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NCAAM Basketball Pick for January 22nd

West Virginia Mountaineers (16-3) at Texas Christian Horned Frogs (14-5)

The betting line information used for this article was taken from sportsbetting.ag at 8:30 AM PST on 1-22-18. Some odds may have changed.

We booked another winner last night when we backed the Virginia Cavaliers on the road against ACC foe Wake Forest. In my article yesterday, I mentioned that Wake Forest might not score fifty points against the swarming defense of Virginia. And guess what? They didn’t. The Demon Deacons could only must 49 points in the home loss. The one thing I didn’t expect was Virginia’s struggles shooting the basketball in the first half.

The Cavaliers only managed 22 points in the first half, and it made us sweat this game much longer than I thought we would have to. In the end, Virginia picked up yet another ACC league win and covered the 8.5-points, winning 59-49. That line opened at Virginia -9.5 and closed all the way down at Virginia -7. It seemed everyone backed Wake Forest yesterday, and they were wrong. Today I will break down a matchup in the Big-12 between two teams that are looking to get back on track after a string of recent losses, between the Mountaineers of West Virginia and the TCU Horned Frogs.

The West Virginia Mountaineers will travel to Fort Worth to face a reeling TCU Horned Frogs team playing without their best player Monday night. West Virginia has struggled a bit in Big-12 league play as they have lost two out of their last three conference games after winning fifteen straight. T

CU is trying to get its bearings back in league play as they have struggled badly. Losses to Oklahoma twice, Kansas, Texas, and K-State have turned what was once a very promising season into a tied for last place in the Big-12 campaign.

The Mountaineers are -3-point road favorites. The game total over-under is set at 158 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 PM PST from Schollmaier Arena.

West Virginia is a great team. They play elite defense and have a superstar player in Jevon Carter. But it just goes to show you just how good the Big-12 is this season that they have lost two out of their last three games in league play. After all the hype and predictions of Kansas losing its 13-year streak of Big-12 titles this season, the Jayhawks find themselves in a very familiar place, alone atop the Big-12 standings.

If West Virginia wants to knock off Kansas, they are going to have to win games like this one tonight. TCU is a solid team. They were a borderline very good team before they lost their starting point guard and best player Jaylen Fisher. But the fact of the matter is that this TCU team is 2-5 in the Big-12, and the Mountaineers cannot afford to drop this game, even on the road.

The Mountaineers rebounded well from losses to Texas Tech and Kansas by drubbing a strong Texas Longhorns team 86-51, their last time out. They will need to play with a similar level of intensity on both sides of the ball tonight if they want to win a big one on the road against a game TCU.

TCU has been ranked for a school record, six consecutive weeks. Things were going great for the Horned Frogs, and this looked like a team that was destined for big things in March. Then league play started, and the Horned Frogs got dished a dose of reality. This was a lot different than playing Yale and Texas Southern, the Big-12 is loaded this year, and the Horned Frogs just haven’t been able to hang with the rest of the league so far.

To make matters much worse, TCU lost its best player, Jaylen Fisher, for what might be the rest of the season with an injury. What started out as some league play struggles has turned into disaster as the Frogs have lost five out of their last seven games. The Horned Frogs showed some great heart in the win against Iowa State, but without Fisher in the lineup, I am not sure this is even a tournament team.

This line opened up at West Virginia -1-point. That line seemed absurd to me, and I jumped all over it. I wasn’t the only one that saw the value in this number, and the line quickly moved and now sits at West Virginia -3-points.

It is very rare that the early sharp action moves a number like this so fast against a home team in league play. The sharps are almost always looking for places to back home underdogs, but I think the sharps and the public both are starting to realize that this team wasn’t going to be able to hang with the big boys in the Big-12 with Jaylen Fisher, and now that he is out, they may not even be competitive.

I really like TCU head coach Jamie Dixon, and it is sad to see this team fall apart after such a great start to the season. But what can you do, the Big-12 is downright nasty this year, and somebody had to struggle. It wouldn’t shock me if this fell completely apart and missed the NCAA tournament, something that seemed impossible just a couple of weeks ago when they were 12-0.

I hate that this number moved so much as I don’t expect TCU to just lay down on its home court, but at -3-points this line still offers a lot of value. It wouldn’t shock me to see this number close out at -5 or even -6 points. If it does move that far and you got it early at -1 you might look to take the other side and build a nice middle.

As it stands right now, give me the West Virginia Mountaineers -3-points tonight.

The Bet: West Virginia Mountaineers: -3 points

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