CBB Best Bets: Buy Low on Huggy Bear and the Mountaineers?
It is time for another full day of basketball with a number of marquee matchups slated for Saturday, Jan. 14.
Kansas State and TCU are set to square off in what might be the best game of the day. Will the Wildcats get caught looking ahead to Tuesday’s matchup against Kansas or will this year’s Sunflower Showdown be a top-10 matchup after all? Clemson, which is leading the ACC as the only unbeaten team during conference play, will have its toughest test yet when Duke comes to town. Don’t forget about Arizona-Oregon, Missouri-Florida, Providence-Creighton, or basically any other Big 12 matchup as well.
After another 0-3 showing in last week’s best bets column, I’m starting to get frustrated. While I’m up on the year by a comfortable margin, I want to give readers of this free column some winners as well. So, let’s get right this weekend, shall we?
Today’s CBB Best Bets (January 14)
Iowa State +8.5 at Kansas (-110, Caesars)
Regular readers of this column will notice Kansas is often featured. That’s because it is the team I pay the closest attention to, and the Big 12 as a whole is my preferred conference to keep tabs on. It certainly helps that both KU and the league are really good.
In this case, the Jayhawks (15-1, 4-0 Big 12) are probably getting too much respect from the market in a battle of two teams who are undefeated in conference play. This game might be taking place in Allen Fieldhouse, but Kansas just needed a double-digit comeback to beat Oklahoma in Lawrence on Tuesday and faced a larger halftime deficit against Oklahoma State in the Big 12 opener.
The Cyclones (13-2, 4-0) are going to play extremely well on the defensive end, as they rank sixth in adjusted defensive efficiency. Iowa State also plays at a slower pace, ranking 296th in tempo. The combination of the two makes me project the line closer to 6.5, rather than the 8.5 we are getting at the opening number. Iowa State could certainly pull off an upset on Saturday, but this team should stay within striking distance at the very least.
Risk: 1.1 units to win 1 unit at Caesars. (Playable to 7.5)
Clemson vs. Duke Under 142.5 Points (-110, DraftKings)
Clemson opens as a short favorite, and there is an argument to fade the Tigers in this spot. The Tigers (14-3) have won six in a row, and have started the season with a 6-0 clip in ACC play. But let’s not forget this team lost to Loyola Chicago by 18 back on Dec. 10.
I settled on the under because Clemson is due for some regression from a shooting perspective, at least according to most of ShotQuality’s metrics. In fact, ShotQuality has graded three of the Tigers’ last four games as losses. They are shooting well above expectation, and likely won’t get the same amount of open looks against a Duke team ranked 35th in adjusted defensive efficiency. The Blue Devils are also 259th in adjusted tempo, so this total is a touch high for a game that could be a bit of a grind.
Maybe I’ll end up on Duke for good measure, but you will have to check Discord to find out.
Risk: 0.55 units to win 0.5 units at DraftKings. (Playable to 141)
West Virginia +3 at Oklahoma (-105, DraftKings)
I’m ready to buy low on Bob Huggins and the Mountaineers.
West Virginia did just let go of long-time assistant Larry Harrison, who had been the associate head coach since 2010 and worked with Huggins for 24 years. West Virginia has also started conference play 0-4, joining Texas Tech at the bottom of a loaded conference. But none of that will deter me because this team feels beyond due at this point.
According to ShotQuality, WVU should actually be 3-1 in league play right now. The Mountaineers have struggled to hit shots, ranking 10th in three-point percentage during league play. But they aren’t necessarily a horrible shooting team, as they rank 103rd on the year with a three-point percentage of 35.3% and are 82nd in effective field goal percentage.
Regardless, Oklahoma isn’t going to shoot anyone out of the gym or turn this into a track meet. The Sooners, who just went toe-to-toe with the Jayhawks in Allen Fieldhouse, are 330th in adjusted tempo. My numbers do like the under at 138, but I’ll be backing Huggins and Co. to finally get in the win column on Saturday. I'm hoping we get an inspired effort from the Mountaineers with their backs against the wall.
Risk: 0.55 units to win 0.5 units at DraftKings. (Playable to 2.5)
For the most up-to-date picks check out my Twitter and subscribe to our Discord. This sheet from Dan Rivera tracks all my betting picks (and those from the rest of the betting staff) on the year. Just click on the tab with my name on it for the results.
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