College Basketball Odds & Picks for West Virginia vs. Arkansas: Razorbacks by Double Digits?
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured: JD Notae.
- West Virginia travels to Arkansas as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge on Saturday.
- The Razorbacks will put their five-game win streak on the line while the Mountaineers have dropped four straight.
- Doug Ziefel explains why he's backing the Razorbacks, even with a relatively large spread.
West Virginia vs. Arkansas Odds
|West Virginia Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The SEC-Big 12 Challenge should be welcomed by all college basketball fans, as it gives us this dandy matchup between the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Arkansas Razorbacks in Fayetteville.
West Virginia may want to greet Arkansas with a sigh of relief as it enters this one after going through the Big 12 gauntlet. The Mountaineers have lost four straight games to the likes of Kansas, Baylor, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma. So, while it might be nice to see a fresh face, the Razorbacks are not going to be any easier.
Speaking of those Razorbacks, they are beginning to turn some heads, as a five-game conference winning streak has vaulted them to the upper echelon of the SEC.
This West Virginia team is unlike any of their other SEC foes, but with the home crowd behind them, they might just be up for the challenge.
Mountaineers in Need of Offensive Boost
West Virginia faced a grueling schedule, but while it seemed a bit outmatched in each game, a common theme occurred. The Mountaineers need more than one consistent source of offensive production per game.
The issue is glaring when you look at the 68.4 points per game average, which ranks 289th in the country. However, it’s certainly not from the lack of talent.
Taz Sherman started the season on a tear, and while his production has tailed off slightly, he is still one of the best pure scorers the Big 12 has to offer. He averages over 18 points per game against elite competition, but we have seen how streaky he can be.
Right behind Sherman in scoring is Sean McNeil. The senior guard has shown flashes offensively and had his fair share of great performances, but they have come during Sherman’s down games. Also, like Sherman, McNeil struggled mightily against the best of the Big 12, as he reached his average mark of 13.6 points per game only once in four contests.
The key for West Virginia is to get either Sherman and McNeil rolling together or have a third option step up.
Unfortunately, that prospect is not all that likely against this Arkansas team. The Razorbacks are 45th in adjusted defensive efficiency and will have a tremendous edge on the boards, so put-back opportunities for the big men will be few and far between.
Expect Notae & Co. to Remain Hot
Eric Musselman has a star on his hands. J.D. Notae is the cog behind the success of this Arkansas team. The senior guard is averaging nearly 19 points per game and has been stout defensively, averaging over two steals as well.
While Notae may be in the spotlight for the Razorback team. he is certainly not a one-man band. Au’Diese Toney has been perhaps the most efficient player on this team. Toney is shooting 57.5% from the field and over 41% from 3-point range.
In this matchup, the combination of Notae and Toney’s sharpshooting from inside the arc could be a significant factor.
Along with its suffocating half-court defense, West Virginia’s press has shown a glaring hole inside. Its defense ranks 189th in 2-point percentage as the team lacks size down low.
That lack of size will loom even larger on the boards, as Arkansas is a great rebounding team. The Hogs are 20th in defensive rebounding percentage and 87th in offensive rebounding percentage. Match that up against West Virginia’s ranking of 339th in defensive rebounding, and you have an edge that will likely decide the ball game.
West Virginia vs. Arkansas Betting Pick
It’s clear that these two teams are trending in opposite directions, but this is not the spot to buy low on the Mountaineers. They are facing a team that can expose their weaknesses and will also not give the ball away like past opponents.
West Virginia has won only one game on the road, and it was against a tough UAB team.
Arkansas can win this by double-digits.
Pick: Arkansas -8
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