Hoops and Horses: Atlantic 10 Mismatch, Santa Anita Comeback Play


If you like betting both college basketball and horse racing, you've come to the right place!

Each week in Hoops and Horses you'll find analysis and key NCAA basketball bets from Jason Huck and horse racing picks from Jose Contreras.

Jason Huck is a recreational sports bettor and horseplayer. His strengths are in tracking and analyzing college basketball games, but he’s been known to fire away on football and other major sports. He’s also a horse handicapper whose peak betting season coincides with the opening of his home track of Oaklawn Park

Handicapper Jose Contreras is an analyst for horse racing network TVG and a regular contributor to America's Best Racing.

Hoops Plays of the Weekend

Saturday, Feb. 15

St. Joseph’s at Rhode Island, tipoff noon ET

Best Bet (season record: 1-1-0): Let’s go to Kingston and lay the hammer on Rhode Island to win by 15 or more over Saint Joseph’s. Yeah, who likes to lay that many buckets…. no one. However, this is a get-right game for the Rams coming back home after playing Dayton in a game that was much more competitive than what the final score shows. Pretty simple here: Rhode Island in conference play ranks fourth in offense and first in defense. Take that with Saint Joseph’s 13th-ranked (out of 14 teams) offense and dead last-ranked defense. Another key stat here is the turnover percentage. SJU is highly prone to turn the ball over, while Rhode Island is the best in the conference at taking the ball away. Take that along with St. Joe’s next-to-last effective field goal percentage, and this should be a (pardon the pun) slam dunk.  I’m comfortable laying 20 in this game. While I feel confident about this, I’m going to lay the points and bet $275 to make $250.

Other games of interest:

Saturday, Feb. 15

Maryland vs. Michigan State, tipoff 6 p.m. ET

Take the under!!! The Number 1 and 2-ranked Big 10 defenses square off, the total should be around 140 points, and that is a heavy lean towards the under. A key KenPom angle I look at right here is the teams’ experience. Both these teams are super young as a whole. I know Cassius Winston and Anthony Cowan have experience, however, these teams rank in the bottom third of overall experience. This is a big game for both squads, so I anticipate a bit of nerves with the hostile Sparty Crowd. (As an aside, Jalen Smith for Maryland is going to be a lottery pick next year – this kid is an absolute stud).

Saturday, Feb. 15

Arizona vs. Stanford, tipoff 10:30 p.m. ET

Late night action in the last. I’ve got Arizona beating Stanford in a virtual pick ‘em game. The Arizona defense will smother the Cardinal O. Arizona has the edge in nearly every statistical category. The line should be within a bucket to open, so while home court gets the nod, Arizona should win going away, especially after that ugly home loss to UCLA last week. It’s a statement game for the Wildcats.


For this series, I will keep it simple and focus on the original wager: the WIN bet. Looking at one horse per day for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. $10 Win Bets on each runner.

Last week’s results:

Friday: Smiling Shirlee finished fourth at Santa Anita Park.

Saturday: Kustom Karl was bet down from 3-1 morning line and won at Santa Anita. Paid $5.80 to win.

Sunday: Alan’s Argument finished fourth at Fair Grounds.

Friday, Feb. 14

Santa Anita Park, Race 8, 7:31 p.m. ET

#5 Our Romance (5-1): She has been off since November and looks to have a steady schedule of workouts in preparation for her return to the races. I think she has the right style for this race. She will probably be traveling a couple of lengths behind the leaders early on and then make her move. A repeat of her effort two starts ago should fit well in this group.

Saturday, Feb. 15

Santa Anita Park, Race 3, 4:28 p.m. ET

#2 Leatherneck (5-2): In his previous race, he stretched out to a mile on the turf for the first time and narrowly missed third while not having the best of trips. I like that he is switching back to the dirt and cutting back to a sprint. His debut win was solid and that race also produced three next-out winners.

Sunday, Feb. 16

Fair Grounds, Race 7, 4:24 p.m. ET

#10 Runaway Wind (7-2): In his most recent race, he showed speed, made the lead and was caught late when losing by a head while still finishing over seven lengths clear of third. That was his first start in over two months and I like that the new connections are keeping him at the same claiming price off of that race.

Current totals (counting this week, with results pending):

Total Wagered: $60

Total Returned: $29

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