The moment we've all been waiting for is finally here. That's right, the NIT begins today!
While it may not be the March Madness we're accustomed to, there's still a ton of money to be made betting the NIT. We've got a great first round matchup as the 18-15 No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners take on the 23-10 No. 8 Missouri State Bears tonight at 7:00 PM EST.
The Bears lost to Drake by one in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament to end their NCAA Tournament dream and have sputtered a bit recently, going just 1-5 against the spread (ATS) in their last six. The Sooners, meanwhile, knocked off Baylor before also losing by one to Texas Tech in the Big 12 Conference Semifinals.
Oklahoma covered the spread in five straight games to close the season - can they stay hot against a scrappy Bears squad or will Missouri State show they belong with the top dogs?
Here are the odds via WynnBET as we find a winner in this NIT First Round matchup:
Missouri State vs Oklahoma Odds, Spread and Total
- Missouri State +6 (-110)
- Oklahoma -6 (-110)
- Missouri State: +230
- Oklahoma: -280
- 138 (Over -110/Under -110)
Missouri State vs Oklahoma Prediction and Pick
Oklahoma is a solid team with one fatal flaw. They're decent offensively and excellent defensively but cannot protect the ball whatsoever. The Sooners are in the 2nd percentile nationally in turnover percentage, coughing it up on over 22% of their possessions.
But they're in luck, because Missouri State is terrible at generating turnovers, ranking 309th in defensive turnover percentage on the season. They're a fantastic defensive rebounding team but their strength is their offense. The Bears are in the 93rd percentile in effective field goal percentage thanks to an elite interior offense. They want to score inside and have four players averaging 25+ minutes per game while shooting over 50% from the field.
Unfortunately for Oklahoma, interior defense is not their strong suit. The Sooners are 206th in opposing two-point field goal percentage - they're weak exactly where Missouri State wants to attack.
This line is an overreaction to the Sooners' strong Big-12 tournament performance. They were desperate to get into the NCAA Tournament and I expect an emotional let-down after barely missing out. Oklahoma is 3-5 ATS in their last eight as a favorite and the Bears should keep this one close.
I'll also be playing the over. With the Bears' ability to score inside and their dreadful defense, we should see some points. Their defensive rebounding ability means they'll be able to push the pace and Oklahoma should have no problem generating open looks of their own. Give me the over to improve to 7-1 in Missouri State's last eight contests.
Pick: Missouri State +6 (-110) and Over 138 (-110)
Follow all of Joe Summers' betting picks here.
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