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Texas Tech vs Kansas State Odds & Picks: Bet Red Raiders as Underdog

Texas Tech vs Kansas State Odds & Picks: Bet Red Raiders as Underdog article feature image
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Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images. Pictured: Fardaws Aimaq (Texas Tech)

Texas Tech vs Kansas State Odds

Saturday, Jan. 21
2 p.m. ET
ESPN2
Texas Tech Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+3.5
-110
145.5
-110o / -110u
+145
Kansas State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-3.5
-110
145.5
-110o / -110u
-175
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Two teams trending in the opposite direction meet on Saturday afternoon as Kansas State welcomes Texas Tech to Manhattan for a Big 12 showdown.

The Red Raiders have lost six straight after a strong 10-2 non-conference showing.

Meanwhile, Kansas State hasn’t skipped a beat in conference play. The Wildcats are now 5-1 after a huge home win against No. 2 Kansas in overtime.

Is this a letdown spot for Kansas State after the biggest win of its season, or will it continue to roll against a struggling Texas Tech team still finding its footing?


Texas Tech Red Raiders

Since the beginning of Big 12 play, no team has struggled more to find its footing than Texas Tech. Mark Adams’ squad is 0-6, including losing all three home games.

But there’s a bit of positivity for the Red Raiders.

They have lost five games by seven points or less, and four of those losses have come without big man Fardaws Aimaq.

Aimaq missed the first 16 games of the season, but returned a week ago. In just 26.5 minutes per game, he has scored 12 points and seven rebounds. He was an interior force at Utah Valley prior to transferring and provides a significant boost to a TTU team that already thrives inside.

The duo of Aimaq and Daniel Batcho will strengthen Texas Tech’s interior defense. Batcho has been a deterrent around the rim this season, with a 8.5 block rate (33rd in country).

Primarily running its offense through Kevin Obanor, Texas Tech is 17th in 2-point offense. The Red Raiders are top-20 at finishing in the rim, using their physicality inside to get strong looks or draw fouls.

This is a stronger offense than expected — both out of the half-court and in transition — and have even shot the 3 ball well.

TTU’s biggest issue — and it’s plagued it in these down-to-the-wire affairs — has been the turnover department. The Red Raiders are 293rd in turnover rate, and they average 14.5 per game.

While the defense is not the same disruptive self as years past, Texas Tech still sits 40th in turnover rate and ninth in shot selection, per ShotQuality. The Red Raiders about league average on the perimeter, but do struggle when it comes to catch-and-shoot 3s.

As expected, Adams’ team is best when the game is slowed down. Texas Tech is a top-25 team out of the half-court, but does often find itself defending in transition — where it’s 44th — because of turnover woes.

Yet despite all these positives, the Red Raiders have yet to secure a Big 12 win. They’re starting to become undervalued in the market, and it’s a perfect time to start backing them, as I’ve pointed out here.

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Kansas State Wildcats

The biggest surprise in the opening weeks of Big 12 play has been the rise of Kansas State.

A team with just two players returning from last season — and littered with transfers under new head coach Jerome Tang — is off to a 5-1 start in conference play and is 16-2 on the year.

Markquis Nowell has been an elite facilitator in his senior season, and he averages 8.4 assists per game. His ability to find open shooters and connect with cutters has led to offensive success in Manhattan.

KSU’s offensive identity revolves around finding cutters — No. 1 in frequency — and finishing at the rim.

Nowell has been great at finishing — in addition to his passing abilities — but it’s been the resurgence of Keyontae Johnson that has been key for Kansas State.

The former Florida transfer averages a team-best 18.7 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.

The Wildcats’ offense has taken strides under Tang. It’s strong in transition and eighth in shot selection. The Wildcats prefer finishing at the rim, but have the ability to find openings on the perimeter, too.

KSU’s offense relies on good spacing and crisp passing rather than isolation.

Kansas State’s biggest issue is turnover rate, where it’s outside the top 200. That has led to struggles defending in transition where the Wildcats are beat often.

This isn’t a tall team — 303rd in average height — which allows for taller and more physical teams to control the offensive glass and finish inside.

Defensively, Kansas State’s athleticism and disruption leads to turnovers and poor 3-point shooting from their opponents. But its aggressiveness also leads to constant fouling (305th in FTA/FGA).

Few teams have been able to exploit Kansas State’s lack of height and struggles on the interior, and its offense has been steady enough to keep it within striking distance.

It’s been the perfect recipe for success thus far, but it’s a tight rope to walk on.


Texas Tech vs Kansas State Betting Pick

This is the perfect letdown spot for Kansas State, fresh off its biggest win of the season against Kansas.

Texas Tech is also pushing the panic button — with no wins in the Big 12 — and there’s no question the motivation will be there to pick up a much-needed Quadrant I win.

Kansas State does its damage inside and at the free-throw line, and that’s where Texas Tech is best equipped.

Tack on the addition of Aimaq, and that’s another interior force that will provide trouble for Johnson and the Wildcats on their cuts and drives toward the rim. He’s a game-changer for TTU.

I’m not so sure Kansas State is best suited for this Red Raiders inside offensive attack. TTU is a physical and tall team and should control the offensive glass with ease — a weak spot for Kansas State.

Tack on the variety of weapons in Aimaq, Batcho and even Obanor, and Texas Tech should have no issues breaking down this smaller Wildcats defense and finishing inside.

The Red Raiders also have the better transition offense/defense here. Kansas State is down at 169th in transition defense, per ShotQuality, yet another edge for Adams’ squad.

Limiting turnovers is always an issue for the Red Raiders, but this is the perfect buy-low, sell-high spot on Saturday. This is just too many points in a game where I even think Texas Tech is live to pull off an upset and catch Kansas State sleeping.

Tang’s squad has been reeling off impressive win after impressive win, but as I’ve written about before, I’m looking to back the Red Raiders over the next few weeks.

It starts here in Manhattan.

Pick: Texas Tech +6.5 (Play to +5)

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