I very rarely like to lay wood on a road favorite in league play. It is just one of those spots that always looks better on paper then it turns out in real life. But, in order to be an effective handicapper, you have to be open to all sorts of wagers and propositions, and sometimes taking a road favorite is the right play. That was the case yesterday in the game between Oregon and Utah.
I felt that the Ducks were just the far superior team and that while I expected the Utes to put up a fight on their home floor, at the end of the day, I just didn’t think that they had the talent to hang with the significantly more talented Ducks. The public backed the Utes, which saved me a point off of the opening number, and I sided with Oregon, laying -2-points, and expected the Ducks to sneak out of Salt Lake City with the win and the cover. I called the final score at 78-70.
— Oregon Men's Basketball (@OregonMBB) January 10, 2021
And that is exactly what happened. Timmy Allen had a big first half for Utah, and the Utes actually took a 10-point lead into halftime. But in the second half, the Ducks forced a bunch of turnovers and quickly took control of the game. Timmy Allen disappeared in the second half, and Oregon rode Chris Duarte to a 79-73 victory, and we cashed our ticket.
The win was a nice one for Oregon, as they were able to get back on track after seeing their 8-game winning streak snapped in their previous game with Colorado. The Ducks remain just a game behind first-place UCLA, as the Bruins also picked up a road win yesterday at Arizona, to keep ahold of first place in the PAC-12 standings. For Utah, the Utes struggles continued, and they are now just 1-3 in league play, and their season is quickly spiraling down the drain. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will head to Lincoln, Nebraska, where the Cornhuskers host the Indiana Hoosiers in a Big 10 battle.
- Indiana Hoosiers (7-5) at Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-7)
- Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln
- 3:00 PM PST
- TV: BTN
The Nebraska Cornhuskers host the Indiana Hoosiers tonight, hoping to get their season turned around. It has been a rough start to the year for Fred Hoiberg’s Huskers, as they are 4-7 on the season and 0-4 in Big 10 play. Nebraska played a very soft schedule in the non-conference, and now that Big 10 play is in full swing, they are having a hard time staying competitive in the best conference in the country.
— Indiana Basketball (@IndianaMBB) January 10, 2021
For Indiana, the Hoosiers have had their fair share of struggles as well, particularly away from home, as they are 7-5 overall and 2-3 in Big 10 play. The Hoosiers had won back-to-back Big 10 games over Maryland and Penn State before nearly knocking off the Wisconsin Badgers in Madison in their last game. The Hoosiers lost that one in double overtime and have already played three overtime games this season.
Indiana Hoosiers (7-5)
When you look at the Indiana Hoosiers 7-5 record, it isn’t overly impressive, to say the least. But when you take a closer look at how well the Hoosiers have performed this year, you might be a little bit surprised. We already talked about the fact that Indiana has played three overtime games this season. They have a 1-2 record in those three games. Both losses came to good teams, in Florida State and Wisconsin, and both losses came in true road games.
Now, being able to win close games late isn’t all luck. There is something special about teams that can consistently win close contests. But at the end of the day, you can’t argue the fact that if Indiana had found a way to close out those games, we would be looking at these Hoosiers a lot differently right now. If Indiana was sitting at 9-3 with signature road wins over Wisconsin and Florida State to go along with the wins over Penn State, Maryland, Butler, Stanford, and Providence that they already had, the Hoosiers would almost certainly be ranked in the top-25 nationally.
Kenpom understands that Indiana is one or two bounces in their direction away from having an elite record and has the Hoosiers ranked 23rd right now. The general betting public doesn’t see Indiana as one of the top teams in the Big 10, but the data tells us that they absolutely need to be considered a contender.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-7)
I really thought that Fred Hoiberg was the guy to turn this Nebraska program around. I loved what he was able to do in his time at Iowa State, where he turned the Cyclones into perennial contenders in the Big 12 and took them to the NCAA tournament in each of his last four seasons. And while last year was painful for Hoiberg and his Huskers, they went 2-18 in league play and lost their last 17 games of the season. I was somewhat optimistic that Hoiberg was going to be able to see some progress this year.
But that just hasn’t been the case yet, as Nebraska has been getting slaughtered in the Big 10. The Huskers are 0-4 in Big 10 play, including 0-2 at home in league play. Normally a team does a great job of protecting their home floor, and but Nebraska already has 4 home losses this year to the likes of Nevada, Georgia Tech, Michigan, and Michigan State. The losses to Georgia Tech and Nevada are particularly painful as neither of those teams are in serious contention for at-large bids into the NCAA tournament.
Who Do I Like?
For a guy that doesn’t like to lay wood on the road in league play, I sure seem to be doing it a lot recently. I went 2-0 yesterday on road favorites, picking up winners on USC and Oregon, and today, I am again going to back the road team, as I just don’t think Nebraska is going to be able to stay competitive tonight. The Huskers have been dreadfully bad this year against any team that is even remotely decent. Their best win of the season came against 157th ranked North Dakota State.
I had hoped that Hoiberg was going to get things moving in the right direction this year at Nebraska, but at this point, their two league wins from a year ago could very well end up being more than they finish this season with, as they really haven’t come close to winning a conference game yet this year.
This is another spot where the public has opened up some nice value for us, as this line opened up with Indiana laying -7-points, and the public has moved the number towards the Corn Huskers. It wasn’t a major line move, but when you are laying points in an opposing team’s buildings, any little bit helps. Kenpom has the Hoosiers winning this one by 8-points, so the data is on our side tonight.
This game might stay close in the first half, but at some point, the Hoosiers are going to start to pull away from Nebraska, as the Corn Huskers just don’t have enough talent to hang with a team like Indiana. Hoiberg is a great coach, but as they say, sometimes it ain’t about the x’s and the o’s, it’s about the Jimmy’s and the Joe’s, and right now, Hoiberg just doesn’t have the bodies to be competitive in the Big 10. Give me the Indiana Hoosiers tonight, laying -6.5-points on the road, as they take care of business and pick up a much-needed league victory. I’ll call it at a 79-68 final score from Lincoln!