Dangerous Underdogs Worth a Wager for Thursday's NCAA Basketball Picks

Matthew Jordan

Friday, February 20, 2015 1:44 PM GMT

For last Thursday's NCAA basketball slate, I hit on two dogs winning outright in Ole Miss and California and just missed going 3-for-3 as Michigan lost in OT. Here are three dogs this Thursday on BetOnline's NCAA basketball odds that may win outright.

Connecticut (+3) vs. Memphis
Here are two of the biggest disappointments in the country this season. It looks as if the defending national champion Huskies will miss the NCAA Basketball Tournament.unless they win the American Athletic Conference Tournament. However, if UConn (14-10, 7-5) can get hot now and win its final six regular-season games to get to 20 victories and 13 in the conference then the Huskies might get an at-large bid. They had a chance to impress the committee on Saturday but lost 73-55 at ranked SMU to end a three-game winning streak -- the Huskies still haven't won more than three straight all year.  The Huskies shot under 40 percent (34.0) for the fifth time this year and UConn missed 11 of its final 13 3-point attempts. Memphis (15-10, 7-5) is essentially in the same boat as UConn. The Tigers won big at South Florida 75-48 on Saturday but still have dropped three of their past five games. They really don't have a signature win all season, playing only two ranked teams and getting blown out by Wichita State and Gonzaga. UConn was 3-0 vs. Memphis last year, winning two by double digits. I believe the Huskies have the best player in this game in Ryan Boatright. If he goes off, the Huskies can win.

Key NCAAB Betting Trends: UConn has covered 11 of its past 15 Thursday games at sportsbooks. Memphis has failed to cover four straight vs. teams with a winning record. The Tigers are 2-6 ATS in their past eight overall.

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Ole Miss vs. Mississippi State (+5.5)
Do they call the basketball meetings between these teams the Egg Bowl too? Egg Cage? I digress. This matchup means much more for Ole Miss (17-8, 8-4 SEC) as the Rebels are very much on the NCAA Tournament bubble, but probably in as things currently stand. They had a six-game winning streak snapped with a crushing 71-70 home loss to Arkansas on Saturday. After trailing much of the game, Ole Miss was up 70-69 with 37 seconds left but Martavious Newby missed a jumper. The Razorbacks rebounded and with just over six seconds left, reserve Manuale Watkins got behind the Rebels defense for the go-ahead layup. Ole Miss star Jarvis Summers got a good look on a short jumper with two seconds left but missed it. Summers, the team's second-leading scorer, finished with just seven points and Ole Miss shot under 38 percent. Mississippi State (12-13, 5-7) is playing out the string and hoping to get above .500 to perhaps play in a postseason tournament. The Bulldogs might have some confidence here with recent upsets over LSU and at Tennessee as well as a 77-74 victory at Missouri on Saturday. MSU shot 56.1 percent against Mizzou and is now 9-1 this season when hitting on 45 percent of its shots. A win here would make the Bulldogs' season as they don't want to get swept. Mississippi State lost at Ole Miss 79-73 on Jan. 28, but the Bulldogs dominated statistically, which is something you should consider when looking over the NCAA basketball odds. Ole Miss hasn't won in Starkville in six years or swept the series in 17.

NCAAB Key Betting Trends: MSU is 7-3 ATS in its past 10 games. Ole Miss is 0-5 ATS in its past five at Mississippi State.

 

No. 9 Utah vs. Oregon State (+7)
Let's be clear here that Utah (20-4, 10-2) is a vastly superior team to Oregon State; the Utes might even be a Final Four-caliber club. They enter this one on a four-game winning streak, all by at least 15 points. Utah is a top-five shooting club in the nation and Top 10 in scoring defense. There are two reasons why I like Oregon State's chances a bit here. The first is that  Utah might be looking ahead to a presumably tougher game at Oregon this weekend. Mostly it's because if Oregon State (16-9, 7-6) has any shot at an-large NCAA bid it must win this game. The Beavers are coming off an ugly sweep at the California teams. Losing at UCLA is fine, but not at USC. However, Oregon State is unbeaten at home and upset ranked Arizona there on Jan. 11 and easily handled UCLA in Corvallis on Jan. 22. The Beavers were supposed to get back starting forward Victor Robbins for this game off a 10-game suspension, but that has been extended. I still like OSU here for my college basketball picks, at least on the spread. An upset wouldn't be shocking as Oregon State is 9-1 all-time at home against Utah.

NCAAB Key Betting Trends: Oregon State is 6-1 ATS in its past seven home games vs. teams with a winning home record.