Pair Of Totals Offer Value in TCU, Kentucky Clashes

Jay Pryce

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 12:45 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018 12:45 PM UTC

Poor defenses and roster mismatches will help fuel a pair of ‘overs’ when TCU takes on Oklahoma State and Kentucky hosts Vanderbilt Tuesday night. See what we’re predicting here.

TCU (-1.5) vs Oklahoma State

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Free NCAAB Pick: Over 155Best Line Offered: at Heritage

TCU (15-6 SU, 10-10 ATS) has dropped six of their last nine contests following a 17-game win streak stretching back to last year. This includes its surprising NIT title run. What’s the current issue? Head coach Jamie Dixon was blunt after an 81-78 defeat at Nashville on Saturday as part of the Big 12-SEC Challenge: “We’re not a very good team defensively, we know that.” Here's Dixon's postgame presser lamenting some of his squad's mistakes:

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The Horned Frogs surrender 84.1 points per game on 47.8 percent shooting in their last nine played. Defending the perimeter is proving the toughest challenge. Opponents are 84-of-200 (42 percent) from behind the arc in this span.

The other issue with TCU, one that should concern bettors, is it lacks much grit in true road games. Since Dixon took over, it is 5-12 SU and 6-11 ATS in this spot. Against conference opponents, the defense yields 48.5 percent from the floor. That high figure isn’t going to win any college basketball team many games regardless of the confines.

Oklahoma State (13-8 SU, 8-10 ATS), meanwhile, posts 79.1 points per game at Gallagher-Iba Arena when listed on the NCAAB oddsboard. Surprisingly, the ‘under’ is 8-2 under these conditions thanks to a stingy defense yielding 37.9 percent from the floor. Many of these games came against cupcake opponents, the Cowboys laying 8.3 points on average. In games with a line less than this, the defense collapses and surrenders 79.0 points per outing.

In the second half of TCU’s season, 11 of 12 games has finished with a combined score above 155 points. Three went to overtime, but only one (Baylor) helped push the tally above the mark. The winner scores 80-plus here, and both teams are in contention. Pick ‘over’ 154.5 as your best bet.

Vanderbilt at No. 21 Kentucky (-10)

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Free NCAAB Pick: Over 144Best Line Offered: at Heritage

Vanderbilt (8-13 SU, 4-14 ATS) has covered its last three against the spread after going 1-13-1 prior. A turnaround was always expected. It owns the third toughest schedule in the country according to KenPom, which help explains the horrid run versus the number previously.

Kentucky (16-5 SU, 10-11 ATS) has squared off against its fair share of proven opponents as well, sporting the ninth-hardest schedule in Division-I hoops. The proximity helps to weigh the two teams, and the numbers don’t lie. The Wildcats own a 7.5-point average margin of victory, the Commodores -0.5 respectively. Factor in a generic 4-point bonus for home-court advantage and the opening line of -11 is right on the mark.

This Kentucky squad is arguably John Calipari’s weakest since the 2013 NIT team he pieced together. The Cats briefly slipped out of the AP Top 25 last week for the first time in ages. They are not playing at elite levels, despite fielding four NBA prospects (Jarred Vanderbilt, Wenyen Gabriel, Kevin Knox, and PJ Washington). The offense ranks 40th and the defense 30th in adjusted efficiencies. The issue is they are all comfortable playing forward. The team has no true outside shooters or backcourt playmakers. The good news here is the team makeup should shine hosting Vandy.

The Commodores are at their best guarding the perimeter. They allow just 31.5 percent of opponent shots from behind the arc, ranking 22nd fewest nationally. Kentucky does not play that game. It takes just 25.1 percent of its jumpers from behind the 3-point line, the fifth-lowest rate in the country.

The high-efficient shot dictates plenty of betting market results in the modern game. What’s interesting here is Kentucky puts up more points versus teams allowing fewer from the area. In nine games against teams surrendering less than 22 3-point attempts on the year, the Cats score 79.6 points per game on 48.9 percent from the floor. Against those allowing more, points slip slightly to 76.2 on 46.7 percent shooting. Vandy yields 17.7 attempts per game entering, the fewest of any Kentucky opponent.

Expect the Wildcats to push 80 points in this one with a dominating performance down low. The Commodores match up poorly. Vandy owns a 63.9 opponent field goal percentage on shots near the rim, which isn’t helping to slow down Kentucky’s bevy of frontcourt talent. The Cats big offensive night boosts the final tally above a 143 game total. Pick ‘over.”

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