College Basketball Best Bets for February 27: Iowa State and Wyoming Worth Backing

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Tamin Lipsey of Iowa State takes a shot as Markquis Nowell and NaeQwan Tomlin of the Kansas State defend on January 24, 2023. David Purdy/Getty Images/AFP

NCAAB Pick: Iowa State -4 (-108) with Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Iowa State -4 (-108)
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Picks Summary:

  • Iowa State -4 (-108)
  • Wyoming +5 (-105)

Top Sportsbooks have released their NCAAB odds for today’s college basketball action.

Two games, in particular, interest me as worth investing in: West Virginia vs. Iowa State and Nevada vs. Wyoming.

For reasons that I will explain, you should play the spread for both games.

Out of state? No problem. Check out the best US betting sites available in order to make secure wagers in your own home state.

West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Iowa State Cyclones

Monday, February 27, 2023 – 09:00 PM at James H. Hilton Coliseum

West Virginia's Inefficient Offense

West Virginia's offense generally struggles to make shots.

For this reason, it ranks last in the Big 12 in eFG% or effective field goal percentage.

There are primarily three ways in which the Mountaineers try to succeed on offense despite this general limitation:

  1. They rely on their top shot-taker, Erik Stevenson, to make up for the inefficiency of his team's overall offense.
  2. They try to amass second-chance points via offensive rebounding.
  3. They hope to draw fouls and make a lot of free throws.

I contend that none of these three scoring options will be readily available to West Virginia's offense.

Erik Stevenson's Outlook 

Shooting guard Stevenson easily takes West Virginia's highest rate of shots.

Given the tremendous role that he tries to play in his team's offensive production, West Virginia tends to lose when he struggles, and his higher scoring outputs often suffice to help his squad win.

Stevenson's outlook tonight is negative, though, because he struggles on the road. When he drives inside, he'll meet a swarming Cyclone defense that is characteristically devoted to protecting the interior at the cost of allowing a higher rate of three-point attempts.

Despite being a high-volume three-point shooter, he barely averages over one made three per road game. Whereas he converts 44.9 percent of his three-point attempts at home, he shoots 28 percent from deep on the road.

This home-away disparity is unique, and, in tandem with his team's reliance on his productivity, it helps explain why the Mountaineers rarely win on the road. To be exact, they have two wins in 10 road games this season.

Rebounding and Free Throws 

Iowa State is just the team against which West Virginia cannot count on second-chance points.

The Mountaineers want to accrue these by dominating the offensive glass, but the Cyclones are the Big 12's top defensive rebounding team by percentage.

As for fouls, free throws helped push West Virginia just barely cover the spread when these teams played in Morgantown, home of the Mountaineers.

But free throws won't be a meaningful source of the Mountaineers' scoring tonight because Iowa State will benefit from the home whistle. The Cyclones average 3.6 fewer personal fouls per game at home than on the road.

Point Guards 

Opposing point guards repeatedly thrive against West Virginia. For example, Kansas' Dajuan Harris achieved against the Mountaineers an offensive rating over 50 points higher than his season average.

Similar stories can be told for Texas Tech's Pop Isaacs, Baylor's Adam Flagler, Texas' Marcus Carr, and so forth.

Tamin Lipsey's Outlook 

Point guards' tendency to thrive against the Mountaineers' defense is relevant because Iowa State's success hinges significantly on the individual performance of point guard Tamin Lipsey.

The Cyclone point guard is amazingly productive and efficient around the basket. He excels at driving to the basket and finishing over, under, or around size. He'll drive a lot against a Mountaineer defense that allows a high percentage of baskets at the rim partly because it guards the perimeter more aggressively and closely than Iowa State's defense.

Furthermore, he is a highly-rated assist-getter who will accrue assists in part by navigating a Mountaineer defense that regularly concedes more operating room inside the arc to opposing ball-handlers.

On defense, Lipsey is disruptive whose ability to anticipate what the opponent is planning to do enables him to achieve a high steal rate. Iowa State scores a lot of steals and will succeed in this respect, especially against a Mountaineer offense that is not good about protecting the basketball.

Iowa State at Home 

The Cyclones lost at home against Oklahoma on Saturday largely because they could not rely on the rusty Caleb Grill, who was returning from a back injury, and whose 20 points had propelled his team to a win at Oklahoma.

But Grill has shaken off his rust and will be ready to help a Cyclone team that has already beaten Baylor, Texas, Kansas, and TCU at home by double digits.

The threat that he, fellow guard Gabe Kalscheur, and others post from deep, especially at home will complement the inside scoring spearheaded by Lipsey.

NCAAB Pick: Iowa State -4 (-108) with Heritage Sports

Nevada Wolf Pack vs. Wyoming Cowboys

Monday, February 27, 2023 - 09:00 PM EST at Arena Auditorium

Travel Spot 

Nevada is in a tough spot because it played on Friday at Fresno State. Now it has to play its early-week game, on short rest, at middle-of-nowhere Laramie, Wyoming.

This extent of travel in a short time period will take its toll on Nevada players' bodies and conditioning, preventing them from playing close to their best basketball.

Senior Night 

As an added consideration in favor of the Cowboys, Wyoming has its Senior Night tonight.

The team will be determined to achieve a winning send-off, especially for veteran point guard Hunter Maldonado, who is finishing up his sixth and final year at Wyoming. Maldonado is one of two seniors in the team's starting lineup.

Cowboys' Defense 

Wyoming's defense has been very up-and-down this season. While the Cowboys' defense has produced poor efforts in some games this season, it will be focused on Senior Night.

They have the ball-screen tactics, the lateral footwork of individual defenders, and the length to deter opponents from reaching the basket.

By forcing Nevada into tough shots, they'll punish a Wolf Pack offense whose shooting percentage declines dramatically away from home -- by 6.4 percent, to be exact.

Wyoming Three-Pointers 

It is too easy to use ball movement to create open three-point shooting opportunities against a Nevada defense that allows three-point attempts at one of the nation's highest rates.

Nevada is particularly devoted to guarding the paint, so you will often see multiple Wolf Pack defenders positioned with at least one foot in the paint while an opposing player attempts an open three-point shot.

The Wolf Pack's vulnerability to opposing three-point shooters is important because Wyoming has struggled against the conference's top, most dedicated perimeter defenses, as evident in its loss to Air Force.

Know for your NCAAB picks that Nevada is the sort of team that Wyoming, a team that loves to attempt a lot of threes, is built to succeed against.

NCAAB Pick: Wyoming +5 (-105) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Wyoming +5 (-105)
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