January 21, 2017
There are two picks today.
#1: Take Florida State -5 spread against Louisville for 3% of the bankroll.
The Florida State Seminoles are a team that very few people are talking about despite their success this season, but we expect that is all going to change in the next couple of weeks. This is a big revenge game for Florida State as Louisville dominated the meeting last year. It was clear that the Seminoles were not ready for the pressure that Louisville brings as they turned it over 16 times. Dwayne Bacon also struggled in the high-pressure situations going just 4-of-17 from the floor. This season however, Florida State is a much deeper and experienced team. Louisville is a team that thrives on turnovers and so far, this season, the FSU players haven't had a huge problem holding onto the ball.
Let's not forget that the Louisville pressure is much different on the road than it is in the length and size that Louisville brings on the floor. Bacon will likely see lot of Deng Adel and Ray Spalding in coverage and he struggled against that length a season ago. He has certainly shown that he has grown as a player and instead of shying away from contact, we expect him to attack the basket and drive directly into the length of the Louisville frontcourt forcing the big men to make plays while avoiding contact.
Florida State also has size at both the guard position and in the post and we expect that could be problematic as well for an already inconsistent Louisville offense. We have seen numerous times this season that the Cardinals can go through long, sustained dry spells on the offensive side of the ball. Going up against a Florida State team whose offense has only scored less than 83 points once this season, the Cardinals will need to find a way to keep pace on the scoreboard or this game could get ugly the longer it goes on.
Florida State is also the more battle tested team coming into this matchup as this will be their 6th straight matchup against a team ranked in the Top 25 and have gone 4-1 during that stretch with their lone setback being a close loss on the road against North Carolina. They have played the best teams the country has had to offer over the last couple of weeks and will not be intimidated by Louisville this afternoon.
Meanwhile the Cardinals haven't exactly played the toughest slate of games this season. They lost their first two ACC games against Virginia and Notre Dame (teams FSU recently defeated). From there, their hardest test was beating a short-handed Duke team and going forward, they don't have to play a ranked team in consecutive games the rest of the way (according to current rankings). This matchup could turn out to be one of their more difficult games this season for the Cardinals outside of a late trip to North Carolina. This is an opportunity for the Seminoles to not only continue making a statement but to also get revenge from a bad loss a season ago. We expect this this year's meeting to go much differently as the Seminoles hand the Cardinals a convincing loss of their own.
#2: Take Oklahoma -2 spread against Iowa State for 3% of the bankroll.
This is a matchup where we believe the market is slow on adjusting simply due to public perception. It was not too long ago that the Oklahoma Sooners were in the midst of a seven-game losing streak. During that streak the betting public undoubtedly wrote the Sooners off and have not looked back. Over their last two games however, the Sooners have started to turn things around and are playing like the team many expected at the start of the season. They got a confidence boosting win in their last matchup as they pulled off a somewhat surprising victory over a highly ranked West Virginia team on the road. We expect the momentum gained from that victory will carry over into this contest this afternoon.
A big reason for the Sooners losing skid was due to the loss of one of their most important players, Jordan Woodard. Woodard is the only senior in the starting lineup on a squad that features seven freshmen and four sophomores, leads the team in scoring (17.7 ppg), assists (3.8 apg), steals (2.3 spg) and is also third in rebounding (5.2 rpg). His production and most importantly veteran leadership were missing from this team. Now, in his three games since his return, he has been playing like a man possessed, averaging 18 points and 4.3 assists, including 20 points, five assists and four steals in the win over the Mountaineers. This is a completely different team than the one that the betting public remembers and we are going to take advantage of that fact.
Oklahoma has managed to win four straight games at home over the Cyclones and given Iowa State's recent struggles, we believe the Sooners will make it 5 straight today. The Cyclones come into this matchup on a two-game losing streak and will be meeting a Sooner's team that not only has a ton of momentum behind them, but also now has a point to prove. This is simply a bad matchup for Iowa State and while they may keep things close throughout, ultimately the Sooners will make the plays necessary at the end of the game to come away with the victory.
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