Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:40 PM EST.
Oral Roberts +17 -109 over OKLAHOMA
8:00 PM EST. After two middling 11-21 seasons to open his tenure in Tulsa, Paul Mills finally showed the improvement that the administration was banking on when it hired him off Scott Drew’s Baylor staff. Oral Roberts won 17 games last year and finished above .500 in league play for the first time since 2015, improving 155 spots in KenPom’s end-of-year rankings (from 290th to 135th). The top two scorers are gone, but with a few rising young players displaying plenty of potential, ORU has as much chance as anyone else to be South Dakota State’s top competition this year.
Oral Roberts was smoked by Mizzou (91-64) to tip off its campaign and then lost to Wichita by just five points in its third game. In between, the Golden Eagles beat a Division II school (by 30) but that holds no weight in the market. The Golden Eagles then played Oklahoma State and as a 15½-point pooch, they lost by just five.
ORU is playing the Sooners on the second night of a rare back-to-back in college basketball. The Golden Eagles faced NAIA program Bacone late Tuesday night. It’s a two-hour drive from Bacone College to Norman Oklahoma so it’s not a big deal. The Golden Eagles won that glorified practice by 30 so it's actually better than a “shootaround”. The game with the Sooners was a late addition to the schedule after OU’s season was delayed due to COVID-19 positive tests and contact tracing.
Give the Golden Eagles credit for scheduling difficult games in three of its first four contests (Wichita, Mizzou and Oklahoma State) and for taking on this one on short notice. Meanwhile, OU is using this game as a warmup until its Big-12 slate tips off on Tuesday.
The Sooners have played four games. They beat cupcakes UTSA and Florida A&M in two of their four games. The other two games against two decent programs in Xavier and TCU, OU lost by 22 and won by four respectively. Trust us when we suggest that Oral Roberts is a good team and you can also trust us when we suggest that Oklahoma State is better than Oklahoma. Oral Robers was taking back 15½ against Ok State last week and easily came in under the number. There is no reason that the Sooners should be favored by more than Cowboys.
The Golden Eagles are battle tested, they have a strong backcourt group and an intimidating paint presence. ORU’s size and shooting will keep them in a lot of games and we’ll trust that to be the story in this one too. Massive overlay.
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Oral Roberts +17 -109 (Risking 2.18 units - To Win: 2.00)