Missouri to Cover as Double Digit Home Dog vs. Kentucky for Tonight's NCAA Basketball Picks

Jeff Grant

Thursday, January 29, 2015 3:49 PM GMT

Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015 3:49 PM GMT

Missouri was overwhelmed by top-ranked Kentucky on the road earlier this month, but offers value as a home underdog to close out the regular-season series Thursday.

Frontrunner 
Kentucky is the clear favorite to win the 2015 NCAA Tournament, which can’t be ignored when making your NCAA Basketball picks, as it has trailed for only 102:24 of the possible 755 minutes this season en route to a perfect 19-0 SU record.

The Wildcats are enjoying the third-best start in program history, while John Calipari has the best record of any Kentucky coach through the first 208 games of their careers. It’s important to point out that the school has produced a victory in 41 of its last 43 contests as the No. 1 team in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the Wildcats are 13-13 SU and 9-17 ATS on the road.

 

Time to Dig Deep
Missouri lands in a difficult matchup in its attempt to snap a five-game losing streak, which is important to consider when looking over the NCAA basketball odds, as it seeks revenge for a lopsided 86-37 defeat as 24-point road underdogs in the first meeting this year.

The Tigers are 0-7 SU all-time against the Wildcats, while they’ve dropped 17 of 21 games when taking on the best team in the country.

Sports bettors need to realize that the group played at Rupp Arena without the services of Montaque Gill-Caesar, who averages 10.8 points and knocks down 37.7 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.

Since the start of the 2012-13 campaign, the program is 5-24 SU and 10-18-1 ATS as underdogs.

 

Impressive Numbers
The Wildcats rank first in defensive efficiency this season, but they’ve also managed to become a better offensive team in recent weeks—knocking down 44.2 percent of their 3-pointers over the last nine games.

Kentucky has a chance to become one of the best teams to ever play at the collegiate level, as it has outscored opponents by an average of 24.2 points—just behind the NCAA record of 26.7 established by UNLV in 1990-91.

 

Gaining Experience
The Tigers are double-digit home underdogs for obvious reasons, as underclassmen have accounted for 67.3 percent of their minutes this season, including a remarkable 38.8 from freshmen.

Missouri has also played one of the nation’s most challenging schedules in head coach Kim Anderson’s first season in Columbia—occupying the No. 5 spot currently.

 

Prediction
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Tigers as one of their top NCAA Basketball picks, as the Wildcats have failed to cover the number in their last three opportunities as road favorites of 12.5 or more points.

NCAA Basketball Pick:  Missouri Tigers +18 at Bookmaker

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