NCAAM Pick December 15, 2020 – Wichita State Shockers at Tulsa Golden Hurricane

I don’t think the Nevada Wolfpack are going to be dancing in March. Steve Alford just doesn’t have the talent he needs in Reno to be a legitimate threat to San Diego State’s dominance in the MWC. That being said, when I saw that I could back them against what I see as an awful San Diego team, laying only -3.5-points, I was surprised that they were being valued so poorly.

The Wolfpack opened up at -6-point favorites over the Toreros, and the betting public was all over San Diego. Which, to be completely honest, didn’t make much sense, as San Diego lost 23-games last year, and they are going to lose at least 20 more games this year. But the fact that San Diego is going to finish dead last in the WCC this year didn’t stop the public from backing them and giving us a juicy number to make a play on. So, I backed the ‘Pack and expected Reno to win and cover on the road.

And that is exactly what happened. Nevada took an early lead and held onto to it much of the evening. San Diego made us sweat just a bit down the stretch, but when all was said and done, the Wolfpack won 79-72, easily covering and cashing our ticket. Nevada was led by Desmond Cambridge Jr and Grant Sherfield, who combined for 52 points. Cambridge Jr knocked down a career-high 7 three-pointers in the win for Nevada.

Another day, another fade of the betting public, and another ticket cashed. Nevada was good enough last night to cover the -6-point opening line anyway, but it sure did feel nice to be able to make this a multi-unit play knowing that they cut the number in half for us, opening up a ton of value. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will head to the AAC, where the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes host the Wichita State Shockers.

Today’s Game

  • Wichita State Shockers (1-2) at Tulsa Golden Hurricane (1-2)
  • Reynolds Center, Tulsa
  • 4:00 PM PST
  • TV: ESPNU

The Golden Hurricanes of Tulsa open up their league play season in the American Athletic Conference tonight with a home game against the Wichita State Shockers. Tulsa surprised a lot of people last season when they finished 3rd in the AAC, and the Golden Hurricanes found themselves squarely on the bubble for the NCAA tournament. This year, they return one of the top players in the conference in Brandon Rachal and have a lineup loaded with upperclassmen.

For Wichita State, the Shockers finished just behind Tulsa in the league standings last season and joined them as a bubble team. But it has been a whirlwind of an offseason for the Shockers as long-time head coach Gregg Marshall, who was forced to resign amid controversy, and the rest of the Shockers program is left picking up the pieces. The Shockers have lost back-to-back games and would love to snap that losing streak with a road win tonight at Tulsa.

Spread:

  • Tulsa Golden Hurricane (-1)
  • Wichita State Shockers (+1)
Money line:

  • Tulsa Golden Hurricane (-114)
  • Wichita State Shockers (-105)
Total Points:

  • Over 133 (-110)
  • Under 133 (-110)

Wichita State Shockers (1-2)

The sudden loss of Gregg Marshall has left this Wichita State program reeling. Marshall was accused of physical misconduct, allegedly putting his hands on players and coaches, and was forced to resign on November 17th. Since then, the Shockers have looked unprepared and confused on the floor.

The schedule has been a tough one, and both of these recent losses came to top-50 teams, but Shockers fans can’t love the fact that they are 1-2 on their home floor this season. To put those two early-season home losses in perspective, last year under Marshall, the Shockers only lost two home games all year long in what was viewed by many as a down year to the Shockers standards.

The Shockers have looked completely lost on the offensive side of the basketball this year, as they are shooting just 37% from the field, which is 301st in the nation. They don’t pass the ball well, and they are terrible from beyond the arc at just 29%. Many of those struggles carried over from last season when Wichita wasn’t great on offense either.

But last year, the Shockers had the 8th best defense in the country in terms of efficiency per kenpom. This year, they are 93rd. If the Shockers can’t figure out their offensive struggles, they are going to have a long and frustrating season in a solid AAC.

Tulsa Golden Hurricane (1-2)

Nobody expected Tulsa to be any good last season, and that didn’t stop them from winning 21-games and finishing 3rd in the league. The expectations are again limited this year, but Tulsa has a lot of juniors and seniors, and with Brandon Rachal looking like a potential all-conference player, this team could surprise people again this year. The former LSU transfer has scored double-digit points in each of Tula’s three games and dropped a very efficient 19-points on UTA in his last game on 8-13 shooting.

Similar to Wichita, the early losses for Tulsa were both to quality teams, and as is almost always the case in college basketball, Tulsa plays their best basketball on their home floor. Last year Tulsa had top-100 home wins over Wichita State, SMU, Memphis, Houston, and Boise State. Their home record in AAC play was a stellar 8-1 and was the main reason that they played themselves onto the NCAA tournament bubble.

Who Do I Like?

This is another public line move driven play. Tulsa opened up as -5-point home court favorites. And when you look at the Golden Hurricanes’ dominance at home in league play last year, it was easy to see why the books valued them in Tulsa. Kenpom had Tulsa winning this one by three points, so maybe they were a bit overvalued, but the number wasn’t that far off.

The sharps started the line move by tightening this one up and moving it towards Wichita in the overnight betting market. Then the betting public, that is always late to the game, took it way too far, as they have moved this number four points towards the Shockers! At the opening number, I needed a dominant Tulsa performance at home. Now all I need is for the Golden Hurricanes to win. And that is exactly what I see happening.

The Bet

I don’t see a lot of winning for Wichita this season. They couldn’t win at home, and I don’t see them looking much better on the road. Losing a staple of the program in Gregg Marshall is just going to be too much for the Shockers this year. They started this slide we are seeing this year, last year, as they started the season out 15-1 and finished by losing seven of their last fifteen games. Of those seven late-season losses last year for Wichita, five of them came on the road in league play.

I have spoken a lot about how home-court advantage has been diminished somewhat this season, but in a spot like this one where I can back the home team that is great at home, against a road team that struggles on the road in league play, I am backing the home squad.

It will likely be a tightly contested game, and I am sure I wouldn’t have wanted to lay the -5-points in this one. But thanks to the public, I don’t have to! Give me the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes tonight at home, laying -1-point in their AAC home season opener!

The Bet: Tulsa Golden Hurricane -1

My Pick
Tulsa Golden Hurricane -1
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