Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:00 PM EST odds are subject to change.
Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN
Vanderbilt +6 -107 over Texas A&M
3:00 PM EST. You need not look any further than this game for one of the best value plays on the board. We’re going to split this up a bit and play Vanderbilt on the money line for a half unit and then we’ll take the points being offered for 1½ units.
Vanderbilt got its second win in nine days over Kentucky in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament last night, winning 80-73 at Bridgestone Arena to advance to the semifinals. Bracketology suggests Vandy played its way into the Main Event but the players aren’t convinced of anything and appear to be extremely focused on the task at hand. Meanwhile, Texas A&M also won yesterday (they beat Arkansas as a one-point pooch), they’re the 20th ranked team in the country and will absolutely be going dancing as a potential 3, 4 or 5 seed. If we were to bet, we’d say Vanderbilt is in regardless of what happens here but that’s a story for another time. What we know for sure is, just like yesterday, the Commodores are not getting the respect they deserve. This is a seriously dangerous team that is more than capable of winning this game outright.
The Aggies are overpriced here because they finished 15-3 in the conference compared to Vandy’s 11-7 mark. The Aggies also posted a 24-8 mark while the Commodores went 20-13 overall. Once again, we’ll point to the market and media’s fascination with wins over performances to get a skewed opinion on a lot of matchups. This matchup might not even favor the Aggies. You see, A&M’s non-conference Strength of Schedule (SOS) ranked 247th in the country while Vandy’s non-conference SOS ranked 100th. So, while the Aggies were beating up weak competition, Vandy’s non-conference schedule included games against Saint Mary’s, VCU, Memphis, Pittsburgh and N.C. State amongst others. The Commodores could have won a bunch of those games too, as they lost to VCY by just 5, Saint Mary’s by 10 but were down just 4 with 3½ minutes left and N.C. State by just four. They also lost to Grambling (a very good mid-major) by 2. Vanderbilt beat Pitt. The Commodores were just a few bounces away from having the exact same record as the Aggies while playing a significantly better schedule.
It is also worth noting that Texas A&M lost to Murray State, Colorado, Wofford and Boise State in their non-conference slate. There is a very good possibility that the SEC is not as good as the market believes it is. The Commodores played a bunch of games in the middle of the season without key players at different times because of injuries but they are fully healthy and they’re lit. Frankly, we don’t see anything that suggests the Aggies are worthy of this price and it’s also worth noting that the game is in Vanderbilt’s backyard so add a partisan crowd to the equation in Vandy’s favor.
Officially: Vanderbilt +215 for 0.5 units
Vanderbilt +6 for 1.65 units to win 1.5
Vanderbilt +6 -107 (Risking 2.14 units - To Win: 2.00)