Free NCAA Basketball Picks: Top Dog Value Findings For Monday's Slate

Darin Zank

Monday, December 21, 2015 5:03 PM UTC

Monday, Dec. 21, 2015 5:03 PM UTC

Despite the season, when it comes to betting college basketball, it's always better to receive points, rather than give them. Here's our underdog value selections for tonight's slate.

Big Dog in Carolina In-State Bout
North Carolina hosts one of the little sisters of the Tar Heel state, giving a huge number to Appalachian State.

ASU (2-8 SU, 3-3 ATS) returned almost its entire roster from last season, including three senior starters, so we were expecting some improvement. And while the Mountaineers haven't produced much in the way of victories so far, they are 3-1 ATS over their last four lined games, and 3-1 ATS as an underdog. Not too long ago they lost by a point to Mercer but covered easily at +13, and later lost by six to Hofstra but covered at +12.

This handicapper then hit on a free NCAA Basketball pick with ASU when it got 20 points at Texas. Appalachian State caught the Longhorns coming off their upset of this North Carolina squad, and played them to a 48-48 tie, before fading over the last 10 minutes in a 67-55 defeat.

Unfortunately, they followed that up with a dud of a performance Saturday at home against Charlotte, losing 82-66 as four-point favorites. The Mountaineers shot just 41 percent from the floor on the night, while allowing the 49ers to shoot 51 percent.

The Heels (9-2 SU, 5-5 ATS), meanwhile, have won two straight since that loss to Texas; first they beat Tulane 96-72, pushing a 24-point spread; and Saturday they beat UCLA in Brooklyn 89-76, covering at -8.

On an injury note, North Carolina is without F Kennedy Meeks (12 points, seven rebounds per game), who's sidelined with a sore knee.

UNC is, of course, very likely to win this game. But the Heels are also in this for the long run, as a national championship contender this season, and we would imagine would try to clear the bench at some time in this game. If ASU can just avoid the really big runs, hit a few threes and play the full 40 minutes, we like its chances at the cover.

As of this writing, Appalachian State was getting 31.5 points on the NCAAB odds at 5Dimes.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Appalachian St. +31.5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes


Good One Out West
The West Coast Conference offers up a good early-season battle when two of the top three contenders clash, as Gonzaga hosts Pepperdine.

The Waves (7-4 SU, 4-6 ATS) have won five games in a row, after rolling past Louisiana-Lafayette last Friday 79-59. Pepperdine actually trailed by a point at the half, then exploded over the last 20 minutes, winning a game that was lined as a pick 'em by 20 points. On the night the Waves shot 49 percent from the floor, and held the Cajuns to 31 percent.

Pepperdine returned almost the entire team from an 18-14 squad of a season ago, and hopes to contend in the WCC. An upset Monday night would be huge.

Gonzaga (8-3 SU, 2-6-1 ATS), meanwhile, has won two in a row, following a loss to UCLA nine days ago, pounding St. Mary's 86-50, then topping Tennessee in Seattle Saturday 86-79. The Bulldogs led the Vols by 16 at the half, fell down by a bucket with 10 minutes to go, then scrambled back for the victory. However, they came up three points short of covering the spread at -9.

The Zags are playing without 7-1 center Przemek Karnowski (11 points, five rebounds PG last year), who's dealing with a sore back.

The Bulldogs have beaten the Waves an unbelievable 29 times in a row, stretching back more than a decade. Last season Gonzaga swept three games from Pepperdine, but the Waves went 2-1 ATS, covering as dogs of 12 and 19 points.

The Waves have trimmed the gap between themselves and the Zags, and while they might not win Monday's night's match-up, we like them plus the points. We also look forward to this same match-up in February down in Malibu.

As of this writing, Pepperdine was getting 10.5 points at Heritage and +485 on the college basketball moneyline at BetOnline.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Pepperdine +10.5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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