Best Bets for This Sunday - Mar. 14

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

It’s the final week of conference tournament play in college basketball before Selection Sunday on March 14. The NBA is back in action as teams navigate the second half of the season and race toward the playoffs. 

The NHL continues to beat each other up in the newly realigned divisions. Most teams have reached the halfway point in their 56-game season. Bettors can latch on to a key trend for value in a Sunday night matchup. 

Here’s a look at the best bets for this weekend. 

Atlantic-10 Championship 

Two of the best defensive teams in the nation will square off for the Atlantic-10 championship. Also up for grabs is the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament 

St. Bonaventure (15-4) has beaten VCU (19-6) twice already this season. The Bonnies, who won the regular season A-10 title, held the Rams to 54 and 64 points, respectively. 

The Rams rank 12th in the nation in defensive efficiency even though they give up more points - 64.8 - per game than the Bonnies (60.1). 

When you put two quality defenses together in a championship game, you tend to get low-scoring battles. The total in each of the previous two meetings between St. Bonaventure and VCU were 140 and 136. In both games, the total went Under. 

Do the same in this title game on Sunday. 

Play the Under all the way down to 136. 

Check out last week’s action at Best Bets for March 6-7. 

SUN: Toronto @ Ottawa 

The Maple Leafs still lead the race for the President’s Cup with 40 points, but Toronto stumbled recently losing three straight before beating Winnipeg 4-3 in overtime on Thursday. Toronto will play the Jets once more on Saturday night before heading to Ottawa for a Sunday night matchup. 

The two teams have played five games so far this season. Toronto has won three. The Senators have the worst record in the North Division at 9-19-1. As a result, the Maple Leafs will be favored on Sunday. 

What is very interesting in the NHL this season is the play of underdogs, and especially home underdogs. Underdogs are 256-145 (63.8 percent) against the spread so far this season.  

Home underdogs are covering at a 66.5 percent clip (115-58). With that in mind plus the fact that Ottawa and Toronto have played three one-goal games this season, take the Senators to cover on the puck line. 

SUN: Clippers @ Pelicans 

The Clippers got off to a good start in the second half of the NBA season with a big win over Golden State. Their opponent on Sunday night, New Orleans, did not fare as well. 

The Pelicans lost four of five games before the All-Star break and then came back with a 30-point loss to Minnesota on Thursday.  

For all the problems New Orleans has had winning games this season, the Pelicans have still been good to bettors. New Orleans trends heavily toward the Over. 

The Over is 27-10 - that includes the Pelicans 135-105 loss to the T-Wolves on Thursday - in New Orleans games this season. Surprisingly, the Clippers are 21-16-2 to the Over. 

L.A. is fifth in scoring. New Orleans is sixth. The Pelicans are also 29th in defensive efficiency. They give up a lot of points.  

When the two teams played earlier this season, the total was 216 and it did go Under. The total might be a little higher in this one, but play it down to 216. 

Picks by Coach Rick

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