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Bunnell’s Bounces: The Frogs hit the road

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TCU heads to Stillwater as five point underdogs for their first Big 12 road game of the year.

TCU basketball bounced back from two consecutive losses in emphatic fashion with a 73-55 win over Texas A&M. All around, this was by far the best game the Frogs have played this season, and they might have found their stride at just the right time heading into their first Big 12 matchup on the road.

Good news for the Frogs as Francisco Farabello is expected to return for tonight’s matchup against Oklahoma State after being sidelined due to COVID-19 protocols.

The game against A&M got off to a slow start, but TCU was in control from the opening tip-off to the final buzzer. A huge difference maker in the game was three pointers; TCU shot 10/23 (43.5%) compared to the Aggies 4/17 (23.5%). The Horned Frogs have been one of the better teams in the Big 12 this year when it comes to perimeter defense, something that could potentially prevail as a key to victory over Oklahoma State.

Last time out, the Frogs covered the -1 point spread with ease, but this time they head into Stillwater as the underdogs. TCU is now 3-4 against the spread this season and 4-3 on the over/under (meaning four overs and three unders have hit).

Tonight the Frog’s will need to find a way to slow down Oklahoma State’s star point guard and potential first overall draft pick — Cade Cunningham. Cunningham is averaging 18.1 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 3.8 APG this season.

Sure, Cunningham is a stud, but are the Cowboys ready for RJ Nembhard? The Frog’s veteran guard is averaging 20.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 8.0 APG on 63% field goal percentage over the last week, enough to earn him the Big 12 player of the week.

The Cowboys have a perfect 6-0 record including road wins over Marquette and Wichita State, though their record against the spread sits at 2-3-1.

Let’s take a look into where the oddsmakers have the lines set for tonight’s Big 12 matchup:

TCU @ Oklahoma State

  • Tip-off: 6:00 p.m. CST
  • Spread: OK. State -5, TCU +5
  • O/U: 135.5
  • Money Line: OK. State -220, TCU +180

My pick: Over 135.5, pass on spread

If it wasn’t for a missed three pointer by the Aggies with less than 10 seconds on the clock, the over would have hit in four straight TCU games. But alas, they missed, and the Frogs have now hit the over in three of their last four games.

As I mentioned before, TCU has some solid perimeter defense, but ironically they struggle guarding shots from two-point range. Oklahoma State is shooting 52.6% from inside the arc thus far, which is a mismatch against the Horned Frogs who allow 51.1% shooting from inside the arc.

This is getting peculiar — public bettors are yet again split down the middle when it comes to picking the spread. TCU has 52% of public bets and OK. State has 48%, but an astounding 92% of the money placed on tonight’s spread sides with the Frogs. As for the over/under, 82% of bettors are taking the over and 94% of public money is on the over as well.

Typically I am nervous to agree with the public in such convincing fashion (there’s a reason the “house always wins”), but taking the over tonight makes the most sense from my perspective.

Moving on from TCU’s matchup against the Cowboys, I am currently standing at a 12-6 record on my “best bets” after losing 2/3 picks for the first time on Saturday. Something you hate to see, especially when one of the losses came by 0.5 points in an overtime matchup (thanks a lot Dayton). Let’s hope that doesn’t become a trend moving forward.

Here are my three best bets for today’s slate of college basketball games:

Pick 1: FGCU +1.5 against FIU

  • Tip-off: 6:00 p.m. CST

Why: My take on this line is more of a gut feeling based on these teams recent results rather than a traditional statistical analysis. In Florida Gulf Coast’s last game, they covered the spread of +18.5 with ease beating Miami (FL) 66-62 outright on the road. Meanwhile, FIU hasn’t beaten anyone of high stature. In fact, the Panthers gave a terrible North Florida team their first win of the season after falling 80-77. This line is simple — FGCU beat Miami, they can handle FIU, take the Eagles.

Pick 2: Chattanooga -5.5 against UNC Asheville

  • Tip-off: 6:00 p.m. CST

Why: Chattanooga are a perfect 6-0 thus far, and haven’t lost against the spread all season. UNC Asheville on the other hand are 1-6 against the spread in their last seven road games, and this will be their first time away from home all season. UNC Asheville hasn’t played bad this year, but they simply aren’t up to par with the Mocs. I would consider splitting this game with the Chattanooga first half spread of -3 as well, this should be a lock.

Pick 3: Drake -6 against South Dakota

  • Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. CST

Why: Generally speaking, I have no idea why this line is set so low. Personally I would have expected Drake to be favored by at least double digits, but I guess Christmas came early because this line is a gift! The Bulldogs have an undefeated record both overall and against the spread, while South Dakota is 1-5 overall and 2-4 against the spread. These teams met just a couple weeks ago with Drake winning 69-54, covering the spread of -10 by five points. Sure it’s tough to beat the same team twice in basketball, depending on the talent gap between the teams, but Drake hasn’t shown any signs of regression and should be able to handle South Dakota with ease… again.

The comment section is open! What are your favorite picks today? Do you think TCU will come out on top against Oklahoma State? Will the over or under hit in today’s game? Let us know!