Highs & Lows: Over/Under Bets are Enticing in Two Conference Matchups

Jay Pryce

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 2:01 PM UTC

Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018 2:01 PM UTC

The best betting values in the Texas-Kansas State and USC-Colorado games have nothing to do with the point spreads. Instead, focus on the totals with your NCAAB picks.

Wednesday College Basketball: Texas vs. Kansas StateFree NCAAB Pick: 'Under' 131.5Best Line Offered: Heritage

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Texas (16-11 SU, 12-11 ATS) is coming off its best defensive performance of the year, holding No. 22 Oklahoma to a season-low 66 points on 30.8 percent from the floor in a 77-66 win Saturday. The high-flying Sooners entered the contest leading Division I programs in scoring offense with 88.4 points per game. Freshman forward Mohamed Bamba, once again, starred on both ends of the court for Texas. The NBA talent, who leads the Big 12 with 106 blocks, swatted four in the victory. Bamba also yanked down 18 rebounds and scored 10 points, notching his 14th double-double on the season. The league gifted him the Phillips 66 Big 12 Newcomer of the Week award, Bamba’s fourth weekly honor this season.

To battle for another road victory, the Longhorns will need lights-out shooting. The 77 points in Norman was the most they have scored in a conference road game all season. Texas, in fact, averages just 65.0 points in regulation time in Big 12 away contests. Overall, it owns the least-efficient offense in the conference, ranking 107th in KenPom’s adjusted scoring rankings. Here is head coach Shaka Smart addressing his team's inconsistent offense and amazing defense in a preview of tonight's matchup:

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Kansas State (19-8 SU, 11-13 ATS) drilled Texas 67-64 in Austin two weeks ago. All five starters scored in double figures as the Wildcats shot a red-hot 53.7 percent from the floor. K-State, a 3-point favorite tonight, averages 44.2-percent shooting in seven Big 12 home games.

Three points or less decided each of the five matchups between Smart and Wildcats head coach Bruce Weber in the series. With such little wiggle room, avoid playing the spread posted on the college basketball odds board. The total is where the value lies.

Each team has reached the 70-point threshold once in the five meetings, a 71-70 Longhorns win in February 2016. The combined scores for the other four matchups: 117, 127, 125 and 131 points. These two coaches slow the place and thrive when controlling the action. The fact the Wildcats shot better then 50 percent in the last meeting and the final tally still couldn’t top 130 points is telling of the deliberate style. With your NCAAB picks take "under" 131.5 points, with neither team enjoying as hot a night on the scoring end.

Wednesday College Basketball: USC vs. ColoradoFree NCAAB Pick: 'Over' 142Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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Colorado (15-12 SU, 12-14 ATS) is a wildly different team inside Coors Event Center, going 6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS hosting Pac-12 foes. Since head coach Tad Boyle took over in 2010, the Buffs win 76 percent and cover the spread in 58 percent of conference home games. These figures nosedive to 32 and 43 percent, respectively, outside of Boulder. Solid defense is the main catalyst for winning in the building. Pac-12 visitors are shooting just 37.9 percent overall this year.

USC (19-9 SU, 17-10 ATS), meanwhile, is tightening up on both ends of the court. Since the New Year, the "under" is 11-2 overall, a 143.7 average final score coming up nearly 7 points shy of a 150.2 total. The Trojans combined for 155.9 points through their first 15 games.

The difference has been forward Bennie Boatwright’s battle with a foot injury. The junior has missed five games in this span and played a bit hobbled in others. Head coach Andy Enfield has made several adjustments to compensate, particularly on defense. The team relies primarily on man-to-man, but is incorporating zone schemes and even a full-court press at times to make up for a weaker frontcourt and maximize specific player rotations. The flexibility is throwing both opponents and the betting market off.

The Trojans average 63.5 points per game in Boulder during Enfield’s tenure, posting more than 65 points in one of just four visits. Some of these offenses were horrid, however. The Trojans own the 29th-most efficient unit in the nation per KenPom, and will reach the 70-point mark here. The Buffs, 3-point underdogs, are always competitive at home and will not allow the Trojans too far out of their sights. For the most betting value with your NCAAB picks, buck the trend and pick "over" the total on the college basketball odds board. The market has caught up to USC.

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