Hoops and Horses: Key Conference Showdowns, Santa Anita Plays


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

Friday, Feb. 21

Yale at Cornell, 7 p.m. ET tip

Let’s get this weekend started early with some more winners. How about some Friday night action? Ivy League! Yale -12 at Cornell. After Yale’s last four losses (dating back all the way to Nov. 23), they have followed it up with wins at an average margin of nearly 25 points. Cornell just got handled to the tune of 24 points at home to a much lesser squad. Lay the 12 points and play Yale!

Saturday, Feb. 22

Tennessee at Auburn, tipoff noon ET

Best Bet (season record 2-1; +$250): Auburn over Tennessee. Line projection says it is going to be around 5 to 6 points. Simple equation here: Auburn back home after an ugly ugly loss to a subpar Georgia team. Auburn Arena is a tough place to play as the Tigers have not lost there this year. Add in the fact that Vols have a putrid offense and Auburn is top tier. Auburn is the best rebounding team in the conference, while Tennessee has an incredibly hard time blocking out. Auburn very well could win by 20, but it is conference play. I fully expect Samir Doughty to be raining three-pointers and Austin Wiley to do some major work on the boards cleaning up any misses. Lay the wood with Auburn giving the points. Betting $550 to win $500.

Seeding implication game: 

Saturday, Feb. 22

Kansas at Baylor, tipoff noon ET

This will probably be a pick ’em or Bears -1. The Bears are uber-talented and are extremely gritty. They very well should be undefeated except for a late falter early in the season in Alaska.  Kansas has had a pretty easy last few games, so Baylor’s physicality may be a bit tough to handle early in the game. Kansas has the top-ranked offense in the conference, while Baylor has the No. 1 defense; D travels, not so much for offense. Ride Baylor until this fun stops. The No. 1 seed is on the line for Baylor for conference tournament AND the Big Dance.  Baylor gets every team’s best shot and is still 17-8 ATS. Baylor beat them by 12 at Allen Fieldhouse. Take the home squad.


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: Our Romance was third.

Saturday: Leatherneck was second.

Sunday: Runaway Wind was fourth.

Friday, Feb. 21

Santa Anita Park, Race 8, 7:32 p.m. ET

#7 Champers (7-2): He was no match for the easy winner in his most-recent start and could only finish third as the betting favorite. He is facing a field that lacks proven turf form, and I think if he can repeat his effort from three starts back he can be tough here. Mike Smith doesn’t get many calls to ride for this barn, but I think it’s a positive that he picks up this mount.

Saturday, Feb. 22

Santa Anita Park , Race 3, 4:29 p.m. ET

#2 Super Bunny (2-1): The connections decided to claim this one despite being eased in her previous outing in October. This barn does well off of layoff like this and a hustling rider gets the mount on a filly that looks like they will try to send from the gate.

Sunday, Feb. 23

Santa Anita Park, Race 6, 6 p.m. ET

#4 Va Va Voom: She hesitated a bit at the start of her last race but then accelerated nicely to grab the lead and set fast fractions when narrowly losing second in the final strides. She outlasted the two horses that were applying pace pressure to her. The top two runners rallied from the back of the pack. She can improve given it was her first start off a long layoff and also her first start on the turf. She is adding lasix (furosemide) for the first time today and there is not a ton of speed in this field.

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

Total Wagered: $90

Total Returned: $29

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