Last Updated: 2018-02-12
How about those Texas schools, eh?
I won’t pat myself too much on the back for last week. But it will be really fun to watch Texas Tech and Texas A&M throughout the rest of this season, as the Red Raiders try and secure a 1 or 2 seed and the Aggies try to get out of the bubble mix, and out of the middle, to grab as high a seed as they can. The Lone Star State may produce some exciting tournament drama as the weeks go by. In what I would consider a surprising bit of news, Texas Tech remains at the same price level they were last week despite trouncing 2 teams, having a top 10 KenPom ranking, and having sole possession of first place in the Big 12. The Aggies have started dropping in price (because how could they not? They obliterated Kentucky on national TV), but with Texas Tech, I guess what I’m saying is…there’s still time to get on the bandwagon! 66/1 at 5Dimes will get you a fun, fun sweat come tournament time with a team that may end up playing its way to a 2 seed (or the 4th 1-seed? Probably not, but it’s at least feasible I guess).
Here are some other prices I think are interesting this week:
Wichita State +2800, Florida +4000 (5D)
I group these teams together because I view them in a similar way. These are teams I am going to be excited about having in the tournament because of their coaching and guard play, and I am really just trying to figure out what the buy point is. That has been tough to identify because offshore markets really like these teams too – despite in-season struggles, their numbers have never dipped too far. This is about the best price you will see on Wichita, and Florida dipped into the 50-60/1 range for about a week. Neither team is going to be a particularly high seed, so it puts you in an interesting situation as a bettor. You can always pass, and keep waiting, and that costs you nothing. With Florida, I think this number will be around at least a little longer, and there’s not an immediate need to buy. But really, what I’m wondering daily is “if I know I’m buying Wichita this season in the tournament, when am I buying them to get the best number?”
I say this because at the start of the season, I thought Wichita had the roster to be a 1 seed and have a truly special season. I really did. The funny thing is, they’ve stayed very healthy, and gotten key contributions from more of their roster (I was not really familiar with Austin Reaves before the season and he’s been great), but yet that hasn’t translated to the truly memorable season I had envisioned. What seems to be happening is some mix of complacency and consistency both being issues. In the MVC, Wichita would get a team’s best shot every week, but that team was Drake, or Evansville, or Missouri State. Now, when you get a team’s best shot, and they’ve circled your game as a chance to elevate their own profile, it’s Memphis, or it’s Houston, or it’s Temple. Big difference. Wichita can’t play their way out of flat spots every time, because no one at a major-conference level can do that, or at least, very few teams can (Villanova has done it a few times this year, but they’re basically the best team in the country). So what I’m left with, in terms of a Wichita profile, is a team I am still extremely excited about betting in the tournament, when complacency and consistency are less of an issue because of the heightened importance of each game. The roster continues to be loaded, they have maybe the best coach, and they typically play outstanding basketball away from their home court. These are great signs going forward.
Do I think this is buy point for them? Maybe? They finally get Cincinnati this weekend, and a win over the Bearcats would remind everyone how good the Shockers are. I say I am tentatively buying them here, with the idea that their bottom is at least close to the current number.
Seton Hall (100/1 at multiple places)
We will proceed much more quickly and simply through a few more teams, I promise. I think this is as low as this price gets. The team has lost 3 straight in conference, and has a tough road game at Xavier coming up. I think they will turn it around soon, they have too much talent not to.
Louisville (80/1 at multiple places)
Hanging around. Hanging around. I believe I stated that they hadn’t lost a conference game in regulation (they had lost 2 in OT), so the team promptly went on a 3-game losing streak to rectify that. Great job, me. I still like them, and they have a week off to prepare for a 4-game stretch that should really test them (vs UNC, at Duke, at VT, vs UVA). We are about to learn a lot about them.
Alabama (150/1 at multiple places)
They are so inconsistent it is absolutely maddening, but at some point as we get closer to the tournament, I start to wonder if grabbing 150/1 with 1 of the 10 best players in the country might be a good idea.
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