The 10th-ranked Mountaineers men’s basketball team might look at Saturday’s WVU vs. Kansas State game as a warm-up for their pending clash against No. 2 Baylor, and it seems West Virginia sportsbooks agree. The spread on the game against the Wildcats is as big as it’s been at WV sports betting apps in the 2020-21 college basketball season.
DraftKings Sportsbook WV has the Mountaineers a 14.5-point favorite, and other operators in the state don’t deviate much. The data suggests that West Virginia should defend its home court quite easily this afternoon.
Previewing the WVU vs. Kansas State game Saturday
The recent history of this series isn’t as lopsided as the spread on this game suggests. K-State has actually won three of the past five meetings with WVU, including splitting the past two contests in Morgantown.
However, the most recent data is the most relevant here. In Manhattan on Jan. 23, the Mountaineers held the Wildcats to just 47 points and left with a 22-point victory. Kansas State shot just over 38% from the field and turned the ball over a whopping 28 times.
West Virginia has seemingly only improved since then if you ignore the Florida hiccup. Its only loss since that upset by the Gators is a one-point overtime defeat at the hands of then 12th-ranked Oklahoma. Its five wins in the stretch include road victories at Texas and Texas Tech.
Some data suggests that 14.5 points might be a bridge too far, though. WVU’s average margin of victory is just 9.6 points so far this season. The average margin for games at WVU Coliseum is 8.4 points. Additionally, the Wildcats have hit exactly their season scoring average (62.0 points) in each of their last two games and the average points allowed for these two teams is nearly identical (72.1 vs. 71.7).
If you’re looking for reasons to believe in West Virginia to cover, WVU does average over 15 more points per game so far this season than K-State. That’s only been trending up lately, as the Mountaineers have exceeded 77 points in four of their last six times out. That’s helped bets on the Over on WVU games continue to pay out lately.
Could WVU build an early lead and then cruise?
At FanDuel Sportsbook WV the total for Saturday’s game, which tips at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN2, is 138.0 points. On Kansas State’s court earlier this season, these two teams reached just 116. If you combine the average scoring figures for both teams as they currently sit, you get 139.6.
Another reason for the low total here is that Kansas State has really struggled in the first half of games this season. The Wildcats have lost the first half in 13 of their past 15. If WVU builds an early lead, they may cruise and the total may look something like the 116 from earlier this season.
While the Over is 17-5 overall in WVU games this season and has hit in each of the Mountaineers’ past seven contests, it hasn’t fared nearly as well in Wildcats affairs. The Under is 16-8-1 this season for K-State, hitting in four of the past five.
The lines on this game consist of the huge spread and low total that you’d expect from a home game for a top-10 team against a foe with just seven wins at the end of February. That means some opportunities if you believe the Wildcats can put up a fight, or the Mountaineers will flex their offensive muscles in this one.