Late NCAA Basketball Picks: Prime Total Betting Selections

Mark Lathrop

Saturday, February 20, 2016 7:29 PM UTC

Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016 7:29 PM UTC

Our NCAAB handicapper has a picked a pair of games that couldn't be any different, and analyzes the best way to wager on them for your Saturday NCAAB card.

Drake vs. Bradley
The Drake Bulldogs (6-21, 1-14) travel to see their fellow Missouri Valley Conference cellar dweller Bradley Braves (4-24, 2-13) in a competition that could well be the most boring game of the weekend in NCAAB action. But thankfully we don’t have to watch this game to be interested in it, just wager on it. Drake won the first matchup between these two teams at home, 80-70, in a game that flew past the listed total of 121.5. That may have bumped up the O/U total listed for this game, which is currently 126 over at BookMaker.

As these two teams are terrible, we need to look at scoring averages relative to their competition before making a decision on this one, especially as the O/U line on the first game was so off. I’ll use RPI for this, as Drake is ranked 308th and Bradley is ranked 296th. Pretty even I’d say, so a comparison of records against 201st ranked and lower teams should be decent.

When doing this, you can see that Drake’s 287th ranked scoring average of 68 points per game is skewed by stiffer competition. Against competition ranked lower than 201st in RPI the Bulldogs score an average of 74.9 points per game (over 9 games).

Bradley is different, as they score a 351st ranked average of 55 points per game overall, but score 48.5 points per game against opponents ranked lower than 201st in RPI (over 9 games).

You combine those two averages and you get a predicted score of 124, and also a significant lean towards Drake as they are favored by only 2.5 points. I’m sticking with the under in this one, and I also expect that the line will rise before tip-off as bettors consider the first matchup’s score. The under is also 12-2 for Bradley at home this year as a significant trend. Take under 126 at BookMaker in this game as one of your Saturday NCAA basketball picks, then change the channel.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 127
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle


Eastern Washington vs. Portland State 
Sometimes you just have to ride a horse until it bucks you off, and in this case, that horse is the Eastern Washington University (16-10, 10-4) offense. In this game, they travel to Portland State (8-16, 4-9) seeking their 8th win in a row as 3.5-point favorites. They also look to continue their offensive dominance against the Pilots and a repeat of their 112-83 win three weeks ago. The O/U total in that first game was 155.5 and the over cashed easily. For this game, odds makers are getting a little wiser, upping the O/U line to 163.5. I still don’t think it is enough.

Eastern set a school record in that first game by making 20 3-pointers in the game. The Eagles also shot a blistering 63.8% from the field. Portland State weren’t slouches either, exceeding their season average of 46.1% from the field just slightly in converting 48.4% of their attempts in route to scoring 83 points. Portland State also drew 27 personal fouls and got to the free throw line 32 times, making only 56.3% from the charity stripe. Just as it is unlikely to think that Eastern will make 20 3-pointers, it is just as likely that Portland State can put up more than 83 points at home this time around.

And like I said on Thursday night, Eastern has now won 7 games in a row by scoring more than 90 points and keeping the tempo up. They have no reason to try to slow a game down now, and they won’t here. Take over 163.5 points in this game as one of your NCAA basketball picks.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Over 162.5
Best Line Offered: at Bovada


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