Today’s Hot Plays
Inside Wichita State’s 100-Unit Statement Win
I racked up another 100-Unit winner on Saturday when Wichita State (-15) easily handled Missouri State in an 86-67 rout. I wanted to share with you what made the Shockers such a strong play on Saturday, what makes them a potentially value bet going forward and what pitfalls could lead me to reverse course and perhaps go against them if I believe that’s where our money is best invested.
Wichita State was a hot basketball team coming into Saturday. They had won eleven games in a row and covered the spread in eight of those contests. They play exceptionally efficient basketball on the offensive end. The Shockers have two lights-out three-point shooters in Landry Shamet and Connor Frankamp, along with double-digit scorers in Markis McDuffie, Darral Willis and Shaq Morris.
This is a well-coached team under Gregg Marshall and that is perhaps best reflected in how well they take care of the ball. Wichita State makes the most of its possessions, they have a balanced lineup and they hit the three-ball. That adds up to a team that ranks in the Top 10 nationally in offensive efficiency and that adds up to a team that is more than capable of winning and covering a big number—frankly, I was disappointed they didn’t win by thirty, but I’ll settle for the cashed 100-Unit bet.
Wichita State is currently projected to be headed for seeding on the 8-9 line in the NCAA Tournament. If that holds, it sets up a potential Round of 32 game with one of the bracket’s #1 seeds. The Shockers have been dangerous in this spot before. You may recall they upset a 1-seed in Gonzaga in the 2013 NCAAs and went on to the Final Four. You may further recall Wichita upset local rival Kansas, a 2-seed, in the 2015 NCAAs. In between, the Shockers were a 1-seed themselves in 2014 and flamed out in the Round of 32.
This is a team that has historically thrived on the underdog role, had a hard time as the frontrunner and they’re set to be in their comfort zone again this March. All of which is a very good reason to handicap this team carefully as they begin play in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament in St. Louis on Friday.
There are reasons to be concerned though. Wichita’s strength is its offensive efficiency and dominating their conference rivals. They were not effective as a value play against power conference teams in the early portion of the schedule, taking losses to Louisville and Michigan State, both outright and ATS.
If you dig deep into the Wichita profile, the flaws are that they commit too many fouls and they don’t force enough turnovers. Within Missouri Valley play, the Shockers’ talent and coaching advantage is sufficient for this to be of only marginal concern and it doesn’t stop them from covering the number as a favorite. Going against an elite team in a potential NCAA game, Wichita can’t give up a lot of points at the foul line and they need to be able to make the favorite uncomfortable on the defensive end.
I encourage you to watch the Missouri Valley tournament carefully to see for signs of Shocker progress since the early part of the season. I encourage you to watch the spreads on those games carefully for chances of a blowout and to make yourself some money. And I certainly encourage you to let me be your personal handicapper and do the grunt work for you through the conference tournaments and on into March Madness.Notice: Undefined offset: 1 in /var/www/kelsosportshandicapping.com/www/public/index.html.php on line 29 Notice: Undefined offset: 2 in /var/www/kelsosportshandicapping.com/www/public/index.html.php on line 29
How Good Are The Florida Gators?
The Florida Gators are coming on strong after an 81-66 thumping of South Carolina last night. The Gators have won nine in a row and are set up for a big game at Kentucky on Saturday (2 PM ET, CBS) where they will meet for the lead in the SEC race and to move up in the fight for NCAA Tournament seed position. More importantly, Florida is still a potential value bet in the race for the national championship.
Florida is priced at 28-1 to win the NCAA title in Phoenix on April 3. They’re at an interesting spot on the board right now. That price essentially makes them the #11 team in the country according to the futures market. The 10th-best team (a tie between Arizona, Louisville and Oregon) are all 14-1. So Florida is more or less behind the arbitrary cutoff point, where a big gulf separates the favorites from the darkhorses.
It’s safe to say that dynamic changes in a hurry if the Gators win in Rupp Arena on Saturday, so important evaluations have to be made by college basketball bettors right now. Here’s what Florida has going for them…
*The statistical rankings at the respected website KenPom, say Florida the fourth-best team in the country. If you think KenPom is even in the ballpark that makes the Gators a value bet at 28-1.
*While it’s easy to dismiss the caliber of competition in the SEC, Florida’s schedule strength ranks 16th in the country. They stepped out in non-conference games and challenged themselves with Duke, Gonzaga and Florida State. And keep in mind that ranking is going to go up after a road game in Lexington.
*Florida plays defense, ranking fourth in the country in defensive efficiency. That defense was on display last night, as they held South Carolina to 39 percent shooting from the field and pulled away in the second half.
Thus, we’re talking about a team that respected computer models think highly of, that is battle-tested and is excellent on the defensive end. All that’s a good reason to jump on a 28-1 price. But there’s a flip side…
*It’s one thing to play good teams and another to beat them—Florida lost to Duke, Gonzaga and Florida State. The most impressive part of the Gators’ resume is an 88-66 thumping of Kentucky at home on February 4. We still need to find out though, if that was more about Wildcat shortcomings or Gator strengths. Saturday will give us answers, but again, value may be lost if you wait until that result is in.
*Florida lacks a clear playmaker. Chris Chiozza is the leading assist man on the team and he’s seventh in terms of minutes played per game. College basketball, especially in the NCAA Tournament is driven by guards who control tempo.
*Michael White, in his second year since stepping in for Billy Donovan, is an unknown commodity as a head coach. Especially in the NCAA Tournament, where he’ll make his first appearance this March.
What way do you play it? I have to reserve my recommendations for clients, but I’ll tell you one thing—I’ll be monitoring the results from Lexington very closely.Notice: Undefined offset: 1 in /var/www/kelsosportshandicapping.com/www/public/index.html.php on line 62 Notice: Undefined offset: 2 in /var/www/kelsosportshandicapping.com/www/public/index.html.php on line 62 Notice: Undefined offset: 3 in /var/www/kelsosportshandicapping.com/www/public/index.html.php on line 62
No. 3 UCLA hosts Washington, seeks eighth straight victory
Red-hot UCLA tries to continue its march toward the NCAA Tournament when the No. 3 Bruins host Washington in a Pac-12 game Wednesday night at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles.
Warriors' Durant out at least 4 weeks with leg injury
Golden State Warriors star forward Kevin Durant will miss at least four weeks after being diagnosed with a Grade 2 sprained MCL and a bone bruise on his left leg, the team announced Wednesday.