Wednesday's Tip Sheet
January 3, 2018
By Brian Edwards
**Editor’s note: Brian Edwards is on fire in college hoops after going 3-0 last night with winners on Maryland, Michigan and Florida. Since Dec. 27, Brian owns an 11-2 record (84.6%, +8.89 Units!). He has nailed six straight guaranteed plays and is 14-4 on G-plays since Dec. 8 (77.8%, +9.64 Units). Get signed up for more winners with Brian right now!
**Kentucky at Louisiana State**
-- Kentucky (11-2 straight up, 6-7 against the spread) beat Georgia 66-61 in come-from-behind fashion Sunday night at Rupp Arena, but the Bulldogs covered the number as 9.5-point road underdogs. Shai Gilfeous-Alexander dropped a game-high 21 points on the Dawgs. He also pulled down five rebounds, blocked two shots, had three steals, dished out four assists and committed only one turnover. Quade Green finished with 15 points, while Hamidou Diallo had a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.
-- John Calipari’s team takes its show on the road to Baton Rouge tonight and, as of early this morning, UK was installed as a three-point favorite with a total of 155. The Tigers were +135 on the money line (risk $100 to win $135).
-- Things are looking up for the LSU (9-3 SU, 6-3 ATS) basketball program under the direction of Will Wade, the first-year head coach who at the age of 35 already has 100 career wins. He went 40-25 at Chattanooga in two seasons before replacing Shaka Smart at VCU, where Wade had served as an assistant to Smart from 2009-2013. Wade also was a bulldog recruiter for Tommy Amaker previously at Harvard, helping the Ivy League program pull in its first-ever Top 25 recruiting class. In his two seasons as HC at VCU, the Rams didn’t miss a beat. Wade went 51-20 overall, 28-8 in the Atlantic 10 and had his team in back-to-back NCAA Tournaments. The Rams advanced to the Round of 32 in his first season before losing to eventual national-semifinalist Oklahoma in a very competitive game. Wade has already inked a pair of four-star commits to letters of intent in the 2018 class, and he has a hard verbal commit from five-star New Jersey product Nazreon Reid, a 6’9” power forward who is ranked the 16th-best player in the nation by 247Sports.
-- LSU was picked to finish last in the SEC by nearly every preseason publication, but Wade’s first recruiting haul was a Top-20 class nationally and has his team competing hard already. LSU has won seven of eight home games while compiling a 4-1 spread record.
-- I backed LSU its last time out for a winner when it went to Memphis on Dec. 28 and captured a 71-61 triumph as a two-point road ‘chalk’ in Grind City. The 132 combined points stayed ‘under’ the 147.5-point tally. Tremont Waters, the true freshman point guard who was a four-star signee, led the way with 18 points, eight assists and four steals. He buried 3-of-6 launches from long distance. Skylar Mays, the sophomore guard who is one of four LSU players locally grown in Baton Rouge, contributed 14 points, five rebounds and four assists. Mays drained 4-of-7 attempts from 3-point range. The Tigers hit 13-of-26 shots from downtown. Brandon Sampson was also in double figures with 12 points and four steals. LSU overcame 8-of-16 shooting from the charity stripe.
-- Waters has been ‘as advertised’ from the start. He is averaging team-highs in scoring (17.1 points per game), assists (6.3 APG) and steals (2.7 SPG). Waters has made 48.9 percent of his shots from the field, 44.9 percent from 3-point land and 79.2 percent of his free throws. Mays (12.8 PPG) and Duop Reath (11.9 PPG) are also averaging in double figures.
-- Since losing an 83-82 decision as a nine-point home favorite to Stephen F. Austin on Dec. 16, LSU has ripped off three consecutive wins. The Tigers have won six of their last seven contests while going 4-1 ATS in their five lined games during that span.
-- LSU is No. 94 in the RPI Rankings, going 2-0 versus Top-50 opponents and 2-2 against the Top 100. The Tigers have a neutral-court win over Michigan (#37, 77-75) and a home win over Houston (#50, 80-77). The Top-100 L’s came at the Maui Classic vs. Notre Dame (92-53) and vs. Marquette (94-84).
-- Kentucky is No. 12 in the RPI, going 1-2 versus the Top 50 and 5-2 against the Top 100. UK has home wins over Louisville (#35, 90-61), UGA (#59), Va. Tech (#78, 93-86), Vermont (#82, 73-69) and Utah Valley (#84, 73-63). The Wildcats have a neutral-court loss to Kansas (#26, 65-61) and also lost an 83-75 decision to UCLA in New Orleans on Dec. 23.
-- In UK’s ever-so-tasty 90-61 beatdown of U of L on Dec. 29, it easily covered the spread as a five-point home ‘chalk.’ Cal’s team raced out to a 41-27 halftime lead, led by as many as 32 points and coasted into the win column. Gilgeous-Alexander scored a game-high 24 points, pulled down five rebounds and dished out four assists compared to only one turnover. P.J. Washington, the Las Vegas Findlay Prep High School product, added 16 points and seven boards, while Diallo produced 14 points and six rebounds. Quade Green was also in double figures with 13 points and five assists.
