NCAA Basketball Picks: Louisiana-Monroe vs. Ohio State

Jeff Grant

Friday, December 27, 2013 2:37 PM GMT

Friday, Dec. 27, 2013 2:37 PM GMT

The Ohio State Buckeyes might get caught looking ahead to conference play Friday night, as they prepare to host the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks. Let’s take a closer look at the NCAA basketball odds for this non-conference affair at Value City Arena.


Light schedule

Louisiana-Monroe has played just seven games this season putting together a 3-4 SU record and 4-1 ATS mark versus lined competition.

The Warhawks have dropped their last three games, including an 83-61 setback to the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs as eight-point home underdogs Sunday, while going OVER the betting total set by sportsbooks for the first time in four opportunities.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the program is 3-15 SU and 9-4 ATS in December.

Off to a perfect start

Ohio State is looking to complete a perfect non-conference slate during the 2013-14 campaign, as it comes off a 64-61 come-from-behind victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish as six-point neutral-site favorites last Saturday.

The Buckeyes have won 11 of their first 12 wins by a double-digit margin, but they’ve gone 0-2 ATS as home favorites of 24.5 to 30 points this year.

Key categories

College basketball handicappers should take a long look at the road underdog in this matchup, considering the Warhawks lead the Sun Belt Conference in rebounding margin, assists and steals.

Louisiana-Monroe has never beaten a top-five opponent in its history, while its last win over a ranked team came back in 1992.

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All about the defense

The Buckeyes are a national title contender due to its defense, as they rank fifth nationally in allowing just 55.9 points per game, while holding opponents to 25 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

Ohio State sits behind just five teams in terms of outscoring opponents by an average of 19.3 points due to its intensity on the defensive end, but the offense is starting to come around in connecting on better than 52 percent of its field goals in five of its last seven games.

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Warhawks as one of their NCAA basketball picks, as they’ve gone 3-0 ATS as road underdogs of 24.5 to 30 points the last two-plus seasons.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks +24.5

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