College basketball is a sport that is 40 minutes long with two halves of equal play. Over the span of a game there are always missed FT's and layups/dunks that were blown. The ironic thing about this is that when you gamble it is magnified 4000x. I had a brief moment of elation when I saw this...
:19.7 TCU - Layup by Ronnie Moss
The elation came from the moment I thought that I typed a total of 149 on here for the readers. Obviously, once I went to my post and noticed that it was actually 152, my elation disappeared. Let's analyze these two points a little closer. TCU didn't win with these two points nor did they even cover. Moss didn't hit any sort of performance bonus nor did he impress an NBA draft scout with that hoop. I didn't watch the game so I can't even say if it was pretty or not. It didn't bring forth any fireworks or any sort of bonus for fans in the stands. Some schools give out free hot dogs or tacos if their team scores a certain amount, but this wasn't even a basket by the home team. Now that I realize that my wager was a loss, I could turn to the multiple missed FT's in the last two minutes of the game. Once again, these shots didn't do anything for the BYU or TCU fans in this world, but it would have made me a winner and you the reader a winner as well.
The rational basketball fan would point to the 11 missed FT's that occurred during the whole 40 minutes or the 14 missed shots that the MVP candidate Jimmer Fredette missed. Unfortunately, the warped mind of the gambler only sees that last shot or that last minute's worth of action. People ask me why I gamble and where it came from. I don't actually remember what started the obsession, only that it happened in college. Isn't that where most of our troubles and odd pastimes started? I wasn't one of those kids who didn't get too intense with it until way later in my life. Well...actually it better not be way later because I'm not THAT far out of college. At first it was one or two games here or there and now I'm trying to make a career out of this.
I've heard people ask, what's your handicapping style and why do you pick the games I do. I hope it was people saying it or else I have some vivid and believable voices in my head. I'll admit it now, I'm not one to pour over the trends and statistics that range back to the early 90's. I just don't believe that players who may be on their retirement plans right now have any sort of effect on the outcome of this year's game. I like to look at boxscores and the report's from beat writers who cover the teams. I like to see who is hot and who is not. I lean to the home team a lot, mostly because betting on road teams a lot of times can make my hair turn whiter then it should at the age of 29. I like betting on the smaller conferences because I feel like they have patterns and the cream clearly moves ahead of the rest. Ultimately, I may become one of those guys who scream at you to buy my picks because I'm 76-5-9 against the spread on days ending in "Y." For now, I'm just a guy learning how to master this and I figure I can make some money for the readers as well. Good days and bad days happen in this field. It's how you prevent the bad days from happening back to back to back.
We move on to Wednesday's picks. I went over the card and found about 15-20 leans. These are the ones I feel the strongest about. Naturally I'll say that the ones I didn't post won and some may believe me. Those who don't...well they have a nice future as a human lie detector.
Iowa State/Oklahoma State Over 134.5 -- It's a Big 12 battle on Wednesday when Iowa State hits the road to take on Oklahoma State. The Cyclones are 14-4 this season, but only 1-2 in conference. They are averaging almost 77 points per game while giving up just over 60. Ironically, the team has played just four road games with three of them against slow paced, defensive squads. The one game against a team who didnt mind playing with a pace was Iowa and that turned out to be a 75-72 win. ISU has scored at least 70 points in 13 of their 18 games this season. They are one of a few teams in the country with five double digit scorers on their team. Diante Garrett (17.6 ppg), Scott Christopherson (14.4 ppg), Melvin Ejim (11.8 ppg), Jamie Vanderbeken (11.8 ppg) and Darion Anderson (11.2 ppg) form a good starting five. Oklahoma State meanwhile is 13-4, but also is only 1-2 in conference. They score 70.4 points per game while giving up 64. Marshall Moses (16.4 ppg), Keiton Page (13.9 ppg) and J.P. Olukemi (10.9 ppg) are OSU's main threats this season. They have scored at least 70 points in seven of their last 10 games. This team doesn't mind playing a game with a little pace and someone should be able to hit 70 points. This one is going to go over the total.
Creighton -10 -- It's been a real rough season for Bradley as they are still looking for their first conference victory. The Braves are 6-12, 0-7 in the Missouri Valley. One of the culprits for the struggles could be injuries to forward Taylor Brown and guard Sam Maniscalco. Bradley is on a seven game losing streak. They started out the season 4-0 too, but the injuries hurt their depth. During this losing streak they have scored more then 70 just once. Andrew Warren is charged with keeping the Braves afloat scoring 18.9 points per game while shooting 40.6% from the field. He gets a little help from Dodie Dunson who averages 10.6 points per contest. Creighton meanwhile is 12-7, 4-3 in the MVC. They have a problem scoring, but their defense and homecourt help make the difference. The Bluejays are led by Doug McDermott (13.4 ppg), Antoine Young (12.9 ppg) and Gregory Echenique (11.1 ppg). They'll have a frontcourt advantage with Echenique and Kenny Lawson Jr. who puts up 10.4 points per game. Creighton's been beaten up a bit in their last two games losing by 14 to Wichita State and by 2 at Indiana State. Before that, they won eight of nine games. The Braves shouldn't put up too much of a fight in this game so Creighton will get back on track.
Marshall +11 -- The Thundering Herd renew their rivalry with West Virginia in Charleston on Wednesday night. Marshall has lost five straight in this series, but this could be one of their best teams in awhile. They are 12-5 having won four of their last six games. Last time out, they gave up 77 points to Memphis allowing them to shoot over 50% from the field. Normally, that doesn't happen against this Marshall team. They allow only 65.4 points per contest. Marshall is led by Damier Pitts (15.4 ppg in 8 games), DeAndre Kane (15.1 ppg), Tirrell Baines (12.9 ppg) and Shaquille Johnson (10.4 ppg). They are a deep team with many weapons to throw at their opponents. West Virginia is coming off a nice win at home against Purdue. They are averaging 75.6 points per game. Casey Mitchell (16.7 ppg), Kevin Jones (14.1 ppg) and Darryl Bryant (12.3 ppg) are their main threats this season. Last year, Bryant scored 14 points in a 68-60 Mountaineer win over Marshall. A lot of WVU's wins this season have been close. They beat Vandy by three, DePaul by two, Georgetown by six and Purdue by four. This one is a rivalry game so I'll take the double digit underdog to keep it close.
Charlotte -4.5 -- The Minutemen cannot decide what type of team they are. UMass lost by 29 at Central Connecticut State and 29 at Xavier. In between those games, they defeated Dayton and La Salle at home by single digits. This squad started out the season 7-0, but has lost six of their last nine contests including a few to teams that they had no business losing to. Anthony Gurley is the team's leading scorer averaging almost 20 per game. After him though, the next highest scorer is Javorn Farrell at 9.1 ppg. The inconsistency on the offensive end has been the main reason for their struggles. Meanwhile, Charlotte has actually played better after kicking off their leading scorer Shamari Spears. Now they are a more balanced team with Derrio Green (13.7 ppg), Jamar Briscoe (13.2 ppg) and Chris Braswell (10.1 ppg) leading the way. The 49ers have held home court winning five straight there including a 10 point victory over Fordham last time out. Charlotte's been on the road in four of their last five games and will return to the road for their next two after this one against Duquesne and Temple. A victory here is important and they will get it against an inconsistent UMass squad.