Free NCAA Basketball Picks: Pair Of Dangerous Dogs For Saturday

Ross Benjamin

Saturday, January 16, 2016 4:40 PM GMT

Our NCAA basketball odds analyst has two underdog plays on Saturday’s card. Find out what those picks are and maximize your profits today.

West Virginia vs. Oklahoma 4:00 PM ET
West Virginia is coming off a 74-63 home win as a 1.0 point underdog over #1 Kansas in their previous outing. That victory improved its record to 15-1, and extended their current win streak to eight games. The Mountaineers pressure defense has given opponents massive headaches, evidenced by them forcing an astounding 21 turnovers per game. They’re not a great shooting team by any stretch, but they certainly overcompensate for that deficiency in other areas. West Virginia averages a very lofty 16 offensive rebounds in addition to attempting 31 free throws per game.

There’s no denying how good a team the Oklahoma Sooners (14-1) are. They’re only defeat came at Kansas in a triple overtime thriller. Buddy Hield (26.6 PPG) is one of the nation’s elite players, but he’s coming of a 10 turnover performance in a narrow 2 point win at Oklahoma State. The Sooners have gone 1-5 ATS in their last six games. Ironically, their only cover during that sequence came as a 7.5 point underdog in its only loss of the season at Kansas.

Any college basketball underdog of 3.5 to 9.5 (West Virginia), coming off a straight up underdog win by 10 points or more, versus an opponent (Oklahoma) coming off a win in which it failed to cover as a favorite, resulted in the underdog going 23-4 ATS (85.2%) since 1997. This handicapping algorithm certainly makes a lot of sense, and is one of the many reasons I’m backing the road underdog for one of my NCAA basketball picks.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: West Virginia +6
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

 

Northern Illinois vs. Western Michigan 7:00 PM ET
Northern Illinois has quietly gone about its business this season, and is now a stellar 14-2 heading into Saturday’s MAC contest. They’re coming off an impressive 71-66 win as a 6.5 point underdog at Toledo. That victory was their seventh in a row. The Huskies only two defeats came on the road against Ohio State by 13 and Missouri by 7. They’re #11 nationally in field goal percentage defense (37.6%), and also 17th in scoring defense (62.6 PPG). The Huskies are at a substantial +11 rebound per game differential, and rank 17th in the country in offensive rebounding.

Western Michigan enters today reeling a bit. The Chippewas have lost three in a row and five of its last six. They’re coming off a home favorite 74-64 loss at the hands of Ball State in its last outing.

If there’s a flaw in the resume of Northern Illinois it pertains to their strength of schedule. I would be more concerned about that factor if this were a game between power conference teams. At the mid-major level, I feel it takes on less significance unless a team has what can be determined as signature wins over major conference schools. The Huskies opponent (Western Michigan) on Saturday doesn’t qualify in that regard. Current NCAA basketball odds provide me with a best combination of number and price for this specific wager.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Northern Illinois +1
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle