Texas Tech Red Raiders vs. Kansas Jayhawks Preview and Pick

Texas Tech Red Raiders (16-12), +19, o/u 145 @ Kansas Jayhawks (26-3), -19, o/u 145, Allen Field House, Lawrence, Kansas, 9 p.m. Eastern, Monday
by Oracle of Predictem.com

With both the 7th ranked Kansas Jayhawks and the unranked Texas Tech Red Raiders coming into Monday’s Big 12 clash with huge victories over the weekend, it’ll be interesting for college basketball fans to see which team’s win wasn’t unconventional.

It would seem obvious to lean toward the No. 7 team in the nation, seeing how Kansas, who will host its second straight game at Allen Field House, has lost just three games all year long. But after a slow start to Pat Knight’s head coaching career, his team has found a groove as of late, winning three of their last four games, including a stunning 83-80 win against a hot Texas team on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Kansas avenged an early season loss to Kansas State in an 88-74 blitzkrieg at home on Saturday. After some sluggish play in mid-February, the Jayhawks have rolled off three wins in their last four games as well.

So with two teams on cloud 9, it may be astonishing to some bettors that Kansas is a huge 19-point favorite, according to Intertops Sportsbook. They opened the over/under at 145 as well. The moneyline is also a huge number, with -3000 for Kansas and +1400 for Texas Tech.

When delving into the scrap heap a little further, however, it shouldn’t be much of a shock that Kansas is favored -19.

First off, the Red Raiders are brutal on the road this year, holding a 2-9 record, with those wins coming in Colorado and Alaska-Anchorage. Next, Texas Tech is 0-5 ATS in the last 5 overall meetings in Kansas, while the home team is 4-0 ATS in the head-to-head match up. Lastly, Kansas is impressive covering the spread at home this year with an 11-5 mark, while being undefeated at Allen Field House on the season.

If the big spread intimidates bettors, the over is a big trend for both teams, coming in 7 of the last 8 home games for Kansas and the last four overall games for Texas Tech.

It’s been said that Kansas’ strength this year is the fact that they have a very balanced team. It’s also been said that Kansas’ weakness is the fact that they have a very balanced team.

With four players averaging in double figures and eight players averaging at least 13 minutes per game, the Jayhawks don’t have the go-to guy in the clutch. Many times, luckily, Kansas doesn’t need a clutch shot because they are blowing teams out of the water.

The Jayhawks had five players in double digits in their win against Kansas State on Saturday, led by Brandon Rush and his 21 points. Rush has found his stroke as of late, hitting 8 triples in his team’s last two wins. Sherron Collins also played big minutes off the bench on Saturday with 18 points tying his second best output of the year.

As much as the Jayhawks love to score (81.6 points per game; 13th in the country), it’s their defense that makes them tough. They hold opponents to just 38.5% shooting (8th in the country) and 61.7 points per game (34th).

Texas Tech’s win against Texas on Saturday was puzzling only because they lost by a huge margin of 44 points against Texas A&M on Wednesday. Tech doesn’t go very deep into their bench, having just 8 players on the court during their win against Texas.

The Red Raiders rely heavily on their backcourt duo of Martin Zeno and Alan Voskuil. Zeno averages nearly 16 points per game to go along with 4.5 rebounds. Voskuil is one of the deadliest shooters in the country, stroking it at a 54% clip from beyond the arc on the year. He also shoots 84% from the charity stripe while averaging 13.5 points.

With these two teams not matching up this season, bettors will have to rely on strictly numbers and trends.

Both teams are coming off huge wins over the weekend, so the big question is which team will have a letdown and put it in the tank. This game will probably get really ugly, or be close at the end. The consensus pick is leaning quite heavily toward Tech covering, but as we all know, that’s what the books want.

Oracle’s Pick: As much as 19 points is hard to cover, keep in mind the Red Raiders lost by 44 to Texas A&M just over a week ago and they don’t play very well in Kansas. We also like the fact that the general betting public has been duped into this sucker line to the tune of 64%! Look for the Jayhawks to ride the wave of momentum and cover by a comfy amount. Take Kansas minus the points!