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December 10, 2016

There are 3 college basketball plays on Saturday.

Take Oklahoma +4 spread against Wichita State for 3% of the bankroll.

The Oklahoma Sooners and Wichita State Shockers meet this afternoon in Oklahoma City for what should be an extremely hard fought and entertaining contest. Even though this game is being played on a neutral court, there is no question that the Norman, Oklahoma faithful will have made the trip in bunches which will give this game a 'hometown" feel for the Sooners.

The Wichita State Shockers, while a quality team, are no longer the same team that made deep runs in the NCAA Tournament the last several seasons. Fred VanVleet and Ron Baker have moved on and this new-look squad is still searching for an identity. They lack a true go-to scoring option as no one on the team averages more than 11 points. The fact that they don’t have a true leader on this team will make things difficult in closely contested games this season and we believe it will hurt them in this contest against an experienced Sooners team.

Oklahoma had certainly lost a major piece of their offense from a season ago as Buddy Hield moved on to the NBA, however we don't believe the loss of Hield will affect this team as much as the loss of VanVleet and Baker will affect the Shockers. The loss of Hield has allowed other role players from the team to finally step up and take on more notable roles. Oklahoma's Jordan Woodard, who has started every game of his four-year career with the Sooners has a chance to become the school’s all-time leading scorer in this matchup. Woodard leads the Sooners averaging 15.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Christian James is averaging 12 points, Khadeem Lattin is averaging 10.9 points and 6.4 rebounds, and Rashard Odomes is averaging 10 points.

Wichita State is certainly a solid team; however, they have been overpowering lesser competition for much of the season. When they have taken a step up, they have been humbled and we expect that to be the case in this contest. This will be as close to a home game for the Sooners as it gets and we are surprised that they are receiving this many points. Oklahoma is averaging 80.5 points per game and they are shooting 48.6 percent from the floor and 41.9 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. With that type of offensive efficiency, it makes them a live underdog. This will likely be a back and forth contest, with each team taking the lead at various points, however at the end of the day, we expect the home crowd to rally their Sooners as a late scoring run seals the victory for Oklahoma. If Wichita State somehow managed to win this game, it will likely be on the final possession in which case the points will come into play.

Take Long Beach State +10.5 spread against Texas for 3% of the bankroll.

Looking at the Long Beach State 49ers ugly 2-9 overall record will likely deter bettors from ever backing this team, especially given their recent 9 game losing streak prior to their win over Pepperdine, but this is a situational matchup that we believe favors them. The 49ers losses this season have come against the likes of Wichita State, North Carolina, Louisville, UCLA, Washington, Kansas, and New Mexico State. They have faced a murderer's row of top-notch competition so they won't be intimidated now having to face the Longhorns.

While their defense has been leaky, the 49ers offense has been a bright spot for this team. They are averaging 71 points per game on 42% shooting from the field. Gabe Levin and Evan Payne lead the 49ers in scoring this season. Levin contributes 12.5 points and 6.6 boards per game(team-high), while Payne is chipping in 12.1 points on average. Justin Bibbins is close to being in that double-digit club with 9.5 points per contest.

The Texas Longhorns are a big-name program and are at home, but the issue here is that Texas is not an overly powerful offensive team. This is a group that struggles to score in the 70's and that makes covering a double-digit spread extremely difficult. There is no question that the 49ers defense has been suspect this season, however with how offensively inept the Longhorns have been, even their porous defense may not be enough for the Longhorns to pull off a blowout victory.

The 49ers managed to snap their 9-game losing streak in their last contest and that victory should have renewed the confidence in their players. Now heading to Texas after already facing a tough non-conference slate should give the 49er players motivation to play with the ‘big boys’ once again and keep things competitive. Texas has been nearly unbeatable at the Erwin Center over the last decade, however that does not mean that the 49ers can't put a scare into Texas and keep this game competitive. Even if Texas managed to pull out to a big lead, given their struggles on the offensive side of the ball, it could leave the backdoor wide open for a late 49ers cover. This game should be more competitive than expected as Long Beach State goes on to stay within this number.

Take Marquette +5 spread (buy half a point) against Wisconsin for 3% of the bankroll.

This year's Marquette Golden Eagles team is projected to be one of the best they have seen this decade and so far, their play on the court has lived up to that hype. They are 7-2 on the season and have arguably one of the most balanced attacks in the country. That being said, this matchup with the Wisconsin Badgers is a game that they undoubtedly need to win to prove to the naysayers that they belong in the Top 25. Wisconsin has managed to win three of the last 4 meetings between these two teams and that should serve as plenty of motivation for Marquette to get things done in front of their home crowd.

Wisconsin has long been known as a team with a suffocating defense and this season is no different as they have held their last 8 opponents to season low scoring totals. That being said, their two losses on the season have come against two of the more balanced scoring teams in the country in Creighton and UNC. Both teams were able to attack the Wisconsin defense from various angles and managed to keep them off balance. That is exactly what we expect Marquette to do in this contest. Those two teams laid the blueprint to defeat Wisconsin and we expect coach Steve Wojciechowski to follow that print to a T.

The Wisconsin defense will be tested by the talented backcourt of sophomore's Traci Carter and Hannif Cheatham. 7-footer Luke Fischer is also an imposing force in the middle and Sam Hauser has been dangerous from long distance. During their 5 game winning streak, Fischer is 31 for 36 from the field while Hauser is hitting 3-pointers at a 56% clip (14 of 25). Marquette is averaging 93.6 points during their current winning streak. While we don't necessarily expect them to put up that many against this Wisconsin defense, it will make things difficult to not only win the game, but cover the spread against an offense that has the capability to score from numerous spots on the floor.

Marquette has played Wisconsin more times than any other team in the country and knows their tendencies well. They managed to "steal" a victory in Madison last year and know what it takes to beat this team. They will also be honoring the 1977 national championship team at halftime so this building should be electric in rooting for this year's squad. We believe this could be a magical year for the Golden Eagles and it starts with a victory this afternoon over the Badgers. Even if the experience of the Badgers somehow manages to pull out a win on the road, we believe they will do so by the narrowest of margins in which the points will prove to be valuable.

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