The Mountain West is a surprisingly competitive conference this year with nine teams having winning records. One of the top teams in the conference is Wyoming. The Cowboys have a solid 15-3 record thanks to a potent offense.
Wyoming will face Air Force on the road next. The 10-8 Falcons have a losing record in the conference, and they lack a statement win on the resume. Most of their wins are against inferior opponents. That makes this a great opportunity for Air Force to turn things around against the Cowboys.
Wyoming is currently in the bubble, so they can’t afford an upset loss in the Mountain West. If they lose the conference tournament, they’ll have to rely on a dominant record to make the NCAA Tournament.
Even though they play on the road, Wyoming is favored by 6.5 points. The line has dipped, so is there value here? Let’s cover keys for this matchup and see what the NCAAB odds board has in store for today.
Wyoming Cowboys vs. Air Force Falcons
Friday, January 28, 2022 – 6:00 PM EST at Clune Arena
Keys for Wyoming to Cover
Wyoming has the best offense in the conference in almost every category. They might not shoot as many shots, but they are smart and efficient. They get to the line and can score in all facets. They’ll rely on their stars to keep up the pace in this game.
The Cowboys also have a turnover deficit. They’ll need to be clean with the fundamentals against the Falcons if they want to get out to an early lead. If they lose the turnover margin, this game has a chance of staying close until the final minutes.
Wyoming would love to attack the rim and win with free throws, but you can’t rely on that in a road game. If the calls don’t go their way, the Cowboys need to stay disciplined and take smart shots. This pivot should be easy for them to handle, but plenty of teams struggle to win when their primary strategy is ruined.
As long as Wyoming doesn’t get flustered, they’ll be fine on offense. On defense, they need to improve communication and stay disciplined. They would win a shootout, but they don’t want to give up easy shots. If they let Air Force make mistakes, they will be in a prime position to capitalize on them.
Keys for Air Force to Cover
First and foremost, Air Force needs to avoid fouling on defense. No team in the conference relies more on free throws than Wyoming, and they’ll make them if they get to the line. Since you’re already at a mismatch, you can’t afford to lose players to foul trouble as well.
There also needs to be a plan for stopping Graham Ike in the paint. He leads Wyoming in scoring, but he rarely takes perimeter shots. If you can keep him away from the rim, he is liable to turn the ball over.
The Falcons need to win with perimeter shooting for a few reasons. For starters, it is how they usually win already. Also, it can lead to the highest ceiling if shots hit at home. Since the Falcons already struggle with free throws, winning in the paint is a bad idea.
So, what is the best bet for this game? Here is our college basketball pick for the Mountain West matchup.
Time for a Pick
The Cowboys have a potent offense that relies on the basics. They don’t need to outshoot the home team if they can limit turnovers, attack the rim and get to the line. Air Force is bad with fouling, and they have a terrible free-throw percentage on their own.
If things come down to the nitty-gritty details, Wyoming has an edge in what matters. That’s why I have them winning this game. They have more to lose, and a win would keep them in the bubble after a loss in their last game.
With the spread dropping, there is more value for Wyoming to cover. If they have a lead in clutch time, they can extend it with free throws and smart decisions with the ball. They have the talent, and I expect them to stay disciplined enough on the road against an inferior opponent.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.