Syracuse vs. Louisville: Big East Conference Rivals Headline Monday's Action

Jeff Grant@@JeffGrantSportsContributor IFebruary 13, 2012

Syracuse vs. Louisville: Big East Conference Rivals Headline Monday's Action

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    The Syracuse Orange (25-1) and Louisville Cardinals (20-5) will headline Monday's action in Las Vegas in a Big East Conference showdown inside the KFC Yum! Center.

    Oddsmakers have opened up the Orange as two-point road favorites, while the total stands at 137 at all sports books on the strip.

    Let's take a closer look at three top college basketball games from a betting perspective.

Syracuse Orange at Louisville Cardinals

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    The Louisville Cardinals are one of the hottest teams in the nation, heading into Monday's contest against the Syracuse Orange on a six-game win streak.

    Sports bettors will find that the Cardinals have won seven straight games in the series, while posting a 6-0-1 against-the-spread (ATS) record over that span.

    Rick Pitino has done a great job in getting his program peaking at the right time during his career, especially during this particular month on the calendar.  Louisville has won 32 of 38 games in February since the start of the 2006-07 season.

    Syracuse enters the KFC Yum! Center with a 6-1 ATS mark on the road this season, while covering four of five tries as a road favorite of three points or less over the last two-plus campaigns.

    The Orange are 4-13 all-time in their series with the Cardinals.

    Syracuse may be the value play in this affair, considering the team hasn't been favored by less than seven points all year.

    Recommendation: Syracuse Orange -2

Iowa State Cyclones at Baylor Bears

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    Baylor and Iowa State have alternated wins in the last seven meetings in this Big 12 Conference series, with the Cyclones capturing a 72-57 win as 1.5-point home underdogs on Jan. 15, 2011.

    The Bears have a good chance of keeping the trend going—they've tallied an impressive 67-15 record inside the Ferrell Center since the 2007-08 campaign.

    Sports bettors will need to be cautious—the Bears have failed to cover all four games this month, while going 6-13 ATS in February over the last two-plus seasons.

    Iowa State has won 14 of 15 games when scoring 70 or more points this season, but that mark will be tough to reach against a Baylor team that allows just 61.6 points per game at home.

    The Cyclones are still the play due to their 5-0-1 ATS record in their last six road games.

    Recommendation: Iowa State Cyclones +8.5

Kansas Jayhawks at Kansas State Wildcats

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    The Kansas State Wildcats presented absolutely no challenge to their in-state rivals in their first meeting this year, dropping a 67-49 decision to the Kansas Jayhawks as 10-point road underdogs on Jan. 4.

    A change in venue could lead to a different result, as the Wildcats have won 11 consecutive games inside Bramlage Coliseum during the month of February.

    Sports bettors will also gain confidence in knowing that the program is 5-0-1 ATS in its last six games as a home underdog. Kansas is favored for a reason, especially due to winning 21 of 23 all-time meetings with Kansas State inside Monday's venue.

    I'm expecting a high-intensity effort from a host that needs a resume-building win with the NCAA tournament just a month away.

    Recommendation: Kansas State Wildcats +3.5