It was a rare 0-3 night for the gospel. That's the problem with betting games that have big point spreads. Kent State and Missouri State both won and while their fanbases are happy, those who backed the team in the financial matter didn't share those same feelings. It's ironic really if you think about it. Gamblers go from team to team, game to game changing their rooting interests. It's almost as bad as those Dallas Cowboys fans who couldn't pick out the state of Texas on a map.
The true sports gambler has no favorite teams...only ones that make him money and ones that he fades on a regular basis. It's a difficult life to lead as often it leads to wild mood swings and frequent cursing. Ironically, I'll continue to fade Bradley despite the fact that they've seemingly figured things out. It's the stubborn nature of the gambler. He believes 85% of the time that he's on the right side and the wrong result happened. I'd like to say that I fit in that category, but not at the 85% level. Maybe it's more like 45% of the time that I think I made the right wager and the wrong thing happened. I may be betting on Washington and Washington State tonight, but Saturday I could be on their opponents. It's all about the matchups and all about the gut feelings I get.
With that, let's see where my money is going on Thursday:
Western Kentucky -5 -- The Hilltoppers welcome the Blue Raiders to town. MTSU is 12-12, 7-4 in the Sun Belt. They score 70.5 points per game while giving up 68.8. The team has gone 2-3 in conference on the road losing at South Alabama, Arkansas State and Florida Atlantic. MTSU is on a three game win streak, but they are running into a hot Western Kentucky team. They are led by James Washington III (13.9 ppg) and Jason Jones (13.2 ppg). The Hilltoppers have bounced back from a very slow start to the season. Their problem is defense where they allow 72 points per contest. Sergio Kerusch (16 ppg), Juan Pattillo (14.3 ppg) and Steffphon Pettigrew (13.9 ppg) lead the way for WKU. Western Kentucky has won five of their last six after losing 11 of their first 16 games. The team lost at home two games ago, but bounced back with a 20 point win over Louisiana Monroe on February 5th. The team preached more energy and focus at home. This is a better team who may be hitting their stride at the right time.
Washington -13.5 -- The Huskies will be so glad to be home on Thursday when they host California. Washington has lost three straight all away from their own building. They fell at Washington State, Oregon State and Oregon during the three game trip. At home, Washington is a completely different team having won each game there by double digits. Ironically, they beat California 92-71 at their place on January 16th. The Huskies have not won a game at home by less then 10 points at all this season. They are led by Isaiah Thomas (16.5 ppg), Matthew Bryan-Amaning (15.7 ppg) and Justin Holiday (12.5 ppg) on offense. Washington is scoring almost 85 points per game. California's problems reside on the defensive end as they allow over 70 points per game. They do have multiple scorers on offense, but lack the veterans who can handle the tough environment they'll see. Cal has won at Arizona State and USC. They've also lost by 14 to woeful Stanford. The Huskies have covered in six of their nine games as a home favorite of 12.5 points or more this season. We think they'll do so again.
Washington State -8 -- Stanford will play the Washington road portion of their PAC 10 conference schedule. The Cardinal are 12-10, 5-6 in the conference. They score only 64.6 points per game while giving up 62.1. Jeremy Green (14.9 ppg) and Josh Owens (11.8 ppg) lead the way offensively. They lost to Wazzu at home 61-58 on January 15th. The road has been unkind too as they've lost their last three by 10 points or more to Arizona, USC and UCLA. This is the team that also lost to Butler by 33 on the road as well. The Cougars are a different team at home. They've beaten Oregon State, Oregon and Arizona State by double digits there while knocking off the Huskies 87-80. Wazzu's big three is Klay Thompson (21.2 ppg), Faisal Aden (13.6 ppg) and DeAngelo Casto (10.6 ppg). They've covered seven of their 11 home games this season and 10 of their 14 games as a favorite. We like both of those trends to continue.