How to Bet Super Tuesday: OU-Texas Tech and UVA-Miami
Jan 9, 2018; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners guard Trae Young (11) fights for position while defended by Texas Tech Red Raiders guard Niem Stevenson (10) during the first half at Lloyd Noble Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports
Tuesday offers a pretty mouthwatering college hoops slate, highlighted by the following two games that feature the nation’s leading scorer and the nation’s new No. 1 team hitting the road in conference:
- Oklahoma at Texas Tech (-7.5)
- Virginia at Miami (+5.5)
We will provide in-depth betting previews for both by covering the following sections:
- Setting the stage
- What’s at stake
- What the sharps are betting
- Key trends
- Situational angle
- Scheme analysis
- Matchup to watch
- NBA Draft outlook
- Who we like
Oklahoma at Texas Tech (-7) | O/U: 150.5
7:00 pm ET
Texas Tech will try to extend its winning streak to seven games, while Oklahoma looks to end its three game losing streak by completing the season sweep of the Red Raiders in Lubbock.
Oklahoma defeated Texas Tech five Tuesdays ago in Norman by a score of 75-65. The Red Raiders (+2.5) actually led at the half, but then Trae Young did Trae Young things.
The Sooners do have an impressive 5-0 record against the RPI top 25. They also have a few impressive road wins (TCU, Wichita State, USC), but they are 0-6 away from home in 2018. Something has to give tonight.
No bubble watch here, as we will surely see both teams in the tournament field come March. However, in addition to seeding implications, this game could go a long way in determining who wins the Big 12 regular season title.
I’m sure Kansas fans will have their Oklahoma jerseys on tonight, as the Jayhawks’ 13-year streak of having at least a share of the Big 12 regular season title is in jeopardy. A win and season sweep of Texas Tech would put Oklahoma two games back with four to play, giving the Sooners at least a slim chance. However, a win by the Red Raiders tomorrow night would pose the biggest threat to the streak for Rock Chalk nation. With a victory, TTU would hold a one-game lead with four to play, one of which would be at home against a Kansas team it already defeated in Lawrence.
In regards to the Big 12 Conference Tournament, teams want to finish in the top six to secure a first round bye. Texas Tech doesn’t have much to worry about in that regard, but Oklahoma is right on the cusp.
By PJ Walsh
Sharp bettors have keyed in on the total in this matchup, driving the number down from an opener of 156 to 150.5 at Bookmaker.eu. The question now is whether bettors will be willing to buyback the line move and play the over this afternoon.
Oklahoma should arrive in Lubbock as the more desperate team, having started the month of February with an 0-3 record. However, even though Texas Tech has won six straight, it shouldn’t be lacking for motivation. Not only would the Red Raiders like to avenge an earlier season loss at Oklahoma, but they also want to maintain their one-game lead in the Big 12 standings. I don’t give an edge to either team from a pure situational perspective.
By Jordan Majewski
When Oklahoma Has The Ball
Every Big 12 coach’s game plan is geared around how to defend Trae Young, the alpha and omega of Oklahoma’s offense. Everyone clearly wants to force the ball out of his hands, either by blitzing ball screens or doubling him on inbounds after makes. The Red Raiders weren’t particularly effective in that regard in the first meeting, but they also had a quick turnaround after losing their defensive glue guy in Zach Smith the game prior. TTU actually went 1-3 in the first four games post-Smith and allowed every opponent to score over 1.0 points per possession.
The Red Raiders have since regrouped, as only one opponent has breached 1.0 ppp during their current six game winning streak (and that came at TCU in a game TTU led 52-24 at one point). Texas Tech is back to being one of the three best defenses in the country. In fact, TTU ranks third in both adjusted efficiency and effective field goal percentage allowed.
Having said that, the TTU defense is vulnerable in a few areas. First, you can beat it with the 3. Tech coach Chris Beard has actually focused on “downing” shooters off ball screens more, rather than aggressively blitzing the ball handler. However, TTU still helps in the paint and flies to the ball as well as any defense in the country. That means it is vulnerable to quick passes and slip screens, two Trae specialties, especially with Brady Manek’s ultra quick release on pick-and-pops. Second, it can get disorganized against quick guards who can penetrate before the help arrives. Again, another Trae specialty. There’s no mistaking that the Red Raiders play elite defense, especially at home, but Oklahoma won’t be helpless in Lubbock.
