NCAA Basketball Picks - Can UNLV Pluck The Heavy Favorites Oregon Ducks?

Jason Lake

Saturday, December 17, 2016 5:23 PM UTC

Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016 5:23 PM UTC

It didn’t take long for the No. 22 Oregon Ducks to start steaming up the NCAAB odds board. Are they worth the chalk this Saturday versus the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels?

Record: 1-1 ATS, 2-2 Totals

When you think of bad beats in college basketball, you probably think of guys hitting meaningless long-range threes à la Chris Duhon for the matador cover. But how about when both teams completely stop scoring? We had the Akron Zips last week as 17-point road dogs against the Gonzaga Bulldogs, and the Zips were down 61-43 with 3:20 left after the ‘Zags opened up a can of whoop-ass. Then, nothing. Brick City.

Better not be too results-oriented, because we’ve got another 17-point puppy coming up for this week’s college basketball picks. And once again, the analytics are telling us we should fade the No. 22 Oregon Ducks for Saturday’s home game (11:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2) against the underdog UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. Let’s pop open the hood on this bad boy and see what lies underneath.

Rebel L

As far as the betting patterns go, the early money appears to be on the Ducks (9-2 SU, 3-7 ATS), even though we don’t have enough consensus at press time to produce any numbers. They opened as 16-point home faves on the NCAAB odds board and moved to –17 after an hour or two – pretty much the same thing that happened with Gonzaga last week.

Now for some data. Ken Pomeroy has Oregon ranked No. 23 overall in Division I with an Adjusted Efficiency Margin of +18.67, while UNLV (6-4 SU, 6-3-1 ATS) are down at No. 180 and minus-1.42. Call it a 20-point difference over 100 possessions. We can expect these teams to get in about 70 possessions this Saturday, and 70 percent of 20 is... let’s see, carry the one... 14 points. Not quite as much profit margin as there was with the Zips, but three points is a damn fine bargain in college hoops.

Oh, sure, the Ducks will probably take UNLV out behind the Moda Center and give them what-for on Saturday, but they have a history of starting the season off slowly – like last year, when they lost 80-69 to the Rebs as 2-point road faves. Oregon were 2-3 ATS at that point; they finished 21-14 ATS. Food for thought.

Free NCAAB Pick: UNLV +17 (–105)Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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