Friday's Top Value NCAA Basketball Picks & Odds

Matthew Jordan

Friday, January 2, 2015 7:18 PM GMT

Friday, Jan. 2, 2015 7:18 PM GMT

Friday is always a very light schedule in college basketball, usually left to the mid-majors, and this week isn't much different. Here are recommendations on three games involving unranked teams and their opening NCAA basketball odds..

Washington State vs. Stanford (-15)
It's an early tip on the West Coast with a noon local time start on the Pac-12 Network in the conference opener between the Cougars and Cardinal. Washington State (6-6) didn't have a good non-conference run as the Cougars didn't beat any good teams and lost to schools like UC Santa Barbara, Idaho and Santa Clara. The Cougars did close the schedule with back-to-back wins. Things aren't likely to go well Friday as Washington State has not won a Pac-12 road game since a 71-68 victory at Oregon State on  Jan. 26, 2013. The Cougars are 0-4 in true road games this season.

Stanford (8-3) is a perfect 6-0 at home. The Cardinal have two very good wins, over UNLV and at Texas in overtime. The losses were to Duke, at DePaul and at BYU. Chasson Randle leads Stanford in scoring at 18.5 points per game, while Stefan Nastic averages 14.4 points and 6.4 rebounds and Anthony Brown 14.0 points and 6.7 rebounds. Brown is the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week.

When chosing your NCAA Basketball picks keep in mind that WSU has lost its last six conference openers and its last two conference openers on the road. The Cardinal were 3-0 against the Cougars last year, winning each by at least 11 points, and have won seven of their past eight at home in the series.

Free NCAA Basketball Picks: Stanford at the Greek. The Cardinal have covered four straight in the series. WSU has covered only five of its past 28 road games overall at sportsbooks.

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Florida State vs. Mississippi State (+2)
The Seminoles and Bulldogs meet in the non-conference finale for both at 8 p.m ET on ESPNU. FSU (8-5) comes off its best win of the season, a 65-63 upset of Florida as a 6-point home underdog at sportsbooks to end a five-game skid against the Gators. The game-winning basket wasn't even scored by a Seminole but when Florida's Jacob Kurtz accidently tipped in a missed FSU shot with 0.4 seconds remaining. It might be the oddest finish you will see this season. Florida isn't what is used to be right now but still a potential momentum-building win for Florida State. It hadn't beaten any other major program in 2014.

Mississippi State (6-6) enters having lost six of seven and that lone win was against little Jacksonville. The Bulldogs are horrible offensively, ranking 301st in the country in scoring at 61.5 points per game and averaging a scant 8.4 assists per game. That is 339th of 345 Division I teams. MSU hasn't topped 55 points in any of its losses. The Bulldogs lost to McNeese State 60-47 at home on Tuesday and played a second straight game without junior forward Gavin Ware (10.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg). He's questionable for this one.

Free NCAA Basketball Picks: MSU at BetOnline. Expect a bit of a letdown for the Noles, and it's only their second true road game.  FSU is 0-5 ATS on NCAA basketball odds in its past five on the road against teams with a winning home record.

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UCLA vs. Colorado (-5)
The Bruins and Buffaloes open Pac-12 play at 10 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. UCLA (8-5) is not an NCAA Tournament team right now as Coach Steve Alford attempts to rebuild the program. UCLA has faced five good teams and lost to them all. The Bruins were beaten by 10 by Oklahoma, 22 by North Carolina, 13 by Gonzaga and an embarrassing 39 by top-ranked Kentucky in which UCLA was down 41-7 at halftime. The Bruins played a bit better last time out but lost at Alabama 56-50 on Sunday in their first true road game of the season. That time UCLA had only 17 points at the half. The Bruins' second-leading scorer, guard Norman Powell, has been in a funk the three-game losing streak, shooting a combined 5-for-32 for 17 points. About the only thing UCLA does right now is rebound. The Bruins are 12th nationally in averaging 41.8 boards per game. Freshman Kevon Looney is No. 14 nationally in pulling down 10.4 rebounds a game. Looney is the country’s only freshman to be averaging a double-double (12.8 ppg, 10.4 rpg). UCLA has won eight of its last nine Pac-12 opening games, going 2-1 in that span when opening its conference schedule on the road.

Colorado hasn't beaten anyone worthwhile yet and enters off losses to George Washington and Hawaii.  With 138 assists and 154 turnovers, CU’s 0.90 ratio is the worst in the Pac-12. Colorado has shot a combined 51 percent from the field in its seven wins and 37 percent in the five losses. The Buffs have three good players -- Askia Booker, Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson -- but not much else. Under Tad Boyle, CU is 4-0 in conference home openers.

UCLA is 4-0 against Colorado since the Buffs joined the Pac-12. Both wins last year were by at least 13 points, but that Bruins team was much better than this one.

Free NCAA Basketball Picks: UCLA at 5Dimes. It has covered the past four meetings. The Buffs have covered the NCAA Basketball odds just one of their past six after a loss.

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