-- Kentucky has already played in the Big Easy, Chicago and at MSG in NYC this season, but tonight’s game at LSU is its first true road assignment, a fact that shouldn’t be lost on bettors for this freshman-laden club.
-- Five UK players are scoring in double figures led by Diallo, who averages 14.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Kevin Knox is averaging 14.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game, while Gilgeous-Alexander (11.6 PPG) has a 54/29 assists-to-turnovers ratio, a team-high 30 steals and is hitting 44.4 percent of his 3-balls. Green (10.8 PPG, 40.5% 3-pointers) and P.J. Washington (10.0 PPG, 5.2 RPG) round out the double-figure scorers.
-- The ‘over’ is 7-5 overall for UK after cashing at a 7-1 clip in its past eight outings.
-- The ‘over’ is 5-4 overall for LSU, 3-2 in its home games.
-- The ‘over’ has cashed at a 7-1 clip in the last eight head-to-head meetings between these schools.
-- This is UK’s first trip to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center since taking an 85-67 pimpslap from Ben Simmons and Co. on Jan. 5 of 2016. Since then, the ‘Cats have won back-to-back games over the Tigers at Rupp Arena.
-- LSU owns a 7-2 spread record in the last past nine games of this SEC rivalry.
-- Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Eastern on the SEC Network.
**Oklahoma State at Oklahoma**
-- As of early this morning, most books had Oklahoma (11-1 SU, 5-6 ATS) listed as a 9.5-point favorite with a total of 166.5. The Cowboys were +400 on the money line (risk $100 to win $400).
-- During Oklahoma’s 20-loss season last year, it took a pair of heartbreaking losses to Oklahoma St., which dealt out broom treatment with a comeback win and another scalp on a Phil Forte last-second, game-winning bucket. OU will be out to avenge those defeats in Norman tonight.
-- Oklahoma State will be dealing with a different foe this time around. OU has the nation’s premier player in true freshman point guard Trae Young, who leads the nation in both scoring (29.6 PPG) and assists (10.7 APG). The product of Norman North HS also leads the Sooners in steals (1.8 SPG) and is burying 41.3 percent of his launches from 3-point range. Young’s range starts one step inside of halfcourt. He has a 128/49 assists-to-turnovers ratio. Young has scored at least 22 points in 11 straight games, including a season-high 43 points in a 90-80 win at Oregon.
-- Young’s 39 points and 14 assists led the way in this past Saturday’s 90-89 win at TCU as a 2.5-point underdog. His two free throws with 7.3 seconds remaining gave the Sooners the lead and TCU’s Kenrich Williams missed a potential game-winning trey in the final seconds. Kameron McGusty, who drained a go-ahead 3-pointer with 31 ticks left, rebounded Williams’s miss to help OU secure the victory. Kruger’s bunch had to rally from a 13-point second-half deficit after it had scored the first 11 points of the game. It was the first game between a pair of ranked teams at TCU’s arena in 20 years. OU’s win brought a halt to TCU’s 17-game winning streak, which was the nation’s longest. McGusty, a sophomore out of Katy, TX, scored 22 points off the bench in merely 24 minutes of playing time. He knocked down 3-of-4 attempts form long distance. Senior forward Khadeem Lattin had five blocked shots in only 15 minutes of action, while freshman forward Brady Manek had a team-high 13 rebounds.
-- Lon Kruger’s squad is unbeaten in six home games with a 2-3 spread record.
-- Since OU took its lone defeat to Arkansas (92-83) at the PK80 Classic in Portland on Nov. 23, it has ripped off nine straight victories. The Sooners are ranked third in the RPI, producing a 3-1 record against the Top 50 and a 5-1 ledger versus the Top 100. They own neutral-floor wins over Southern Cal and Oregon, in addition to a home win over Northwestern. OU also has wins at Wichita St. and TCU.
-- Oklahoma State (10-3 SU, 4-6 ATS) is playing its first true road game tonight. Mike Boynton’s club lost its Big 12 opener Saturday to West Virginia by an 85-79 count as a three-point home underdog in Stillwater. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak. Tavarius Shine and Jeffrey Carroll shared team-high scoring honors with 17 points apiece. Carroll had five rebounds and four steals, while Shine finished with five boards and four assists. Lindy Waters had 13 points, five rebounds and four steals, but he also committed six costly turnovers. Mitchell Solomon was limited to 24 minutes of playing time before fouling out. Solomon contributed nine points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots.
-- Solomon (8.8 PPG) is averaging team-highs in rebounding (6.8 RPG), FG percentage (62.5%) and blocked shots (1.2 BPG). Carroll is averaging 15.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, while Shine is scoring at a 11.2 PPG clip. Kendall Smith, a grad transfer from Cal St. Northridge, is averaging 10.8 PPG and has dished out a team-best 50 assists.
