Saturday, January 21, 2012

Touched For The Very First Time: Missouri at Baylor Preview

This is my virgin voyage here at PS so I'll lift my anchor and take a champagne bottle to my hull (that’s “HULL” people). First off I want to thank the staff here for inviting me to take part in this. I’m a fairly new handicapper for college sports (2+ years) and while my goals at first were to pay off my Mercedes the very first weekend, I’ve now focused more on the grinder approach. And I have developed a personal system that has served me well for the past 2 seasons. My rules are as follows:

1.                          Before the start of college/NFL football season allow yourself a bankroll (say $500) for use all the way through till March Madness (or the NBA AKA the No Betting Association finals if you really like punishment)
2.                          Select a betting unit (5-10% of your bankroll – in this case $25-$50). I like 5% - that way you can go like 0-5 on a Saturday (trust me I’ve done it) and still have ¾ of your money left
3.                          Use these units to gauge the strength of each bet – 1 unit for good plays, 2 units for better plays and 3 units for a “Lock”
4.                          Get info from EVERYWHERE! People say too much info is overkill and while that might be true for actual “service picks” where on any given day you can find both sides of a different game as someone’s “Play of the Year”, actual game, player, & weather info are all key to giving you the upper hand
5.                          FADE BRANDON LANG!!! If you’ve seen the movie “Two for the Money” you know who I’m talking about: heartwarming story about an injured college athlete working his way through a dead-end job who finds he has tremendous football handicapping skills and becomes a gambling celebrity. And yes it has the dreamy, blue-eyed, sculpture-perfect bodied (somebody stop me!) Matthew McConaughey playing Lang. Great movie, great story, HORRIBLE handicapper. Lang went about 39% in 2011 and hasn’t had a winning week since October. In fact if you faded Lang’s free picks this past week you would have gone 5-1 (that’s a nice haul!).
6.                          Parlays are for chasers…..teasers are for wussies. Parlays in my mind aren’t worth it. They are get rich quick schemes that just drain your bankroll. My advice: It’s hard enough to get one game right – why depend on multiple games for your payouts.
a.       Example: The 3-team parlay. This little Vegas concoction pays out 6 to 1 when in actuality there are 8 outcomes. There’s your first drawback. Secondly if you bet the three games straight up and lose one you’ll still get paid but that’s a big fat loss in the parlay scenario.
b.      Example B: The 3-team teaser. Another trick by Vegas to get more money out of you. This bet lets you pick three teams and “tease” the lines + or – points and pays out right around 1 to 1. Once again though if just one of your games is WAY off (this happens a lot and is the reason these bets are offered) then it crushes your teaser. Sharp players & pros rarely EVER bet these because as they put it: “The juice ain’t worth the squeeze”.

Missouri at Baylor, 1/21/12 @ 2PM EST. ESPN/ESPN3

Now that you know my philosophy, let’s tackle the biggest game of the weekend. This is match-up of two Top 10 teams both with the Big 12 (B12G?) championship in their sights. Baylor comes back home after a tough road loss at Kansas with a 17-1 record overall and a 4-1 record in conference. Missouri travels to Waco with identical overall and conference records following a 19-point home win vs. Texas AM. Let’s look at a few key angles:

Scorched Scoreboard

This game involves the conference’s top 2 teams in scoring, assists, and FG percentage. Both teams are also amongst the conference’s top 3 in 3-point shooting percentage. All of these things lead to playing the OVER in this one and I think at 146 that is the way I would lean.

Note: Mizzou is 5th in the nation in free-throw shooting percentage and Baylor is 53rd. That is a stat that really helps an OVER play especially in the last 1-3 minutes of a game.

On Paper

Missouri should dominate the backcourt and perimeter game but not as much as you think. Missouri G Marcus Denmon is on a few people’s short lists for Player of the Year and has talent around him on the perimeter in Kim English, Michael Dixon, and the Presseys (Phil and Matt). These guys make up what could be the nation’s best backcourt. But Baylor has a very young, very athletic backcourt as well with a pair of potential stars in Pierre Jackson and Brady Heslip surrounded by a decent bench (AJ Walton and highly touted freshman Deuce Bello). Also contributing on the perimeter is 6’9 F Quincy Miller who steps out and shoots a couple 3’s per game.

The frontcourt match-up however will be dominated by Baylor. The names read off like a 2012 mock NBA Draft list: Perry Jones III (why does Baylor enroll so many kids with the same names as their fathers and grandfathers?), Quincy Acy, Quincy Miller (and so many with the name Quincy?), and Anthony Miller. Meanwhile Mizzou is paper thin (actually more like DJ Qualls thin) up front. Since F Laurence Bowers was lost for the season only 2 players give much contribution in the frontcourt: Ricardo Ratliffe and Steve Moore. In fact Missouri only rotates about 7 guys total all game long while Baylor plays 8 or 9 most games which gives Baylor a bit of a bench advantage.


Both teams know this is a big game. In my mind thinking one team is gonna be more psyched up is fruitless. And yes there was a lot of trash talking before last year’s game in Columbia, MO, a game Mizzou dominated 77-59. Maybe they’ll be a little revenge factor but not enough for a bettor. The old “Big game Baylor, big game Failure” line may still apply here too as under the bright lights (isn’t EVERY court lighted?) in Lawrence on ESPN last Monday Baylor flopped again as many of their talent-laden teams full of future NBA draft picks have done the past 3-4 years. This year’s squad seems to be shedding some of that undisciplined label though with big time victories vs. then 15th ranked Mississippi St. (in Dallas) and then 18th ranked Kansas St. (on the road) plus other nice wins over St. Mary’s (by double digits in Vegas), at West Virginia, and at Northwestern (by 28).

At the Window

Missouri has only played 3 true road games plus 1 listed away game at Illinois in a game played in St. Louis. They are 3-1 straight up losing to then 23rd ranked Kansas St. (by 16). Plus, more importantly to a gambler, they are 1-3 against the spread on the road. Baylor is 10-0 at home straight up this season but 2-2 ATS.

In Summary

I lean heavily towards the Bears at home on this one although it would only be a 1 unit play for me. As I write this (Friday nite) the lines sits at -4.5 but I’m sure it will go up. Too many of the factors point to Baylor in this one and bottom line if Baylor’s young backcourt can put a little bit of a fight the frontcourt should dominate both ends of the floor. Also the O/U is at 147.5 and if you want to play that OVER better get it as soon as possible as well.


Anonymous said...

Very informative and well written!

Anonymous said...

I like Mathew McConaughey and Im a girl