You have to wonder, will the public ever catch on to one of the strongest college basketball betting trends in recent memory? We have been able to bet Big 10 home underdogs with near impunity this year. And in the vast majority of the games, all of the public betting action has come in on the road team, giving us an even better number than we deserve in nearly every bet.
That was the case once again yesterday when the Michigan State Spartans played in Wisconsin, against the Badgers, and opened as -3-point road favorites. I would have taken the home team at that opening number, but the public made sure that I didn’t have to. All of the early public action came pouring in on Michigan State, and by tipoff, I was able to back the Badgers at home getting +5.5-points. Talk about free money and huge added value.
— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) February 1, 2020
The Badgers jumped out to a big early lead and took a sixteen-point lead into halftime. While the Spartans did make a run in the second half, it was too little, too late, and the Badgers won outright as home dogs. The only lead the Spartans had at any point during the entire game, was 2-0.
It is truly remarkable home many times these Big 10 home dogs can both cover and win outright. But what is even more remarkable, is how consistently the public keeps backing the road teams. I asked earlier if the public will ever catch on, and after over fifteen years in the bookmaking and betting industry, that answer is a resounding no. As long as sportsbooks are posting numbers to bet on, the public will find a way to get it wrong and back the wrong side.
The win was much needed for the Badgers as they can ill afford too many more losses. Despite a handful of very good wins, the Badgers are on the bubble with just a 13-9 overall record. For Michigan State, they are now 1-4 AST on the road in the Big 10. If they are laying wood on the road again soon, you can basically blind bet the other side. For today’s daily betting pick, we will head to the Big East, where St. John’s hosts Georgetown.
- Georgetown Hoyas (12-9) at St. John’s Red Storm (13-9)
- Madison Square Garden, New York City
- 10:00 AM PST
- TV: CBS
While the Super Bowl will dominate most of today’s betting action, we have found a nice college basketball value play that you can make, and the game will be over in plenty of time before kickoff of the Big Game, so you won’t miss a minute of the action. Two teams that both badly need a win, matchup this morning at the nation’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, as the St. John’s Red Storm host the Georgetown Hoyas.
The Red Storm were 11-2 not long ago, but have fallen on hard times recently in Big East conference play. St. John’s is just 2-7 in the Big East, with both of those wins coming against DePaul. The Red Storm must find a way to get things turned around quickly, or their once-promising season is going to end in heartbreak.
GAMEDAY @TheGarden ?
— St. John's BBall (@StJohnsBBall) February 2, 2020
For Georgetown, the Hoyas are having similar struggles as they are just 2-6 in Big East play and are looking to pick up their first road win in league play this year. The Hoyas have an SOS of 24th in the country, but need to pick up some more quality wins if they don’t want to be on the outside looking in on Selection Sunday.
St. John’s Red Storm
Just how good is the Big East this year? Really good. St. John’s showed that they can beat any team in the country in the non-conference with wins over West Virginia and Arizona. But they just haven’t been able to breakthrough in the Big East, outside of two wins over DePaul. But when you look at the body of work for St. John’s, it makes you think, what if?
What if the Red Storm didn’t lose to Butler at home by just two points? What if they didn’t lose to Seton Hall at home by just three points? What if they managed to pull off upsets against Xavier and Providence on the road, both of which were very competitive games? This Red Storm team has had more than their fair share of close calls and tough losses this season, and had a couple of those games gone the other way, we would be having a much different conversation right now.
I feel like the breakdown of the Hoyas resumes is basically a carbon copy of the one we just did for St. John’s. The Hoyas showed a bunch of promise in the non-conference with wins over Georgia State, Texas, Oklahoma State, SMU, and Syracuse. But they just haven’t been able to take care of business in the Big East as they have just two wins, one over this St. John’s team, and another over Creighton, with both wins coming on their home floor.
And it’s not just that they are losing on the road in Big East play, it is how they are losing on the road. The Hoyas are losing by an average margin of nearly fourteen points a game in conference road losses, with their closest loss coming in their last road game, a nine-point loss to Xavier. They aren’t just losing on the road, they are getting blown out.
Who Do I Like?
As usual, I like the home team. This one opened up at St. John’s -1-point and has been on the move much of the morning. I see some -1.5’s and some -2’s, I even see one -2.5 out there. The number is moving, and you may have to line shop just a bit to get the best value, but St. John’s is the side to be on in this one.
And really, it is just a straight fade of Georgetown’s inability to win on the road, much more than having any level of confidence in St. John’s. The Red Storm haven’t beaten anybody not named DePaul since December, it’s now February. But I think that trend ends tonight.
As a general rule, I love to fade the public, particularly the square public. And when the line is moving one way, I almost always go the other way. But with the Super Bowl kicking off this afternoon, the Big Game is sucking up all of that juicy square money. So, I think this line move is all sharps like me taking advantage of a bad number the books posted on a day it just won’t matter.
I don’t mind being on the same side as the other sharps every once in a while. So, I will take advantage of the book’s distraction and back the home team. Gove me the St. John’s Red Storm -1.5-points this morning at home, as they breakthrough for just their third Big East conference win!