Despite winning and covering seven straight before suffering an 80-52 loss to Arizona in the Pac-12 Tournament, the betting public has soured on the Ducks based upon their last outing. That overreaction is precisely what helps drive the betting market as the oddsmakers are forced to set a line that takes into account public misperception.
While Oregon has outperformed the betting market by covering the point spread in nine of its last 11 games, the Cowboys enter the NCAA Tournament having failed to cover the Vegas number in six of their last 7 outings. Along the way, the Cowboys have sustained inexplicable losses to TCU (70-55) and Texas Tech (63-62), while also losing by double-digits to both West Virginia and Oklahoma.
Oregon takes the floor with an excellent offense that is averaging 75.6 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 67.5 points per game to a mediocre offensive squad. Being 8.1 points per game better than average offensively gives the Ducks a solid advantage over an Oklahoma State stop unit that is 4.9 points per game better than average (62.3 points per game to teams that would combine to average 67.2 points per game).
Oregon’s edge at the offensive end of the floor widens even further when taking into account the fact that the Cowboys are yielding 70.2 points over their last five games, including giving up 81 to West Virginia on March 7. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State’s attack is pedestrian at best, averaging 67.3 points per game against teams that would combine to allow 65.2 points per game.
However, the more significant issue for the Cowboys is playing in foreign arenas. In fact, the Cowboys are are 6-9 SU and ATS on the road this season where they are averaging just 63.2 points per game on 41.6% shooting from the field. While Oregon’s defense is mediocre (70.7 points per game to teams that would combine to average 69.7 points per game), the Ducks have limited opponents to less than 64 points in two of their last four games.
The technical analysis overwhelmingly favors Oregon in this game. For starters, Oklahoma State is 4-11 ATS in its last fifteen neutral site games, 3-7 ATS in its last ten NCAA Tournament games (0-3 ATS last 3), 0-4 ATS in its last four games versus .601 or greater opposition, 1-4 ATS in its last five games off a loss and 1-4 ATS in its last five meetings with Pac-12 opposition.
In contrast, Oregon is a profitable 8-3 ATS in its last eleven games versus Big 12 Conference foes, 11-5-1 ATS in its last 17 neutral site games, 19-9-1 ATS in its last 29 non-conference games, 4-1 ATS in its last five NCAA Tournament games and 5-1 ATS in its last six games versus teams with a winning record. The Ducks are also a perfect 6-0 ATS as neutral court favorites over the last three seasons.
I am not a fan of Oklahoma State head coach Travis Ford, who I rate slightly above Scott Drew (Baylor), Roy Williams (North Carolina) and Rick Barnes (Texas). And, I have good reason to fade Ford in this spot as the Cowboys are a money-burning 30-51-2 ATS as underdogs under his tenure.
Let’s end with this technical gem: teams in the first round of the NCAA Tournament who lost in their conference title game (Oregon) are a perfect 9-0 SU and ATS versus .740 or worse opposition who lost in the first round of their conference tournament (Oklahoma State). Take Oregon on the money line and invest with confidence.