Friday's NCAA Basketball Picks Of The Day: Tipping Off The New Year

Matthew Jordan

Friday, January 1, 2016 2:27 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 1, 2016 2:27 PM UTC

Here are my top recommendatios based on the available NCAA basketball odds. Join in as we choose the best NCAA basketball picks to start the year winning!

Rice vs. UTEP (-7 On NCAA Basketball Odds)
This is the Conference USA opener for both but there was reports earlier this month that the Mountain West might be interested in adding these schools. The Mountain West currently has only 11 basketball-playing schools (12 in football). Nothing is imminent. Rice (5-8) enters on a two-game losing streak and was beaten last time out (Dec. 22) at something called Incarnate Word. So clearly the Owls aren't very good as the NCAA basketball odds show. They also lost to Houston Baptist. One bright spot has been freshman Marcus Evans, who leads Conference USA in scoring, averaging 19.8 per game. That's also tops among freshmen in the nation. Sophomore Egor Koulechov averages 19.0 points and 7.4 rebounds, but Rice hasn't little behind those two. UTEP (8-5), coached by Tim Floyd, has won two straight. It played Tuesday and routed UT-Rio Grande Valley 85-64. Dominic Artis scored a career-high 21 points on seven 3-pointers. He was two rebounds and two assists shy of a triple-double. UTEP is 8-0 when shooting a higher percentage than its opponent, 0-5 when not. There has been only one in school history. UTEP swept Rice last year. The game in El Paso closed the regular season and was a 68-65 decision. Rice missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: UTEP. The Miners are 11-4 ATS in their past 15 following a win of at least 20 points.
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker


No. 21 Utah vs. Stanford (+4 In NCAA Betting)
The Utes (11-2) closed non-conference play with a 115-74 blowout of the College of Idaho, an NAIA school, on Monday. Believe it or not, Utah trailed 16-2 to start the game but then went on a 35-5 run. Jakob Poeltl was 6-for-6 from the field for 15 points to go with 10 rebounds. Utah’s 115 points are the third-most scored for the school since 1980. Utah scored 100 points or more for the third time this season, which marks the first time that a Utes team has posted 100-plus points in three games since the 1978-79 season. Utah opens Pac-12 play on the road for the third time in its fifth season since joining the conference. The Utes were 13-5 in league play last year but are still well below .500 overall. They are just 1-3 in Pac-12 openers, beating USC last season 79-55 in Salt Lake City. Stanford (7-4) played four good non-conference teams in SMU, Saint Mary's, Villanova and Texas. The Cardinal were 0-4 and only the Texas loss was close. This is just the second time in school history that Stanford has played on New Year's Day. The other time was back in 1938. Stanford is 3-4 in conference openers under Coach Johnny Dawkins. Utah was 2-0 vs. Stanford last year, winning both easily. Neither of those were on Stanford's campus, however.

Stanford is 2-5 ATS in its past seven vs. teams with a winning record. The favorite is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings.

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Utah. 
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle


No. 25 UCLA vs. Washington (+1.5 For NCAA Basketball Picks)
UCLA (9-4) closed out non-conference play with a 67-53 win over McNeese State thanks to double-doubles from Isaac Hamilton (18 points, career-high 11 rebounds) and Thomas Welsh (16 points, career-high 14 rebounds). Tony Parker, who is second in the Pac-12 with seven double-doubles, had a quiet night with six points but did have 11 boards. He's No. 2 in the conference in pulling down 10.3 rebounds per game. Washington (8-4) might have gotten caught looking ahead to this game as it was upset by UC Santa Barbara 83-78 on Monday. Huskies leading scorer Andrew Andrews had just four second-half points and missed a questionable 3-pointer in transition with 20 seconds remaining that could have tied it. That said, Andrews' streak of 23-straight double-digit scoring games is tied for the fifth-longest in the nation and is the longest by any player in a Power 5 Conference. He leads the Pac-12 in scoring at 19.7 ppg. These teams played once last year, in Los Angeles, and UCLA won 88-66. The Bruins raced out to a 19-5 lead and never much looked back. UCLA has won five in a row over the Huskies, but UW has won eight of the past 10 in Seattle. Washington has won three of its past four games when facing a ranked team at home. Take that into account for your NCAA basketball picks.

The Bruins are 5-1 ATS in their past six road games. UW is 4-9 ATS in its past 13 Pac-12 games. UCLA is 6-1 ATS in the past seven meetings. 

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Free NCAA Basketball Pick: UCLA.
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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