NCAA Basketball Picks: Jacksonville vs. North Florida

Darin Zank

Friday, January 18, 2013 4:16 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 18, 2013 4:16 PM UTC

Friday night in college hoops offers up an interesting Atlantic Sun Conference inter-city battle as the  Dolphins of Jacksonville University and the Ospreys of the University of North Florida clash at UNF Arena.

College Basketball Betting: Atlantic Sun Action in Jacksonville

Both teams started slowly this season, but have been getting better results as of late. Which team will continue that recent trending Friday night? And might there be some money to be made betting on this game?

Dolphins-Ospreys Betting Lines

As of early Friday morning betting odds had not yet been lined out. When and if a spread does come out we would expect North Florida to be favored by somewhere around seven or eight points.

Dolphins-Ospreys Game Set-Up

Here's how we break down this game. 

Jacksonville returned three starters from a team that went 8-22 last year, and was expected by those supposedly “in the know” to finish somewhere in the bottom third of the ASC this season. However, the Dolphins have already topped last year's win total, with their 9-10 start.

Jacksonville started 5-8 this season, which included losses to Georgia, Miami, South Carolina and Indiana, as leading scorer Keith McDougald missed three games because of a shoulder injury. But the 'Fins have actually won four of their last six games, including two in a row. Last Thursday Jacksonville out-lasted Kennesaw State in triple-overtime 99-92, and last Saturday the Dolphins won an ugly 49-47 affair over the favorite to win the ASC this season, Mercer.

North Florida, meanwhile, returned four senior starters from a team that went 16-16 last year, and is expected to finish in the upper division in the ACS this season, maybe even make a run at the conference title. However, the Ospreys are off to an 8-11 start, which must be considered disappointing.

UNF started 3-8 playing a decent schedule, with losses to Memphis, Kansas State, Florida State, Minnesota and Pitt. The Ospreys also took a hit personnel-wise when senior G Jerron Granberry left the team in mid-December to deal with a family situation, and hasn't returned.

But with the schedule getting a little easier recently, the Ospreys have won five of their last eight games, a solid money-line NCAA basketball pick. North Florida dropped a couple of games, to Florida Gulf Coast and Mercer, a couple weeks ago, but last time out, last Saturday, defeated Kennesaw State 81-72.

So, Jacksonville is 4-2 and tied for second place in the ASC, while North Florida sits in sixth place in the conference at 3-3.

Dolphins-Ospreys, Statistically Speaking

So far this season Jacksonville is shooting just 40 percent from the floor, 29 percent from 3-point land and 69 percent from the FT line. On the other end of the court the Dolphins are allowing opponents to shoot 46 percent from the field, and they're getting out-rebounded by about a board per game.

North Florida is shooting 44 percent from the floor this season, 35 percent from long range and 68 percent from the line. The Ospreys are also allowing foes to shoot 44 percent, and they're getting out-rebounded by about five boards per game, second-worst in the conference.

Dolphins-Ospreys Betting Trends

Jacksonville games are averaging 139.5 total points this season.

North Florida games are averaging 137 points.

Our guess is the OVER/UNDER on this game will come out at right around 138.

Dolphins-Ospreys Recent History

North Florida has beaten Jacksonville three times in a row. Last year the Ospreys swept the two-game season series from the Dolphins by scores of 80-58 and 70-64. So, is backing UNF the right choice my my free picks for you?

Dolphins-Ospreys Prediction

North Florida has done well in overcoming the loss of Granberry, and seems to have Jacksonville's number. The Ospreys also shoot the ball a little better and play a little better defense. We'll set our limit on this point-spread at eight; less than that, we'll give the points with UNF. Anything more than that and we'll take the points with Jacksonville.  

Free NCAAB Pick: Jacksonville if +8.5 or more – UNF if -8 or less

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