NCAAB FREE PICK: Oklahoma @ West Virginia

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Basketball pick for February 13, 2021

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It’s a Top 25 Big 12 showdown in Morgantown when No. 14 West Virginia hosts No. 12 Oklahoma on Saturday. The two teams are among the nation’s best and continue to battle for seeding in March Madness.

As it stands, the Sooners are projected to be a No. 4 seed while the Mountaineers are looking at a No. 5. WVU head coach Bob Huggins would like to change that with yet another win over a Top 25 program. West Virginia has won its last two straight over No. 23 Kansas and No. 10 Texas Tech. They also have a win over a quality Richmond program that was ranked 19th at the time and a five-point loss, 87-82, to No. 1 Gonzaga.

The Sooners’ resume is just as impressive. Lon Kruger’s team has losses to ranked Kansas, No. 2 Baylor, and then-No. 13 Texas Tech. Oklahoma won three straight games against Top 10 programs when the Sooners beat No. 9 Kansas, No. 5 Texas, and No. 9 Alabama all in succession. It’s how Oklahoma and West Virginia won its games that will help determine this free pick.

Boomer Sooner

Lon Kruger has enjoyed plenty of success with the Sooners program taking Oklahoma to six trips to the NCAA tournament. Among those trips are two Sweet Sixteens and a spot in the Final Four in 2016 as part of a 29-8 season.

Oklahoma is 12-5 overall and 7-4 in Big 12 play this season. The conference is stacked featuring No. 2 Baylor, Texas, Texas Tech, Kansas, and the Sooners’ Saturday opponent, West Virginia. Oklahoma can fill it up averaging 75.5 points per game led by guard Austin Reaves (15.8 ppg).

The Sooners are 5-2 in their last seven games but have been very good to bettors with a perfect 7-0 ATS mark in those seven games. That includes three covers as an underdog and an impressive 76-50 win over Kansas State as a 14-point favorite.

What’s really impressive are the Sooners’ point totals in those seven games. Minus a 52-point effort against defensive-minded Texas Tech, Oklahoma scored 79, 66, 80, 75, 76, and 82 points. Despite the Sooners’ point totals in those games, the Over was just 2-5. For the season, the Over is 6-10 in Oklahoma’s 16 games thus far.

Take Me Home, Country Roads

West Virginia is 13-5 overall this season and they have played extremely well at home going 6-2 so far. They have wins over Texas Tech and Kansas at home and the Mountaineers have won four of their last five. What they haven’t done all that well is cover a point spread.

For the season West Virginia is 9-9 ATS and just 4-4 ATS at home. A little over a month ago, the Mountaineers were a 1.5-point underdog at Oklahoma. The Sooners, powered by a 29-point performance by Umoja Gibson, would go on to win 75-71. Gibson hit an astonishing 8-of-11 three-pointers and shot 10-of-14 overall. Reaves added 13 points on a poor 5-of-14 shooting night.

The Mountaineers have failed to cover in two of their last three games, though one of those was as an 11.5-point favorite over Iowa State (a team that hasn’t won a Big 12 game).

Where WVU excels is on the offensive end. Huggins uses a pressure defense to fuel his offense, which ranks 50th in the country in scoring. The Mountaineers totals over their last five games have been impressive – 82, 91, 76, 80, and 88. The 82 points were scored in a win over that same defensive-minded Texas Tech team.

The Play

The Sooners had covered seven games in a row before beating Iowa State last Saturday 79-72 as a 14.5-point favorite. Oklahoma is 8-2 ATS at home, but the Sooners have a little more difficulty covering the spread on the road where they are just 3-2-1 ATS.

With a pair of offenses that can light it up, the play in Saturday’s showdown is on the Total. Yes, the Under is 11-3 in the Sooners last 14 games, but West Virginia’s offensive pace will speed this game up. The Mountaineers rank 123rd in possessions per game. They have put up big numbers in their past five games and they are playing at home. While it’s not much of an advantage, the last time WVU was at home they put up 91 … on Kansas.

Play the Over all the way up to 146. The Total has gone Over in three straight Mountaineers’ games and two of the three totals were 146.

NCAAB FREE PICK: Play the OVER all the way up to 146.

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