Penn State Nittany Lions at Minnesota Golden Gophers NCAAM Pick – January 15th

We picked up another win last night to keep our hot streak alive when we backed the Dayton Flyers as home favorites against the VCU Rams. The win was our tenth in our last twelve bets, that’s good for a sizzling hot 83% winners in the last two weeks!

For last night’s bet, I felt strongly that the Rams just wouldn’t be able to score with Dayton and that when all was said and done, this game just wasn’t going to be overly competitive. So, while I don’t usually like to back big favorites, I decided to take advantage of what I saw as an undervalued Dayton team and laid some wood on the Flyers.

VCU did an admirable job of hanging with Dayton in the first half as they trailed by just five at halftime, but in the second half, it was all Dayton. Dayton went on a 24-3 run early in the second half to put this one away for good. The Flyers coasted to a 79-65 victory, and we cashed our ticket with minimal sweat. Obi Toppin continued to be un-guardable in A-10 play as he dropped twenty-four and nine in the win.

I mentioned in my pick yesterday that I thought Dayton would take advantage of this matchup and make a statement to the rest of the league that they were just as good as advertised and that they were the prohibitive favorites in the league this year. And they did just that.

The double-digit victory over the reigning league champs certainly put the rest of the year league on notice that these Flyers are the real deal. For today’s pick, we will head to the Big 10, where the Minnesota Golden Gophers host the Penn State Nittany Lions.

Today’s Game

  • Penn State Nittany Lions (12-4) at Minnesota Golden Gophers (9-7)
  • Williams Arena, Minneapolis
  • 6:00 PM PST
  • TV: BTN

Two middle of the pack teams fighting to stay relevant in a crowded Big 10, match up tonight as the Minnesota Golden Gophers host the Penn State Nittany Lions. The Gophers are just 3-3 in league play, but they are 3-0 at home and are coming off their biggest win of the season, a 75-67 beatdown of Michigan in their last game. The Gophers would love to add another conference win to their resume to get back on the right side of .500 in league play.

For Penn State, the Nittany Lions have fallen on hard times recently, as after starting the season out 12-2, they have lost two straight games. The Nittany Lions played one of the softest non-conference schedules in the country, and five of their non-conference wins came over teams outside of the top-200. Penn State is looking to breakthrough with their first true road win of the league play season tonight.

Spread:

  • Penn State +2 (-110)
  • Minnesota -2 (-110)
Money line:

  • Penn State +118
  • Minnesota -138
Total Points:

  • Over 143.5 (-110)
  • Under 143.5 (-110)

Penn State Nittany Lions

We already talked about how Penn State played a soft non-conference schedule. The Nittany Lions non-conference slate was ranked in the 300’s. But it really wasn’t all that bad, they just played several really bad teams like Maryland Eastern Shore, Wagner, Central Connecticut, and Cornell, all teams ranked at #290 or worse.

They did pick up big wins over Georgetown, Yale, Syracuse, and Alabama, and when you toss in the league play wins over Maryland and Iowa, the Nittany Lions have one of the best groups of wins in the country.

The one major red flag for me on Penn State is their lack of true road wins. They did beat Georgetown on the road, way back in November, but in Big 10 play, they are 0-2 on the road and got blown out by double-digits in both games. Winning on the road in Big 10 play this year has basically been impossible, and Penn State is going to need to find a way to buck that trend tonight.

Minnesota Golden Gophers

At first, glance when you look at Minnesota’s record, you would likely think that this team is underachieving. 9-7 certainly isn’t an elite record. But when you look at who they have played, you must be thinking, wow, has any team in the country played a tougher schedule than Minnesota has this year? And the answer to that is yeah, Kansas.

That’s it. Only the Jayhawks have played a tougher scheduled than Minnesota has this season as the Gophers SOS is currently sitting at number two in the country. Their worst loss on the year came to a solid Utah team, and four of their seven losses came against teams in the top-20. And it hasn’t all been losing to good teams for Minnesota, they have signature wins over Ohio State, Michigan, Clemson, and Ok State already this year.

Who Do I Like?

I mentioned above that road teams just haven’t been able to win on the road this year in Big 10 play. Home teams have won thirty-four out of forty league play games this season in the Big 10. Three of those home losses were from Nebraska and Northwestern, who are both awful this season. That means that teams with a winning record have won 93% of the time at home right now in the Big 10, which is a staggering level of success.

The books have started to adjust to this trend, but the public has not. Yesterday we saw Wisconsin, an unranked team with a 10-6 record, as home favorites against a top-25 ranked Maryland team. Three weeks ago, Maryland would have for sure been the betting favorites.

And when you look at today’s slate, Rutgers opened up at -3.5-point favorites at home against an Indiana team that most people would probably say is the more talented team. So, yes, the books are taking notice and adjusting accordingly.

But when you look at the public, they keep forcing the bookie’s hands to adjust the numbers the other way. Most of the public action came in on Maryland yesterday, causing the line to move. And already this morning, the public has moved the Rutgers line a half of a point towards Indiana, and after opening Minnesota as -3.5-point favorites, the public has been backing Penn State in droves, moving it a point and a half toward the Nittany Lions.

The Bet

My recent hot streak has been built on two main plays, taking home teams in league play, and fading the pubic line moves. I will get to do both today in this one. All of the data tells us that home teams in the Big 10 are the side to be on, yet even after the books finally caught on after a month of getting torched by the sharps, the public continues to drive the betting market away from the home teams.

And as long as they keep doing that, I will be right here to take advantage of it. At home this season, Minnesota is 8-1. That includes wins over Michigan and Ohio State, two teams significantly more talented than Penn State is, and neither of those games were close as they beat Michigan by eight and Ohio State by thirteen.

Throw in the fact that Penn State has gotten blown out in both of their league play road games, and this feels like free money. I wasn’t a huge fan of laying a bunch of points as these games are usually competitive, but thanks to the public, I don’t have to. This isn’t a bad line, it is a terrible one. Give me the Minnesota Golden Gophers laying -2 points tonight at home!

The Bet: Minnesota -2

My Pick
MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS -2
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