Denver Pioneers at South Dakota State Jackrabbits NCAAM Pick – February 14, 2020

The wins just keep on coming as we picked up our fifth win in our last six bets last night, when we backed the Arizona State Sun Devils as road underdogs at Stanford, against the Cardinal. Stanford was forced to play without their best player, Oscar Da Silva, as the big man went down with a concussion in their last game, and I felt that they wouldn’t have enough consistent options to score the basketball without him on the floor.

And while I hate betting on road teams in league play, I felt being able to back the red-hot Sun Devils, getting three points, against a depleted and struggling Stanford team, was just too much value to pass up on. So, I snatched up the points as an insurance policy, but fully expected the upset.

The Sun Devils led this one throughout, and while Stanford did make a run late to make us sweat just a little bit, at the end of the day, the Sun Devils won outright, and the cover was never really in jeopardy. It was a huge win for Arizona State as ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi had them in the first four out entering play yesterday, and after the win, he moved them up into the field of sixty-eight. Arizona State has now won six out of their last seven games as they have caught fire late in the season.

For the Cardinal, they have to get Da Silva back on the floor ASAP if they want to remain a team that is on the right side of the bubble. Without their big man and top scorer and rebounder, they blew a sixteen-point second-half lead against Colorado, and now lost at home. Stanford has lost six out of their last seven games, and they are quickly falling out of the bubble conversation. For today’s daily betting pick, we head to the Summit League for the game between South Dakota State and Denver.

Today’s Game

  • Denver Pioneers (5-20) at South Dakota State Jackrabbits (18-8)
  • 5:00 PM PST
  • Frost Arena, Brookings
  • TV: N/A

The South Dakota State Jackrabbits are looking to stay in first place in the Summit League tonight as they host the Pioneers of Denver. After losing their first conference game of the year, the Jackrabbits have now won nine out of their last ten games, including a win over North Dakota State, who are tied with the Jackrabbits atop the Summit League standings.

For Denver, the Pioneers have really struggled this season as they are just 5-20 overall, and they have lost fifteen out of their last sixteen games. Of their five wins on the season, the Pioneers don’t have a single win over a team inside of the top-200. And while Denver plays a fairly upbeat tempo, they are one of the worst offensive teams in the country in terms of efficiency, as they are currently ranked at #302 on kenpom.

Spread:

  • Denver +14 (-110)
  • S. Dakota State -14 (-110)
Money line:

  • Denver +825
  • S. Dakota State -1400
Total Points:

  • Over 149 (-115)
  • Under 149 (-105)

Denver Pioneers

When you have a conversation over which team is the absolute worst team in the country, Denver needs to be mentioned. Their five wins on the season are one of the lowest totals in the country. And unlike some of the other teams in the five wins or fewer club this season, the Pioneers have played a very soft schedule, currently rated out at 209th in the nation. Other teams with huge loss totals like Maryland Eastern Shore, Arkansas Pine Bluff, and Houston Baptist have all at least played tough schedules.

And while I don’t think Denver truly is the worst team in the country, that distinction is a two-horse race between Howard and Delaware State, they are really bad. When they hosted the Jackrabbits earlier this year in Denver, they actually led for a few minutes early on, before getting destroyed in the second half and getting blown out by double-digits at home.

South Dakota State Jackrabbits

The Summit League is surprisingly competitive this season, and unlike the major conferences, where the top four or five teams in the league all end up getting bids into the NCAA tournament, the Summit League is a one-bid league. Making league play that much more important, as only one of these teams is going dancing this year.

The Jackrabbits are tied atop the standings with North Dakota State and beat the Bison at home three weeks ago. South Dakota is one game back, and the Jackrabbits actually lost to the Coyotes on the road earlier this year. It is a three-team race for the regular-season league title, and right now, the analytics tell us that South Dakota State is the team to beat.

Who Do I Like?

When I quickly glanced at this game last night at the opening price of -16-points, I thought to myself, man, that seems like a pretty big number. The Jackrabbits don’t usually blow teams out, as many of their games are at least somewhat competitive. And as bad as Denver has been this season in terms of wins and losses, they are actually respectable ATS. Even on the road, the Pioneers are 7-6 against the number this year.

So, my initial plan was to either back the Pioneers and hope for a competitive game, or just lay off altogether. But as the public tends to do, they swooped in and opened up some value for me, as they decided that they loved the road team, and backed Denver in droves, moving the number two full points to where it stands now, at South Dakota State -14-points.

The Bet

Pop quiz, who is the best home team in the country this year against the spread? I’ll give you a hint, the name rhymes with mackrabbits. If you guessed South Dakota State, you were right! The Jackrabbits are 10-1 at home against the number this year, and that’s the best home winning percentage of any team in the country. Kenpom has SD State winning this one by seventeen.

And since the public decided they wanted to back quite possibly the worst team in the country, on the road, a place they have yet to win a single game this year, we can back the Jackrabbits at a much more reasonable number. So, that is just what I will do in this one.

It is always a little worrisome to lay a big number like this, but in a game where there is such a wide gap in talent, I feel that it is warranted. When these two teams matched up in Denver, the Jackrabbits won by twelve points. You’re telling me that the SD State home-court advantage, where they are 10-1 ATS and 11-0 outright, isn’t worth two points?

I’m laying some wood tonight, but don’t think they will make me sweat it out all that much. I am guessing this line is covered by halftime, and the Jackrabbits coast it in for an easy win and cover. This team is too well-coached and focused right now to blow it against an awful team like Denver. Give me the South Dakota State Jackrabbits laying -14-points tonight at home in a blowout!

The Bet: South Dakota State Jackrabbits -14

My Pick
South Dakota State -14
Jason Gray / Author

Jason is a true Las Vegas insider as he has called the sports betting capital of the world his home for sixteen years. Jason started out his career in gaming by running the biggest poker tournaments in the world and managing some of the biggest sportsbooks on the strip. Jason has transitioned out of casino operations and has been covering sports betting for the sports geek for just over two years. His main focus is on baseball, college basketball, and the NFL