College Basketball Betting: Markets React Strongly to Iowa State Losing Haliburton
February can be a tough nut to crack for college basketball bettors. The lines are tight, the market is mature, and there aren’t many angles that aren’t accounted for. So when a key player goes down with a late season injury, it’s on everyone’s radar. Iowa State’s best player, Tyrese Haliburton, broke his wrist last weekend and will miss the rest of the season. Haliburton is a lock to be a first round NBA draft pick; let’s call him a taller, lankier version of Ja Morant. He’s a plus player on both ends of the floor and without him, Iowa State becomes one of the least talented teams in the Big 12. And not that the Cylones were all that special with him in the lineup. With a record of 10-13, 3-7 and -0.10 points per possession in league play, ISU was a long shot to finish with a winning record.
The question now becomes, how do we bet Iowa State moving forward? Conventional wisdom says to fade and play under. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what the betting markets are thinking. Take a look at the adjustments oddsmakers and then bettors made for tonight’s game vs. Oklahoma.
KenPom: Iowa State +6 O/U 148
CRIS Opener: Iowa Sate +8 O/U 147
CRIS Current: Iowa State +10 O/U 142.5
That’s some serious adjusting, no? Four points to the side? Five and a half points to total! Of course, the last time Haliburton missed a game, Iowa State lost outright as 25-point chalk to Florida A&M. The game also went under by 7.5 points. Not exactly a large sample size but not exactly a positive indication Iowa State can compete against the likes of the Big 12 without his services.
Betting into key injuries and suspensions is tricky business and one that the betting markets almost always overreact to. But we’re talking about not only the best player on a team but one with top 10 talent nationally. Perhaps the best approach is to sit back, see what happens tonight, and use it for Saturday’s home game vs. Texas. If Oklahoma covers and the game goes under, rest assure the markets will go back the well with the ISU fade/under combo. I wouldn’t be opposed at all to backing a Haliburton-less ISU squad at a discounted rate at home against an equally downtrodden team.