NCAA Basketball Pick: West Virginia +8½ over Baylor

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

West Virginia is starting to heat up as it has won three straight games, two on the road, to get to 5-5 in the Big 12 and go over .500 overall vs. a good schedule. Take the points at Baylor.

The underdog is starting to heat up and offers nice value Wednesday when those West Virginia Mountaineers (12-11, 3-5 away) pay a visit to the Baylor Bears (15-8, 10-3 home) at the Ferrell Center in Waco, TX at 9:00 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN2.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has West Virginia as a decided underdog for this contest with the current line at +8½ with odds of -108.

West Virginia is playing its fourth straight game vs. a team that calls Texas home and the Mountaineers must love the Lone Star State right about now! They have won three straight games including two road wins at Texas Tech and most recently TCU on Saturday sandwiched around a home win over the Texas Longhorns.

This three-game winning streak evens West Virginia’s Big 12 record at 5-5 in its first year in the conference, and while that still currently leaves the Mountaineers as the seventh seed in the conference, they are only one game behind these Bears and Iowa State, who are tied for fifth at 6-4.

Furthermore, the winning streak has pushed West Virginia to one game over .500 overall vs. a nice schedule ranked 53rd in SOS. And do not forget that right before this winning streak began, the Mountaineers gave nationally ranked and conference leading Kansas a battle before losing by just a 61-56 count.
Now, West Virginia is certainly not a good shooting team, as it ranks a poor 294th in the country in effective field goal percentage and does not have a single player averaging double-digits. However, the Mountaineers two freshman guards are starting to emerge nicely, as Eron Harris has averaged 13.8 points over his last eight games and fellow Diaper Dandy Terry Henderson is coming off of a 17-point performance vs. TCU in Fort Worth.

One way that West Virginia does generate some offense is off of turnovers, as it leads the Big 12 in defensive turnover percentage during conference play at 23.4 percent, which is nicely above the national average of 20.3 percent, and it also leads the conference in steal percentage at 11.5 percent compared to a national average of 10.1 percent.

Baylor has often been loose with the basketball since Scott Drew took over as head coach and the Bears are ranked 156th in the nation in having the ball stolen this season, so that West Virginia ball pressure could easily be brought into play.

Besides, Baylor has tailed off since starting the year 14-5, as it then went on a three game losing streak that included the Bears’ third home loss of the season vs. the Oklahoma Sooners as well as road losses at Iowa State and Oklahoma State before stopping the skid with a home blowout of Texas Tech here Saturday.

Still, Baylor has had trouble piecing together good performances, in fact going 7-20 ATS in its last 27 games following an ATS win. Look for that pattern to continue with a West Virginia cover on Wednesday.

NCAA Basketball Pick: West Virginia +8½ (-108)

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