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Colorado vs. Pittsburgh Betting Lines

#8 Colorado Buffaloes vs. #9 Pittsburgh Panthers Preview

When: Thursday, March 20th 2014 at 1:40pm ET
Where: Amway Center in Orlando, Florida
Watch: Live on TBS

It won’t take long for the action to heat up once round 2 of March Madness starts on Thursday. In the third game of the day, the #8 Colorado Buffaloes 23-11 (10-8 Pac-12) take on the #9 Pittsburgh Panthers 25-9 (11-7 ACC) in an exciting South Region match-up.

Pittsburgh @ Colorado Point Spread, Money Line & Point Total

I know a lot of people including me are taking Pittsburgh in our brackets. Historically two #9 seeds advance each year and Pittsburgh is popular for multiple reasons. When it comes to betting, I think the bookmakers have overvalued the Panthers on the point spread.

Buffaloes vs. Panthers Stat Pack

Which Team Will Cover the Spread?

Colorado comes into the tournament shorthanded, as Spencer Dinwiddie remains injured. Dinwiddie got injured back in January, but he was leading the team in points (14.7 PPG). Colorado was 16-2 with him to start the year, but they’ve gone 9-9 since his injury.

The Buffaloes will rely on Josh Scott (14.1 PPG & 8.5 RPG) and Xavier Johnson (12 PPG & 5.9 RPG) to punish the Panthers in the paint in this match-up. Seniors Lamar Patterson (17.6 PPG & 4.8 RPG) and Talib Zanna (12.9 PPG & 8.8 RPG) are the leaders on Pittsburgh.

On paper these two teams match-up well against each other. Neither team shoots the deep ball well. Both teams limit turnovers and this game looks like it should be a close battle between two teams that take a lot of high percentage shots in the paint.

Colorado played the tougher schedule, but both teams struggled against top competition. Colorado is 2-6 against ranked opponents this year with wins over Kansas and Oregon. Pittsburgh is 1-4 against ranked teams with their lone win coming against UNC.

This game is basically a coin flip and I think either team can win. This match-up is likely to come down to the wire and I think it could come down the last possession. Over 70% of the action is on Pittsburgh to cover, which I think is giving us value on Colorado.

Keys for Colorado to Win ATS

Josh Scott (101 OFFR), Wesley Gordon (74 OFFR) and Xavier Johnson (56 OFFR) have to active on the offensive glass. As a team, the Buffaloes average 11.6 offensive rebounds per game while the Panthers allow opposing teams to grab 8.4 OFFRPG (70th).

Defensively the Buffaloes also have to limit the second chance opportunities they give up to Pittsburgh. Zanna leads the Panthers in offensive rebounds (112). Zanna picks up a lot of points in the paint from rebounding and Colorado can’t afford for that to happen.

Scott and Johnson are important players, but Booker is the most important player. If Booker isn’t playing well it’ll hurt the rest of the team. Booker leads the team in assists (3.4 APG) and steals (1.3 SPG). However, he also leads the team in turnovers (2.5 TPG).

If Booker plays poorly and panics with the basketball it’ll be a long day for the Buffaloes. On the other hand, if he manages the game like he can I think the Buffaloes could win SU. Pittsburgh is strong inside, but their perimeter play is inconsistent at best.

Pittsburgh doesn’t shoot a lot of shots beyond the arc. They’ve made 175 this season on 491 attempts (35.6%). Patterson is the big threat to get hot from the deep, as he has shot nearly 40% from 3-point territory (77/194). Colorado has to defend the 3-pointer.

Will the Game Go Over or Under the Total?

I wish the total was a bit higher and I think it still might go up, as nearly 70% of the action is on the over. I’d wait until closer to game time to bet on the under. I expect these teams to battle it out in the paint and the pace of the game will likely be slow.

Colorado has stepped it up defensively lately, as they’ve only allowed 59.4 PPG. I’m more confident in Colorado +5.5 points though, as with a low total like this it could go either way based on fouls to close out the game. I do think the under is the way to go though.

ScottThis article was written by Scott

Scott is one of the original degenerates working for MobileSportsBetting.com. Although he's most successful betting on NFL football and international soccer, he's also active in UFC and NHL hockey betting. Follow Scott on Twitter


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