Best and worst CBB teams to bet on 

February, 21, 2013

In the week since the Miami Hurricanes debuted atop the Sweat Barometer that I work up with Sal Selvaggio of, they have: racked up three wins (at Florida State, at Clemson and at home versus a very dangerous Virginia team); come closer to being the biggest surprise winner of the ACC since before we knew how to say Krzyzewski; and firmly established themselves as the second-best team in the country behind Indiana. (At least according to the polls.)

You know what Miami didn't do? Cover the spread. Against the Seminoles, the line opened at Canes minus-7, closed at minus-6 and ended in a 74-68 push. The Clemson line closed at Canes minus-6 too, and Miami barely eeked by in that one 45-43. And against Virginia, the Canes were 8.5-point favorites and won by only four, 54-50.

And yet, as they were last week, Miami is still sitting atop the weekly Sweat Barometer, at plus-6.89, down slightly from the plus-8.34 it opened at. (FWIW, the mighty Virginia Cavaliers are No. 5 at plus-4.41 and are 15-7 against the spread. That is the value of this metric: it doesn't just offer an alternative angle on why teams you know are doing well, it also lends insight into the teams that handicappers are aware might not necessarily be on your radar.) But it's worth noting that in the first two months of the season, when no one except gamblers and bookmakers were paying attention to the Canes, they had just one line that was higher than nine points (minus-9.5 at Hawaii on Dec. 22). But since they were discovered by the rest of us fans in late January -- their first appearance in the Top 25 was the week of Jan. 28 -- they have had three spreads of nine points or greater, two more that were seven or higher and two more that were six. There was one pick 'em in that eight-game run, a 79-78 win at NC State.

It's no surprise their Sweat Barometer number has dropped. The spreads involving their games have been adjusted to more accurately reflect how good the Canes really are. And since they are clearly a potential No. 1 seed in the NCAA tourney, they have instantly become a résumé builder. Bubble teams that play them well or can pull off the miracle upset suddenly look a lot better.

Which is all a way of saying, too bad you weren't paying attention earlier in the year when there was real value in the Canes. But take a look at the rankings below. Maybe there will be some other team that catches your eye.