Sports bettors across the globe have discounted Pittsburgh’s chances of making a serious run in the NCAA tournament, but that decision is completely baseless and totally without merit. The Panthers actually enter the NCAA tournament having won five of their last seven games, including an impressive victory over North Carolina in a hostile environment (Greensboro, North Carolina). More importantly, Pittsburgh has become extremely undervalued based upon public misperception as the Panthers have covered the point spread in five of their last six games. Meanwhile, Colorado arrives in Orlando without its best player in Spencer Dinwiddie, who sustained a season-ending injury on January 12. Without Dinwiddie on the court, Colorado has suffered multiple blowout losses to UCLA (69-56; 92-74) and Arizona (69-57; 88-61; 63-43), while also losing to both Arizona State (72-51) and Utah (75-64) by significant margins.
Fundamental Analysis: Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh possesses an underrated offense that is averaging 72.5 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 66.6 points per game, thereby making the Panthers 5.9 points per game better than average offensively. Colorado should have success containing Pittsburgh’s attack as the Buffaloes are 5.3 points per game better than average defensively (67.9 points per game to teams that would combine to average 73.2 points per game). Pittsburgh’s 0.6 points per game advantage offensively is insignificant with respect to the outcome of today’s game, but the Panthers’ edge on the defensive end of the floor proves to be the deciding factor.
Pittsburgh’s strength is its defense that is allowing a mere 62.4 points per game to teams that would combine to average 69.1 points per game. Meanwhile, Colorado enters the NCAA tournament averaging just 63.7 points per game on the road (40.7% FG; 28.4% 3-PT) and 57.0 points over its last five games (39.8% FG; 30.6% 3-PT). Overall, Pittsburgh possesses a 4.7 points per game advantage defensively over the Buffaloes’ attack, but that projection is far too conservative in light of Colorado’s struggles on the road this season.
Finally, Pittsburgh applies to several profitable tournament situations of mine, including a 49-12 ATS angle that was a perfect 5-0 ATS in last year’s NCAA tournament. Lay the points with the Panthers and invest with confidence.