January 16, 2017
There is one pick tonight.
Take Iowa State +3 spread (buy half a point) against Kansas for 3% of the bankroll.
The Kansas / Iowa State matchup has proven to be one of the more anticipated games in the Big 12 over the last few seasons! The Jayhawks have owned the Big 12 over the past few decades and coming into this meeting, it appears they are destined to do so once again this season. The Jayhawks have not lost since their opening game of the season and have now won 16 straight, however playing in Ames is no easy task. In fact, it was around this time last year when the highly-ranked Jayhawks made the trip to Ames and lost 85-72. In fact, the Cyclones have won their last two meetings in Ames and this matchup has been close for most of the past decade.
As impressive as Kansas' winning streak has been, they haven't exactly played the toughest slate of competition up until this point outside of their early meeting against Duke. The Jayhawks don't really have another good non-conference win, while their two road wins in Big 12 play came against TCU and Oklahoma and neither of those victories came easily. Even at Allen Fieldhouse, KU barely got by Kansas their in-state rivals, K-State. Their 15-1 record is somewhat inflated in our opinion as they are not the same dominating Jayhawks team that we have seen in years past. With that being said, we also don't believe the Cyclones are a poor as their 11-5 record dictates either. Their losses this season have come against quality competition as they barely lost to an undefeated Gonzaga team on a neutral court, to Cincy in overtime, at Iowa and by two points to previously No. 1 Baylor. Even though ISU is not ranked in this contest, at home, where they are usually untouchable, they might as well be a ranked team in this matchup.
The major difference in this game as opposed to previous years is that Kansas doesn't have Perry Ellis around anymore to draw fouls and post up Iowa State's smaller players and that could be an issue in this game for KU, especially if Burton gets going. Burton can score down low, but also can take his defender beyond the arc, which will make things interesting if Steve Prohm decides to play him at the 5. Darrell Bowie is their main center, but it wouldn't be surprising if the Cyclones went a little smaller in this game because the Jayhawks don't really have the bigs to beat them up down low as they have in year's past.
A big reason Kansas has been as successful as they have been is due to their ability to get to the free-throw line. They could be at a bit of a disadvantage in this contest however as Iowa State doesn’t put opponents at the line often, ranking fourth nationally in defensive free-throw rate. Kansas' ability to create turnovers and get out in transition has been another staple of their offense over the years. Their turnover rate is down this season and Iowa State is currently ranked No. 1 in the nation in offensive turnover percentage.
Given their 16-game winning streak, there is no wonder why the oddsmakers have listed the Jayhawks as the favorites however we believe the line is indicative of how they believe this game is going to play out. Iowa State has the talent and strong homecourt advantage to pull off the outright victory and we believe they will do just that. Kansas will be fortunate to leave Hilton Coliseum with a victory and if they somehow manage to do that, we believe Iowa State will keep things close enough to where the points will come into play.
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