Monday's NCAA Basketball Picks

Joe Catalano

Monday, December 16, 2013 3:32 PM GMT

Monday is a bit slow for NCAA Basketball with Duke as the lone top 25 team in action, but watch as we get off to a fast start to the week as there’s still ample opportunity to turn a profit.

Gardner-Webb (6-5) vs. #8 Duke (7-2)

Well Rested

Duke is a well- rested team coming into this game and not looking too far ahead to UCLA. They’re coming off a nice bounce back win over Michigan, 79-69, in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Although Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood had average games at best, other members of the team showed that they can carry this team when needed and it’s not just a 2-man show.

Quinn Cook

This is a player with some experience and has had success in the past for the Blue Devils. Cook came up huge against Michigan with 24 points, which were all in the 2nd half. He also had 9 assists and 4 rebounds. With the focus on Parker and Hood, people haven’t realized that Quinn Cook has been having a spectacular season for the Blue Devils. He plays nearly the entire game each and every game and averaging a healthy 14.6 points and 6.3 assists.

Although Cook came up big when needed, look for Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood to have bounce back games. This game could possibly be over by early 2nd half.

You hear the name Gardner Webb and think that this game will be a blowout as it very well might be, but the Runnin’ Bulldogs have faced all comers thus far this season. While their opening season game against Xavier was a disaster, the Runnin’ Rebels played well against Missouri in late November, losing by just 9 points. Duke should be the favorite, but is 24.5 points too much?

Gardner-Webb is a team with no definitive go to guy. They have 4 players averaging in double figures from 10.3 points to 12.7 points per game, led by Naji Hibbert, and this is a team that makes frequent substitutions and has great depth. Even though this is a team that I think could be competitive with Duke, the Blue Devils have plenty of rest and are in a great spot tonight for our free college basketball picks.

College Basketball Pick: Duke -24.5 at Bet 365

[gameodds]14/252369/?r3=43-19-349/dec&r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

Illinois State (5-4) vs. Oakland (2-9)

The Golden Grizzlies Are the Betting Favorite?

At 2-9, it’s difficult to believe that Oakland would be a favorite in any game, but after having a first half lead and losing to Michigan State 67-63, the Golden Grizzlies have gained some respect by the odds makers as they’re a 3.5 point betting favorite in the college basketball odds for this matchup.

Their opponent, Illinois State, are no slouch themselves. The Redbirds are coming off of an 81-75 victory over the #25 team in the country in the Dayton Flyers and have played some top-level teams in the past. This should be a competitive ball game.

Oakland will be looking for the combination of Travis Bader (19.9 points per game) and Duke Mondy to lead the way in this game. Bader is a big-time scorer that needs to put up at least 15 shots per game to be effective. He’s shooting only 36 % from the field this season and is 10 for his last 48 from the field. Nevertheless, Oakland needs his production.

Mondy is coming off of a huge performance against one of the best teams in the country in Michigan State. He shot 10 of 15 from the field for 24 points, but that’s not the story. Mondy picked up a game high 7 steals to go along with 6 rebounds and 3 assists against the team the caliber of Michigan State. If he plays like that against Illinois State, the Redbirds will be in trouble.

Illinois State will be looking for leading scorer, Daishon Knight, to carry some of the momentum of his success from the Dayton win over to tonight’s game against Oakland. Knight led the Redbirds in points (20), rebounds (6), and assists (4) as the Redbirds simply outplayed a top 25 team in Dayton and got major support from their bench to pick up a huge season-changing victory. Vee Sanford came off the bench to lead the Redbird with 14 points and 5 rebounds in just 23 minutes of play.

Although Oakland matched Michigan State, look for Illinois State to cover this very appealing point spread in which they’re actually getting points against a 2-9 ball club.

College Basketball Pick: Illinois State +3.5 at Bet 365

[gameodds]14/252365/?r3=43-19-349/dec&r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]