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Best Bets for February 18: On the road we go, catching points across America

It’s a terrific slate of college basketball tonight, with nine Top 25 teams in action

Kentucky Wildcats guard Tyrese Maxey celebrates during the game against the Ole Miss Rebels in the second half at Rupp Arena. Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

We’re 15-3 in this space since a week ago today. The goal at this point is to just not fall off the wagon. Let’s find a few winners along the way here:

Oklahoma State +10.5 at West Virginia

Don’t look now, but the ‘Pokes are playing better! Take away a loss at No. 1 Baylor last Saturday and they’ve won three in a row, and have covered in all four. Meanwhile WVU hasn’t covered in three, and they’re not exactly the kind of team that runs away and hides with a lead. Eleven is just too many for the Mountaineers to cover, especially against a team that doesn’t shoot a ton of 3’s like OSU: where WVU really shines is on perimeter pressure defense.

To be noted: we are fading the sharps here, as 66% of the bets and 77% of the handle at DraftKings Sportsbook. We’ll see if we’re right.

Kentucky +2.5 at LSU

63% of the bets and 71% of the cash are on the ‘Cats at DraftKings. And while Big Blue is rounding into shape, LSU is going the other way; they’ve covered only one of their last five, and might be the most inconsistent team in the SEC.

Kentucky has covered four of their last five, and won four in a row straight up. This is not the same team that lost two in a row in Las Vegas in December to Utah and Ohio State. They shouldn’t be catching points anywhere in conference that isn’t Auburn.

Pittsburgh at Florida State over 135.5

Don’t look now, but FSU is actually trying to score this year.

Leonard Hamilton’s teams in Tallahassee have traditionally played with all the pace of a snail carrying a backpack full of lead, but they’re up to 95th in adjusted tempo this season, and are 40th in adjusted offensive efficiency. We Floridians still aren’t sure how to process this info.

And they’ll be able to speed up a mediocre Panthers team that’s 331st in tempo, but reasonably efficient when they do score. But the Noles block a shot every six possessions to lead the nation, and get a steal a bit better than one in every eight. They’ll get easy baskets tonight, and when they don’t Pitt will score.

Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA) or 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN) or 1-800-522-4700 (NH). NH/NJ/WV/IN/PA only. 21+ (18+ NH). Eligibility Restrictions Apply. See website for details.