Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 4:00 PM EST.
Horizon League Championship - Little Caesars Arena - Detroit, Michigan
7:00 PM EST. To call this run the Vikings of Cleveland State are on a miracle would be a bit of an overstatement, but improbable might not be enough to describe it either. The Vikes went just 12-22 this season after playing the 259th most difficult schedule in the country. KenPom ranks Cleveland State 303 out of 351 schools, so it's not like this is some upstart mid-major. The Vikings are in this Horizon League championship after upsetting both Youngstown State and #1 seed Northern Kentucky, the latter in an 89-80 victory as a 13½-point pooch. Cleveland State's semi-final matchup with Oakland might have been one of the ugliest games played all season, as both teams could not hit a basket. The Vikings shot 35.3% from the field which on most nights is bad enough to get whacked, but Oakland shot just 25%. The Golden Grizzlies still had a chance to win the game with a last-second basket, but like most of the shots they took last night, it did not fall. The talking heads love a Cinderella story, and for the moment, Cleveland State fits the bill, but now is not the time to jump on the Vikings bandwagon as their stock is at a season high. Furthermore, Oakland played last night minus several starters, thus, they used a depleted lineup with no depth.
Wright State is the #2 seed in this tournament after going 24-9 on the season including a 16-4 record against Horizon League opposition. They split a pair of games this season with Cleveland State with the home side holding court, but it's not the results of those regular season games that interest us, but the spreads. At home in Fairborn, the Raiders failed to cover as 13½-point chalk. Just three weeks ago in Cleveland, the Raiders again failed to cover the number this time losing outright as a 9-point fav. Now, on a neutral site, Wright State is spotting the same price they were spotting on the Vikings home court. That's the definition of value. It's easy to look at the Raiders 0-2 against the spread versus these Vikings and side with the feel-good story, but it is Wright State that is being sold short here. Eat the points.
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#524 Wright State -9½ -106 (Risking 2.12 units - To Win: 2.00)