The Oklahoma State Cowboys and Iowa State Cyclones will lock horns Monday night at James H. Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa, so I bring you the best betting pick and tips for their first encounter of the season.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Cowboys opened as slight 2.5-point road favorites, as the bookies expect a hard-fought battle. Last year, these two Big 12 foes met each other three times, and the Cowboys won twice, while the Cyclones covered on two occasions.
Oklahoma State is trying to overcome Cade Cunningham’s absence
The Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-4; 3-4 Conf.) are coming off an 81-66 home loss to the No. 2 Baylor Bears this past Saturday, failing to cover an 11.5-point spread. It was the Cowboys’ second defeat in the last four outings, as they couldn’t cope with the mighty Bears, allowing a 15-0 run midway through the second half.
Oklahoma State missed its best player on Saturday. Freshman guard Cade Cunningham (18.0 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 3.7 APG) hit the sidelines due to the COVID-19 protocols, and it is still unknown how many games he will miss.
Sophomore forward Kalib Boone stepped up in Cunningham’s absence and scored 21 points against Baylor. Isaac Likekele added nine points, six boards, and seven assists, and the 6-foot-5 junior guard is averaging 11.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 3.9 dimes on the season.
Iowa State aims for its first conference win of the season
The Iowa State Cyclones (2-7; 0-5 Conf.) will take the floor for the first time since January 9 and a heavy 91-64 defeat to the No. 18 Texas Tech Red Raiders. Due to the COVID-19 issues, the Cyclones have had to postpone four games since then.
Iowa State’s last win came on December 20, 2020, when the Cyclones beat Jackson State 60-45. They are on a three-game losing streak, suffering a 76-65 defeat to No. 2 Baylor and a 78-72 defeat at No. 4 Texas along with that embarrassment against Texas Tech.
Junior guard Rasir Bolton leads the way for the Cyclones, posting 14.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game. Three more players average points in double figures including junior forward Javan Johnson (12.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 2.8 APG).Oklahoma State:
- 5-12 ATS in the last 17 games played in January
- 1-8 ATS in the last nine games played on Monday
- 4-1 ATS in the last five games against Oklahoma State
- 11-5 ATS in the last 16 games played in January
Even with Cade Cunningham at the shelf, the Cowboys are slight favorites for a reason. They have great depth, while the Cowboys’ defensive rating is 37th-best in the country (93.2). On the other side, the Cyclones score 106.4 points per 100 possessions (93rd) and surrender 98.9 in a return (117th).
This should be a very tight contest. The hosts certainly need some time to shake off the rust, but they’ll be fired up to take advantage of Cade’s absence and finally grab their first Big 12 victory this season. The Cowboys’ offense doesn’t look like an elite one with Cunningham on the sidelines, so I’m backing the Cyclones to cover.
Pick: Take Iowa State +2.5 at -110
The Cowboys love to play at a fast pace, tallying 71.1 possessions per 40 minutes (75th in the country), so the Cyclones, who average 69.4 possessions per 40 minutes, will try to slow down things a bit. I’ve mentioned the Cowboys’ tough D, and the Cyclones have to be patient, looking for the best possible shot selection.
The over is 5-1-1 in Oklahoma State’s last seven games, while the under has hit in three of Iowa State’s last five contests and four of the previous six encounters between the Cowboys and Cyclones. I’m backing the under here, as the Cowboys are without their best player and will lean heavily on their defense.
Pick: Go under 145.5 points at -110