NCAA Basketball Picks for Friday: Prime Winning Betting Plays

Matthew Jordan

Friday, January 8, 2016 12:36 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 8, 2016 12:36 PM UTC

As seasoned bettors no doubt are aware of, Friday during NCAA basketball conference season is the slowest nigh of the week. Here are my top NCAA basketball picks, don't miss them.

Buffalo vs. Kent State
Buffalo (7-7) opened Mid-American Conference play with a 75-71 home loss to Akron, the favorite in the MAC East Division, on Tuesday. The Zips got the go-ahead basket from center Isaiah Johnson with 1:25 to play. Buffalo's Willie Conner missed a well-contested 3-pointer to tie with seven seconds left. The Zips then hit one final free throw for the final score. UB coach Nate Oats wanted to get the ball to Jarryn Skeete and took the blame for the possession: “The last play, that one’s on me. I thought they’d try to foul us so we couldn’t get the three off.” Conner led the Bulls with 16 points and seven rebounds. It was Akron's first win at Alumni Arena since the 2008-09 season. Kent State (10-4) opened conference play with an 87-84 overtime win at Western Michigan. KSU forced 19 Western Michigan turnovers while committing eight; the Flashes thus won the points off turnovers battle 28-7. KSU was only 3-for-16 from long range and outrebounded by 10. Jimmy Hall finished with team highs of 21 points and seven rebounds for Kent State, which lost starting point guard Kellon Thomas to his fifth foul with 2:47 to play in the second half. KSU is 16-2 all-time at home vs. Buffalo, but the Bulls have won four straight in the series overall. Buffalo won 71-65 in Kent last year. Bulls are 3-0-1 against the NCAA basketball odds in their past four after a loss. KSU is 1-7-2 ATS in its past 10 at home. Buffalo is 6-0 ATS in the past six meetings.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Buffalo +6.5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage


Utah vs. Colorado
This is the only game featuring teams from Power 5 Conferences on Friday night and is of course a Pac-12 matchup. The Utes (11-4, 0-2) were ranked much of the year but opened conference play with losses at the two Bay area schools, Stanford and California last weekend. In the 71-58 loss to the Bears, Utah shot only .385 from the field, with just three field goals over the final eight minutes, and was limited to a season-low two 3-pointers made. Future NBA first-round pick Jakob Poeltl led the Utes with a double-double, posting team highs in points (19) and rebounds (10). Poeltl is shooting .687 from the field this season, first in the Pac-12 and third in the nation. Utah is just 8-30 in Pac-12 road games all-time. It is 2-1 following a loss this season. It's not clear if the Utes will have sophomore Kyle Kuzma for this one. He left early in the second half vs. Cal after taking a hard fall. The forward averages 11.5 points and 6.1 rebounds. Colorado (12-3, 1-1) ended a two-game losing streak with a 56-55 win at Stanford on Sunday despite scoring only four points in the final 10 minutes of the game. CU led by 16 at halftime. It was the first time since the 2013-14 season that the Buffs won on the back end of a two-game Pac-12 road trip. There will be a great big  man battle here between CU's Josh Scott and Poeltl. Scott, is averaging 17.9 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. Poeltl is at 17.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. Utah, which has won three straight in the series. The Utes are 8-3 ATS in their past 11 following a loss. They are 7-1 ATS in the past eight meetings.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Utah +2
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline


Illinois-Chicago vs. Detroit
UIC (2-10, 0-1) opened Horizon League play with a 75-47 blowout loss at Valparaiso last Saturday. The Flames' leading scorer was  Lance Whitaker with only eight points. UIC shot .305 from the field and made only two 3-pointers. Najeal Young returned to the lineup after missing two games to make his second start of the season for UIC. He had six points and six rebounds. Detroit (8-5, 2-0) should be a Horizon League contender. The Titans beat Cleveland State 88-80 on Monday. Sophomore Paris Bass led four Titans in double figures with 28 points, tying his career high. He also had a career-best 13 rebounds along with four steals, three blocks and two assists. Detroit trailed by two with around 16 minutes left but went on a 13-2 run and didn't look back. UDM is 8-0 at home this season and has won 11 in a row on Dick Vitale Court. Detroit has won six of the past seven vs. UIC. But the last team to win at Detroit was UIC last year, 83-73. UIC is 2-9 ATS in its past 11 overall. Detroit has covered seven of its past nine at home, make them your NCAA basketball pick.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Detroit -16
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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