2 points per game against teams that combine to allow just 71.5 points per game, thereby making the Jaspers 4.7 points per game better than average offensively in 2013. Let’s also note that Manhattan is 15-6 ATS as underdogs, 25-11 ATS on the road and 33-18 ATS following four or more consecutive wins, whereas South Carolina is 5-14 ATS at home off one or more consecutive losses, 3-12 ATS at home after failing to cover the point spread and 0-6 ATS after suffering a loss by 20 or more points.
Manhattan arrives in town off four straight wins (1-1-2 ATS), which is significant in that the Jaspers apply to a very good 46-12 ATS momentum situation of mine. The scheduling also favors Manhattan as the Jaspers are playing their second game in three days, a situation in which they are a perfect 9-0 ATS over the last three seasons. The Jaspers are also 9-1 ATS on the road following two or more consecutive losses so I expect the momentum to continue for coach Masiello’s squad. In contrast, South Carolina has not played in eleven days since suffering a 79-52 loss to Oklahoma State on December 6. For a turnover prone team like the Gamecocks who have only played five games this season, the long layoff is a major concern.
The stark reality for second year head coach Frank Martin is that South Carolina’s program has been in decline for years, and the Gamecocks finished last year with a 4-14 conference record (14-18 overall). In an effort to improve his backcourt, Martin recruited eight newcomers, including two point guards. The result is a team with some talent (albeit young and unproven), but also one that is entirely devoid of an identity. Like Nebraska-Omaha on Saturday, the wrong team is favored tonight and I’m ready to exploit that inefficiency in the betting market. Take Manhattan and invest with confidence.