When Texas Tech Has The Ball
Beard is a firm believer in Bobby Knight’s motion offense, which means perpetual off-ball movement and non-stop screens. He’s a particular fan of the HORNS sets, where he brings his two athletic bigs high to force opposing bigs away from the rim. Beard has also started to incorporate more ball screens for Keenan Evans, simply because he is close to unstoppable in them. Per Synergy, Evans scores 1.13 ppp in ball screens, which grades out in the 98th percentile nationally.
The Oklahoma defense is mediocre at best against pick and roll, in transition, and when facing motion. The Sooners basically keep their collective head above water on the defensive end by rebounding enough to not get embarrassed on the offensive glass. The two areas of strength for the Oklahoma defense are clogging the lane and defending the post. But as I previously mentioned, Beard prefers to bring his bigs off the block for the express purpose of unclogging the lane.
What the Metrics Say
By Bryan Mears
Texas Tech’s defense has very few weaknesses across the floor, ranking 29th, 18th, and sixth in field goal percentage allowed at the rim, on 3-pointers, and in transition. They’re designed to handle a guy like Trae Young (if anyone can), and they did that in the first half of their first meeting, holding the freshman phenom to 1-of-12 shooting in the first half. Unfortunately, generational superstars rarely put together two bad halves in a row, and Trae exploded for 22 of his 27 points in the second half and Oklahoma shot 58 percent en route to a 10-point victory at home. Still, Tech held Trae overall to just a poor 48.5 percent true-shooting mark. If they had been even mediocre offensively — they had an ORtg of 84.4 in that game — they could’ve stolen one in Norman. They have the blueprint and scheme to win: Can they execute it?
NBA Draft Outlook: Trae Young
By Bryan Mears
Since Sports-Reference started tracking usage rates in 2009-10, only three college players have posted a usage rate of 35 percent or higher, a true-shooting mark of 60 percent or higher, and a PER of 30 or higher:
- Doug McDermott, 2013-14: 36.2% usage, 64.4% TS, 32.8 PER
- C.J. McCollum, 2012-13: 37.2% usage, 62.8% TS, 34.7 PER
- Trae Young, 2017-18: 38.5% usage, 60.6% TS, 32.0 PER
McCollum’s season consisted of only 12 games and 372 minutes as a senior in the Patriot League. McDermott did play a full season at Creighton, but also was a senior. Trae, well, he’s a 19-year-old freshman playing in the best conference in college basketball.
Young is a generational shooter, a la Stephen Curry, and the similarities are striking. Both have quick releases, don’t mind pulling up from the parking lot, and do most of their damage off the dribble. Trae has only been assisted on 25.8-percent of his 3-pointers, and he’s still shooting 38.5% from deep. A whopping 52.6 percent of his shots have been 3-pointers, and it’s not like he’s a secret to defenses anymore. He’s arguably the most dominant, defense-breaking freshman on offense we’ve ever seen in college basketball. He will be a top prize in the NBA Draft this summer.
By Evan Abrams and John Ewing
Over the past three seasons under Kruger, Oklahoma is 11-4-1 ATS (73.3%) as an underdog against top-10 opponents. The Sooners’ loss in early January to West Virginia snapped a 6-game ATS winning streak in this spot.
Since 2013, Oklahoma is 11-3 ATS on the road against top 15 opponents, covering by an average margin of 7.9 points.
What’s Your Favorite Bet?
Stuckey: Oklahoma +7.5
Jordan: Oklahoma +7.5
Mears: Oklahoma +7.5
Virginia at Miami +6 | O/U: 120.5
7:00 pm ET
Despite losing its last game as a double-digit favorite, Virginia comes in ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll for the first time since 1982. The Cavaliers will travel to the Watsco Center to take on a Miami team that also lost over the weekend. The Canes fell as a small road favorite at Boston College in the final seconds after going scoreless over the final six-plus minutes. Jim Larranaga actually missed the BC game with the flu, which marked the first missed game of his 46-year coaching career. He should be back on the sideline tonight.
This is the only regular season meeting of the year between these two teams. Miami actually won the only meeting last season with the Canes on the road in Charlottesville.
Both teams will be dancing in March, but motivation will be abundant. Virginia would like to keep its No. 1 ranking, get one step closer to locking up an ACC regular-season title, and strengthen its case for a No. 1 seed in the tournament. Meanwhile, Miami will be hosting the No. 1 team in the country on national television. Enough said.
