Pick -7 Point Road Chalk for Wichita State vs. Loyola

Darin Zank

Sunday, January 11, 2015 2:11 PM GMT

Wichita State, despite its status, has been a bad bet recently, going just 2-7 ATS over its last nine games; Loyola, off to a surprising start, has been a great bet lately, going 7-0 ATS over its last seven lined games. 

Shockers-Ramblers Betting Odds
The NCAA basketball odds we checked with opened Wichita State at -7, with a total of 124, and both those numbers were holding steady in the early betting.

Bettors who like the home dog to pull the outright upset in this spot could get +266 on Loyola on the moneyline at Pinnacle.

 

Shockers-Ramblers: Background
Wichita State began this season as the favorite to win the Missouri Valley Conference, again, with three starters back from the team that went 35-1 last year. At 13-2 the Shockers have already lost twice as many games as they did last year, but they're still probably the best team in the MVC.

WSU started 4-0 this season, then lost in overtime at Utah. The Shockers then won five more in a row, then lost to George Washington. Since then Wichita State has won three in a row, most recently beating Bradley Wednesday night 63-43.

The Shockers actually trailed by a point Wednesday with about 12 minutes to go, but went on an 18-2 run to pull away. And by scoring the last bucket of the game, with a minute to go, State also squeaked out an unlikely cover as an 18-point favorite.

Wichita State only shot 43 percent from the floor Wednesday, but held the Braves to just 35 percent shooting and won the battle on the boards by a 41-28 margin.

However, after starting the season 4-0 ATS, the Shockers are 2-7 vs. the numbers since, because they've been tagged with some inflated spreads. Wichita State beat Seton Hall but couldn't cover at -12; beat Detroit but missed at -13; tipped Alabama and came nowhere close to covering at -12; nipped Hawaii in overtime but again couldn't cover at -12; beat Drake but missed at -16; and beat Illinois State but lost ATS at -14.

Today, the Shockers are favored by a touchdown on the road; is that too much, too?

On the other side of this match-up most “experts” figured Loyola, in its second season in the Valley, would once again finish right near the bottom of the conference standings. The Ramblers returned four starters from a team that went 10-22 last year, but the talent seemed lacking. Oh pleasant surprise, at 12-3 Loyola has already won more games than it did last year, and is now hoping to make a little noise in conference play. But have the Ramblers been playing above their heads?

Loyola started 4-2 this season, one of those losses coming by 35 points against Michigan State. But the Ramblers then won seven in a row, the best of which probably came against Texas Tech and Boise State. Loyola then lost at Northern Iowa, but most recently, last Wednesday, won at Evansville 71-70 on a bucket with one second to go.

Loyola shot 51 percent from the floor Wednesday, and won outright as a six-point underdog. So the Ramblers are now 4-1 ATS as betting underdogs this season.

 

Shockers-Ramblers Betting Trends
Loyola is 3-2 on the OVER/UNDERS this season, as Ramblers games have averaged 127 points.

Wichita State is 6-5 on the totals, as Shockers games have averaged 132 points.

 

Shockers-Ramblers Key Numbers
Wichita State is shooting 45 percent from the floor this season, 37 percent from 3-point range, but only 66.5 percent from the FT line. And those free-throws can come in handy when trying to cover pointspreads, especially when favored.

At the other end of the court the Shockers are holding opponents to 41.5 percent shooting, and outrebounding foes by about 10 per game.

Loyola is shooting 48 percent from the floor, 40 percent from beyond the arc (which is great) and 72 percent from the line. The Ramblers are also holding foes to 42 percent shooting, and outboarding them by about three per game.

 

Shockers-Ramblers Recent History
Wichita State swept two games from Loyola last season, by scores of 57-45 and 88-74. The Ramblers covered the first meeting as 20-point dogs, but the Shockers covered the second meeting as 12-point favorites.

 

Shockers-Ramblers Free Pick
We'll try not to overthink this one; Wichita State is the better team, playing on the road, where the pointspread is more accommodating. If this game were being played on the Shockers' home court they'd be favored by at least 10 points. So we'll go with the road chalk as our NCAA basketball pick.

Free College Basketball Pick: Wichita State -7 at 5Dimes