Georgia Tech, Michigan Solid Plays In Ranked NCAAB Action

Georgia Tech plays Virginia

Jay Pryce

Thursday, January 18, 2018 6:06 PM UTC

Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018 6:06 PM UTC

Georgia Tech and Michigan serve up betting value for your NCAAB picks Thursday night. The Yellow Jackets host No. 2 Virginia, and the No. 23 Wolverines play at Nebraska.

Thursday College Basketball: Virginia vs. Georgia Tech

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Free NCAAB Pick: Georgia Tech +8.5Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

Georgia Tech (10-7 SU, 7-5 ATS) is heating up, a winner in five of its last six games. Josh Pastner, 2017 ACC Coach of the Year, excels at fielding great defenses. The Yellow Jackets rank 13th in the country in opponent scoring, yielding just 62.8 points per game on 40.4-percent shooting. These figures have dipped to 58.5 points and 39.0 from the floor since Christmas.

Since Pastner took over, the Yellow Jackets are 5-1 SU at McCamish Pavilion versus Top 25 teams, tipping off as underdogs in all but one (Notre Dame 2018). Four victories have come against teams in the top 15, tying Colorado for the most home wins against top-tier visitors nationally in that span.

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Thursday night at McCamish is SOLD OUT!!! 🐝🏀👊#GTGoldOut #TogetherWeSwarm https://t.co/VauLHhMu0i pic.twitter.com/EbKa8qObmg

— Georgia Tech Sports (@GTAthletics) January 17, 2018
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The Yellow Jackets have covered eight straight versus ranked opponents, all coming in the last calendar year. You guessed it, strong defense is the key. Pastner’s team is holding opponents to 60.2 points per game on 38.6-percent shooting.

Offensively, expect Tech to lean on guard Josh Okogie. The sophomore, who missed eight games to an NCAA suspension and dislocated finger earlier this season, averages 22.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game in six at home against ranked opponents in his career.

Second-ranked Virginia (16-1 SU, 10-4 ATS) enters with the most efficient defense in the nation according to KenPom, and should hold on for the win. But the spread on the NCAAB odds board is too high. This game will come down to the wire, with the Cavs unable to generate enough scoring to pull away. In your NCAAB picks take the 8.5 points with Georgia Tech in this low-scoring, grind-it-out affair.

Thursday College Basketball: Michigan vs. Nebraska

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Free NCAA Pick: Michigan -3.5Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

Nebraska (13-7 SU, 12-6 ATS) is just 4-8 SU against ranked Big Ten opponents at Pinnacle Bank Arena under Coach Tim Miles. They tend to perform better against poor-shooting visitors, with three of the wins against teams averaging fewer than 46 percent from the field. They are 1-6 SU and 2-5 ATS versus teams with a higher rate. Michigan (16-4 SU, 11-7 ATS) enters putting up 76.3 points per game on 47.8 percent from the floor. The Cornhuskers don't have the firepower to prevail.

The Wolverines, ranked 23rd and -3.5 favorites on tonight's NCAAB odds board, will win this tough road contest because of their defense. Since NCAA sped up the shot clock in the 2015-16 season, Coach John Beilein is 33-5 SU against teams scoring less than 75 points per game; Nebraska enters averaging 73.5. As single-digit chalk under these conditions, the record is 12-2 SU overall. Michigan holds opponents to 66.1 points per game.

Beilein positions his players from the rim out and forces poor shots. Opponents get off just 23.5 percent of their attempts from the paint this season, eighth-fewest in the country. The squad ranks 19th in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency ratings. Nebraska doesn’t have the outside shooters to contend. Lay the points with Michigan in your NCAAB picks. They win by a handful of baskets.

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