I used to have a buddy that would swear that when everybody liked a number on a game, it was because the book wanted you to like that number. The books were setting a trap, and giving you a number to love, so you would fall for it and make a bad play that you shouldn’t. And to be honest, there is some truth to that. In this day and age of bookmaking, there are lots of bookmakers that aren’t afraid to have an opinion on a game and pick a side.
This was evident yesterday in the game between Florida State and Louisville. The books are going to give you three and a half points to back a team as good as Louisville? The public screamed, where do I sign up? The public backed the Cardinals in droves and eventually drove the number all the way down to Florida State -2-points before tipoff. Why did everyone like that number? Because the books wanted you to.
They wanted you to forget the fact that Florida State blew out Louisville on their home floor earlier this season. They wanted you to ignore the fact that Florida State just might have the best defense in the country, and that they were going to force the Cardinals into a bunch of bad shots. They wanted you to back a road team in league play, even though the data tells us that’s not a play we should be making all that often. I didn’t fall for it and backed the home team and expected an easy victory and cover.
— FSU Hoops (@FSUHoops) February 25, 2020
And that is just what I got. The Cardinals did a great job of getting easy buckets in the first half, and actually ran up an early lead, but when Leonard Hamilton’s team finally switched on that trademark defense of theirs in the second half, the Seminoles ran away with this one. Florida State blew out Louisville in the second half by twenty-three points and coasted to a fifteen-point win and easy cover.
The win gives Florida State the season sweep over Louisville and sets the Seminoles up for at least a share of the ACC regular-season title. The ‘Noles have three winnable games left on the schedule and control their own destiny. If they win out, they are guaranteed at least a share of the league title with the Duke Blue Devils.
For Louisville, the Cardinals are now going to need a lot of help to find their way back to the top of the standings with just a couple of games left on the schedule. Both Louisville and Duke have road games at Charlottesville still on the schedule, and the Seminoles will be rooting for the Hoos to protect their home floor and hand them the outright league title. For today’s daily betting pick, we will head to Oklahoma City for a game between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
- Texas Tech Red Raiders (18-9) at Oklahoma Sooners (16-11)
- Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City
- 6:00 PM PST
- TV: ESPN 2
The Oklahoma Sooners will take the short trip to Oklahoma City for the second time this season as they host the Texas Tech Red Raiders in a semi-home game. Oklahoma beat Mississippi State earlier this season in Oklahoma City, and are hoping to make it to 2-0 in off-campus home state games this season. The Sooners badly need a win as they have lost three straight games, including a bad one to Oklahoma State in their last game. The Sooners are currently projected as one of the last four in for the NCAA tournament and are sitting squarely on the bubble right now.
Big 12 battle in downtown OKC. Let's get it.
— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) February 25, 2020
For Texas Tech, the Red Raiders are back in the top-25 of the national rankings this week and have won five out of their last six games. Recent top-100 wins over Oklahoma, West Virginia, Texas, TCU, Kansas State, and Iowa State have the Red Raiders seeking a high seed in the tournament. They are currently projected as a seven seed and would love to move up a line or two before Selection Sunday.
The last thing you want to do is hit March madness playing poorly, but that seems to be the case for Oklahoma right now. And if they can’t figure out a way to stop the bleeding soon, they could miss out on the madness altogether. But when you look at who they have lost to, it is hard to knock them too much, as two of their three losses have come to Baylor and Kansas, who are ranked number one and two in the nation.
But, getting blown out in their last game to Oklahoma State, was a loss they are going to really regret if they don’t hear their names called on Selection Sunday. When you look at the full body of work for Oklahoma, their stock is certainly sinking. Early season wins over teams like Minnesota, Oregon State, and Missouri aren’t looking great right now, and they have lost eight out of their last thirteen games.
Texas Tech Red Raiders
The analytics have loved Texas Tech all season long, and it would appear the public is starting to come around as well as the Red Raiders jumped back into the top-25 this week. And when you look back on their losses, and who they have played, their nine losses aren’t all that concerning. Each of their losses came to top-100 teams, and six of them came against teams in the top-25, three of those were against teams in the top-10.
And while signature wins have been a bit hard to come by, they did beat Louisville on a neutral floor, and they also have top-100 wins over Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Iowa State, West Virginia (twice), Texas, and TCU (twice). While the Red Raiders won’t catch Baylor or Kansas for first place in the Big 12, they are in great shape to finish in third place with West Virginia’s recent late-season collapse.
Who Do I Like?
When these two teams matched up earlier this season in Lubbock, the game was competitive. The Sooners actually took the lead into halftime before seeing the Red Raiders close the game out strong and win by eight points. The Red Raiders top-10 defense held Oklahoma to just sixty-one points, a full ten-points under their season average, and the Sooners made just 6-24 three-pointers. The question in this one is, how much will the home state, but not home-court, advantage be for Oklahoma?
I almost always back home underdogs in league play. But this game is not your typical home underdog play. This game is being played in an NBA arena in Oklahoma City, not on campus in Norman. And while the data tells us that these semi-home games still offer the home team value, it is certainly not the same as a true home court game on campus.
That leads me to believe that Texas Tech is the side to back. I think the game will be competitive and closely contested, and that number is going to make us sweat for sure. But the Sooners are really struggling right now, and outside of the win against West Virginia, they just haven’t shown the ability to hang with the best teams in the Big 12 this year. Give me the Texas Tech Red Raiders laying two and a half points tonight in OKC!