Slight road favorites over sub- .500 teams
It is not uncommon that I come across situations where an inferior team has home court advantage causing the NCAA basketball odds makers to bend slightly too much in their direction. An example of this was the last Butler game that I capped. Butler was actually listed as a slight dog on the road even though they were the far superior team. Needless to say, I happily jumped on Butler thinking that they would win outright, and they won the game. I use this approach when a team has a clear advantage and can be slight road favorites or actually slight dogs (as in Butler’s case).
Here are a few matchups that fall into the same category tonight, and I believe that they each hold great betting value for our evening’s NCAA Basketball picks.
Wyoming (14-1) at Fresno State (6-9)
Wyoming has been listed as a mere 3.5 point favorite according to the College Basketball betting lines at 5Dimes. The Cowboys are undefeated on the road while Fresno State has had little success at home. Add in the fact that Wyoming has a victory over a top 25 team in Colorado to their credit, and this pick appears to be a “slam dunk”.
Fresno State is coming off of a taste of top 25 action as they were pummeled by the New Mexico Lobos, 72-45. The Bulldogs shot just 33.3% from the field with their leading scorer being Marvelle Harris with 11 points on 3 of 11 shooting from the field. Then again, what would you expect from a team that shoots less than 40% from the field as a team?
Tyler Johnson Returns!
I’m being a bit sarcastic, but Johnson, who leads the Bulldogs at 10.1 points per game, returns for this game from an ankle injury. What it comes down to, is lack of offense on Fresno State’s part along with poor defense while the Cowboys have several different options to choose from.
Senior forward ,Leonard Washington, leads Wyoming in scoring at 14.9 points and 8.8 rebounds per game and has really been playing well as of late. He’s had double-doubles in 3 out of his last 4 games and is a very active player, averaging 2.9 blocks and 2.3 steals in that period of time. Fresno State will have no answer for Washington and Larry Nance Jr. Look for Wyoming to cover against an inferior home team in the Bulldogs.
Pick: Wyoming -3.5
Evansville (11-6) at Drake (7-9)
This appears to be another game that fits our criteria, as Drake is actually a 1.5 point betting favorite in this game! The Bulldogs have lost 4 out of their last 5 games, including a 30 point loss to Creighton. Evansville has played four top 25 teams and managed to defeat 23rd ranked Wichita State, 71-67. Except for a blowout loss against Creighton, the Aces have been able to hold their own against some formidable opponents. You can expect Evansville to be coming into this game on a high, after the victory over Wichita State.
My question is how does Evansville come into this game as an underdog? Odds makers must think that home court advantage will play so big a role that a lousy team like Drake is a better choice than the 2nd ranked team in the Missouri Valley Conference….or maybe it’s a trap?
“Ace in the Hole”
Drake will have a difficult time defending against the Aces’ leading scorer, Colt Ryan. Over his last 3 games, Ryan is averaging 22.7 points and 9 of 20 from 3-point range. Look For the senior to have an easy time of it against a lackadaisical Drake defense.
Drake will counter with senior Ben Simons. Simons is coming off of a huge performance against Illinois State in which he scored 23 points. That said, Simons is a bit inconsistent and couldn’t measure up to better competition. He had just 4 point on 2 of 8 shooting against Creighton prior to the Illinois State game. The Bulldogs must have a good game out of Ben Simons to have a chance here.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Evansville +1.5[gameodds]14/217518/43/us[/gameodds]