College Basketball Picks: NC State vs. Virginia

Jeff Grant

Wednesday, January 7, 2015 3:12 PM GMT

Virginia has dominated conference opponents on its home floor in recent years, which makes it a top college basketball pick against NC State Wednesday night.

A Challenging Stretch
NC State begins a three-game stretch against nationally-ranked opponents in this high-profile matchup, which is important to consider when looking over the college basketball odds, as it looks to remain perfect in Atlantic Coast Conference play.

The Wolfpack have already earned home victories over Wake Forest and Pittsburgh in front of their passionate fan base, but they’ll need to play at a higher level against the No. 3 team in the country. It’s important to point out that the roster has played a strength of schedule that sits behind just 33 programs nationally at this point.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the squad is 10-19 SU and 16-11-2 ATS as underdogs.

 

Wake-Up Call
Virginia has won all 13 of its games to start the 2014-15 campaign, which can’t be ignored when making your college basketball picks, but it has become inconsistent in terms of the point spread in its last five contests.

The Cavaliers picked up a hard-fought 89-80 overtime victory over the Miami Hurricanes as 6.5-point road favorites last time out, while going OVER the betting total for the third time in four affairs. Offensively, the team has scored 80 or more points in back-to-back games for the first time under head coach Tony Bennett, while its defense still ranks second nationally in surrendering just 50.8 points a contest. Sports bettors will find that this group is 2-0 SU and 0-2 ATS as home favorites of 15.5 to 18 points this year.

 

Perimeter Play
The Wolfpack are led by a talented trio of guards on the offensive end of the floor, with Cat Barber, Trevor Lacey and Ralston Turner combining to average 42.5 points. Each player presents a different challenge for Virginia’s stellar defense, but the main player to stop is Lacey, as the Alabama transfer has already tallied six games of 20-plus points.

 

There’s No Place Like Home
The Cavaliers own the nation’s eighth-longest home winning streak of 18 games, which is ironically the same number of consecutive victories they’ve tallied versus ACC opponents on this floor.

Virginia has outscored opponents by an average of 26.3 points when playing in Charlottesville—made possible by jumping out on opponents and securing a 14.6-point margin in the opening 20 minutes of play.

 

Prediction
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Cavaliers as one of their top basketball plays, as they’ve gone 16-4-2 ATS in their last 22 ACC contests.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Virginia Cavaliers -15 at BetOnline