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College Basketball Betting Preview: Cincinnati at Nebraska

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Nebraska is coming of consecutive losses, including a shocking 74-73 defeat at the hands of Incarnate Word, and that latter loss is significant in that the Cornhuskers now apply to a very good 41-6-1 ATS NCAA basketball home bounce-back situation of mine that invests on certain home favorites of three or more points versus .545 or better teams off a win.

The college basketball betting community is about to bail on Nebraska in light of its woeful performance against the Vegas number, but that knee-jerk reaction to short-term variance would be a mistake as the Cornhuskers are 20-8 ATS off one or more consecutive losses, 18-8 ATS after failing to cover the point spread, 7-0 ATS as a home favorite of six points or less and 11-2 ATS at home following a loss by three or less points.

Nebraska head coach Tim Miles is one of the best college basketball mentors in collegiate sports, and the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year recipient has successfully changed the culture within the school’s college basketball program. Indeed, Nebraska sold out its first season playing in the $179 million Pinnacle Bank Arena as the fans came out in droves to watch the Cornhuskers put together a 19-13 record last year. “The buzz is ridiculous around the program in a great way,” Miles said. Leading Nebraska back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1998 has further enhanced both the culture and fan base surrounding the school’s basketball program.

Nebraska’s success is predicated upon an outstanding defense that ranked second in the Big Ten Conference in field-goal percentage allowed (.415) and defensive rebounds (21.5 per game) and third in scoring defense (63.4 points per game). This season, the Cornhuskers are allowing 64.7 points per game on 40.4% shooting from the field to teams that would combine to average 72.9 points per game against a mediocre defensive squad. Overall, the Cornhuskers are 8.2 points per game better than average defensively this season, which is good enough to limit a woeful Cincinnati attack that is averaging just 62.1 points per game.

Nebraska’s offense is led by the dynamic duo of Terran Petteway and Shavon Shields, who have combined for 39.1 points per game and rank among the Big Ten’s top four scorers. Meanwhile, Cincinnati enters the 2014-2015 campaign without its top three scorers from last season – Sean Kilpatrick, Justin Jackson and Titus Rubles. Five recruits and two redshirt freshman will be called upon to lead the Bearcats this college basketball season, and that “newness” will take some time to marinate before the team actually demonstrates any sign of chemistry.

Let’s also note that Cincinnati is money-burning 3-12 ATS on the road versus teams with a home win percentage greater than .600, 1-4 ATS in its last five non-conference games, 1-6 ATS in its last seven games following a win and 1-7 ATS in its last eight games overall.  With Nebraska standing at 19-3 at Pinnacle Bank Arena, 19-6-1 ATS following a loss and 13-4 ATS at home versus teams with a losing road record, lay the points with the Cornhuskers in this college basketball affair and invest with confidence.