NCAAM Pick January 25, 2021 – Oklahoma State Cowboys at Iowa State Cyclones

The Wyoming Cowboys hosted the Nevada Wolfpack on Friday night as +3.5-point home dogs. Wyoming managed to pick up the outright upset victory 71-64 in that game. The teams decided to run it back just two days later, with Wyoming once again hosting Nevada, and both teams expected to start identical lineups. Logic would tell us that maybe the Cowboys would be either favored, or at the bare minimum, be smaller underdogs, after knocking off Nevada just a couple of days prior. Yeah, the public didn’t see it that way.

Somehow, the public decided that even though they had just lost to Wyoming handily, that the Wolfpack should be even bigger favorites a handful of hours later, in a matchup that was basically a mirror image of the first game. While I know how hard it is to beat a team two times in a row, particularly in league play, the line just didn’t make any sense to me.

And when you looked at the fact that the Cowboys two best players, Marcus Williams and Hunter Maldonado, both had bad games on Friday night, I expected better out of the underrated guard tandem last night. So, I backed Wyoming with more points than I deserved and expected an easy fade the public cover.

And that is exactly what happened. After Maldonado and Williams scored just a combined 21 points in the first game, they exploded for 34 points last night, and again Wyoming picked up the outright victory, and we cashed a no sweat ticket. It was one of those spots where you got to fade the public and back a home dog in league play, which is just a super juicy proposition. Sometimes betting college hoops is hard, and sometimes it’s easy game. For today’s free betting pick, we will head to the Big 12 for a conference showdown between Oklahoma State and Iowa State.

Today’s Game

  • Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-4) at Iowa State Cyclones (2-7)
  • Hilton Coliseum, Ames
  • 6:00 PM PST
  • TV: ESPN2

The Iowa State Cyclones host the Oklahoma State Cowboys tonight in a Big 12 battle. The Cyclones have been getting hammered in Big 12 play, as they are 0-5 in conference games. They weren’t much better out of conference either, as they have a 2-7 overall record with bad losses to the likes of Kansas State and South Dakota State. The two wins on the year for Iowa State came to 297th ranked Jackson State, and 352nd ranked Arkansas Pine Bluff.

For Oklahoma State, the Cowboys have surprised a lot of people this season, as they are playing quality basketball. The Cowboys are coming off of a loss in their last game to the Baylor Bears, a team that many see as the top team in the nation, and after playing Baylor, Texas Tech, Texas, and Kansas all in the last month, the Cowboys are looking forward to some weaker competition tonight on the road. A win tonight in Ames would get OK-State back to .500 in conference play.

Spread:

  • Oklahoma State Cowboys (-2)
  • Iowa State Cyclones (+2)
Money line:

  • Oklahoma State Cowboys (-134)
  • Iowa State Cyclones (+112)
Total Points:

  • Over 145 (-110)
  • Under 145 (-110)

Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-4)

Oklahoma State’s record of 9-4 doesn’t look all that impressive on the surface, but when you take a closer look at who they have played, and more specifically, where they have played them, it’s hard to not think this OK-State team is a lot better than most people seem to realize right now. The home court loss to TCU was a head-scratcher, but losses to Baylor, West Virginia, and Texas all came to teams that have spent time in the top-10 this season. And when you look at their wins, they have built a nice tournament resume and should solidly be an at-large team into the NCAA tournament in March.

On the road, the Cowboys are 5-1, with the lone loss coming by just a bucket, in Austin, against a very good Texas Longhorns team. They have wins at Wichita State, at Marquette, at Texas Tech, and at Kansas State. The Cowboys aren’t afraid of playing any team, on any floor, and their road resume tells me that this team needs to be feared if they can get around their potential postseason ban and sneak into the NCAA tournament.

Iowa State Cyclones (2-7)

It was hard to think that Steve Prohm wasn’t going to be able to get at least a little bit better from last year when the Cyclones went 12-20 overall and 5-13 in Big 12 play. When you are that bad, you would think that the only place to go is up. But that just hasn’t been the case for Iowa State, as they have been painfully bad this season, and they may not win a single game in league play. To make matters worse, the Cyclones had a COVID-19 outbreak in the program, and they haven’t played a game in over two weeks.

The last time Iowa State did get to play a game, coming way back on January 9, they got smashed by Texas Tech by nearly 30-points. Getting blown out has been something that the Cyclones have gotten used to this season as they have losses to Iowa by 28-points, and the losses to both Baylor and Kansas State came by at least 9-points. At this point, it’s less about the Cyclones winning games in conference play and more about them just trying to stay competitive.

Who Do I Like?

This is one of the stranger numbers I have seen posted by the books this season. They opened up with OK-State as just -1-point road favorites. When you look at how well the Cowboys have played on the road and how poorly the Cyclones have played at home, that number was hard to understand. The sharps felt the same way, as they backed Oklahoma State, quickly moving the number toward the Cowboys in the overnight betting market.

The number continues to be on the move this morning, as the line has shifted to -2 at most books, and I even see several -2.5’s and a couple of -3’s out there. I am not sure I would want to lay more than a full possession’s worth of points on the Cowboys, as this is still a road game in conference play, which is a trap for many teams, but there sure seems to still be plenty of value on backing the Cowboys. And that is just what I am going to do.

The Bet

Kenpom has OK-State winning this game by 4-points, and it is super rare to ever see a book open their number up with such a gap between Pomeroy’s number and their opening line. The sharps took advantage of it, and so will we. This is a play that those of us in the industry call right side, wrong number. Had we bet this one early, we could have saved a point, and maybe more depending on where you bet it at, but we are still on the right side of the action, despite getting a less sharp number.

It wouldn’t shock me at all if that gap in points doesn’t come into play tonight, as Oklahoma State could go into Ames and just blow the Cyclones completely out. The Cowboy’s last conference road game came at K-State, a team that is closely rated to the Cyclones, and the Cowboys won that game by 16-points.

I could see this one finishing around that same final score if the Cyclones don’t bring their best game after the long layoff. Give me the Oklahoma State Cowboys tonight, laying -2-points on the road, as they get back on track against an Iowa State team that is sure to be rusty after the long layoff. I’ll call the final score at 80-68, with the Cowboys riding out of town with a no sweat victory.

The Bet: Oklahoma State Cowboys -2

My Pick
Oklahoma State Cowboys -2
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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

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