Despite its recent loss to Virginia Tech, the Hoos still have a stranglehold on the ACC regular-season title race. That would also give them one of the coveted first four seeds in the ACC tournament that gets a double bye. Miami probably doesn’t have a realistic shot at one of the four double byes, but a win tonight could help it finish in the top nine, which would guarantee a first-round bye.
By PJ Walsh
Behind 61% of spread wagers, steady action has pushed Virginia up to -6, after opening -5.5. At this point, I wouldn’t consider the money to be overwhelmingly sharp or public, just consistent.
Both teams are in a similar situational spot, having lost over the weekend. As a result, I expect extra focus from both teams. The crowd should be a little more enthusiastic than normal since UVA has that No. 1 ranking next to their name. However, handicapping this game comes down to the matchups, which we will get into next.
By Jordan Majewski
When Virginia Has The Ball
Miami’s constantly switching defense generally matches up well against Tony Bennett’s Mover-Blocker offense, which methodically runs three shooters (Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome, and Devon Hall) off myriad screens set by dual posts along the lane lines. The idea is to either free up the shooters or create a mismatch in the post, depending on how the defense reacts. In Saturday’s loss to Virginia Tech, the Cavs attempted 38 threes (34 from the aforementioned trio, who only hit nine). The Hokies essentially took away the rim, daring UVA to hit jump shots. Jim Larranaga almost always switches on every screen with his length and athleticism on the wings. Virginia should struggle to score.
When Miami Has The Ball
If you’re unaware of how UVA’s pack line defense works and what it tries to achieve, catch up here. The Canes have gone 2-2 in the past two seasons against the infamous Virginia pack line, but neither win was pretty. In fact, last year’s win in Charlottesville was downright hideous. Miami pulled out a 54-48 win IN OVERTIME, scoring .92 ppp in the process. The game failed to reach 60 possessions even with an extra five minutes.
Miami’s offense has actually been playing well of late. Chris Lykes has been a spark plug since being inserted into the starting lineup after Bruce Brown’s injury. And mercurial Ja’Quan Newton has arguably strung together his three best games of the year in what has been a disappointing senior season. That said, Miami will need to rely on DJ Vasiljevic’s spot shooting and hope to get a career shooting game from the streaky Lonnie Walker in order to consistently score against UVA. The outside shooting will be especially important since Miami runs pick and roll at the 15th-highest rate nationally and Virginia’s defense only allows an absurd .65 ppp against PnR, per Synergy.
What the Metrics Say
By Bryan Mears
Virginia might have the most dominant defense we’ve ever seen in college basketball. If the season ended today, its 82.8 Adjusted Defensive Efficiency would easily rank first among all college teams in the Ken Pom era (since 2002). The Hoos are nearly perfect on that end of the floor, ranking fourth in effective field goal percentage and 12th in forcing turnovers. Despite the aggression, they rank eighth in terms of not fouling their opponent. That combination just doesn’t happen.
UVA is coming off a surprising overtime loss to Virginia Tech in which it allowed the Hokies to post a 53.9 percent effective field goal rate. The Hurricanes are a very solid team, and they’re playing at home, where they’ve been about 4.0 points/100 better offensively. Still, an angry Virginia defense is about as terrifying as it gets in college hoops.
By Evan Abrams and John Ewing
Since 2012, top-five teams receiving the majority ticket count on the road against an unranked opponent are covering the spread at a clip of 42.9%. BUT … Virginia is 8-3 ATS in this spot during this span.
To expand on that point, under Bennett, Virginia is 20-10 (66.7%) ATS when ranked in the top 10 on the road vs. unranked teams. Virginia is 5-0 ATS in this spot this season, covering by an average margin of 8.9 points.
Unranked teams off a loss facing a top-five conference opponent have gone 236-195-7 (55%) ATS since 2005. Miami qualifies after its loss to BC.
What’s Your Favorite Bet?
Stuckey: 5.5 points in this game will feel like 10. Miami +5.5
Jordan: Tough matchup for both offenses. Take the points. Miami +5.5
Mears: I can’t go against an angry, historically-good D. Pass
Editor’s note: The opinion on this game is from the individual writers, and is based on their research, analysis and perspective. It is independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.