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Hot & Not Report
By Joe Williams

‘Who’s Hot’

It’s late January, and many bettors and casual fans are well versed in the big-name teams, but there is nothing wrong with going with the little schools. Winners are winners, and the money is just as green. Let’s touch on a few unheralded teams making the grade against the number, as well as some lesser schools struggling against the spread (ATS).

IUPU-Fort Wayne Mastodons (14-2 ATS L/16)
– Have you ever had that out-of-the-way restaurant you only tell your really, really good friends about, because you don’t want the place to get overhyped and prices to go up? I consider the Mastodons of the Summit League my private little getaway. They consistently cash winners, covering 14 of their 16 games this season, including a perfect 5-0 ATS mark in their five games with a spread at home this season. That’s where they’ll be Saturday when rival IUPUI pays a visit to Fort Wayne. The Mastodons have covered 35 of their past 51 league games, and tney’re 25-9-2 ATS in their past 36 at home, so this isn’t new that they’re covering numbers. And the favorite has hit in four of the past five meetings in this series, with the Mastodons 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. IUPUFW will get a stern test Thursday at Oral Roberts, but they might be a good value, too.

North Dakota Fighting Hawks (8-1-1 ATS L/10)
– On the surface, a 9-9 straight-up record doesn’t instill a lot of confidence for North Dakota bettors, but a 5-0-1 ATS mark over their past six, and 8-1-1 ATS over the past 10, is sure to get people excited. Most of UND’s struggles against the spread came in a week-long stretch against some stiffer competition, including a blowout loss vs. Northern Iowa Nov. 28. That bad loss seemed to galvanize the team. That coupled with stepping into conference play has been the perfect storm, and UND is playing much better basketball as a result. They have won three of their past four straight up, and they’re 3-1-1 ATS in their past five at home. UND can score, too. They hung 101 on Northern Arizona Thursday night, have hit 84 or more in three of the past four, and the ‘over’ has hit in five of their past seven if you like totals.

UCF Golden Knights (12-2 ATS L/14)
– The Knights have won four of their past five straight up, and covered the spread in each, and they’re an impressive 12-2 ATS overall this season. They hit the road for Tulsa Sunday afternoon looking to improve on their 5-1 ATS mark in six road outing this season. The Golden Hurricane is just 3-3-1 ATS in its past seven home games, so UCF is a good value play based on their overall success against the number this season. We’ll get a much better idea of just how improved this Knights team is when Memphis and UConn visit next week.

‘Who’s Not’

Cal Poly SLO Mustangs (2-6 ATS L/8)
– If you’re an east coast bettor and love to stay up late and make money, the Big West Conference has a pair of teams to roll against. Cal Poly has been a dominant team in the past, but they’re in a major rebuilding phase and really struggling straight up and against the number. They shocked a previously dependable Long Beach State team Jan. 16 with an overtime win, but they’re just 2-6 ATS in their past eight outings overall. They’ve been especially bad on the road or on neutral courts, going 1-6 ATS in their past seven. Remember that when they head to Cal State Fullerton Saturday evening, as the Titans are 3-1 ATS in their past four games overall.

Southern Utah Thunderbirds (2-11 ATS L/13)
– The Thunderbirds of SUU probably shouldn’t be at the Division I level, as they have really struggled year in and year out since their lone NCAA Tournament appearance in 2001. They have been a bettors friend while fading them on a regular basis lately, and they haven’t protected their home court well. The T-Birds are 1-5 ATS in their past six in Cedar City, and they host North Dakota Saturday before heading out to Idaho State Thursday. We discussed UND’s success above, and Idaho State is 9-4 ATS in their past 13. It looks like another long week for SUU, but a successful week for bettors going against them.

UC Davis Aggies (2-9 ATS L/11)
– The Aggies of the Big West Conference snapped a three-game non-cover skid Thursday with a win over UC Riverside despite being short dogs at home. Still, UC Davis has been a good team to pick on, as they have failed to cover in nine of their past 11 games overall, including a 1-5 ATS mark in their past six road games. They play a strong Hawaii (15-2 SU, 6-5 ATS) team which has been dominant at home with a 12-1 SU mark. Davis also faces Cal State Fullerton Wednesday, and the Titans are 3-1 ATS in their past four.

Total Notes

— Drexel has hit the ‘under’ in five straight, and 13 of their past 14 games overall. They host UNC Wilmington Saturday, and Towson Thursday in Colonial Athletic Association play.

— Long Beach State has had a nice ‘over’ streak lately, especially on the road. The ‘over’ has connected in 14 of their past 17 games overall, and all 12 of their outings on the road or on a neutral court.

— Tennessee State is on a 1-5-1 ‘under’ streak in OVC play. They travel to Belmont Saturday to face a Bruins team which has hit the under in three of the past four.

— UC Davis heads Hawaii at 11:59pm ET Saturday. If you like ‘under’ plays, you love the Aggies lately. The ‘under’ has cashed in three straight, and seven of their past eight.