My prowess in the Mo Valley continued last week with a 2-1 effort, and a 70% ATS record on the year with my specialty conference, which continues to pay huge dividends by keying in on 3 to 4 games a week in this mid-major conference. Creighton made a huge move last week and is in a 3-way tie with Northern Iowa (who Creighton swept this season), and surprising Wichita State, who I said early on was going to be a sleeper this year in this conference. I will again highlight a few teams and trends for this weeks upcoming action in the Missouri Valley.Creighton- Last week was a defining week for Creighton, and they continue to dominate people in Omaha at the Quest Center, downing Wichita State and Northern Iowa, and the Jays now stand at 12-0 at home, but still 3-5 on the road, although an OT win Saturday at Drake as 3 point chalk was a big win them. Scoring 72 ppg at home and allowing 59, puts them as the team to beat on the road if you are an opponent coming into Omaha.
Games this week at Evansville and then a homer against rival Southern Illinois round out the Blue Jays week, and I expect them to go 2-0 in those games and continue to be a serious contender for the conference title, and as I have mentioned, head coach Dana Altman is the best coach in this conference and knows who to coach in big games. If the line is under 4 or 5 in that Southern Illinois game, take a close look at Creighton on this upcoming Saturday (Feb 11th).Northern Iowa- Put the Panthers down as a 2 time loser to Creighton, but look for the Cats to do some clawing back to respectability this week, and they kicked it off after that loss to Creighton with a 33 point home win against Indiana State.
Allowing only 58 ppg on the season and a 8-3 road record will get you some attention, and the Panthers cracked the Top 25 last week until a loss at Creighton, but still they are the only 20 game winner in the conference, standing at 20-4 overall for the season. A key game on Tuesday with Wichita State at home, where they are out-scoring opponents 15 ppg on the season and sit at 12-1 SU. This is a team to contend with all season, and I expect them to be very tough to beat down the stretch.
Wichita State- The Shockers continue to impress with only 1 returning starter this season, but they are well coached, play some of the best defense in the league and are off a huge win at home in OT against Southern Illinois. The key for the Shockers has been their play on the road this year, at 6-3 SU, and that will be put to the test this week in a Tuesday Night tilt at Northern Iowa, as the Shockers are tied with them for a 3 way deadlock for the conference lead. The Shockers got hammered by the Panthers at home 75-61, and now travel to a ticked off Panther team to play the rubber match, and I am not sure the Shockers will win that game, as they lost as a 1 point chalk in game 1, and I doubt the oddsmakers will have them any less that a 5 or 6 point dog in that key game. Look for them to fall on Tuesday the 7th.Bracket Busters- 10 teams from the Mo Valley are in the bracket buster round in the NCAA Feb 18th. As I have mentioned, the Mo Valley is being recognized as one of the best mid-majors around and have sent 2 teams to the NCAA Dance the past 6 years in a row.
Some trends I have noticed, and a go against scenario to keep your eye on, is Illinois State, who are 0-7 on the road and 3-4 ATS, getting outscored 68-53 on the average. I would keep a close eye on the Redbirds and those lines while they travel, especially against the Top 4 in this conference, you might grab a winner on the home favorite. Oddsmakers have also adjusted the lines, as far as totals with Missouri State (formerly Southwest Missouri State), as they are consistently going under, but anytime the line is 140 or less they are worth a look on the overs, as they have a high flying offense and play little defense. Until next week, keep an eye on my featured plays in this conference, there is ample opportunity to win in this conference and the lines rarely move much..Tony George is a documented member of the Professional Handicappers League. Read all of his articles at http://www.procappers.com/Tony_George.
By: Tony George