NCAA Basketball Picks: Kansas vs. West Virgina

Joe Freda

Monday, January 28, 2013 3:44 PM GMT

Monday, Jan. 28, 2013 3:44 PM GMT

Who will get the money as these Big 12 Conference rivals clash for the first time? Should bettors lean towards the Jayhawks with their NCAAB picks, or will it be the Mountaineers who cash in?

The No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks have a 3-1 spread record in their last four games, holding their opposition to a tight 53 PPG. Monday’s slate has Bill Self’s squad visiting the West Virginia Mountaineers, who are 3-2-1 ATS over their six spots since Jan. 9. 

The odds makers are giving the Jayhawks the early nod, but are the Mountaineers undervalued in this Big 12 Conference showdown? Find out which team we have decided to add to our evenings free sports picks.

Jayhawks, McLemore hold off Oklahoma

The Kansas Jayhawks came away with their 17th straight win in Saturday’s 67-54 victory over the Oklahoma Sooners, collecting as a 12 ½-point home favorite. The Jayhawks held Oklahoma to 35.6 percent field shooting, while edging out the Sooners in boards, 35-31. 

Jayhawks guard Ben McLemore hit 5-of-10 shots from the floor en route to a team-high 18 points. McLemore’s mate Travis Releford logged five of his squad’s 15 assists, while Kansas’ Jeff Withey notched four blocks and three steals.

The battle’s combined 121 points dipped below the ‘total’ of 136, extending the UNDER to a 5-0 mark in the Jayhawks’ last five affairs. Kansas sank 12-of-19 free throws, while draining 7-of-17 buckets beyond the arc.

Mountaineers, Murray downed in Stillwater

West Virginia logged its fourth loss in five games with Saturday’s 80-66 defeat as a 9 ½-point road dog against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. The Mountaineers were outscored in the second half, 50-39, while giving up 10-of-19 shots from three-point land.

Mountaineers center Aaric Murray logged his second double-double in six games, finishing with 11 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. WVU’s Eron Harris led his squad’s scoring with 17 points, drilling 5-of-8 baskets outside the arc.

The contest’s combined 146 points leaped above the ‘total’ of 128, cashing a third straight OVER ticket in the Mountaineers’ last trio of games. West Virginia was outrebounded, 30-27, while Mountaineers’ forward Deniz Kilicli logged two of his side’s three blocks.

[gameodds]14/218918/43/us[/gameodds]

Back WVU as a home dog

NCAA basketball betting odds opened Kansas as a nine-point road favorite, with early wagers on West Virginia driving the number south to eight. The ‘total’ was first set at 130, remaining unchanged after initial betting was mixed.

I am tailing the early ‘steam’ here, adding WVU to my Monday night NCAA Basketball picks. Kansas has seen its last pair of road wins come by five points or less, while West Virginia has held visitors to 60.7 PPG in its three home dates against conference foes.

WVU’s most recent home affair saw Bob Huggins’ squad thrash the TCU Horned Frogs in Wednesday’s 71-50 triumph, cashing as 13 ½-point ‘chalk.’  The Mountaineers held TCU to 38.6 percent shooting from the floor, with West Virginia covering the number despite a 16-for-31 night at the foul line for Harris and Co.

The Mountaineers face a step up in class with Kansas visiting, but the Jayhawks have gone an overvalued 1-2 ATS in their three road affairs against Big 12 rivals. Kansas has been held to 61 PPG in that stretch and could have its challenges with a first trip to Morgantown in a prime-time clash with the crowd sure to be roaring.

Look for Kansas to squeak by with another win to extend its streak, while West Virginia gets the money ATS for its backers.

NCAA Basketball Pick:  West Virginia Mountaineers +8
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