1st Half NCAA Basketball Picks for Arizona vs. UTEP

Jeff Grant

Friday, December 19, 2014 2:25 PM UTC

Friday, Dec. 19, 2014 2:25 PM UTC

UTEP expects a full house at the Don Haskins Center Friday night, which makes it a dangerous home underdog in the opening 20 minutes versus Arizona.

Prideful Event
Arizona has won 38 consecutive regular-season non-conference games, which is important to consider when making your NCAA basketball picks, as it happens to be the longest streak in the nation in that situation.

The Wildcats have really blossomed offensively in their last five games, as they’ve shot 54.8 percent from the floor over that period of time, while ranking eighth nationally in defensive efficiency overall.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the squad is 19-0 SU and 12-5 ATS in December, with the UNDER going 10-5 in 15 opportunities.


There’s no secret around town that this is the biggest game of the year for UTEP, which can’t be ignored when looking over the NCAA basketball odds, as the school announced a home sell out for the first time since Nov. 12, 2010.

The Miners have fallen in defeat in 20 of their last 21 matchups against ranked opponents, but they’ve gone 20-28 all-time when serving as a host in such meetings overall.

Sports bettors will find that the program is 8-11 SU and 10-9 ATS versus teams that allow 64 or fewer points per game dating back to the start of the 2012-13 campaign.


Big Johnson
The Wildcats need freshman forward Stanley Johnson to be the best player on the floor Friday, as he leads the team in averaging 14.5 points and getting to the charity stripe 63 times.

Johnson has scored 10 or more points in each of the last 10 contests, while Arizona in general has had at least four double-figure scorers in better than 65 percent of its games since the start of last season.


The Hunted
The Miners also have a talented front court player leading them offensively, as Vince Hunter is averaging 16.2 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.0 steals—trying to become the first player within the program to lead the team in those categories since 2004-05.

The talented sophomore has paced the squad in scoring and rebounding in five of nine games, but he’s not doing it alone in the paint, as Cedrick Lang and Julian Washburn are averaging 10.7 and 10.9 points respectively.


I’m going to recommend that readers back the Miners in the first half as one of their main sports picks, as the Wildcats are 2-5 ATS in their last seven road games versus teams with a winning home record.

NCAA Basketball Picks:  UTEP Miners +4 First Half at 5Dimes

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