Cap’n Kielar’s Best Bets: February 23, 2021by Alex Kielar February 23, 2021 0 comments
Welcome to another edition of Cap’n Kielar’s Best Bets. We are back for Super Tuesday gambling!
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Overall record: 20-19
Richmond vs. UMass (+9)
Massachusetts comes off a 17-day layoff, having not played since Feb. 9 thanks to COVID-19 protocols. Despite the long respite, they still hold first place in the Atlantic 10 Conference as they are 7-4 overall and 6-2 in conference this season. The Minutemen come off back-to-back wins prior to the layoff and with five wins in six games.
In the previous two games, they were down their leading scorer (center Tre Mitchell) along with point guard Noah Fernandes. Both are expected back for this contest. Mitchell is averaging 20 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, while the Wichita State transfer Fernandes has been stuffing the stat sheet in his first season at Richmond. He has averaged 11.9 points, 5.2 assists, and 4.9 rebounds per game.
The Spiders have won three of their last four but are 0-4 ATS in those games. Look for a close battle and UMass to cover the nine points.
Auburn vs. Florida o155.5 points (-110)
The spread (Auburn -1), is way too close for me to even touch, as this game could easily go either way. Scoring will not be an issue as both the Gators and Tigers have top-40 ranked offenses in efficiency.
Florida has been getting back into the routine after missing a couple of games due to COVID-19 and should keep up the pace in this one. Now that it is the Gators’ third game back, they should look closer to the team that is 69th in the country in effective field goal percentage (75.4 percent). Auburn is the 34th fastest team in the country and will push the pace, which will keep the scoring up. Take the over.
Villanova vs. St. John’s (+11) and o152.5 points (-110)
Nova is 6-2 since returning from their long layoff with wins over Seton Hall (twice), Providence, Georgetown, Marquette, and UConn. The Wildcats are 1-3-1 ATS in their last five games and 3-9-1 ATS in their last 13 home games. The Red Storm, meanwhile, are 9-2 ATS in their last 11. They have hit the over in their last four games while Villanova has hit the over in eight of their last 11.
Both teams come in scoring at a high pace, with the Wildcats scoring 68 or more points in each of their last four games and St. John’s scoring at least 69 points in each of their last 12. This should be a battle, with the Red Storm covering the spread and potential for the point total to hit 160. St. John’s goes for the season sweep as they defeated Villanova, 70-59, back on Feb. 3.
Michigan State vs. Illinois (-7)
The Fighting Illini are coming into this one on a roll, winning seven straight, while the Spartans have really struggled despite upsetting Indiana this past weekend. With a win, Illinois will claim a share with first place in the Big Ten with the Michigan Wolverines. They come off their most decisive Big Ten victory this past Saturday, a 94-63 over Minnesota.
The Golden Gophers had previously been 13-1 at home. The current fifth-ranked team in the AP rankings, Illinois ranks 16th in the country with 81.8 points per game. They will have an argument for a one-seed in the NCAA Tournament with a quality finish to the season and conference tournament. Junior guard Ayo Dosunmu continues to lead the club with 21.2 PPG and had a triple-double in Saturday’s win.
Texas (-2.5) vs. Kansas
You might say Kansas has been on fire lately after winning five in a row, but none of those wins were against quality opponents. The Jayhawks did beat Texas Tech, but the Red Raiders were coming off a two-week layoff and had some rust to rub off.
Texas has been tested lately, as the Longhorns have dropped four of six games, including losses to No. 7-ranked Oklahoma, second ranked Baylor, and #10 West Virginia. Three of the four losses were by one point, two points, and in double overtime, respectively.
Kansas lost to Texas 84-59 back on Jan. 2 but they are a much different team now. These Jayhawks were terrible offensively in that game. While I don’t expect as bad of a showing, Texas has too much firepower and will look to avenge their last four losses.