Best CBB bets for Thursday

Projecting ATS winners for biggest college basketball games

Originally Published: March 14, 2013
By Dave Tuley | ESPN Insider
Peyton Siva, Russ SmithAP Photo/Nam Y. HuhWill Peyton Siva, Russ Smith and Louisville cover the spread against Villanova tonight?

Dave Tuley has resumed his Tuley's Take on the big midweek college basketball games the past few weeks for ESPN Insider and continues today with a big conference tournament schedule. The next two weeks, he'll break down the Thursday and Saturday games in the NCAA tournament.

I climbed back to the 60 percent mark last Tuesday as I went 2-1 against the spread to improve to 9-6 ATS overall since starting this college basketball column. The one loss was ugly, as Arkansas not only failed to cover the plus-10 against Missouri but ended up losing by 30 points. Fortunately, the sports books don't charge more if a team fails to cover by 20 points; it's the same as if we lose by half a point. And that loss was more than offset by Ohio State's 67-58 win over Indiana (beating the spread by 17 points) and Boise State covering at plus-8 in a 68-64 loss to UNLV.

As ESPN Insider member m_mcconn pointed out in the comments section, if I had taken the favorites instead of just passing when I couldn't make a case for the 'dog, I would have gone 4-1 ATS. I know some people who follow me swear by that method, but I've found when I bet those faves I usually split out (at best), so I prefer to pass in those situations and look for higher-percentage plays.

We're now in the middle of an exciting Championship Week, so let's look at some of the top games on Thursday's card from my Vegas point of view:

Louisville Cardinals versus Villanova Wildcats

Opening line: Louisville minus-9.5
PickCenter breakdown

Dave Tuley has covered the Las Vegas race and sports book scene since 1998 and runs his own website,