NBA and NCAAB Sweat Barometer: Standings Updated and NBA Spread Pick

Joe DuffyAnalyst IFebruary 11, 2011

The well covered Knicks will cover well tonight says NBA handicapper
The well covered Knicks will cover well tonight says NBA handicapperStephen Dunn/Getty Images Senior Sports Handicapper Matt Rivers has a Friday night pick on the New York Knicks (+3) against the L.A. Lakers.

Reasoning: Obviously, Kobe and the Lakers are better than the Knicks, but New York has shown some signs of life this season and they are catching Phil Jackson’s boys in a tough spot.

Los Angeles just tangled with the aggressive Celtics last night and are on a really tough back-to-back. Mike D’Antoni’s style has always been to push the pace and that could wreak a little bit of havoc on the potentially fatigued visitors from the left coast.

The size of L.A., with Gasol, Odom and Bynum, is never easy to defend, but if the Knicks can get out on the break, that advantage can be somewhat nullified. Ray Felton has had a breakthrough season, running up and down the court feeding Stoudemire and guys like Wilson Chandler, Landry Fields and Danilo Gallinari have been pretty solid as well.

Both Amar'e Stoudemire and D’Antoni know a ton about the Lakers thanks to their days in Phoenix, so nothing should really come as a surprise today. The Garden crowd will be rocking and in this litmus test type of a scenario, ala the win against the Heat a few weeks ago, I can see the New Yorkers rising to the occasion and getting this thing done as the Lakers run out of gas in the end.

Top expert pick on this game: New York from Matt Rivers

For more information: It’s going to be a monster weekend and it all begins tonight with an Ivy League lock for the ages. One 7:00 game is going to prove to be half a dozen points off, yes, half a dozen! That last line pretty much about sums it up. Get Rivers picks

Here is a Margin of Cover (MOC) breakdown. Renamed the “sweat barometer” by Chad Millman of ESPN, MOC is similar to scoring margin, but measures  how much a team covers or fails to cover the point spread.

Many sports handicappers believe MOC is invaluable in isolating under and overvalued teams.

Duquesne and Texas remain at the top while the bottom feeders are Central Florida, Michigan State, and Texas Tech.

The following teams have “sweat barometers” of at least (+4.5):

Team                          ATS Record                          Margin of Cover

Duquesne                    12-3-1                                     6.5

Texas                         15-4                                         6.3

George Mason             18-5                                         4.8

San Francisco             14-5-1                                     4.7

Now to the best teams to fade, at least according to the sweater.

Team                          ATS Record                          Margin of Cover

Central Florida             5-11                                         -5.5

Michigan State            7-15                                         -5.4

Texas Tech                 6-13                                         -5.1

Ohio                           6-13-1                                     -4.8

South Alabama            7-12                                         -4.5

In the NBA, just three teams have MOC of 1.9 or better: Philadelphia (2.9), Chicago (2.6), and Memphis (1.9).

Two teams are head and shoulders above the rest in the fade area: Cleveland (-4.0) and Utah (-2.4).