NCAA Basketball Picks for VCU vs. Massachusetts

Jeff Grant

Friday, February 21, 2014 1:02 PM GMT

Friday, Feb. 21, 2014 1:02 PM GMT

The Massachusetts Minutemen didn’t fare too well against the VCU Rams in two meetings a season ago, but things may be different when playing on their home court Friday.

Let’s take a closer look at the college basketball odds for this Atlantic 10 Conference matchup at the Mullins Center, with the opening tip scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

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Fallen into a pattern

VCU has alternated wins and losses over its last four games, as it looks to bounce back from a 64-62 defeat to the Saint Louis Billikens as 5.5-point road underdogs last Saturday, while going UNDER the betting total for the third time in four contests.

The Rams have compiled a 34-8 SU record following a loss under head coach Shaka Smart.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the program is 3-2 SUATS as road underdogs of three or fewer points.

Playing better

Massachusetts is 3-1 SUATS over its last four games, as it comes off a 67-61 victory over the George Washington Colonials as five-point road underdogs last Saturday, while going UNDER the betting total for the first time in four contests.

The Minutemen have four probable starters averaging in double figures, with senior guard Chaz Williams leading the way at 15.4 points a contest.

College basketball handicappers will find that the team is 4-4 SUATS as home favorites of three or fewer points since the start of the 2011-12 campaign.

Creating HAVOC

The Rams possess one of the better defenses in all of college basketball, as they create a lot of HAVOC in causing opponents to turn the ball over on 26.5 percent of their offensive possessions.

Junior guard Briante Weber is the ringleader of this swarming attack—sitting just three steals away from being just the eighth player in A-10 history to reach 100-plus steals in a single season.

There’s no place like home

The Minutemen are worth favorites on the SBR Odds page due to their 27-5 SU record in their last 32 regular-season games at this venue.

Massachusetts turned the ball over 48 times in losing both meetings against VCU a year ago, but neither of those contests took place at this venue.

Teams Building Steam Heading in to March: NCAAB Betting

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Minutemen as one of their college basketball picks, as they’ve won 16 of 17 games as a favorite during the 2013-14 campaign.

NCAA Basketball Pick: UMass Minutemen -1

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