Free NCAA Basketball Picks: Thursday Value Plays

Joe Catalano

Thursday, February 28, 2013 2:59 PM GMT

Where do our cappers believe that the best NCAA Basketball betting value is hidden? Find out which plays we believe you should add to your college basketball picks tonight.

With a long list of games slated for Thursday, let’s find out where us bettors find the best value for our NCAA Basketball picks tonight.

#16 Ohio State (20-7, 10-5) at Northwestern (13-15, 4-11)

Only 2 games separate 1st from 5th place in the Big Ten, and the Buckeyes currently reside in the 5th position. A likely win here would catapult them up the conference standings and improve their shot at a NCAA Tournament bid.

Playing For Pride?

I don’t think a college student looks at it that way, but Northwestern’s pride has to be hurting after a 31 point loss to a sub .500 Purdue team in their last outing. Northwestern surely doesn’t want to be embarrassed in front of their home town crowd, but against a motivated Ohio State team, they might not have much of an option.

Not much can be said for the Wildcats, who have lost 5 games in a row. In their last game, they shot just 28.6% from the field and 58.3% from the foul line. They were -20 in the rebounding column and didn’t have a single player score in double digits. We’ve seen teams like TCU and Penn State who hadn’t won a game in their conference all season pull off upsets; anything is possible, but not likely.

Ohio State is coming off of an impressive 68-60 victory against #4 Michigan State in which the Buckeyes staged a 2nd half comeback to take down their 2nd top 5 team of the season.

Breaking Out of His Shell

We all know that this is Deshaun Thomas’ team, but against MSU, Aaron Craft was the man. Craft had been slumping prior to this matchup, averaging  5.7 point per game in his last 3 games on 7 of 20 shooting ; he was a non-factor in these games. He did manage to come up with 21 points and 6 assists in the victory.

Leading scorer, Deshaun Thomas (19.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg), can definitely use support from his teammates and efforts like the one that Aaron Craft provided solidify a team’s strength as a working unit.

NCAA Basketball odds makers have the Buckeyes at just a 10 point betting favorite and the total for the game is 123

Look for Ohio State to blast the Wildcats out of this building. Northwestern has basically thrown in the towel, considering the last effort that they put forth.

NCAA Basketball Picks: Ohio State -10 at 5 Dimes

[gameodds]14/222389/43/us[/gameodds]

North Carolina (19-8, 9-5) at Clemson (13-13, 5-9)

We head to the ACC for the second of our free picks, where the UNC Tar Heels hit the road to face the Clemson Tigers.

The North Carolina Tarheels are coming off of a huge double digit victory over the N.C. State Wolfpack. This helps to set themselves up nicely for the ACC Tournament, and despite their poor performance this season, they could build steam heading into the tournament season.

Being on the road is always a challenge, and the Heels are just a 3 point betting favorite in this game and the total is 132.

Read another cappers take on this matchup.

Although they did push Miami (FL) to the limit in a 45-43 defeat, the Clemson Tigers have lost 5 of 6 games and would have to win the ACC Tournament to see the NCAA Tournament. This club manages to be competitive, but the bottom line is they’ve been coming up on the losing end.

The combination of Devin Booker and Milton Jennings will need to establish their presence on the glass and avoid giving North Carolina any 2nd chances on the offensive end. The Tarheels are 11th in the nation in points (78.1), 7th in rebounding (40.8), and 3rd in assists (17.7).

If you look at this game statistically, North Carolina should blow out Clemson and should be a top 5 team in the country, but numbers don’t always equate to victories.  Confidence and momentum have led the Heels in the right direction.

Three Options

Reggie Bullock is coming off of a huge game against the Wolfpack in which he had 22 points and 13 rebounds. North Carolina can’t expect a similar effort in this game, but a carryover would be nice if you’re a Heels fan or bettor.

Forward, James Michael McAdoo, is the leader of this squad, and is averaging 18 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 steals in his last 2 games. McAdoo is consistent and along with guard, P.J. Hairston, any one of these 3 players are capable of having a big game. Hairston has scored in double figures in 9 consecutive games.

This is a team with great size and athleticism. Simply put. Clemson has problems scoring, is a poor rebounding team, and shoots poorly. They’re in definite trouble here.

NCAA Basketball Picks: North Carolina -3 at 5 Dimes

[gameodds]14/222378/43/us[/gameodds]