February 2, 2017
There are two pick again tonight.
#1: Take BYU +10 spread against Gonzaga for 3% of the bankroll.
People are finally starting to take notice of the Gonzaga Bulldogs. For the first time this season and just second time in school history, the Zags are atop the college basketball rankings and are the #1 team in the country. The Zags are having a great season and are currently the only undefeated team left in the country. They went a perfect 12-0 in non-conference play and are currently 10-0 in WCC play as well. What has been most impressive is not only their number of victories, but by the margin's that they have been winning. On the season, Gonzaga has won 14 straight games by double digits which is quite an amazing feat, which makes us wonder why the oddsmakers had opened this line up at just -8.5? There is a reason for that.
We have seen numerous times already this season what happens when teams reach the pinnacle of the college basketball world. When a team finally captures that number 1 ranking, the pressure mounts and defeat almost surely follows. It has happened to Kansas, Baylor, and Villanova already this season. It is incredibly hard to maintain that number 1 ranking since because it puts a target on a team's back. Not only does the team often feel satisfied that they achieved the highest honor in the college basketball world, but they also now must face each and every team whose number 1 goal is to hand them a defeat and knock them from the rankings. That is what we expect BYU to do tonight.
The Cougars are a tough test for the Zags. While they have somewhat struggled on the road this season, they are a near perfect 12-1 on their home court this season. They are an explosive offense that has shown their ability to hang with the Zags in the past. This will arguably be the Zags most stern test in quite some time. They had the benefit of playing a quality St. Mary's team on their home turf, but this will be their toughest test in a hostile environment this season and one that we are not sure they can pass.
Even if the Bulldogs do manage to come out of Provo with a victory, we don't believe it will come as easy as many expect. The Bulldogs have been spread covering machines this season and the betting public has taken notice and have ultimately fallen in love with this team. The oddmakers realize this and as such are able to list lines on Gonzaga’s game with a bit of inflation. The betting public will likely blindly back this team at whatever spread is listed given their past results. The line on this game was inflated to begin with and the betting public has already bet it up a couple of points. This has opened a tremendous amount of value on a home team who is near perfect on the season.
While Gonzaga's winning streak may continue tonight, there will come a point in the season where they will lose a game. With this being their toughest test on the road this season, we wouldn't be completely shocked if this was the game where they stumble. Even if they don't we do believe the Cougars will make this difficult tonight as their home crowd rallies behind their team in support. Double-digits is quite a bit to win by on the road, especially against a quality home team like the Cougars. The points have value tonight in what should be a closer game than expected.
#2: Take Nebraska +1 spread against Michigan State for 3% of the bankroll.
This has historically been the point in the basketball season where Michigan State has proven to be a dangerous opponent, however this year's Michigan State squad does not resemble a typical Tom Izzo coached team as they have severely underperformed this season. They come into this contest having lost 3 of their last 4 games and quite honestly; those games weren't even close. They have struggled on the defensive side of the basketball having surrendered at least 72 points in each. They simply have not been able to stop opposing teams on offense and that will certainly help an inconsistent offense like Nebraska's. The Spartan's have also been a team that has struggled on the road, having gone just 1-3 in true road games on the season.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers have been a team that has seemingly had Michigan State's number recently. They have managed to win 3 straight meeting and two of those matchups they were listed as heavy underdogs. In the world of college basketball some teams just own an advantage over another and this is one series that we believe the Cornhuskers match up extremely well.
Nebraska recently halted their 5-game losing streak with an improbable victory over a ranked Purdue team. It was an impressive showing by the Huskers and show that in Lincoln, they can be an incredibly difficult team to defeat. That victory over Purdue will have likely sparked this team and given them a huge boost in confidence ahead of this matchup. Like their counterparts, Nebraska has had an up and down season, however we believe they are once again on the up-tick.
Michigan State is a team that is still living on their reputation as a perennial powerhouse, however this is a completely different team this season. Their name still carries a lot of weight which is likely the reason why the oddsmakers have been rather generous with the opening line. Nebraska is still a rather unknown in the Big 10 conference and has yet to establish their mark, however another victory tonight over the Spartans will likely open a lot of unsuspecting eyes. Let's not forget, during their 5-game losing streak the Cornhuskers suffered a couple of narrow lucky bounces. They are used to playing in closely contested games and their close victory over Purdue will have given them the confidence of now knowing that they can win games in that way.
These two teams typically play in closely contested matchups and we don't believe this one will be any different. The Huskers have a ton of momentum on their side at the moment and even though Tom Izzo's crew will be hungry and motivated to stop the proverbial bleeding, we believe the home court advantage tonight in Lincoln will power the Cornhuskers to another big victory over a big-name opponent in front of their raucous home crowd. Home court will be the difference as the Huskers pick up the win and cover.
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