Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Syracuse Orange
We're sure to witness a hard-fought showdown this afternoon when the Orange host the Bearcats. As of now Syracuse is favored by as many as 8.5 points at some sportsbooks.
While we're still not certain whether or not Cashmere Wright will play, Cincinnati rarely gets steamrolled and you never know what can happen when you've got someone like Sean Kilpatrick on your team.
Kilpatrick just went for 36 points in Cincinnati's 71-69 overtime win over Marquette over the weekend. With the win, the Bearcats moved to 4-2 SU (2-4 ATS) in conference play, with losses to Notre Dame and St. John's.
As for the Orange, they're getting tons of love from oddsmakers and the public after topping Louisville. But we advise that you don't get too carried away, since besides that win the only other ranked team Jim Boeheim's team has played is San Diego State in the first game of the season. The Orange's strength of schedule ranking is #34, while the Bearcats are at #21.
We would still like to see more from Syracuse before trusting them to cover such large spreads against good competition, regardless of whether they're at home or not.
Obviously we like this play that much more if Wright (knee) is available to play, so make sure you're track his status leading up until tipoff. If it's confirmed that he's playing, don't be surprised if there's movement in the college basketball odds.
Either way, Cincinnati has been a crowd-killer this season, having yet to lose away from home. They're 3-0 in strict road contests and 4-0 in neutral-site matchups and in total have gone 6-1 ATS outside of Fifth Third Arena. Let's back the Bearcats with our NCAA Basketball picks in this spot.
Pick: Cincinnati Bearcats +8.5
Texas Longhorns vs. Oklahoma Sooners
A Big 12 battle between Texas and Oklahoma tips off tonight, with current college basketball odds showing the Sooners favored by 7.5 points on their home floor. While capper Jeff Grant has already posted his NCAAB pick in favor of an Oklahoma cover, I am going to have to kindly go the other way.
It's been a rough season for Rick Barnes, especially since conference play started. The Longhorns have lost all four of their Big 12 matchups thus far.
That being said, the competition has been extremely tough. They've already played Kansas, Baylor and Iowa State in conference action and also had to match up with North Carolina (whom they beat), UCLA and Georgetown earlier on in the season.
That's one sizable reason we like the chances of a Texas cover tonight. Being battle-tested always helps in these conference road games, and the fact the Longhorns took both the Jawhawks and Bears down to the wire shouldn't be overlooked.
Not having Myck Kabongo out there (eligibility reasons) has proven to be a rather tough obstacle to overcome, but at least the Longhorns have had their fair share of success against the Sooners in recent seasons.
We know this is a much different Texas team these days, but the fact they've gone 6-0 SU and 4-2 ATS over the last six head-to-head meetings should count for something. The Longhorns should come out with confidence here.
Armed with a good presence on the glass (39.8 RPG, led by Jonathan Holmes and Cameron Ridley), a great half-court defense, and a lightning rod off the bench in Sheldon McClellan (leads team with 14.5 PPG), we believe Texas will come to play and end up getting the cover.
Pick: Texas Longhorns +7.5