Intense Rivalry: Louisville +3 Our NCAA Basketball Pick vs. Kentucky

Charles Stark

Saturday, December 26, 2015 1:24 PM GMT

Odds makers have naturally made Kentucky a favorite being at home over Louisville, don't make a move without reading this betting preview for the sharp NCAA basketball pick.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Louisville +3
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

Louisville vs. Kentucky
NCAA basketball odds have made Kentucky a -2.5 favorite and a total around 139. This seems reasonable but for me the value is on a very good Louisville team who won't be intimidated by Kentucky. I do somewhat like the Cardinals in this spot for the possible upset bid, but for my selection today I will take them plus the points as I see this game going down to the final shot.

 

Louisville Cardinals
Louisville is averaging 86.1 points per game while shooting 51.9% from the field, and allowing 55.9 points per game on 35.2% shooting from the field. There absolutely can be a case made against this team so far this season for their lack of competition. Still, they did take on Michigan State at Michigan State, who is now ranked number one in the country, and had every opportunity to win that game only to end up losing by just four points. Every other game they have had has been a blowout for their 11-1 record. This makes their statistics blown up quite a bit on both ends of the floor but you can't deny the fact that their shooting percentage is very good and ranks sixth in the country. As well, offensively they have a very solid 57.4 effective field-goal percentage which ranks ninth. Defense is what I like when it comes to Louisville and Rick Pitino, but the pressure they usually get on the guards probably won't be as effective against a solid Kentucky backcourt. Still, overall they have been extremely good ranking second in the country in opponent shooting percentage and opponent field goals made per game. To get a little bit of a better gauge we can look how they did at Michigan State where they held the Spartans to 42.6% shooting from the field, well below their 49.2% average. They know this Kentucky team well and should have a good defensive game plan.

 

Kentucky Wildcats
Kentucky is averaging 78.4 points per game will shooting 47.1% from the field, and allowing 65.6 points per game on 39.9% shooting from the field. Much like Louisville there is not a lot to brag about their strength of schedule. They did beat Duke in one of the earlier games of the season, but in the only other chances they had to face some bigger schools that are decent they lost to UCLA, beat Arizona State, and then lost to Ohio State. They played arguably their worst game of the year against the Buckeyes so this might be the spot for them to bounce back, however this is a rivalry and Louisville will be fired up for this one. Offensively Kentucky has been decently efficient but they have been horrible at 29.7% from beyond the arc which ranks in the very bottom of the country. Defensively they have been good allowing just 8.5 assists per game which ranks second in the country, and defending well at 30.4% in opponents shooting from beyond the arc. This game could end up to be more of a defensive battle than people anticipate.

This a really good matchup of two of colleges premier basketball schools. Although Kentucky is almost impossible to beat at home I expect Louisville, who matches up well with them, to take this game to the buzzer. For your NCAA basketball pick I recommend grabbing the points with the Cardinals in what should be a fantastic game.