Daily NCAA Basketball Picks: Totals & Upsets in Saturday's College Hoop Action

Will Green

Saturday, November 28, 2015 3:19 PM UTC

Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015 3:19 PM UTC

Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest in college sports betting of the year. That means a wild, busy odds market for bettors–and sometimes some razor thin margins that make or break a weekend. 

On Friday, consensus No. 1 Kentucky was -22 on the road against South Florida, gathering the strong majority of NCAA basketball picks across most sportbooks. It won by 21, giving those with a tryptophan hangover a bad beat and serving as a reminder that it's easy–but not always beneficial– to just bet chalk.

Games of Note for Saturday, Nov. 28, 2015
Belmont at BYU
Yes, both teams like to play at a fast tempo, which increases scoring opportunities. Yes, Belmont also has a top 30 offense in terms of efficiency according to Ken Pomeroy. That said, here's why I think 171 is a little too high: BYU not only plays at altitude, which can effect teams' 40-minute stamina from time to time, but more importantly, the Cougars are a decent defensive team with a height, experience and makeup similar to another team Belmont played earlier this season: Marquette. In that game, the Bruins and Golden Eagles barely eclipsed 160 points. The reason why the Cougars either win this game, or keep it close, is because its defense steps up.

NCAA Basketball Pick: UNDER 171

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St. Louis at Louisville
In the past three seasons, when Louisville's been favored by 15 points or more, it's gone 3–7 ATS. It did blow out a Samford team by 41 earlier this month, but St. Louis is no Samford. It's undefeated this season with three double-digit wins over similar Samford-like opponents. Its offense hasn't clicked yet, but its defense can keep it in the game until the end. These two teams meet on a neutral court in the Brooklyn Hoops Invitational, and game simulations I've seen put this at more of a 8-12 point matchup for the Billikens. This could be a perfect game for a "sandwich play," aka, picking the NCAA basketballl odds on the underdog against the spread and Louisville on the moneyline. The Under looks good here, too. 

NCAA Basketball Pick: St. Louis +15

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Eastern Washington +3  at Pacific
Tyler Harvey has left Eastern Washington for the NBA, but Jim Hayford's club is still a competitive team that has the ability to give "larger conference" foes like Pacific fits. The Tigers are still looking for their first win of the season against a Division I opponent, and have really struggled in particular to shoot the ball. 30% of Pacific's shots flow through TJ Wallace. Eastern will try to contain his output, while also slowing their own offensive possessions down. Given the average length of each team's offensive possessions (267th and 308th, respectively) and the struggles each of their offenses have on the shooting side, UNDER 150 wouldn't be a bad play.

NCAA Basketball Pick: UNDER 150

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Western Illinois at Creighton
Western Illinois made waves to start the college basketball season when it knocked off Wisconsin in Madison. It has since won its next four games, against albeit inferior competition. The thinking here is that double-digit dogs aren't exactly "square" picks, but moreso, that Creighton's major 2014-15 rebuilding season isn't fully over. The Achilles heel of Creighton's team last year was the inability to prevent opponents' three-point shots, which it's struggled to do this year. Guess what? Western Illinois is the most effective three-point shooting team in the country this year. If the Leathernecks maintain their range from three-point land, this game will be closer than 12 points. The fast-paced style of the BlueJays couldn't contrast more with Western Illinois' methodical half court set where a man hits a late jumper. 

NCAA Baketball Pick: Western Illinois +12 at 5Dimes

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