NCAAM Pick January 13, 2021 – Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Wichita State Shockers

If your new year’s resolution was to make more money betting college hoops, and you have been following my free daily betting picks in the last couple of weeks, you can proudly say that this is one new year’s resolution that is actually going to work out! Going back to the end of the last year, we have won 14 out of our last 20 NCAA Men’s Basketball bets. That is good for a sizzling hot 70%-win rate and a 34% ROI.

We continued that hot streak yesterday when we picked up an easy winner by backing the Oklahoma Sooners at home, laying five and a half points against the Horner Frogs of TCU. The line opened up with OU laying -9-points, but as they always seem to do, the public got it wrong yet again, as they hammered TCU, moving the line sharply towards the Horned Frogs, and opening up a bunch of value on Oklahoma. I did my standard fade the public play, backed the Sooners, and expected them to win and cover at home.

It turns out, I didn’t even need the public to mangle the line to cash our ticket as the Sooners obliterated the Horned Frogs. The game wasn’t competitive from the opening tip, as OU took an early double-digit lead. The Sooners never looked back, and eventually the game got out of hand. When all was said and done on the night, Oklahoma blew TCU out by nearly 40-points, we cashed a no sweat ticket, and the public lost, again.

With the win, the Sooners got back to .500 in Big 12 play at 3-3, and they have their eyes set on a trip to the NCAA tournament. This was one of those wins that won’t get you into the Big Dance, but a loss would have been a nasty blemish that would have hurt them on Selection Sunday.

For TCU, I have a feeling that the Horned Frogs hot start is going to run out of gas sooner rather than later, and last night’s embarrassment might be the first in a long line of disappointments for Jaime Dixon’s team in the Big 12. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will look to stay hot as we head to the AAC, where Wichita State plays Tulsa.

Today’s Game

  • Tulsa Golden Hurricane (7-3) at Wichita State Shockers (7-3)
  • Charles Koch Arena, Wichita
  • 4:00 PM PST
  • TV: ESPN+

We have a showdown in the American Athletic Conference today as the Wichita State Shockers host the Tulsa Hurricanes, with first place potentially on the line. The Shockers have won six out of their last seven games, including a 3-1 start in AAC play, and are hoping to jump Tulsa in the league standings tonight with a win at home. Wichita knocked off Tulsa earlier this year on the road and will be going for the season sweep over the Golden Hurricane’s tonight.

For Tulsa, the Golden Hurricanes seek their revenge after losing on their home court to Wichita back in mid-December. Tulsa has been on fire since that loss, as they have won six straight games, including signature wins over Houston, Cincinnati, South Florida, and Memphis. A win tonight for Tulsa would put them into a first-place tie atop the AAC standings with Houston, with the Golden Hurricanes currently owning the tiebreaker over the Cougars via the head to head win.

Spread:

  • Wichita State Shockers (-4.5)
  • Tulsa Golden Hurricane (+4.5)
Money line:

  • Wichita State Shockers (-190)
  • Tulsa Golden Hurricane (+155)
Total Points:

  • Over 134.5 (-110)
  • Under 134.5 (-110)

Tulsa Golden Hurricane (7-3)

After a slow start to the season that saw the Golden Hurricanes lose three out of their first four games, Tulsa has really started to figure things out in league play. The win over Houston is one of the better wins of any team in the nation this year, as the Cougars are ranked in the top-15 nationally, and the loss to Tulsa is the only loss currently on their resume.

While the win over Houston is likely the one that got the public’s attention, I am not so sure that the true road victories over Memphis, Cincinnati, and South Florida were even more impressive. Winning on the road in league play is awfully tough, and Tulsa has shown that they can play with any team in any building.

Tulsa prides itself on the defensive side of the floor, as Frank Haith’s team is ranked 29th in defensive efficiency per kenpom, and they hold teams to just 42% shooting from the field, 13th best in the nation. Tulsa loves to slow things down with a very slow tempo, and they make opposing teams fight for every bucket. Tulsa has yet to give up more than 70-points in any single game this season, and in their last game, they held South Florida to just 51 total points. Earlier this season, they held Memphis to just 49 total points.

Wichita State Shockers (7-3)

Wichita State had a similarly slow start to their season as they lost two out of their first three games. Both of those losses came at home, but both of the teams that beat them, Missouri and Oklahoma State, have both emerged as NCAA tournament threats, so neither loss will go down as a bad one. The only other loss for Wichita came at Houston, in a tightly contested affair with the Cougars.

Tyson Etienne leads the Shocks in scoring at 17.7 points per game, but in the first matchup with Tulsa, Etienne had his worst game of the season. In that game, he got into foul trouble earlier, which limited his minutes, and he scored a season-low 4 points. The Shockers managed to sneak out of Tulsa with the win without their best player playing well, as the Golden Hurricanes shot dreadfully bad from the free-throw line at 52% and from beyond the arc at 25%.

Who Do I Like?

I think the Shockers are going to be on upset alert tonight. Since losing to Wichita a month ago, this has been an entirely new Tulsa team. They are playing lockdown defense, and they are absolutely making a case for an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament.

It is always very hard to beat a team two times in a row, particularly when the teams are so evenly matched. In the first game between these two teams, Tulsa just couldn’t hit a shot, and while they are by no means an elite offensive team, they are much better than they showed in that game, and they are going to prove that tonight on the road.

This line opened up with Wichita State laying -3-points. Kenpom has the Shockers winning this game by just a point, so it seemed like the play was likely going to be on Tulsa. But the betting public hasn’t seen it that way, as they have backed the Shockers and moved this number an additional point and a half towards the Wichita. Now that I can get Tulsa +4.5-points, I have no choice but to back the Golden Hurricanes on the road in what is sure to be a hard-fought and competitive contest.

The Bet

In sports handicapping, we have what we call key numbers. In football, the key numbers are 3 and 7, as most of the points are scored in chunks of 3 and 7. In basketball, the key numbers are, you got it, 2, and 3. The difference between a line being -6 points and -7 points in a college basketball game isn’t that big of a difference at all. But the difference between a game being -3 and -4 is huge.

Intuitively you might think a point is a point, but that just isn’t true, as when the books move from a -3 to a -4 for, they are moving it from a one-possession game to a two-possession game, and that is a major move. The data already said that the opening line on Wichita was overvalued, and now that I can get more than a full possession’s worth of points, I can happily back the Golden Hurricanes with a healthy insurance policy in the ball doesn’t bunce our way late in the game. I fully expect Tulsa to give the Shockers a run for their money, and they just might pull off the outright upset. Give me the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes tonight +4.5-points, as they shock the Shockers.

The Bet: Tulsa Golden Hurricane +4.5

My Pick
Tulsa Golden Hurricane +4.5
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