When I told you yesterday that backing home dogs in the Big 10 was free money this year, I wasn’t joking around. I have taken almost every single home underdog in Big 10 conference play so far this season, and I haven’t lost a single bet. So last night when I saw that the public moved Rutgers from two-point home favorites to a point and a half home dogs against Penn State, I jumped all over it.
Rutgers dominated the second half and won easily 72-61, and we cashed another ticket. In other Big 10 action, Maryland and Nebraska also won and covered at home in league play, Nebraska as big home dogs. The Big 10 has now has twenty-six league play games this season, and the home teams have won twenty-three of them, that’s good for 88% winners. And most of those teams didn’t only win, they managed to cover as well.
Rocking in the RAC! ??
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) January 8, 2020
The books have started to take notice as they did open this number with Rutgers as favorites before the public action shifted it several points the other way. But, shockingly, the public hasn’t caught onto this trend yet, and until they do, I will make sure I am here to take advantage of it. For today’s pick, I will head to the Big 12, where the Iowa State Cyclones host the Kansas Jayhawks.
- Kansas Jayhawks (11-2) at Iowa State Cyclones (7-6)
- Hilton Coliseum, Ames
- 5:00 PM PST
- TV: ESPN+
The Iowa State Cyclones are looking to pick up their first conference win of the season as they host the Kansas Jayhawks. The Cyclones have gotten off to a slow start as they are just 7-6 and have lost three out of their last four games, including a really ugly home loss to a Florida A&M team that is currently ranked 311th in the nation. Iowa State will look to get back on track against a Kansas team that just might be the best team in the country.
?️??????? ????????️#Cyclones vs. No. 3 Kansas
⏰ – 7 p.m. (CST)
? – Hilton Coliseum
? – Big 12 Now/ESPN+
? – https://t.co/VVYN6Iq403
? – https://t.co/0mTXFfur4q
? – https://t.co/OIfw38sFOm
?️ – https://t.co/N401HfAMHG
?️ – https://t.co/N5YAw75lfq pic.twitter.com/Gjhe6hpDQs
— Iowa State Men’s Basketball (@CycloneMBB) January 8, 2020
For the Jayhawks, they are currently ranked at number three in the nation and are on a very short list of prohibitive favorites to win the national championship along with Duke and Gonzaga. Kansas might have the best collection of wins of any team in the country right now as they have top-50 wins over West Virginia, Stanford, Dayton, Colorado, and BYU and top-100 wins over East Tennessee State and UNC-Greensboro.
I think the Kansas Jayhawks are the most complete team in the country right now. No disrespect to teams like Gonzaga and Duke, or even Baylor or Auburn, who are quickly playing themselves into the conversation, but Kansas has it all.
They have an elite point guard in Devon Dotson who can defend any guard in the nation and makes everyone else around him better, and they have a monster in the middle with Udoka Azubuike who shoots north of 80% from the field and averages nearly a double-double a game. We already talked about the wins the Jayhawks have had this season, but when you take a little closer look, they are even more impressive.
Kansas has played games against several teams that will very likely end up being league champions this year. Dayton is the favorite to win the A-10, UNC-Greensboro and East Tennessee State are co-favorites to win the SOCON, Colorado has a real chance to win the PAC-12, now that Yoeli Childs is back at BYU, they are going to compete at the top of the WCC with Gonzaga and St. Mary’s, and UMKC is in first place in the WAC. The two losses for Kansas? They came against the betting favorites to win the ACC, Duke, and the betting favorites to win the Big East, Villanova.
It wasn’t all that long ago that Iowa State looked like a team that could finish near the middle of the pack in the Big 12, and if things broke their way, could end up on the right side of the bubble and find their way into the NCAA tournament. Through the first nine games of the year, the Cyclones were 6-3 with nice wins over Alabama and Seton Hall.
The losses were understandable as they lost to Oregon State, Michigan, and Seton Hall in the Bahamas, a game they would later avenge at home, all of those teams are well inside the top-100 right now. But the last couple of weeks have been brutal for Iowa State. They have gone just 1-3 in their last four games, with the one win coming over 238th ranked Purdue-Fort Wayne.
They got blown out by Iowa in a rivalry game at home, lost to TCU on the road in their Big 12 opener, and had the devastatingly bad loss to Florida A&M at home as well. Beating Kansas is never easy in the Big 12, and trying to beat them when you aren’t playing well is nearly impossible.
Who Do I Like?
This is the Jayhawks game to lose. They are just on another level than Iowa State at this point. Kansas opened up as -7-point favorites, and when you consult the analytics, that number seemed spot on. But the public saw a home dog in league play and hammered Iowa State overnight. Almost every time there is a home dog in league play, the early bettors take it.
It is a play right out of my own playbook, so I certainly understand it, and maybe there was some value in Iowa State +7. But the betting public is like the three-year-old you tell a funny joke to you. When they repeat it once, it’s still funny. When they repeat it fifty times over the course of the next couple of hours, they took it too far.
To see this line move two and a half points towards Iowa State is laughable. As they always do, the betting public thought they saw an opportunity and pushed it way too hard. Every day I look for spots where the public overreacted and turned a once sharp number into one that has lots of value. And that is exactly what they did in this one.
We will sweat it out some, as home teams are tough in league play, but getting to back a Kansas team that is FAR superior on a talent level and only having to lay -4.5-points is a steal. So, I will do what I almost always do, and look to fade the public in this one. Give me the Kansas Jayhawks laying -4.5-points tonight in Ames!