NCAA Basketball Picks: Early Hoops Action Filled With Betting Value

Willie Bee

Saturday, January 16, 2016 3:09 AM GMT

Three early games on Saturday's NCAA basketball betting board have caught out capper's eye, starting with a Big East battle at Hinkle between Butler and St. John's.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Butler -19.5
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

Big East Bottom-Dwellers Meet In Indy
There are 26 different teams occupying the 25 slots in the latest AP and Coaches polls, and 19 will be in action Saturday as the conference races really start to get interesting. Among them are the No. 23 Butler Bulldogs -- one of four Big East squads in the rankings -- who are home to host the St. John's Red Storm.

Historic Hinkle Fieldhouse provides our setting for this clash, FOX Sports 1 providing the broadcast starting at 12 PM (ET). Still more than 24 hours in advance of all three games in this preview, spreads and totals are not available. Once they are released, SBR's live NCAA Basketball odds will have the numbers.

To say it's been a rough first season for Chris Mullin at St. John's (7-11 straight up, 5-9-2 against the spread) would be a huge understatement. First came the NCAA ruling prized freshman recruit Marcus LoVett ineligible for academic reasons, that decision coming down after the Red Storm dropped a 90-58 stunner to St. Thomas Aquinas in an exhibition game. They upset Syracuse in mid-December, but have since dropped 8-straight, including all five conference contests. St. John's is also playing without starting center Yankuba Sima, the team's leading rebounder, because of a broken left hand sustained against Xavier. The 6-11 freshman is not likely to return before mid-February.

Things haven't been going much better for Chris Holtmann and Butler (12-4 SU, 7-8-1 ATS) in conference play. The Bulldogs started Big East play 11-1 only to lose three of their first four league tilts, the latest coming last Sunday to Villanova, 60-55.  he final pushed a 5 point line after Butler failed to cover the previous three games, and the 'Dogs are likely to drop out of the rankings next Monday with road games at Providence and Creighton coming up. Butler should be laying 13-14 points and despite recent woes, the Bulldogs should be good for that.

 

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Georgia Tech -7.5
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

 

Can Hokies Keep Early Wins Going In Atlanta?
The Virginia Tech Hokies quickly return to our picks docket, Buzz Williams and crew remaining in the shadows of the ACC elite as they prepare for a trip to Atlanta to take on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. This noon (ET) tip at McCamish Pavilion should be a tight one on the card, and which side is favored by 1-2 in the end will be determined by the public.

Virginia Tech (11-6 SU, 5-6 ATS) is fresh off a 93-91 home win over Wake Forest, hanging on Wednesday night for a third win in four league games thanks to outscoring the Demon Deacons 29-12 at the charity stripe. Georgia Tech (11-6 SU, 9-5-1 ATS), meanwhile, was busy losing its third ACC contest at the same time, dropping a 72-64 decision in South Bend to Notre Dame. The final pushed an 8 point spread, leaving Yellow Jackets backers 3-0-1 vs. the NCAA basketball odds. I'm liking the Ramblin' Wreck at home.

 

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Cincinnati -3½
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

'Cats Looking For Revenge At Temple
My final free NCAA Basketball pick involves a team with revenge on its mind as Cincinnati travels to Temple looking to get even after the Owls dealt the Bearcats a loss in their AAC opener a couple of weeks ago. Yet another famous arena, the Liacouras Center, hosts this one with the 12 PM (ET) tip in Philadelphia carried by ESPNU.

Cincinnati (13-5 SU, 6-8 ATS) and Temple (8-7 SU, 8-5 ATS) are knotted at 3-2 in the league standings, and both need a win if they are to break free from the middle of the bunch. The Bearcats were favored by 11½ over Temple in Cincy on December 29, and failed to play defense in a 77-70 Owls triumph. Look for Mick Cronin's squad to be giving up 3-4 on the road, and I like the 'Cats to cover.