Sometimes a game doesn’t go at all like you think it is going to go, and you still find a way to win your bet. I call that running good! And while I would much rather have all of the games I bet go exactly according to plan, I don’t mind it if I miss once in a while and still cash a ticket.
When you are betting sports, you need to set your ego aside, and at the end of the day, I would rather miss on the breakdown and get paid, than nail it, and lose. Particularly early in the college basketball season, there are going to be times where things just don’t go the way that you saw them going.
That was the case last night when we backed the UCLA Bruins as favorites against the Waves of Pepperdine. I expected the Bruins to snap back after a mediocre performance on opening night that saw them get beaten up by the Aztecs of San Diego State. I am never a huge fan of laying a bunch of points in a game, but to me, this was a mismatch.
FINAL: UCLA 107, Pepperdine 98
— UCLA Men’s Basketball (@UCLAMBB) November 27, 2020
Boy, did the Waves prove me wrong, though, as they battled with UCLA for not one, not two, but three overtime periods! The game was a back and forth one all afternoon long, with neither team being able to separate themselves from the other. That is until that third overtime period when the gambling Gods showed us some mercy, and the Bruins finished the game one a big run to win 107-98, and we somehow found a cover for our -7-point spread.
We won our bet, but my confidence in UCLA is falling through the floor right now. They got hammered on opening night and followed it up with a lackluster performance against a Pepperdine team that won’t sniff the NCAA tournament this year. Mick Cronin’s team was a sexy pick to win the PAC-12 in the preseason, but they need to start playing much better if they want to stay on my radar as a potential dark horse Final Four team. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will look to keep the run good going when we head to Bubbleville for the game between Virginia Tech and Villanova!
- Villanova Wildcats (2-0) at Virginia Tech Hokies (1-0)
- Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville
- 5:00 PM PST
- TV: ESPNU
Two unbeaten teams square off tonight from Bubbleville in Uncasville, Connecticut, as the Villanova Wildcats play the Virginia Tech Hokies. The Wildcats are 2-0 to kick off the season, picking up wins over Boston College and Arizona State. The Wildcats are currently ranked 3rd in the nation and are looking every bit as good as advertised through the season’s first week of action.
Third-ranked Villanova awaits
— Virginia Tech Men's Basketball (@HokiesMBB) November 28, 2020
For Virginia Tech, the Hokies are also undefeated as they are coming off of a win in their season opener against Radford. The Hokies had a great start to last year in the non-conference, and a win against Villanova would look great on their resume on Selection Sunday in March.
Villanova Wildcats (2-0)
Just how good is Jay Wright’s Villanova team this year? I think we can all agree that they are the prohibitive favorites in the Big East, but after winning two national titles in the last four years, the Wildcats are no longer being measured against just their own conference, they are measured by their ability to win national titles.
The ‘Cats have two superstars in Collin Gillespie and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, and they look like a team that could be a Final Four favorite. The win over Boston College was a bit shaky, as they trailed fairly big in the second half before gutting out the win, but the beat down of a very talented Arizona State team showed me that this team is the real deal. Robinson-Earl looked unstoppable against ASU as he exploded for a career-high 28 points and 8 rebounds. If he can continue to play at that level, you can pencil Villanova into the Final Four right now, they are that good.
Virginia Tech Hokies (1-0)
We just talked about how good Villanova is, and everyone seems to be in agreement that they are somewhere between really good and great. There is no such consensus on this Virginia Tech team, though, as some people think they are going to finish in the bottom half of the ACC and miss the NCAA tournament, while others see them as a threat to finish near the top of their conference and make a run in March.
I don’t have an overly strong opinion on the Hokies, but I do think that they are better than most people are giving them credit for. Head coach Mike Young managed to take Wofford to the tournament five times, and last year, in his first season leading the Hokies, he overachieved with one of the youngest teams in the nation. This year, Young brought in four upperclassman transfers, including Keve Aluma, who Young recruited and coached at Wofford.
Aluma led Virginia Tech in scoring in their opener with 19 points on 7-10 shooting from the field. With the added experience to go along with his bevy of young talent, I see this Hokies team safely being inside the field of 68 in March, and they are going to beat teams that people aren’t expecting at some point this season.
Who Do I Like?
I think the public is sleeping on Virginia Tech. Kenpom currently has them ranked at #35, ahead of teams getting a lot more hype right now like UCLA, LSU, and Providence. The kenpom algorithm, regarded as one of the sharpest around, has this game as a six-point Villanova victory. It is very rare that you will see a number that differs from kenpom by so much, and a three and a half point gap between what the public is doing to the line and what the data tells us, opens up some significant value on Virginia Tech.
And it’s not just the data that leads me to believe that Virginia Tech is going to keep this game close either. The Wildcats looked great against Arizona State, but against Boston College, they trailed by nine points with under thirteen minutes to play in the second half. They found a way to win the game in the end, but they showed that they aren’t invincible, even against weaker competition.
Even in the stellar performance against Arizona State, there were some things that should cause concern. The Wildcats gave up a combined fifty points to guards Joshua Christopher and Alonzo Verge Jr. ‘Nova focused on shutting down Remy Martin, and they did a great job of it, but the sharpshooters on the wings ate them alive., as they combined to shoot 58% from the field, including 50% from three. You know who else has a bunch of sweet-shooting guards than can fill it up from beyond the arc? The Virginia Tech Hokies.
I am not going to go as far as saying that the Wildcats are on upset alert tonight, but this is an inflated number. This will be Villanova’s third game in four nights, and I can’t imagine they are going to look to run up the score needlessly if they take an early lead. On the flip side, the Hokies have had two days off to rest after an easy victory and should have fresh legs tonight.
Expect a hard-fought Villanova victory, where the Hokies keep it tight throughout and cover the spread with little sweat. If the guards for V-Tech can get hot, and Villanova leaves them open like they did in their last game, they are going to regret it, and the Hokies just might shock the world. Give me the Virginia Tech Hokies and the nine and a half points tonight from Bubbleville!