Hoops and Horses: Big Ten Tilt, Borel Brothers at Oaklawn


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, starting next week, 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.  For this week's season debut, Huck dives in with picks for both the hardwood and horse racing.

Hoops Play of the Weekend

Saturday, Feb. 1

Indiana at Ohio State, tipoff noon ET

Hola, ABR World! Let’s give this a shot as a new participant in the gambling writing sphere. I see one blatantly obvious play in college hoops this weekend: THE Ohio State is going to smash the Hoosiers of Indiana. While we cannot project what the point spread will be as of Thursday afternoon, Jan. 30, I think that the Buckeyes will open up around 5.5-6 point favorites, and rightly so.

These conference rivals met three weeks ago on Indiana's home court of Assembly Hall where the Buckeyes were considered the favorites. When they met, Indiana jumped out to a roaring start, going up 10 early before OSU made a small dent in the lead. Indiana won the game outright to the tune of 66-54, a score that does not fully reflect what actually happened.

Archie Miller made some halftime adjustments that led to Indiana getting the win, but if you break down the numbers, it was quite the oddity. First off, Ohio State scored 20 … that’s 20 second half points. That equates to 10 buckets over a 20-minute span, while the Hoosiers scored 35 (also not that many – but enough). If you break down these squads in regards to their conference stats, Indiana ranks 12th of 14 in efficiency on offense coming from Ken Pomeroy while Ohio State is fourth.

Where the rubber meets the road here is in three-point percentage, Ohio State is the best in conference from behind the arc, while Indiana is second to last in defending it. CJ Walker, a nearly 40% career three-point-shooter, was 1 for 6 in that game, so I anticipate he will go HAM against Archie Miller’s three-guard lineup. If they do decide to defend the three, then Kaleb Wesson will dominate in the paint, so pick your poison to defend OSU on its home hardwood.

Another glaring discrepancy that I see from the last time these squads met was the free throw margin. Ohio St was only 11-19 while Indiana was 20-36. Making more free throws than your opponent attempts is always a recipe for victory. If these two stats are not enough to convince you to hammer Ohio State, allow me to give you one more. Indiana ranks exactly middle of the pack in effective field goal percentage where Ohio State ranks in the top 30 nationally. When you take that with the fact that Ohio State also is in the top third nationally in defending field goals, this looks like a recipe for success.

How I plan to bet this game (with the line being 5.5 to 7 opening up) is $550 to win $500. This is my stone-cold lock of the weekend and I anticipate a double digit win from THE Ohio State Buckeyes. They seek revenge and need this game to improve to one game under .500 in conference play.

Horse Pick of the Weekend

Saturday, Feb. 1

Oaklawn Park, Race 3, post time 3:08 p.m. ET

#3 Flatoutandfoxy: The Borel brothers, trainer Cecil and Hall of Fame jockey Calvin, team up here with a 4-year-old state-bred filly. Yes, yes, most folks don’t key an Arkansas-bred for their horse of the weekend, but there's a lot to like about this one. She’s coming in off a two-month break after we last saw her at Churchill Downs. On Nov. 6, she raced in open company against much tougher competition and held her own with a 1 ¼-length win. You can toss her start after that on Nov. 27 at Churchill as she was bumped early, along with breaking from an outside post. This horse can run, has solid workouts and should get a perfect, stalking trip with Calvin Borel hugging the rail and clearing wide at the turn. Cecil doesn’t have as many horses in his barn here at Oaklawn, but he is 2-1-0-1 with them. Her workouts are good, she’s fresh, and most other entries in the race have been off for close to a year, so they may “need one.”

I’m going to put $50 across on this filly and key her front and back in daily doubles.

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