NCAA Basketball Betting - The 'Under' Carries Plenty Of Value In Valpo-Kentucky Matchup

Kentucky Wildcats

Jay Pryce

Wednesday, December 7, 2016 3:41 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016 3:41 PM UTC

No. 6 Kentucky looks to rebound from its only defeat of the season when it host Valparaiso as 20-point chalk at Rupp Arena Wednesday night (8:00 p.m. ET). Click here for a free pick and betting preview.

Valparaiso Crusaders (7-1 SU, 3-3 ATS)

The Crusaders have a couple of quality underdog wins under their belt. They beat No. 21 Rhode Island 65-62 (+2.5), BYU 92-89 (+6.5) and Alabama 68-60 (+3.5) spotted points in each. It’s only defeat came against No. 4 Oregon (76-54) as 12.5-point pups.

Valparaiso’s success is dependent on forward Alec Peters. The versatile 6-foot-9 senior has scored 23 points or more in each game this season, yanking down 9.1 boards per game. New head coach Matt Lottich is leaning on the projected NBA pro a lot with a young roster, telling him to essentially hog the ball every time out. Peters ranks second in the country with 25.4 points per game. Shane Hammink, a 6-foot-7 guard, is the only other Crusader putting up double figures (15.4)

The Crusaders can struggle shooting as a group, however. It owns a less-than-stellar 46.1 effective field goal percentage. This number is partly low due to their inability to shoot from behind the arc. The team makes 5.1 three-pointers a night. The team is deadly from the free throw line, however, hitting 81.5 percent (fifth best).


Kentucky Wildcats (7-1 SU, 6-2 ATS)

No. 6 Kentucky dropped its first game of the year last time out, losing 97-92 to UCLA as 11-point chalk. The defeat snapped a 41-game home winning streak for the Cats. The Bruins’ 97-point effort is the most points the Wildcats have given up in a game under head coach John Calipari.

Offensively, The Wildcats’ 95.1 points per game against D-1 programs rank second nationally to UCLA (97.0). Guard Malik Monk leads the team with 19.9 points per game. He’s one of three freshman, including De’Aaron Fox (15.9 ppg) and Bam Adebayo (12.0 ppg), projected to land in the first 15 picks of next year’s NBA draft.

Defensively, this may be one of Calipari’s best units ever at Lexington. The Wildcats force a whopping 19 turnovers per game and hold opponents to a 44.8 effective field goal rate. They’re dynamite defending the arc, yielding a 26.8 opponent three-point percentage.

 Final Analysis

The UNDER is 8-2 when Valparaiso tips off a 15 point underdog or greater, historically. The team holds opponents to under their projected team total by 8.1 points per game in the contests staying south of the number. Much of this was due to former head coach Bryce Drew’s patient offensive play. Nonetheless, the Crusaders are consistent night in and night out on defense and shouldn’t allow Kentucky to run the score up too much. 

The Wildcats, meanwhile, will likely concentrate on playing stern defense following UCLA’s 43.5 percent shooting from the field last time out. Calipari will throw everything at Peters, including double-teams all game. The post player will still produce, but Kentucky’s talent will overwhelm the rest of his teammates. Our prediction: Kentucky wins 80-60. Value lies in the UNDER 152.5. Let’s make it the play.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 153Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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