College Basketball Odds, Picks for Missouri vs. Iowa State: How to Bet This Big 12/SEC Challenge Matchup
Michael Chang/Getty Images. Pictured: DaJuan Gordon.
Missouri vs. Iowa State Odds
-110o / -110u
|Iowa State Odds|
-110o / -110u
Mizzou heads to Hilton Coliseum to take on an old Big 12/Big 8 rival in Iowa State on Saturday. These two squads last met in Ames on Nov. 9, 2019. The Clones handled the Tigers easily by 17, one year after losing by 15 in Columbia.
Iowa State is having a Renaissance year. Missouri is not. A big spread is warranted for the talent-depleted Tigers, but they’ve been known to scrap.
I attended Mizzou, so I will try to mask my disappointment in the direction of this program in an effort to produce a non-biased breakdown.
Missouri enters this game a lowly 8-11 (2-5) with a baffling loss to UMKC and an equally baffling win over Alabama. Those contests represent the two extremes we can see from Mizzou on a nightly basis. The key is figuring out which version of this team we’re going to get.
After losing two games to its bitter rivals, Illinois and Kansas, by a combined 52 points, Mizzou has been more or less “good.” Or at least not a total dumpster fire.
The Tigers have covered five of their six games since the two-game debacle. Save for a 40-plus point loss to Arkansas, another “rival,” Mizzou has led in each game it has played. That’s downright impressive against Alabama, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Alabama again, and Auburn.
Decent shooting has helped. The Tigers are shooting 35.4% from 3 since Dec. 29, up from their season average of 27.2%, and 50.6% inside the arc, up from 48.9%.
Head coach Cuonzo Martin has appeared to have finally discovered a consistent rotation. After featuring five different starting lineups in its first 13 contests, Mizzou has kept the same starters for its last six. Freshman Trevon Brazile has been a revelation, leader Kobe Brown has been solid, and 7-foot-3 Jordan Wilmore has barely played. All good things.
Shooting isn’t the primary reason Mizzou has been competitive, though. As is usually the case under Martin, Missouri has stayed in games with a relentless attack of the offensive glass and an undeniable will to get loose balls and out-hustle its opponents. If Iowa State walks into this contest assuming an easy win, it might find itself down early to a team that has lately given max effort every time on the floor.
Mizzou found leads of 10 on Auburn, 14 and 18 on Alabama, 27 on Ole Miss, and 13 on Texas A&M.
Iowa State is not unlike Mizzou in that it has won games more or less the “ugly” way.
Defense is king this season in Ames, something that hasn’t been said since the Wayne Morgan days in the mid-2000s. The Clones boast the nation’s ninth-best offense, per KenPom. A fifth-best defensive turnover rate and fifth-best defensive 3P% have driven ISU’s success on this end.
Offense hasn’t come easy for ISU. Aside from freshman point guard Tyrese Hunter, there is a clear lack of talent on this roster which has led to offensive issues (Hunter himself is a factor in this, sporting just an 88.8 offensive rating).
The Cyclones have relied on transition for most of their offensive production. Per Synergy, ISU has scored just 0.847 PPP in the half-court (an average mark) versus 1.098 PPP in transition (a very good mark) this season.
Iowa State’s transition chances primarily come from one avenue: live ball turnovers. Per Hoop-Math, ISU ranks 69th nationally in percentage of field goal attempts within 10 seconds following a steal versus just 297th following an opponent score and 325th following a rebound. Conclusion: Iowa State’s defense creates its offense.
Mizzou has been sound overall in guarding transition, but it has been awful taking care of the ball. The Tigers rank 310th nationally in turnover rate this season — extremely concerning against a very good defensive team in one of the best home-court atmospheres in the country.
Missouri vs. Iowa State Betting Pick
Scoring will likely be hard to come by in this game. Neither team necessarily wants to push tempo, and both squads are accustomed to mucking games up versus putting up an exorbitant number of points.
Because of this, the under seems like a decent play.
But a stronger bet, in my opinion, is to take the visiting team plus the points.
Iowa State is much better than Missouri, but the Clones are not used to being a large favorite. ISU has not been more than a 6-point favorite against a fellow power conference team all season.
The only two times it has been favored against power competition — vs. Texas Tech and against TCU — it has failed to cover.
Mizzou is a tough double-digit dog — when not facing a rival (apparently). In a low possession game against an opponent that isn’t scary offensively, the Tigers seem to be a strong bet to cover.