SHINE SHINE BABY was only rated 61 on the flat, and we are struggling to find more than 102 for her last time out hurdles run. That’s the same mark the h’capper gave SIN SIN, so their is no surprise to see them share the same odds of 9/4. SPIRIT OF ROME was rated even lower on the flat, but the h’capper says she’s worth 110 over the sticks. That of course suggests she’s got 8 pounds in hand of the others. And, while that might not be the case we at least believe she’s got the best form and is the one to beat.
Köln are still bottom of the league, but ten points from four games has at least put them in touch with the pack. And, while it’s hard to know exactly what went wrong with the hosts during the first part of the season, maybe it was the burden of playing in Europe. With the Bundesliga in mind, being out of that competition should be an advantage for now. And, while Stefan Ruthenback’s side still have a handful of missing players, the situation is improving! Dortmund haven’t been able to win since the second half of the season started, and recent draws against Freiburg (2-2), Hertha (1-1) and Wolfsburg don’t auger well. In fact, only an injury time equaliser gave a share of the points against Freiburg and nor did they deserve anything more. Prior to the reverse match win earlier this season, Dortmund hadn’t beaten Köln in seven consecutive games. And, while four of them ended in a draw, the hosts won 3 from 4 in this stadium. Last but not least, visitors have lost top goalscorer Aubameyang to Arsenal. Second top scorer Philipp and another striker Yarmolenko are out!
We have 2 teams going in opposite directions as 12-10 Colorado hosts 13-8 Utah. Colorado sits in 8th place in the PAC-12 at 4-6 in conference play but have lost their last 3 games, all by double digits. Utah is just 1 game ahead at 5-5 but the tes have won 3 of their last 4 and nearly pulled off a stunner at Arizona, losing 74-73 but had a chance to win on the final shot at the buzzer. Colorado picked up some good wins earlier against Arizona, Arizona St and UCLA but the Buffaloes have really struggled while the Utes are rounding into form. Boulder is typically an extremely difficult environment to play but Utah, playing at elevation themselves, have never had issues here and we believe they are the far superior team!
Magda Linette decided to make things much more difficult than needed against Johanna Larsson but the Polish girl eventually came out on top in 3 sets 6-1 6-7 7-6. Timea Babos has started 2018 better than 2017 but we're not thoroughly convinced by her yet and she in fact needed 3 sets herself last round against #169 Dalila Jakupovic. Neither player would really say these conditions indoor are ideal for their game but Linette appears more than capable here and we would say she has about equal chances to win. 3.5 games should be well within reach!
Arizona St finally got the emphatic win they needed after 8 straight non-covers in PAC-12 play. The Sun Devils started a bit slow but dominated the 2nd half against Colorado on Saturday for an 80-66 win. Washington has surprised many this season with an out of conference win over top 10 team Kansas and began PAC-12 play with another upset win over ranked USC. The Huskies have proven to be capable scorers and despite thier last 7 games all going under the total, we see this turning into a fast paced shootout much like their past meetings.
CS Northridge did us a nice favor over the weekend, covering rather easily against a horrific defensive team in Long Beach St. The Matadors are in decent form despite losing their last 2 games as they've now covered in 5 of their last 6. In fact, they even battled this same UC Davis team just last week to a 63-56 loss and covering the large 13.5 pt spread with ease. However, the fact remains that the Aggies are a legitimate team this year and the Matadors are in the bottom 25 in all of Division I. It's worth noting that in their last 6 games, the lone non-cover was a blowout loss to UC-Irvine, another team with a top 75 defense. We expect the Aggies to be better prepared this time and dominate with their superior shooting against a Matadors team that might have a bit of a letdown after nearly upsetting the 49ers.
Northern Arizona has been the Big Sky bottom dweller for 3 seasons running and this year doesn't appear to be any different as the Lumberjacks enter this game at 1-8 in conference play and 4-18 overall. However, we are beginning to see some signs of improvement and the Lumberjacks have covered in 6 straight games, including an outright win at Montana St last week. Still we're having trouble justifying how one of the worst teams in Division I can get a win against an Idaho St team that is sound defensively and has historically shown to be capable in tough high-elevation environments. Key contributor JoJo Anderson and bench player Lenell Henry are both questionable for tonight and their absence(s) could be a further handicap for the hosts! Bengals should be a modest favorite here!
Austin Peay got the better of Morehead St over the weekend much as we anticipated but aside from that favorable match up, the Governors have not been in top form since beginning conference play at 4-0. In fact, the Governors are a dismal 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games and we're having a hard time justifying a full 3 point spread against a Tennessee Martin team that's proven to be a very good team when rated as an underdog. The Skyhawks are 6-2 ATS when given points and the Governors have struggled playing on the road and will possibly have 2 bench players unavailable for tonight as well.
Both teams have been playing better of late but it's been the Dragons that have turned their good form into actual wins. The Dukes led both of their previous 2 road games against UNC Wilmington and Charleston but were unable to get it done down the stretch. Drexel, on the other hand, were able to mount a comeback against a Northeastern team that's emerging as the best team in the conference. Drexel has played extremely well in their current homestand and perhaps James Madison won't have their best after 2 hard fought losses. There's also the matter of the Dukes winning the last 9 meetings between these 2 teams so expect the Dragons to be even more motivated to end this streak!
Both schools enter this game at 7-3 along with William & Mary in the logjam at the top of the CAA standings. Northeastern is coming off a 68-67 loss at Drexel on Saturday but had won 4 in a row before that. Charleston is coming off a 4 game winning streak of their own but as we said in the past, their recent performances have been a bit fradulent as the Cougars trailed for much of their last 3 games but managing to pull out wins in all 3 and covers in 2 out of the 3. The Huskies are the better team and the Cougars are living off their preseason expectations a bit. Line is moving wrong way!
FREE PREMIUM - Never be scared to take on a short priced favourite, and that’s what we are willing to do with SPICE GIRL. Martin Keighley’s runner was a tad disappointing at Cheltenham, but prior to that she had been on a roll. In fact, she won three bumpers which takes some doing, and followed up with a CD win on her hurdling debut. Todays jockey Harry Stock is 3/3 on the mare, and his 7 pound claim can certainly help her against short priced fav THE VOCALIST. Nicky Henderson’s 6 year old was also the winner of a bumper, and she won her hurdle at the second attempt. The h’capper says she’s worth a rating of 125, and that doesn’t suggest she has much in hand of our bet!
Despite being a maiden MOLINEAUX sets a good standard, albeit 5/6 is a bit short. CHAMPAGNE CHAMP was rated a decent 87 on the flat, but he’s fully exposed and making his hurdling debut at six years of age. The two year younger ARDWOLF might have been rated five pounds inferior on the flat, but he receives 10 pounds weight for age allowance. He’s also in the hands of a very good trainer and the champion ion jockey is in for the ride.