Free NCAA Basketball Picks: Take Home Chalk Virginia Against Louisville

Swinging Johnson

Saturday, March 5, 2016 5:32 PM GMT

The ACC is spotlighted Saturday night as the Cardinals travel to Virginia to take on the No. 4 ranked Cavaliers. Let's peruse the NCAA basketball odds to find a winner tonight.

Louisville Cardinals (23-7 SU, 12-13 ATS)
After stumbling in consecutive road losses to Duke and Notre Dame the Cardinals have rebounded by winning four of their last five but covering the NCAA basketball odds boards in only two of those five contests. In their last outing on Tuesday night Louisville welcomed Georgia Tech to the KFC Yum! Center and escaped with a 56-53 victory despite being installed as 12 point home favorites. The Cardinals were outrebounded by the Yellow Jackets 42-35 and made only 2-of-17 from downtown. Sophomore center Chinanu Onuaku led the team with 17 points and 11 boards.

The Cardinals will not be punching their ticket to the Big Dance this season due to a self-imposed ban that emanates from the escort scandal that broke earlier this season. In a tell-all book that was released early in the season a self-described madame detailed exploits between paid escorts and dancers cavorting with players and recruits from 2010-2014. There have been rumors circulating that this may be coach Rick Pitino's swan song in Louisville.

 

Virginia Cavaliers (23-6 SU, 14-13 ATS)
The Cavaliers have won six of their last eight straight up and if you included Virginia in your NCAA basketball picks over the last seven games you have been one happy camper as they have covered the number in six of those contests. On Tuesday night the team traveled to Clemson as four-point road chalk and did not disappoint with a 64-57 victory over the Tigers. The Cavaliers saw a double digit lead erased but rallied to claim the victory and the cover, keeping their hopes alive for a regular season ACC title.

Virginia's offense is not their strong suit as evidenced by their 70.8 points per game (242nd) and therefore it is no surprise their rebounding game is amongst the missing grabbing only 32 boards per contest (326th). However, their defense has been suffocating holding opponents to just 60.1 points per game which ranks them 3rd in the nation in that category. Senior guard Malcolm Brogdon leads the team with 18.5 points per game and is only one of three Cavaliers averaging double digits in scoring this season with the other two being Anthony Gill (13.5 PPG) and London Perrantes (11.3 PPG).

 

Betting Analysis
The Cavs crushed the Cardinals in Louisville in their only meeting this season by the score of 63-47 despite being installed as four-point road dogs. Louisville has not fared well on the highway this season with a 5-6 straight up road mark and a woeful 3-8 ATS record. Conversely, the Cavaliers have thrived in front of the fan friendlies with a perfect 14-0 home record, translating into a 7-5 ATS mark.

While the Cardinals have nothing to look forward to the Cavaliers are ramping up for conference play and may even be able to claim the ACC regular season title with a win this afternoon and losses by their ACC rivals North Carolina and Miami. No matter how it falls the No. 4 ranked Cavaliers will be dancing in the postseason and they would like nothing better than to deliver a nasty farewell to Rick Pitino if he walks out of the Louisville coach's door for good at the end of the season.

I don't see the Cardinals being able to crack a defensive code that stymied them earlier this season and held them to just 43 points on the scoreboard. The Cavaliers do not score many points but then again the Cardinals are not a scoring juggernaut themselves. Giving credit where credit is due Louisville also boasts a terrific defense holding opponents to 60.9 PPG but these are two teams going in completely different directions. I could easily see a repeat of the earlier meeting between the two which is why I am siding with the home chalk here.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Virginia -5.5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes