It is hard to complain about a bad beat when you didn’t actually lose a bet, but hear me out here. Yesterday we backed the LSU Tigers at home, laying -2-points against the Florida Gators. I expected a very tightly contested game, but felt that the Tigers were heating up, they had won six straight games, including going 5-0 in SEC play, and that Florida hadn’t proved to me that they could win against quality competition in a hostile environment.
And when the Tigers led 79-69 with just over a minute left to play in the game, I felt really good about their chances to cover the number. But the Tigers let down their guard for just a second, well actually seventy-one seconds to be exact, and the Gators managed to finish the game on a flurry, scoring thirteen points in the last minute of the game, including hitting three 3-pointers.
But when Gator Andrew Nembhard jacked up a three-pointer with just four seconds left in the game and bricked it, it looked like we had survived the run with an 84-80 final score. Then Kerry Blackshear Jr decided to clean up the board and tip in the utterly meaningless put back as the buzzer sounded to make the game an 84-82 final, pushing out bet.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) January 22, 2020
What can you do, when you bet college basketball every day like I do, you are going to see situations like this play out. Sometimes you get the best of it, sometimes you get the worst of it. At least this “bad beat” didn’t actually cost us any money. For today’s bet, we will look to shake off the run bad as we head to the Summit League for a game between South Dakota State and North Dakota State.
- N. Dakota State Bison (13-6) at S. Dakota State Jackrabbits (14-8)
- Frost Arena, Brookings
- 5:00 PM PST
- TV: N/A
The South Dakota State Jackrabbits host the Bison of North Dakota tonight, with first place in the Summit League on the line. The Jackrabbits are coming off of a tough loss on the road, against their archrivals, South Dakota, in their last game. The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for SD State. The loss opened the door for North Dakota to leap frog the Jackrabbits for first place in a very competitive Summit League race.
— JackrabbitBasketball (@GoJacksMBB) January 22, 2020
For North Dakota, the Bison have won five out of their last six games, including four wins in league play. The lone loss for ND State was on the road against Oral Roberts, and the Bison look poised for a return trip to the NCAA tournament this season after going dancing last season for the first time since 2015.
North Dakota State Bison
After a shaky start in the non-conference that saw the Bison go just 8-5 with bad losses to Stony Brook, Utah Valley, and Indiana State, the Bison has started to find themselves here in Summit League play. The one glaring issue for the Bison has been their inability to win games against good teams away from home. On their home floor, the Bison are 8-1, with signature wins over East Tennessee State and Summit League rivals, South Dakota.
But away from home, they are just 5-5, which on the surface isn’t all that bad, but when you take a closer look, the wins were all very weak. Wins over UT Rio Grande Valley, Texas A&M Corpus Christi, Idaho, Denver, and Cal State Northridge all came against teams outside of the top-250, with two of those wins coming over teams outside of the top-300. The biggest test of the year on the road in league play this season for ND State came two weeks ago at Oral Roberts, and they lost by six points.
South Dakota State Jackrabbits
Similar to North Dakota State, the Jackrabbits have basically been two separate teams this year. The team they are on the road, and the team they are at home. SD State is just 3-8 on the road this season. Now, they have played some good teams, like Indiana, Arizona, and USC, so not all of those losses are bad ones. But they have lost to bad teams on the road as well, like when they lost to Montana State and Nebraska Omaha.
But at home, this team has been really good. The Jackrabbits are a perfect 11-0 in Frost Arena. And the games haven’t even been all that competitive as their average margin of victory at home is over twenty points a game. In their three league home games this year, they are 3-0, and they are beating Summit League teams by an average of twenty-four points.
Who Do I Like?
The Summit League is one of my favorite leagues to bet as there just isn’t a lot of information out there about these teams. They get zero national media coverage, and most of the time, you aren’t even going to be able to find these games televised. So, it falls on us to do our homework to understand where the value is at in these games.
This is what I call a spot play. You have a spot where you have a conference game, with one team that is great at home, against another team that can’t win against good teams on the road. You can go ahead and cover up the names of these teams and take the home team blind and show a long-term profit. It is just a good spot, thus the nickname.
The Jackrabbits have beaten the Bison five straight times. They have owned them in this series recently. When this line opened up at SD State -3-points, that felt pretty sharp. Kenpom has the Jackrabbits at -5, but there is some question over whether or not point guard Brandon Key is going to play for SD State, as he is nursing an injury, so I can understand it coming in a little short of the analytics.
But I guess the public thought they found something that wasn’t already built into the number because they have been backing the Bison in droves in the early betting action. That has pushed this number to where it stands now, at an even pick ‘em. And as I almost always do, I will look to fade the public line move, and back the home team in league play.
It is a great spot play, and I think the Jackrabbits find a way to continue their home court dominance tonight, regardless if Key is on the floor or not. Not to discount losing your starting point guard, but this is a frontcourt driven team with Douglas Wilson and Matt Dentlinger leading the way. Key is just the fifth leading scorer for SD State. Give me the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State at an even pick ‘em tonight at home!