January 6, 2018
There are two picks today.
#1: Take Oklahoma +5 spread against West Virginia for 3% of the bankroll.
In what should be one of the more entertaining games between ranked teams on the college basketball slate, the Oklahoma Sooners travel to Morgantown to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers.
Morgantown is one of the toughest venues in the country for opposing teams to play and the Mountaineers are currently riding an impressive 13 game winning streak which is why we believe the oddsmakers have labeled them as more than a possession favorite in this contest. That being said, if there is a team in the country that can pull off the outright upset against the Mountaineers, it would be the high-powered Sooners who also come into this contest on a lengthy, 10-game winning streak.
Oklahoma owns the most potent offense in the country, averaging over 95 points per game and arguably has the best player in the nation leading them in freshman Trae Young. Young leads the nation in both scoring (29.4 points per game) and assists (10.6) by wide margins and has already drawn comparisons to two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry. Young had 27 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds in the Sooners' 109-89 victory over Bedlam rival Oklahoma State on Wednesday, finishing just one rebound shy of what would have been the program's first points-rebounds-assists triple-double. He will be a player to watch tonight in this contest.
The Mountaineers are a team that is known for their defensive pressure. "Press Virginia" lives and dies by their press defense and can be an effective tool in trying to bottle up a team's offense, however, once broken, it often leads to fast breaks and easy buckets, or a trip to the foul line. Oklahoma is a team that likes to play with tempo, which will be an effective strategy against West Virginia. If they can continue to push the ball up the court before the WVU players can get into their press, they should be able to have continued success at getting good looks at the basket.
This should certainly be an entertaining back and forth contest throughout. The oddsmakers have listed this matchup with the (projected) highest point total on the slate so it's clear that they expect a lot of scoring to be done in this contest and this is exactly the style of play that suits Oklahoma. Even if the Sooners fall short of the outright win in Morgantown, given their efficiency on the offensive side of the ball, they should be able to keep this score within a single possession, in which the points will prove to be valuable.
#2: Take Kansas -2 spread (buy the half point) against TCU for 3% of the bankroll.
The TCU Horned Frogs have to be one of the more improved teams in the country over the past year and are starting to make some noise in the Big 12 conference with their 12-1 overall record. That being said, they have a tough matchup ahead of them, taking on the reigning Big 12 conference champion, Kansas Jayhawks.
If Kansas is going to compete for a record 14 straight conference championship this season, the absolutely need to win this matchup as they are currently in the middle of the road in the conference standings. The Jayhawks are coming off their most embarrassing loss in program history as they were blown out at home in Allen Fieldhouse by the Texas A&M Aggies. It was an embarrassing performance by the Jayhawks to say the least and head coach Bill Self was extremely vocal in the media about his teams' lack of motivation and preparation in that contest. There is no question that he has lit a fire under his players and we expect them to come out of the gate and look to make a statement in this contest.
This is also a revenge game for the Jayhawks. A season ago, the Horned Frogs knocked off then #1 ranked Kansas in quarterfinals of the conference tournament. There is no question that loss is still in the minds of the Kansas players and they would certainly like nothing more than to repay the favor and avenge that loss tonight. A second conference loss, especially this early in conference play could be disastrous for Kansas. This is a well-coached team and we don't believe Self will allow his team to lose this game. He will have coached up his team to put in a more aggressive effort in this contest and we expect it to pay dividends.
While TCU is an improved team this season, this is a huge step-up in competition for them and have the unfortunate draw of facing an extra motivated Kansas team. TCU is 17-148 all-time against ranked teams and hasn't defeated a top-25 foe at home since Feb. 14, 2015, when the Horned Frogs knocked off No. 21 Oklahoma State, 70-55. We don't believe that changes tonight. The Horned Frogs will likely keep this game competitive for a majority of the contest, but Kansas will make the plays late to walk away with a huge road win and keep their hopes of a 14th conference championship alive.
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