Yesterday I got to do two of my favorite things. I got to back a home underdog in league play, and I got to fade the betting public. That is a near can’t miss scenario, and it turned out to be very profitable for us.
When I saw that I could get Illinois as one-point home underdogs against a Michigan State team that had lost four out of its previous five conference road games, I felt that it offered some nice value. But when the public jumped on the Spartans and gave me an extra full point, in what I was sure was going to be a tightly contested game, it opened up significantly more value, and I took advantage of it, backing the Illini at home, getting two points.
— Michigan State Basketball (@MSU_Basketball) February 12, 2020
The Spartans came out very fast in the first half and opened up a huge lead. Michigan State led by as many as nineteen points in the first half, and it looked like we might have a blowout on our hands. But this is the Big 10, and no team gets blown out at home, and the Illini made a furious run in the second half to get back into the game.
The Illini came roaring back and had the lead in this game with just a couple of seconds left on the clock. Michigan State’s do-everything point guard Cassius Winston, drove the ball to the rim with just six seconds left in the game and missed a contested layup, only to see the Illini fail to block out Xavier Tillman, who followed up the miss with a game-winning dunk.
Illinois had a shot to win the game at the last second, but Ayo Dosunmu slipped on a drive to the hoop, likely blowing out his knee in the process, and the Spartans held on for the huge road win. It is hard to say that this was a must-win for Michigan State, but they did need to find a way to pick up a quality win on the road, and they got the job done. After falling out of the top-25 last week, you can expect to see the Spartans back in the rankings next week.
For Illinois, the loss looks to be extra painful as they may have lost their leading scorer in Dosunmu, for the rest of the year. Illinois has yet to announce his status, but from the looks of things, it’s not going to end well for the Illini.
With ten seconds left in the game yesterday, it looked like Illinois was going to pick up a huge win over a tough team. Instead, they lost the game and their best player, talk about a brutal finish to a game. For today’s daily betting pick, we will head to the Big 12, where Kansas plays West Virginia.
- Kansas Jayhawks (20-3) at West Virginia Mountaineers (18-5)
- 4:00 PM PST
- WVU Coliseum, Morgantown
- TV: ESPN+
The Mountaineers of West Virginia host the Kansas Jayhawks tonight in a blockbuster matchup between two of the best teams in the Big 12. While both of these teams are chasing the Baylor Bears for the conference lead, they are both in contention for possible one seeds in the NCAA tournament as Selection Sunday draws near. West Virginia has won seven out of their last ten games and were a two seed in the selection committees early seeding preview released this weekend.
— WVU Basketball (@WVUhoops) February 12, 2020
For Kansas, the Jayhawks were on the top line in the seeding preview, and they are one of the favorites to win it all, currently tied with Duke as the second betting favorites behind Gonzaga. The Jayhawks have won eleven out of their last twelve games, all against top-100 teams, with the lone loss coming to Baylor, the nation’s top-ranked team in both major polls.
I’m not sure there is a team in the country that I would pick to beat this Kansas team on a neutral floor, right now. Yes, Baylor is very good and beat them in Lawrence, and they do have an early-season loss to Duke on opening night, but this Jayhawks team has it all, and they are built to win in March.
Their collection of wins is the best in the nation as they have wins over top-100 teams like UNC Greensboro, East Tennessee State, BYU, Dayton, Colorado, Stanford, West Virginia, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas State, Tennessee, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and TCU. Kansas has played the second-toughest schedule in the country this year, and their 20-3 record proves that they are the elite of the elite.
West Virginia Mountaineers
While the Mountaineers do have five losses on the year, I still think this is a team that should be considered a Final Four threat. They have the number two defense in the country in terms of efficiency, and their offense is solid as well as they are in the top-50. They have fourteen wins over top-100 teams, and while their schedule hasn’t been quite as tough as the Jayhawks, their SOS of twenty-one tells me they have played a brutal slate of games.
And when you look at what they have done at home, the Mountaineers have yet to lose in Morgantown. West Virginia is a perfect 12-0 at home this season, and that includes signature wins over teams like Texas Tech, Rhode Island, and Texas.
Who Do I Like?
I absolutely hate to bet against this Kansas Jayhawks team right now, but I am going to do it anyway. West Virginia is just too strong at home not to like at even money. I actually bet this one last night, at the opening number, that had the Mountaineers getting a point and a half and will have to settle for getting it at even this morning, after the early-betting sharps backed West Virginia.
When these two teams matched up in Lawrence earlier this year, the Mountaineers pushed the Jayhawks to the limit. While a couple of late free throws stretched the final score out a little bit, that one was a one-possession game with less than a minute left to play. I think the Mountaineers get their revenge tonight at home.
I usually like to get on the other side of the betting public. But this line move was so early, that is was likely just sharp money moving it towards West Virginia, not a reflection of the general betting public. And so, I don’t mind getting on the same side as the sharps, even though it means I lose out on a point and a half.
This is a typical right side, wrong number, play. But I still think the Mountaineers are going to win the game outright, so it still has plenty of value at even. If you like the home team in this one, and you should, make sure to jump on it now, as you certainly don’t want to be laying any kind of wood at all against a team as talented as Kansas. Give me the West Virginia Mountaineers at an even pick ‘em tonight at home!