Big Ten/ACC Challenge Picks Anyone?

Jay Pryce

Tuesday, November 28, 2017 2:03 PM UTC

Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017 2:03 PM UTC

The Big Ten/ACC Challenge presents three matchups with value betting game totals. Check out our predictions and picks in the Florida State-Rutgers, Northwestern-Georgia Tech, and Iowa-Virginia Tech showdowns here.

Florida State (-5) vs Rutgers

A soft schedule, including four against D-II opponents, sees Rutgers 6-0 to begin the season. Florida State presents a reality check to say the least. The Scarlet Knights defense might be better than last year’s shot-stopping bunch that ranked fourth in the Big Ten allowing 67.1 points per game. Athletically, they are stronger, quicker, and more imposing, currently topping the nation with a .332 opponent shooting percentage.

Rutger’s offense is still a work in progress. The unit owns a 43 percent field goal percentage field against weak competition, hitting just 26 percent from the 3-point area. Success from the charity stripe is a jaw-dropping .577 percent. Yikes. The Scarlet Knights failed to score more than 65 points at Louis Brown Athletic Center to Power 5 opponents in eight games last season. Don’t expect improvement any time soon. Pick ‘under’ 141.5 as your best bet.

Free NCAAB Pick: Under 142Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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Northwestern vs Georgia Tech (Pick ‘em)

Northwestern’s first true road game of the season is tough one. Since 2017 ACC Coach of the Year Josh Pastner took over Georgia Tech, it is 19-4 SU and 10-6 ATS at McCamish Pavilion. A swarming Yellow Jackets defense protects the home hardwood, allowing 61.0 points per game on 36.4 percent shooting. They are yielding 59.7 points on average this season versus three cupcake opponents (Bethune-Cookman, Texas-Rio Grande Valley, and North Texas). The Wildcats will prove much tougher to stop.

The Cats entered the season in the AP Top 25 after their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance last year, but dropped out after losses to a pair of ranked opponents: Creighton (92-88) and Texas Tech (85-49). They own the 38th most efficient offense in the country, by far the strongest to test Georgia Tech this season. Outside of a 49-point stinker against the Red Raiders, it has put up 75 points or more in each contest.

Georgia Tech is just 6-10 SU in the ACC/Big Ten challenge, going 4-3 SU at home. It has faced Northwestern three times in the series and is 1-2 SU and ATS overall. All three games went ‘over’ the total. We’re expecting this meeting to top the number as well with Northwestern reaching 70 points. The Ramblin’ Wreck has limited options on offense with star scorer Josh Okogie suspended and will have to play quicker to keep up if falling behind at any point in the contest. A close, competitive matchup will see the combined score edge past a 132.5 total.

Free NCAAB Pick: Over 132Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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Iowa vs Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech ranks first nationally in scoring offense (102 ppg), field-goal percentage (58.3) and 3-point shooting (49.6 percent). Sustainable? No way. The Hokies, 3-0 all-time versus the Hawkeyes in the Challenge, will likely have a big night against a defense allowing 80.6 per game on the road since the start of last season. Though, don’t expect Virginia Tech to hit the century mark for the fourth time this season.

Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery will field his healthiest team all year at Cassell Coliseum, which will help plug some holes. Forward Ahmad Wagner, who missed the Hawkeye’s 80-71 defeat to Louisiana-Lafayette last Monday due to a sore shoulder, is expected back in the lineup. Last year’s Big Ten sixth man of the year Nicholas Baer will also suit up for the first time, sidelined by a broken finger to begin the season.

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FM: Both Baer and Wagner practiced Sunday... haven't been cleared, but he believes both will play against Hokies. #Hawkeyes

— Iowa Basketball (@IowaHoops) November 27, 2017

Both teams rank in the top 50 in offensive efficiency and like to play at pace. The scoring numbers are bit inflated playing the 336th (Iowa) and 333rd (Virginia Tech) easiest schedules to date according to KenPom. Defense will play second fiddle here, but do enough to keep the score from surpassing a 165 total. My college basketball pick is the ‘under’

Free NCAAB Pick: Under 164.5Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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