College Basketball Betting Free Pick: Seattle Redhawks at Washington State Cougars
CBB FREE PICK: Seattle Redhawks at Washington State Cougars
#734 UNDER 139.5 (Thursday, November 7 @ 9 pm EST)
It’s going to take some time for Washington State first-year head coach Kyle Smith to clean up the mess Ernie Kent left. Under Kent, the Cougars spent a lot of time simply rolling the ball out and not playing much in the way of defense. Smith has the complete opposite mindset. In reading about how he expects to turn the program around, what former head coach Tony Bennett was able to accomplish — three top 20 defenses all three seasons — was mentioned. Smith was able to make a big impact on the defensive end at San Francisco. In Rex Walters’ last season, the Dons ranked 291st in efficiency but improved to 59th in Smith’s first season. Offensively, Wazzu was more pace and volume than efficiency under Kent. They ranked 11th in points per possession vs. the PAC-12 last season. With the loss of leading scorer Robert Franks and departure of Kent, we can expect the Cougs to play a more moderately paced brand of offense as Smith attempts to keep his team competitive. At the end of the day, Smith knows that in order to lure recruits, you have to be able to show something in the win-loss column even if that means playing a less attractive style at first. And that should start tonight as Washington State opens the season at home vs. Seattle. The Redhawks are a veteran group and well coached under Jim Hayford. They beat Wazzu last season 78-69 — a typical Kent-coached performance with 77 possessions and only 69 points against a middle-of-the-road mid-major. Simply put this isn’t an opponent Wazzu can just show up and outclass hence the short point spread of -2.5. The market really toyed with the total — played it up overnight and bet it back and then did the same this morning as it went from 141 to 143.5 and the immediately back down to 140. Even with some of the value gone, the switch from Kent to Smith is going to be worth a handful of winning under bets this season.