Top AI NCAAB Picks for January 30: Big 12 Showdown in Texas

Sir'Jabari Rice Marcus Carr Texas Longhorns
Sir’Jabari Rice #10 of the Texas Longhorns and teammate Marcus Carr #5 react as they defeat the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Chris Covatta/Getty Images/AFP

With the OddsTrader BetStation app, you get access to a terrific AI betting tool, which yields projections of how a given game will go.

Oftentimes, these projections will differ from the actual odds. For example, Team A might be favored by the NCAAB odds to beat Team B by 10 points, but our computer picks might have Team A winning by 20 points to Team B.

In that case, there might seem to be value on Team A, and Team A might be worth betting on.

We say “might” because our computers are not perfect machines. Because they are not perfect, you have to know how to use them right, in order to profit from them.

Our computer-generated predictions yield an expectation of what might happen in a given game and we should assess the merit of their projections by handicapping as we normally do. So, humans are still a necessary part of deciding whether to bet on a given game.

Without further ado, let’s look at two major games and see why you should play the total for both games.

Virginia Cavaliers vs. Syracuse Orange

Monday, January 30, 2023 – 07:00 PM EST at JMA Wireless Dome

Our computers indicate that Virginia will beat Syracuse 74-68. This projection makes the spread very tight, but the “over” would be a confident play.

Should your handicapping yield the same insight?

Virginia’s Offensive Outlook

Virginia has scored 78, 76, and 76 points in its last three respective games, so the computer projections thus align with what Virginia has been doing offensively.

Tonight, the Cavaliers match up well against a zone defense that they carved up in the first meeting. While they only finished with 73 points, their scoring stagnated when they gained a significant lead.

Even when they stopped converting shot attempts at an efficient clip, they were still accruing open shots.

Their ability to create open shots is telling, and it is an ability that will continue tonight, especially in the form of point guard Kihei Clark. Virginia has the passing ability to carve up the Orange zone by finding players quickly enough to position them in favorable scoring opportunities.

Most especially, these scoring opportunities will come from behind the arc. As a result of the structure of its zone defense, Syracuse allows one of the highest rates of three-point attempts in the nation.

Virginia is built to take advantage, with four different players who convert 39 or more percent of their three-point attempts.

Syracuse’s Three-Pointers

But the Orange offense is also going to score a lot of points tonight.

Virginia’s defense relies on building a wall inside to protect the basket. The Cavaliers’ defense virtually pushes opposing players behind the arc.

A team’s best chance of scoring against Virginia is to get hot behind the arc and especially at home, Syracuse is inclined to do this. The Orange rank first in three-point efficiency in ACC play.

Know for your best bets that their three-point shooting will help the game go “over.”

NCAAB Pick: Over 132.5 (-115) at FanDuel

Baylor Bears vs. Texas Longhorns

Monday, January 30, 2023 – 09:00 PM EST at Moody Center

Our computers have Texas beating Baylor 82-77. This score projection indicates that the Longhorns will cover the spread, although not by much,

However, this projection indicates that the “over” would be a strong play. Should we agree and play the “over”?

Texas’ Perimeter Defense

Perimeter defense is crucial to consider in this game because both teams have shooters who can light it up.

Texas’ perimeter defense is particularly vulnerable, as evident in the fact that Texas ranks last in the Big 12 at limiting opposing three-point percentage.

Some folks like to downplay this statistic because a defense cannot help whether a shot, once attempted, goes into the basket, but defenses do influence whether opposing shot attempts are contested or attempted while in rhythm.

Texas’ defense allows too many open shots because its players are often too slow to close out opposing shooters. As a result, opponents get many open three-point attempts against Texas. This perimeter success has been a feature of opponents’ wins over the Longhorns.

Baylor Shooters

Baylor is well-constructed to score a lot from deep.

The Bears love to attempt a lot of three-point shots, and they should love to, especially because they have two players, guards Adam Flagler and LJ Cryer, who convert over 40% of their three-point attempts.

Texas on Offense

Texas’ offensive outlook is positive because Baylor’s defense ranks worst in the Big 12 in terms of efficiency.

Baylor is recruiting rim protectors but currently lacks the ability to defend the basket. Their opponents are especially efficient inside the arc, where Texas’ offense thrives.

Longhorns’ scorers like Sir’Jabari Rice and Christian Bishop reliably score inside without being assisted by teammates.

NCAAB Pick: Over 147.5 (-112) at FanDuel is your sports betting command center. Read featured betting strategy compiled from a panel of leading sports betting experts.

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