Oral Roberts hosted Western Illinois on Feb. 27 at Mabee Center in Tulsa, Okla. Unless you were one of the 1,414 fans in attendance, one of the six people who streamed the game on the Oral Roberts Sports Network, or one of the bettors who took the Golden Eagles or Leathernecks to cover a 9.5-point spread, you didn’t notice.
For obvious reasons, with all due respect to the respective programs, you didn’t notice a late-season Summit League game played on the same day as Texas vs. Texas Tech, Illinois vs. Wisconsin, Baylor vs. Kansas, and several other games between two teams that didn’t have a combined 18-22 record. One month ago, no one noticed Oral Roberts fail to cover in a four-point win. Now, as the second-ever 15-seed in the NCAA Tournament, everyone is noticing Oral Roberts as a darling in the tournament and in the sportsbooks.
The 85-81 win in Tulsa on Feb. 27 dropped Oral Roberts to 10-9 against the spread on the season. And it was the last time they didn’t cover. Since then, the Golden Eagles are riding a six-game ATS winning streak, tied for the longest streak among Sweet 16 teams (and among all teams still alive in postseason tournaments):
Feb. 28: vs. Western Illinois (+8.5)
March 7: vs. North Dakota (-6.5)
March 8: vs. South Dakota State (-4)
March 9: vs. North Dakota State (-1)
March 19: vs Ohio State (-16)
March 21: vs. Florida (-8.5)
In those six games, Oral Roberts covered by an average of 14.3 points. They’ve covered by at last 17 points three times, including 19 points in the three-point overtime win over Ohio State in the First Round. Not only are Max Abmas, Kevin Obanor, and the Golden Eagles winning against the spread, they’re crushing the spread over the last five weeks. By comparison, for Syracuse, with whom Oral Roberts is tied for the longest Sweet 16 streak, has been crushing spreads for a month, including a plus-19 showing in a blowout win over North Carolina State. The Orange covered by an average of only 11 points over their last six games.
Oral Roberts opened as an 11.5-point underdog against Arkansas, yet despite 74 percent of spread tickets and 66 percent of the handle on them, the line hasn’t budged. As of Saturday morning, it’s the highest ticket share of the day’s four games. If Oral Roberts proves the public right again with a seventh straight ATS win and another two-touchdown cover, their run as a tournament darling and ATS darling will continue into the Elite Eight.
Arkansas and Oral Roberts are scheduled to tip at 7:25 p.m. ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. You can view up-to-the-minute odds for that game and the weekend’s other games here.
Listen to High Motor by BetMGM for more news and analysis on college basketball, college football, and the NFL:
Place Sports Wagers at BetMGM
At BetMGM, we have parlays, odds, teasers, and more for the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Build a five-team parlay, bet the moneyline, or take advantage of betting promotions with the best online sports betting experience at BetMGM.
Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM and host of High Motor by BetMGM, an NFL and college football podcast available on Apple Podcasts and everywhere else. He has written for Sports Illustrated, HERO Sports, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter: @DoughtyBetMGM