We picked up an easy winner last night when we backed the USC Trojans, laying three points against the Washington State Cougars. I felt that the Trojans were just far too physical and skilled and that the Cougars were going to get exposed on their home floor, and that is just what happened.
Started off 2020 with a W!
Catch the highlights from tonight's Pac-12 opener ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/AL7F8P58EI
— USC Men's Basketball (@USC_Hoops) January 3, 2020
Despite a whopping twenty turnovers by USC, that kept the game closer than it needed to be, the Trojans still led the entire way and easily covered the number, winning 65-56. I told you to keep an eye on Onyeka Okongwu as I didn’t see a guy on the WSU roster that could guard him, and all he did was go out and score twenty-seven points on 12-14 shooting from the field. He added in twelve rebounds and three blocks for good measure and was a man amongst boys all game long. For today’s pick, we will head to the Big 10, where Nebraska hosts Rutgers.
- Rutgers Scarlet Knights (10-3) at Nebraska Cornhuskers (6-7)
- Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln
- 5:00 PM PST
- TV: BTN
The Nebraska Cornhusker will look to stay undefeated at home in league play tonight as they host the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Wins have been hard to come by so far for Nebraska as they are just 6-7 on the season. But things have been looking up for them a bit recently as they knocked off a very talented Purdue team at home in their last league game, and they are 3-1 against the spread in their last four games.
Huskers ❌ Scarlet Knights
— Nebraska Basketball (@HuskerHoops) January 3, 2020
For Rutgers, the Scarlet Knights are just trying to keep their heads above water in what is an absolutely loaded Big 10 this season. Rutgers is currently ranked at #48 on kenpom, but that makes them just the twelfth highest-ranked team in the league, as the Big 10 currently has twelve teams in the top fifty.
Wins in the league are going to be very tough to come by this season, particularly on the road. Rutgers must find a way to win as favorites tonight if they want a shot at competing to finish in the top half of the league.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
When you look at the Scarlet Knights record, it is certainly impressive at 10-3, but when you take a little deeper look, it isn’t quite as strong as it might seem. Of Rutgers thirteen games this season, ten of them have been at home. Their record in those games? 10-3. In their other three games, they played one on a neutral floor and two true road games. Their record in those three games? 0-3.
Their non-conference strength of schedules was in the 300’s and the best win they have out of conference was at home against Seton Hall. But in that one, Seton Hall’s best player, Myles Powell, got hurt early and played just fifteen minutes.
Outside of that win, they didn’t have any others against the top-100 in the non-conference. I am not saying this isn’t a good team, I am just saying that they haven’t done enough yet to prove to me that they can be a force in what I think is the best league in the land this season, the Big 10.
It has been a struggle this year for Nebraska. They have played a decent schedule, and for the most part, they haven’t had much success. They have four losses to teams outside of the top-100, and two really bad losses to UC-Riverside and North Dakota. The win over Purdue two weeks ago is their only win against a top-100 team this year.
Cam Mack has emerged a do-everything type of guy for Nebraska. He can score (12.8), rebound (4.7), assist (6.5), and steal (1.5). In the upset victory over Purdue, Mack had his first-ever career triple-double. They will need a similar performance out of him tonight if they are going to defend their home floor.
Who Do I Like?
Can the answer be nobody? It is hard to like either of these teams right now. All Rutgers has shown us is that they can win at home, ok, so what, most teams can win at home. And Nebraska? They go from looking awful to just bad most nights. So, in reality, I don’t really “like” either team in this matchup. But that doesn’t mean I don’t see significant betting value.
This number opened up at Rutgers -1. That was a bad number. In the overnight action, the sharps and public both hammered it, causing it to move five points! The number now stands at Rutgers -6. With that significant line move, I now like the home team to cover.
This is another classic overreaction by the betting market. Yeah, Rutgers should have been favored by more than a point. Bu to see it move five points is absurd. We have yet to see Rutgers win a single game away from home, and now all of the sudden you want me to back them laying six points on the road in conference play? Yeah, I’m not buying it.
Home teams have absolutely dominated so far in Big 10 play. The list of home court upsets is too long to list already, and league play has just started. Home teams are 15-1 straight up so far this year in Big 10 play. The only team to lose at home so far this year is Northwestern against Michigan State, and they easily covered the spread in that one.
Home dogs in the Big 10 has been a honey hole for me all year long, and I will dip into one more time tonight. Road games in the Big 10 are just too challenging to ever want to lay a number like six, even against an admittedly bad team like Nebraska. So, I will take Nebraska, and they will somehow find a way to lose close at home. Give me the Cornhuskers +6!