January 27, 2018
There are two picks today.
#1: Take Alabama +1 spread against Oklahoma for 3% of the bankroll.
The Oklahoma Sooners have one of the top offenses in the nation and are led by the breakout freshman Trae Young. They have received a ton of media hype this season given the play of Young, however, this is an Oklahoma team that still has many flaws. For as good as they have been on offense, their defense has been about as poor as it can get, and we have already seen their leaking defense cost them a few games this season. Also, this offense is built around Young and therefore the team comes and goes as he goes. In his last road contest, he put up over 40+ points and yet the Sooners still lost the game. Young is dynamic, but he can't do it alone and that is going to cost Oklahoma in a matchup like this one, where the contrast of styles is going to favor the home team.
The Sooners should not underestimate the talent of this Alabama defense. This season, Alabama is allowing 69.5 points per game, and plays an in-your-face type of defense that limits opponents to only 40.4 field goal percentage. The Crimson Tide are protected by a fantastic interior defense, as evidenced by their 6.3 blocks per game which is good for fifth nationally. It’s also going to be interesting to see how Collin Sexton will match up with Trae Young. Like Young, Sexton is also a talented scorer that puts up 19.3 points per game, but we expect him to produce more than that today against the leaky Sooner defense that surrenders a whopping 81.6 points per game. As a team, the Crimson Tide is racking up 74.6 points per contest on 46.4 shooting from the field. Alabama is perfect 5-0 SU and ATS in its last five games at home.
This is also a huge letdown spot for the Sooners as they now must take to the road and face a non-conference opponent in a game that doesn't really mean too much. They are also coming off a huge win over the Kansas Jayhawks in their most recent contest which was an emotional win for this team and could come into this matchup a bit overconfident and complacent. Meanwhile, Alabama is coming off a loss in their last contest which happened to halt their 4-game winning streak. There is no question they will be motivated in this contest, especially now getting a highly ranked Oklahoma team coming to town. A win over the Sooners would surely bolster the tournament resume for an Alabama team who has been nearly unbeatable at home this season. Let's not forget, Alabama already managed to knock off the then 1-loss Auburn Tigers when they visited this venue a little over a week ago and we believe they do the same thing to the Sooner this afternoon.
#2: Take Duke -3 spread (buy the half point) against Virginia for 3% of the bankroll.
Two powerhouses with contrasting styles collide as the Virginia Cavaliers and their #1 ranked defense travels to Cameron Indoor Stadium to take on the Duke Blue Devils and their #1 ranked offense.
While there has been a ton of hype surrounding Virginia's suffocating defense, it's important to remember that Duke is not new to Virginia head coach Tony Bennett’s system. As good as the Cavaliers’ defense is, the truth is, it has not prevented Duke from beating the Cavaliers over the past few seasons. In fact, Duke has won eight of its last 10 dates with Virginia and its vaunted pack line defense. Mike Krzyzewski just seems to have Virginia’s number. They have typically been closely contested games, but Duke has been the team who has come through in the clutch and made the necessary shots with the game on the line.
The Blue Devils have the nation’s most dangerous offense, one that drops 92.1 points per game. They are bannered by super freshman Marvin Bagley III, who is the conference leader in points (21.9) and rebounds (11.5) per game. Bagley aside, the Blue Devils have four other players that average at least 12.1 points per game. It would take a herculean effort for Virginia to limit Bagley, let alone Grayson Allen and the other Blue Devils’ gifted scorers.
There is no question that we believe Duke wins this game as they have never had much of an issue with Virginia. The issue for Duke has been about whether they are able to cover the spread. In the last 10 meetings, Duke has only covered the number 3 of those 10 times. While that may seem to be a statistic that sticks out, we don’t believe it has any bearing on this meeting. In fact, the last time these two teams met up was in Virginia and the Blue Devils managed to come away with a double-digit victory on the road.
With this game being played inside Cameron Indoor Stadium, it must give the advantage to the Blue Devils as they are nearly unbeatable at home. This will likely be another close and competitive contest; however, the Duke offense will step up late and free throws to close out the game with give the Blue Devils the cover.
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