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West Virginia vs Kansas State Odds, Picks: Back the Wildcats

West Virginia vs Kansas State Odds, Picks: Back the Wildcats article feature image
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Pictured: Head coach Jerome Tang of the Kansas State Wildcats instructs his players. (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images).

West Virginia vs Kansas State Odds

Saturday, Dec. 31
7 p.m. ET
ESPN+
West Virginia Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+0.5
-110
143.5
-110o / -110u
-105
Kansas State Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-0.5
-110
143.5
-110o / -110u
-114
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Big 12 conference play begins Saturday with every team in action. The Big 12 has been stacked from top to bottom for a few years, but this year could very well be the pinnacle. Every Big 12 team ranks 52nd or better in adjusted efficiency margin and in adjusted defensive efficiency.

The last conference matchup of the day pits the 24th ranked West Virginia Mountaineers against a Kansas State team looking to remain undefeated at home.

West Virginia is 10-2 on the year, but both of its losses came away from home. The Mountaineers first loss came against Purdue on a neutral court and the second was at Xavier — both were by double digits. But I wouldn’t discount the Mountaineers on the road for those losses, they did make quick work of both Pittsburgh and Florida away from home.

Kansas State is comparable to the Mountaineers on defense, but when it comes to the offensive end, West Virginia has a clear advantage. But will it be enough? Let’s look at the odds and make a pick.


West Virginia Mountaineers

West Virginia is without a doubt the better offensive team. The Mountaineers rank 20th in college basketball, averaging 81.3 points per game. They’ve also been a top-25 three-point shooting team and are hitting 38.3% of their shots from beyond the arc.

Kansas State will give them all they can handle defensively. The Wildcat’s are holding teams to just 60.8 points per game and allowing an effective field goal percentage of just 46.8%. Kansas State’s interior defense will be an issue for the Mountaineers. Kansas State is positing a defensive rebound percentage of 75.1%.

West Virginia has also taken the majority of its shots from either the paint or the mid-range — that’s also where they’ve been at their best. But the Wildcats defense has been at its best when it comes to defending in the paint and against the mid-range. Kansas State has held opposing teams to 34.9% in the paint and 32.4% from the mid-range this season.

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Kansas State Wildcats

The Kansas State offense isn’t “bad” by any means. They just haven’t been able to do what West Virginia has. The Wildcats offense relies almost entirely on driving to the basket and scoring at the rim. Kansas State takes 37.4% of its field goal attempts at the rim. The Wildcats have been good, making 66.1% of those shots, but aren’t much of a threat anywhere else on the court.

West Virginia’s defense has struggled of late when it comes to defending around the rim. Over the past five games, West Virginia has allowed opposing teams to shoot 67.7% at the rim. The Mountaineers defense could find some success when it comes to turnovers though.

Kansas State is turning the ball over on 17% of its possessions, while WVU has forced teams to turn the ball over on 23.9% of possessions and is averaging 19 points per game off of turnovers.


West Virginia vs. Kansas State Betting Pick

I wouldn’t be surprised to see this game go either way.  West Virginia is an elite offense, but Kansas State’s defense is good enough to compete.

One key component that could decide who wins will be fouls. West Virginia struggles with fouls, racking up 18.8 per contest. However, the Mountaineers have also been the 10th-best team in the nation when it comes to drawing fouls — opposing teams are averaging 21.6 fouls per game against the Mountaineers. It’s very likely we’ll see this game come down to late foul shots.

In a packed Bramlage Coliseum, home-court advantage could be enough to propel the Wildcats past the Mountaineers.

It’s not a big play from me by any means, but I’ll be backing Kansas State on the moneyline at -120 or better.

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