Feisty Underdogs Give Duke and UNLV Some Tough Competition In Saturday's Action

Charles Stark

Saturday, December 9, 2017 3:10 PM UTC

Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 3:10 PM UTC

For Saturday’s NCAA basketball action we head to both sides of the country where top-ranked Duke takes on Boston College, and Illinois travels to UNLV. Duke and UNLV are both decent favorites in these matchups, but is there value in backing the underdogs?

Duke vs Boston College

Oddsmakers have come out making Duke a solid -15 favorite but for my NCAA basketball pick I’m to take Boston College to stay within the number. Last year Boston College gave Duke all they wanted and they are actually a little bit improved from last season so look for them to not get blown out. What I really like about this Eagles squad is they are playing very good defense on the season allowing opponents to shoot just 40.7% overall and 32.6% from distance. Of course they don’t match up very well with an extremely talented Duke team that is shooting 51.3% from the field which ranks them 10th in the country. However, on the other side of the ball Duke has been less than stellar and currently they are allowing 27.5 field goals made per game by their opponents which ranks them 256th in the country. Outside of playing better defense this year Boston College has actually picked things up on the offensive end as well as they shoot 45% from the floor and rank right in the middle of all NCAA teams in most offensive categories. Duke wins this game but don’t expect them to get out of Boston without sweating a little bit.

Free NCAAB Pick: Boston College +15Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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Illinois vs UNLV

Bob Underwood is an extremely good basketball coach and his up-tempo style will be a nice fit at Illinois. UNLV is no slouch this season so it is no surprise odds makers have made them a solid -6.5 favorite. For my NCAA pick in this matchup I will gladly grab the points though with an Illinois team that is well coached and on the rise. They come into this contest 7-3 on the season, but their losses have come to three pretty good teams in Wake Forest, Northwestern, and Maryland by a combined 10 points and with two of those games being on the road. Because both teams like to go up-tempo I like for Illinois to stay within the number because this suits them perfectly. The Running Rebels have some solid statistics overall but the two I like is that they are averaging 65.3 attempts per game which ranks 17th in the country, and allowing 71.1 which ranks them just about dead last in college basketball. This is exactly what Underwood likes and with this team averaging 81.6 points per game expect for them to be able to score and at least stay within the number. Most likely this game goes down to the wire.

Free NCAAB Pick: Illinois +6.5Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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