-- Oklahoma State has been an underdog four times, posting a 1-3 record both SU and ATS with the lone victory coming over FSU (71-70) as a six-point puppy on Dec. 16 down in South Florida at the home of the NHL’s Florida Panthers in Sunrise.
-- Oklahoma State is No. 92 in the RPI, going 1-3 versus the Top 50 and 2-3 against the Top 100. The Cowboys have a home win over Tulsa by a 71-59 count. Their defeats have come at home to WVU and Wichita State, in addition to a 72-55 loss to Texas A&M on a neutral floor.
-- OSU is sixth in the country in FT percentage, making 78.9 percent of its attempts from the stripe.
-- Oklahoma leads the nation in scoring with a 94.7 PPG average. The Sooners give up 79.9 PPG, which ranked No. 319 in the country.
-- The ‘under’ had cashed in all nine of OSU’s lined games until its 85-79 home loss to WVU went ‘over’ the 153.5 points.
-- On the flip side, the ‘over’ is 10-1 overall for Oklahoma. The Sooners have seen the ‘over’ go 4-1 in their five lined home outings. The lone ‘under’ came in an 82-72 home win over North Texas that saw the 154 combined points dip below the 158.5-point tally.
-- ESPNU will have the broadcast at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- Other key games on television tonight: Ole Miss at UGA (SEC Network, 6:30 p.m. Eastern), Marquette at Providence (CBS Sports Network, 6:30 p.m. ET.), UNC at FSU (ESPN2, 7:00), ‘Cuse at Wake Forest (ESPNU, 7:00), St. John’s at Creighton (FS1, 8:00), St. Bonaventure at Dayton (CBSSN, 8:30) and Missouri at South Carolina (ESPN2, 9:00).
-- Mark Fox’s Georgia team is 6-0 at home with a 2-1 spread record going into tonight’s showdown against the Rebels, who are off a 74-69 win over South Carolina as two-point home ‘chalk’ on New Year’s Eve. Andy Kennedy’s team has won three in a row both SU and ATS. UGA was a 4.5-point favorite as of early this morning. The Bulldogs have covered the number in three straight. Although they lost a tough one to UK at Rupp on Sunday night, they had a pair of blowout wins at home previously over Temple (84-66) and Georgia Tech (80-59).
-- Going into tonight’s Big East clash vs. St. John’s, Creighton (11-3 SU, 8-5 ATS) is unbeaten in nine home games with a 6-2 spread record. The Bluejays were favored by 12 points early this morning. The Red Storm is hoping to get Marcus LoVett back into the lineup. LoVett, who is averaging 14.9 points and 2.1 steals per game, has missed seven straight games and is ‘questionable’ tonight with a knee injury. Also, Shamorie Ponds (20.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 4.8 APG & 2.5 SPG) is a question mark with a knee injury that caused him to miss Sunday’s 75-70 loss at Seton Hall.
-- Taking advantage of Texas A&M missing three of its top four leading scorers, Florida went into College Station last night and dominated from start to finish in an 83-66 win as a two-point underdog. The Gators had been slumping mightily for our purposes, limping to a 1-6 spread record in their seven previous lined games. UF won its fourth straight game and improved to 2-0 in the SEC thanks to a team-high 19 points from Egor Koulechov, who drained 5-of-6 launches from downtown. Keith Stone finished with 18 points on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point land. The Gators made 17-of-28 from behind the line (60.7%!). Senior PG Chris Chiozza produced 12 points, four steals, four rebounds and nine assists compared to just two turnovers. Jalen Hudson was also in double figures with 11 points in only 15 minutes of action in a reserve role.
-- ICYMI while dialed in on the bowl season in college football, Maryland lost sophomore slasher Justin Jackson to a season-ending injury on Dec. 27. Nevertheless, the Terrapins improved to 13-3 overall with last night’s 75-69 win over Penn St. as 3.5-point home favorites. Mark Turgeon’s team has won seven in a row and has covered the spread in its past four lined contests. The Terps, who are now 2-1 in league play, got a game-high 18 points out of leading scorer Anthony Cowan. Jackson was averaging 9.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.
-- I went 3-0 last night with winners on Maryland, Florida and Michigan. The Wolverines won 75-68 at Iowa as 2.5-point road favorites. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman paced UM with 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists without a turnover. Zavier Simpson also chipped in 15 points.
-- In a non-lined battle between mid-major powers last night in Beantown, Vermont won a 62-56 decision over Harvard without star Anthony Lamb, who broke his foot in practice last Thursday. Lamb is expected to be out for eight weeks. The America East Freshman of the Year last season was averaging team-bests in scoring (16.8 PPG), rebounding (6.0 RPG), FG percentage (48.7%) and blocked shots (1.0 BPG).
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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