NCAAB Betting Guide for Kansas State vs West Virginia

NCAAB Betting Guide for Kansas State vs West Virginia article feature image
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Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images. Pictured: Erik Stevenson (West Virginia)

Kansas State vs West Virginia Odds

Saturday, March 4
2 p.m. ET
ESPN+
Kansas State Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
+5.5
-115
148.5
-110o / -110u
+172
West Virginia Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
-5.5
-105
148.5
-110o / -110u
-210
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

West Virginia's road victory at Iowa State on Monday should be enough to secure an NCAA tournament bid for Bob Huggins and the Mountaineers. They conclude their regular season on Saturday at home against Kansas State, and a win in this game would move them clearly off the bubble altogether.

The market opened the Mountaineers as a 3.5-point home favorite against the 11th-ranked Wildcats.

Not only does West Virginia have one of the most highly-rated home-court advantages in all of college basketball, but the Wildcats have some of the biggest home and away splits in the entire country this year.

The Wildcats are safely into the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals and West Virginia is locked into a Round 1 matchup.

The Mountaineers lost the first meeting in Manhattan in overtime after blowing a second-half lead, but this is a very favorable stylistic matchup for WVU. It's also an excellent situational spot given the circumstances at home.

The market is aware of this and has made West Virginia a slightly bigger favorite than it would normally have projected, but the Mountaineers still have value at the current number.


Kansas State Wildcats

Kansas State ranks in the bottom 15 nationally in away from home performance, per Haslametrics. The metric tracks the drop off in efficiency from home games to games away from home.

The Wildcats have been dominant in Manhattan all year, but their performances have not held up at nearly the same level on neutral floors and in road games.

It's an extreme split, and now they go to West Virginia, which has the second-best home court in America, per KenPom.

Kansas State's away resume is built on early conference away victories at Texas and Baylor, when neither team was playing near the level they are now.

Those wins are impressive, but the Wildcats are 1-5 away from home in the last six in the league. That includes road losses to Texas Tech and Oklahoma — the two worst teams in the conference standings — by eight and 14 points.

The matchup is also not a good one on paper. The Wildcats' biggest weaknesses defensively are that they put opponents on the line too often and they struggle to rebound because they're quite undersized.

The lack of depth as a whole makes them vulnerable to foul trouble if the whistle goes against them on the road.

The Wildcats are last in the Big 12 in defensive rebounding rate and third-to-last in free-throw rate. The Mountaineers get a lot of their offense from offensive rebounds and free throws, given that they rank at the top of the league in both metrics.

West Virginia may not make its first shot that efficiently, but the Mountaineers will get free points and second-chance looks galore.

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West Virginia Mountaineers

The Mountaineers hit rock bottom with their home loss to Texas Tech that appeared to knock them off the NCAA tournament bubble. They fell to 4-10 in conference with that loss, but they have resurrected their season since.

They earned a must-have home win against Oklahoma State, an impressive close defeat by just two at Kansas and then a critical away win at Iowa State.

They had three coin-flip losses in league play to start 0-5, but since then, they've played .500 ball in the most competitive league in the entire country. Huggins has shifted the rotation a bit, they've finally made open perimeter jump shots and now they're more likely than not in the tournament.

Kansas State has an elite 3-point defense, allowing just 29.2% from beyond the arc.

West Virginia can expose this perimeter defense though, as the Wildcats allow a 33% expected 3-point field goal percentage.

The Wildcats are a top-15 KenPom defense, but I remain skeptical that their true talent is that high given the rebounding and fouling issues.


Kansas State vs West Virginia Betting Pick

The Wildcats won and covered the spread at home in the last meeting on Dec. 31, but the Mountaineers led 17-3 early, held a double-digit lead in the second half and only made 52% of their free throws.

The two teams combined for 53 total fouls and 72 free throws in that last meeting.

If the game is called similarly on Saturday, West Virginia has a lot more depth to withstand foul trouble.

These two teams are power rated comparably, but the Mountaineers' home-court advantage in this specific game is as big as any in the entire country all year given the Wildcats' splits.

I'd bet West Virginia at -4 or better.

Pick: West Virginia -4 or Better

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