What sort of value is on offer from sportsbooks tonight? It's time to analyze the college basketball odds and see where we should take a chance with our sports picks.
We split the board with our picks yesterday, with the total play in the Georgetown/Marquette game barely falling short in our quest for a 2-0 night. On the bright side, Oklahoma dominated from start to finish en-route to an easy ATS cover at home.
On to tonight's selections...
Loyola-Chicago Ramblers vs. Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers
You're probably not alone if you don't know jack about either of these teams, but bear with us for a moment. We do think the Ramblers will be able to get the win and cover tonight.
As of now they're favored by either 5 or 5.5 points depending on where you're looking. On the season Wisconsin-Milwaukee has struggled to the tune of 5-20 SU and 8-14-1 ATS, while Loyola-Chicago is at 13-11 SU and 11-11 ATS.
Perhaps you're wondering why the Ramblers aren't favored by a larger margin. Well, their leading scorer, Ben Averkamp, is still recovering from a concussion and is currently listed as questionable.
Obviously his presence out there would help Loyola-Chicago out dramatically, but we still like the visitors to cover here regardless. Christian Thomas has really stepped his game up since Averkamp went down and has averaged 16.0 PPG and 7.7 RPG over his last seven games. Devon Turk, Cully Payne and Jordan Hicks have also been asked to pick up the slack and are capable of bringing it offensively on any given night.
However you want to spin it, the Ramblers have been better than the Panthers in practically every way. Over each team's last five, Loyola-Chicago has averaged 64.4 PPG and allowed 67.0 PPG, while Wisconsin-Milwaukee has put up just 56.4 PPG (39.3 percent shooting) while giving up 73.4 PPG (on 50.4 percent shooting).
Coming in, the Panthers are 3-6-1 ATS on their home floor, while the visiting Ramblers have gone a nifty 9-4 ATS on the road this season. Let's take Loyola-Chicago as one of our NCAA Basketball picks.
Pick: Loyola-Chicago Ramblers -5
Villanova Wildcats vs. Cincinnati Bearcats
We believe there's value to be exploited on the Wildcats tonight, as the NCAA Basketball odds makers are giving them seven points for this road matchup with Cincinnati.
This game has all the makings of being one of those all-too-familiar Big East slugfests, with physical play and tough defense being the norm. The Bearcats have allowed 57.2 PPG over their last five, while the Wildcats have allowed 60.4 PPG on only 36.9 percent shooting.
It was a slow start for Villanova in conference play, as they went threw a rough patch where they lost three straight. But they've recovered nicely, winning four of their last six (5-1 ATS), including fantastic wins over Louisville (73-64) and Syracuse (75-71).
The Wildcats may be young, but man are they talented. Freshman Ryan Arcidiacono has come in and immediately become a reliable floor general, averaging a team-leading 33:28 minutes per game. Meanwhile, sophomore Darrun Hilliard has taken a giant leap, scoring in double figures in eight straight games. That said, we think Mouphtaou Yarou could be the X factor here – he's averaging 12.81 PPG and 10.8 RPG, so you'd have to think Villanova will try to get him involved early and often.
Though trends aren't everything, it's hard to ignore Cincinnati's 1-9 ATS record at home this season. They're going to come out hard fresh off two straight losses, but you rarely see them blow teams out, even when they do win.
When you throw in Villanova's 7-2-1 ATS mark in road games, we feel this “inexperienced” but always improving Wildcats team will be able to stay competitive enough to cover the seven. In what should be a bruising 40 minutes, we're rolling with Jay Wright's squad. Good luck!
Pick: Villanova Wildcats +7