Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:30 AM EST odds are subject to change.
Houston @ Oregon +7
Matthew Knight Arena - Eugene, OR
9:30 PM EST. It’s not like this is some under the radar game. This is a 9:30 PM EST start and it’ll be one of the last wagering opportunities on the board. Those stuck after a weekend of football or a day of NFL will surely be reading about the Cougars great team. It would be very easy to be influenced by a media that is hyping up the Cougars to a seismic degree. That said, this is very likely the last time this year you’ll get the Ducks at home taking back 7 points or more this season.
The Ducks have beaten two cupcakes this year but what is going to stand out is that they lost by 13 to Cal Irvine. By contrast, Houston has played four glorified practices and won all four games by margins of 35, 38, 26 and 47, respectively. The Cougars are 4-0 Against the Spread (ATS) too. In the preseason polls, the Cougars were ranked #1 and although they have blown out four opponents, they have not done anything to get lowered in the rankings (they’re #3 now) other than play four nobodies in Northern Colorado, Saint Joseph's, Oral Roberts and Texas Southern. The Ducks, in Eugene, are somebody.
Jacob Young graduated, and three other guys from the Ducks rotation’s top eight transferred out of the program. De’Vion Harmon went to Texas Tech, Eric Williams left for San Diego and big man Franck Kepnang bounced over to conference foe Washington. Thankfully for Dana Altman, some of those departures could wind up being addition by subtraction. Incidentally, last season was the first time since Dana Altman arrived in Eugene that he failed to reach the 21-win mark. Considered one of the best in the business, he’s led the Ducks to the NCAA Tournament in seven of the previous eight seasons.
Even after last season, it’s safe to bet on Altman. Once he got it going at Creighton, he led the program to seven NCAA Tournament appearances. It took him a couple years at Oregon, but now he’s taken the Ducks to a Final Four, an Elite Eight and three more Sweet 16 berths. Last year was likely a one-off, something that won’t happen again. He has a Pac-12 Player of the Year candidate in Will Richardson, one of the better forwards in the league in Quincy Guerrier, and no shortage of talented bigs with N’Faly Dante and Kel’el Ware. Richardson, Guerrier and Dante could each be all-league players, while Ware is a talented 7-footer that could be a force. This group has plenty of veteran guards and wings, three talented big men and one of the best coaches in the country.
Houston’s stock is through the roof. They’re a great team no doubt, and could even end up winning a championship because they might be the least flawed team in the country but every publication out there will tell you the same thing. This is not privileged information. The result of the hype is evident in this price, as you would have to go deep into the archives to find the last time an Oregon team was taking back 7 points or more at home. In our never ending quest to find inflated points with dogs or deflated points with favorites, this one absolutely fits the bill.
Oregon +7 -107 (Risking 2.14 units - To Win: 2.00)