January 24, 2017
There are two picks tonight.
#1: Take West Virginia -3 spread (buy half a point) against Kansas for 3% of the bankroll.
The oddsmakers did something interesting in this matchup and that was made a West Virginia team, which has lost two straight games, not only the favorites over the #2 ranked team in the country, but made them fairly substantial favorites having opened the line up at WVU -4. The Jayhawks come into this game with a ton of momentum on their side having won 18 straight ahead of this matchup, while the Mountaineers have dropped two straight contests and haven't looked like the powerhouse team that they did earlier in the season. There is no question that the betting public is aware of these recent trends and we are going to use that to our advantage here tonight. There is a reason the oddsmakers opened this game up where they did and we believe that will be evident come the final buzzer.
During their two losses, the Mountaineers haven’t been playing terrible basketball, it has been that their pressure defense has not been as aggressive as we had been used to seeing. They allowed both Kansas St and Oklahoma to shoot 50 and 49.3% from the field respectively. The Mountaineers have been one of the best teams in the country in forcing turnovers and over their last two games, they simply have not been able to produce as they have been on the defensive side. Looking to get out of their small slump, we expect things to change tonight as this team will have the added motivation of hosting a highly-ranked team in their home gym. These two teams met a season ago under similar circumstances and it was the Mountaineers who came away with an impressive 74-63 victory so they are no strangers to defeating Kansas in this setting.
Let's not forget that the Mountaineers are a completely different team when playing in Morgantown. They are an impressive 10-1 on their home court and just suffered their first home loss in narrow fashion against the Oklahoma Sooners. They will undoubtedly be looking to avoid a second straight home loss in this situation. They are also scoring an average of 94.4 points per game on this court while holding their opponents to just 63.1 points and 40.7% shooting from the field. Despite their impressive winning streak, Kansas has been fortunate at time to be winning in the fashion that they have become accustomed to. In our opinion they are not as strong as they have been in year's past and we believe this matchup will prove it. West Virginia needs this win more than their opponents and we believe they will hold the edge when it comes to all around motivation. We can't envision this team putting up three poor performances in a row and should come away with a huge confidence building win tonight as they knock off the Jayhawks and cover the spread in the process.
#2: Take Vanderbilt -3 spread (buy half a point) against Arkansas for 3% of the bankroll.
The Vanderbilt Commodores are coming off what can only be considered a huge confidence boosting win as they toppled the Florida Gators on the road their last time out. Vandy had dropped 4 straight contests heading into that matchup, but with their backs against the wall, they managed to step up and rally in the face of adversity. It was a truly inspiring performance and shows just how much heart this team actually has. We expect the momentum from that victory to carry over in to tonight’s contest as they are now back in the comforts of their home gym.
What Vanderbilt has going for them in this matchup is that they are one of the best pure shooting teams in the country. They are a team that has been up and down and their success is solely dependent on their ability to hit the long ball. That being said, they do shoot the 3 at a near 40% clip which makes it difficult for teams to keep pace (and momentum) when their shots are falling. Vanderbilt is an impressive 8-1 on the season when they have hit 10 or more threes’. They have also been one of the most proficient team from the foul line as they knock down an impressive 77% of their shots from the stripe which ranks 10th nationally.
The Commodores have won 6 of their last 9 home games and now find themselves in a must win game if they want to have any hope of finishing the season strong and making a run at in the SEC tournament. The Vanderbilt gym has an interesting setup and we have seen how it can affect visiting teams and their ability to shoot the basketball. Even though Arkansas is the perceived overall 'better team' in this matchup, we believe the Commodores will come out, make their shots, and build on the momentum they gained in their win over the Gators as they come away with a decisive win and cover.
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