NCAA Basketball Picks: Friday Night Mid-Major Total Selections

Mark Lathrop

Friday, February 26, 2016 1:33 PM UTC

Friday, Feb. 26, 2016 1:33 PM UTC

Our NCAAB handicapper spots a few games with conference leaders going against bottom-feeders. Read on as he finds the O/U wagering value for your NCAA basketball picks.

Harvard vs. Yale 
In a game that could send the Yale Bulldogs (18-6, 9-1) to the NCAA Tournament, they host the Harvard Crimson (11-15, 3-7) on Friday night in a nationally televised game on Fox Sports 1. In the first matchup this year, Yale played stifling defense and covered a 7-point road spread by beating Harvard 67-55 at the Crimson’s home court. The total of 122 in that game went under the listed total of 130. In this game, with more on the line for Yale, the line has opened with the Bulldogs favored at home by 13 points. The O/U total has initially opened at 131.5 at sites such as BookMaker.

These teams met just 13 days ago at Harvard, in what was Yale’s 12th win in a row, a school record. Their record was spoiled in the next game against Ivy League co-leader, Princeton, but Yale bounced back in their next game by winning 79-58 at Pennsylvania. The 75 points that Yale allowed Princeton to score, both in their loss and their win against them, was the first time that they had allowed 75 points or more since non-conference play in late November (Duke -80 points, Albany – 88 points). Yale has allowed more than 70 points in only 8 of their 24 games this season and they hold the 19th ranked defense in the NCAA at home. The Bulldogs only allow an average of 61 points per game on their home floor.

As such, Yale’s 5-1 record favoring the over at home this year is a little surprising and I think due for regression back to average. Harvard just doesn’t play at a pace to bust out a huge offensive scoring performance on any given night anyway and will be hard pressed to score more than 60 points in this game. Add that to the extra motivation that Yale will be playing at to keep up with Princeton as a one-loss team in the Ivy League, and we should have the recipe for a very low scoring game out of Harvard in this one. For these reasons I’m taking under 131.5 points at BookMaker in this game as one of my Friday night NCAA basketball picks.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 131.5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes


Detroit vs. Oakland
In a game posting one of the higher totals this season in college basketball, the Detroit Titans (15-13, 9-8) of the Horizon League travel to the Oakland Grizzlies (20-10, 12-5) in a matchup that can be seen on ESPN2. Oakland has NCAA tournament aspirations, but will have to keep pace with Valparaiso who currently has a 14-2 conference record. In this game, they are a heavy 9-point home favorite, but I’m more interested in the O/U line that has initially been set at 184 on the NCAA basketball odds board.

These teams met on on January 16th in an admittedly high scoring affair, with Oakland taking the game 86-82 as a 1.5-point road favorite. The 166 total score in that game went under the listed total of 179 by 13 points though. In that game both teams converted well from the floor, with Oakland hitting at a 47.8% rate and Detroit with a 52.4% rate. That is compared to the season averages of 45.6% for Oakland and 46.6% for Detroit. So we have a game in the books with each team shooting better than average from the field, yet going under the total. This is a clue about pace, even though better 3-point shooting from each team could tip the scales a bit.

All that aside, we didn’t see even a half in the first game that would be at a pace to get us over the total posted in this game. Oakland and Detroit scored 83 points in the first half and 85 in the second. I’m considering this a value wager and taking under 184 points at BookMaker as one of my Friday NCAAB Picks. Don’t be surprised if this line gets wagered down a few points too.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 184
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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