We had to sweat out a few late Dayton three pointers but eventually VCU knocked down enough free throws to hold on for the cover and deliver us a nice victory. I know Kevin talked about the line movements in his email yesterday, and I mentioned it as a warning with yesterday’s pick as well: the line opened at VCU -2.5, which would have been an easy winner. By the time it got to -4 at publishing, I still liked the pick, but mentioned I was at my limit as to how much I would lay. The line closed at -5. Had it gone a half point further, we would have lost.
Watch line moves, and more importantly, shop for the best line. It is amazing how often that point or two is the difference between winning, pushing, or tearing up a losing ticket in frustration…
Today is an AWESOME day of college hoops, so strap in for some fun. The highlight is obvious; a rare non-con Top Five matchup after Christmas with Kansas visiting Rupp Arena and the vaunted Kentucky Wildcats. It doesn’t get much better than this, and I’ll dive deeper for my free pick of the day.
But don’t think that’s the ONLY great action today. These are oddly the only two ranked teams going head to head, but just because the rankings stop being official at 25 doesn’t mean there aren’t a ton of tournament-impacting conference games on the docket.
Today’s Free Pick:
Kansas Jayhawks at Kentucky Wildcats -7.5
Kentucky has been an absolute beast in conference this season posting a nearly unchallenged perfect record. They are winning more games by 20+ than they are by single digits and aside from some boredom in the Mississippi State game, have summarily sent every SEC challenger packing.
But non-con is a different story. UCLA went into Rupp and won. North Carolina pushed them to the brink in a 102-100 epic thriller in Vegas. They got beat straight up by the Cardinals in Louisville. Those three games makes tonight’s really heavy line surprising to me. Yes, Kansas just got smoked by West Virginia in their toughest road challenge and they lost in their OTHER one back in November at Indiana. But the Indiana game is ancient history and the West Virginia game was deceptive in the final margin. Kansas was in that game the whole way and even led halfway through the second half.
I wouldn’t lay eight against Kansas matched up with any team in the country.
I think tonight is going to be an excellent game, and disagree with the signal that Vegas is sending; Kentucky being three or four points better than the Jayhawks on a neutral floor. I actually think KANSAS is the slightly more complete team and guided by a steadier hand in Frank Mason. Josh Jackson is the equal to Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox and might well be the best player on the court, and overall Kansas has better and more consistent shooters.
Kentucky might be slightly quicker, but it isn’t like Kansas can’t match up athletically. If this line was the four points I was expecting, I’d stay off this game. But at +7.5? How can you pass up Kansas?